Sunday, September 23, 2012

Guest post - through a mother's eyes

My daughter, Melissa, has asked me to write something for her blog. Where do I begin? Do I put all my fears, anger and feelings of inadequacy on paper? I have decided I will, in the hope my words will allow other mothers of children with Crohn’s know they are not alone.

Unless this disease directly impacts them or someone they love, most people are truly ignorant regarding Crohn’s. In most minds it’s, “Oh, Crohn’s, yes…those people poop all the time and have trouble digesting foods. They really should watch what they eat and they wouldn’t get sick.” Anything related to poop is very personal and unless Crohn’s is a part of your life, most people are uncomfortable discussing normal or abnormal body functions. I need to educate these individuals, but how do I when they appear to be so anxious to change the topic of conversation? Frustrating!

No one, be it family or friends, knows the impact this disease has on the mother of a Crohn’s patient. Crohn’s is truly an invisible disease. Most times, outwardly, Melissa has looked as she’s always looked…petite, bubbly and beautiful. But…no one but me and her husband have seen her when Crohn’s has overtaken her body. The mental images I have of her lying helpless in hospital beds never leave me. I see them every day as I wonder how she’s feeling and pray for a good day for her.

Crohn’s has dictated and controlled Melissa’s life for the past 9 years and mine as well. I can’t go to bed at night without my laundry and ironing done and my house in order for fear I’ll get “the call”. “Mom, I’m sick…we need you.” Melissa’s husband is a Navy Chief which has taken them to numerous duty stations, mostly warm climates, Florida, Hawaii and now Texas. I live in Indiana where the seasons change. I’m never comfortable totally changing my closet for winter…I must keep warm weather clothes ready to quickly throw into a suitcase along with jackets or sweaters…hospitals are always cold. I’m hesitant to take vacations, even long week-ends away, for fear she won’t be able to contact me if she needs me.

Why Melissa?? Why can’t I fix this? I’m her mother… I’ve bandaged scrapes and cuts, held her while she cried with a broken heart and nursed her through mono, chicken pox and the common cold. What kind of mother can’t make her child better? I’ve spent many sleepless nights wondering if God is punishing me by making Melissa sick. If He wants my attention, He has it! The past nine years have brought me to my knees praying and begging for her health and life. Am I angry that she has Crohn’s? As we like to say, “Hell to the yes!” But, we believe things happen for a reason. Anyone who knows Melissa knows she is very outspoken and when she believes in something, she becomes the Champion. She is the Champion of Crohn’s awareness, education and the pursuit of a cure. She is my hero and the pride I feel cannot be expressed in words.

During the past weeks I’ve reflected on Melissa’s life, specifically her accomplishments…college graduation, being a strong military wife and giving me my two greatest treasures in life, my grandsons. Her selection as the “Honored Hero” for the San Antonio Take Steps/Be Heard Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis on October 6 will be added to this list. I’m confident this is a result of her unrelenting determination to educate and bring awareness to Crohn’s and Colitis. For everything she’s endured and survived the past 9 years I believe God is saying, “Now, do you understand?”