A woman knocked on my door one day, asking to use the washroom. I don’t remember if she had a card to say she suffered from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), but that’s probably the only reason someone would ask to use a stranger’s bathroom.
That’s the nature of IBD; you can’t be certain when you’ll be struck by sudden abdominal pain and diarrhea. You can’t let embarrassment about your bodily functions stop you from asking for help.
He was diagnosed at 14 and went through several years of struggling to gain/maintain weight and grow, going through various invasive tests and taking different medications to get the disease under control. Thankfully, he’s doing well now, but he’s stuck with this disease for life. There is no cure.
I always have to add “yet” when I say those words. There is a lot of research under way to figure out what triggers IBD and how to prevent it, but no answers yet. And of course since IBD affects the bowels, it’s not talked about as openly as more “mainstream” diseases. Yet 200,000 Canadians have it.
Crohn’s & Colitis Canada works at building awareness, and at the time I wrote this, was hoping 10,000 people would sign a declaration supporting research into IBD for World IBD Day, May 19. (I was #7,429.) These days, CCC has lots more programs and support, including a GoHere Washroom Access Program that includes an app and a card to show proof of medical need.
(Updated April 2019.)