Never Surrender

Posted on Posted in Film Issues

Years ago when my Crohn’s disease was bad I used to stay home all the time unless I couldn’t, like for school, work and errands. I didn’t want to risk embarrassing myself while going out because I had done that too many times.

Since finding some additional tools that have taken my health to another level, my drive and desire to go out into the world is becoming stronger. But on the day of New Year’s Eve 2010, I almost reverted back to my old ways and nearly missed what turned out to be one of my more memorable New Year’s Eve parties.

Late morning on New Year’s Eve, my buddy Nick and I went out for brunch. I casually looked over the menu and found a vegetarian omelet that had eggs, spinach, onion, mushroom and bell pepper. I saw that it came with toast and potatoes and told the waitress not to include that. When she gave me the food I saw there was cheese in it.

I froze.

The waitress came by a minute later and I asked what kind of cheese it was. Turns out it was American. I couldn’t remember if this was allowed on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, so I just went for it and figured I would find out later. My attitude towards these uncertain situations has changed in recent years. I used to get very nervous, even telling the servers to take the food back and redo it. I felt happy with my adventurous eating habits and confidence.

That afternoon, I started having more bowel movements than usual, but all solid. I then had dinner that Nick cooked up. Ten minutes before leaving for the New Year’s Eve party I had to rush to the bathroom and it wasn’t good. Shit hit the fan. I was confused, not sure if it was the dinner I ate thirty minutes ago or the omelet I had. Was it the cheese?

Not only was I confused and frustrated, but I was tired. These kinds of painful trips to the bathroom really drain my energy. Then I started wondering if this was the beginning of many painful trips to the bathroom for the next few hours and if I should stay home from the New Year’s Eve party.

I was also pissed at my situation because I was hoping to see a girl I had met one time at a wedding a couple months earlier. Since I don’t live in MA anymore, I don’t have many opportunities to meet up with her, so this was it. Staying home at my friend’s place was the last thing I wanted to do.

When at the party, I quickly drank 32oz of water to replace what I had lost forty minutes before. I started to feel better. Then a little later she arrived, wearing an adorable head piece that she pointed out to me looked like it said “zoll” more than “2011”.

At one point, she and I were in the kitchen, but she was sandwiched in between two guys talking about of all things, light bulbs. Being the nervous dork that I am, I must have debated for a minute how to save her.

I was afraid I was going to lose this opportunity to talk to her. I was afraid that my taking the risk to go to the party would have been for nothing. I wanted to make the most of this moment because I very easily could have stayed home and felt sorry for myself.

I quietly called her name, so not to disturb the intense light bulb discussion. This got her attention and I motioned my head for her to stand next to me. She ducked through the conversational crossfire about light bulbs and we started to talk.

From that point on, we spent a lot of time together at the party, talking, taking pictures together, dancing and we even snuck in a kiss at the end!

I almonst missed out on the great New Year’s Eve party it turned out to be. This is where a digestive condition can really beat you up, but you can’t let it. You can’t surrender and wave the white flag saying, “I’ll stop living my life so I can be glued to a porcelain bowl.” I know that’s easier said than done, but if you can manage to push past the bad times, the good times are even more amazing.

  • Great post! I’m glad you had a nice New Year’s. 😀

  • I love this honest, true account of battling Crohn’s. It’s not just about the physical effects and pain. Thank you for sharing such a personal human moment.

    I feel like I’ve bucked up in ways I never would have if I had not been diagnosed with Crohn’s. I wonder if it has made you a better ladies man Reid 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing this Reid. Great to see you moving beyond fears. Still, eating out is a risky business. 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing Reid. Happy New Year to you! Your strength is amazing!

  • Hey Reid,

    Just listened to the song… that’s great it got donated! And a quick Google of Jini Patel Thompson shows she’s definitely a great ally in your work. You’re clearly building a movement!

    I also wanted to say how Nikki’s comment above really resonated with me, and she’s totally right: telling your story and not just keeping it to Crohn’s and health-related facts/information really hits home how the disease is something that affects so many people, and in ways where the rest of us don’t realize it’s even happening to those we know. Really powerful stuff.

    It was great to see you during your visit home for the holidays. Really great. 🙂

    Here’s to a fantastic and exciting 2011!

  • Big relief you all liked this, thanks, 🙂