Advice for Surviving the Holiday Season with Crohn's Disease
December 4, 2018
To mark Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week, we invited Kerianne Nosari to share her thoughts on living with Crohn’s disease throughout the upcoming holiday period.
My name is Kerianne and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when I was 15 years old. You may have heard my story on the In My Words podcast which goes into detail on my journey through Crohn’s disease. If you haven’t heard it yet, make sure you check it out!
Living with Crohn’s disease can be embarrassing, scary and really hard to deal with at times. It can even get worse before it gets better. But it does get better! It’s important to remember that how you feel today isn’t how you are always going to feel. I had a moderate to severe case of Crohn’s disease before I had surgery, and now I am not on any medications, managing it through diet and lifestyle. Everyone’s experience is different. I think that’s a big factor to remember, but it’s also incredibly helpful to hear other people’s stories and how they deal with this condition.
Crohn’s disease is often triggered by diet and stress, two things that can be very present during the holidays. With the festive season approaching, I wanted to share how I manage my Crohn’s disease during periods like this. Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year. It’s a day filled with joy, laughter and celebration with all the people I love. But it also comes with nervousness and apprehension when it comes to all the traveling and being around large crowds. The idea of being in the middle of a conversation with someone and feeling the rumbling in your belly knowing you need to excuse yourself right NOW, or traveling between destinations mapping out bathrooms along the way or even just trying to find something you can eat through all the goodies that are on the table, the day comes with a lot of stressful scenarios when living with Crohn's disease.
When I first got diagnosed with Crohn's disease the holidays were exhausting. My body would be completely worn down and it was really hard staying out places for more than an hour or two. Unfortunately when you first get diagnosed you don’t know what things affect your symptoms the most so you are playing the guessing game when it comes to food, which was one of my biggest anxieties. Now that I have been living with Crohn's disease for over 10 years I have learned to try and avoid certain foods such as peanut butter, salad/raw vegetables, sweets, beef, spicy/greasy foods etc. I have also learned that it’s ok to indulge a little, because lord knows I love me some sweets! I just know now to really listen to my body and to not go overboard.
When it comes to the holidays, I have two rules.
Rule #1 - Eat before I go anywhere. This way I can control what is going into my body. Also, if I need to use the restroom, I don’t have the anxiety of someone knocking on the door as I am in the comfort of my own home.
Rule #2 - Bring something with me that I can eat. This is a great approach for two reasons: I am not coming empty handed and I have something I can eat wherever I go. I have been doing this for the past couple years and it has helped out tremendously.
If I can control even one part of a certain scenario when it comes to my symptoms, it’s a win for me. With the holidays quickly approaching, try testing out a couple things that you could possibly do to help yourself get through the holidays. You may even surprise yourself and find something that really works!
I hope that this is the best holiday season for you yet!