I have always had a crummy gut. One of my earliest memories is being stuck in a Kindergarten class with a bunch of regular gut kiddies, desperately trying to figure out a way to signal to the teacher that I HAD TO GO RIGHT NOW. I was not successful. As my guts let go, the force of the spasm made me stand up — and that got my teacher’s attention. That and maybe the sound as my guts let go — yes, there was sound. Oh…and smell. The fact that I can still remember that event as if it were yesterday is the reason why I feel compelled to share my stories with those of you who might be similarly predisposed. Because, admit it, it might be horrible (it certainly was for me) but it is damn funny, too.
I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1999, quite a few years after that momentous Kindergarten crummy gut event. The diagnosis was neither easy nor clear-cut; in 2008, I was diagnosed with primary immunodeficiency and after countless tests and confused gastroenterologists, it was determined that I actually have a form of immunodeficiency-induced IBD that mimics Crohn’s. I guess in normal Crohn’s, IgG is the damaging culprit. In my case, errant thug lymphocytes are bullying their way through my gut. From my perspective, it is all the same. I poop black water; I take Crohn’s medication. I poop less black water and then I wean off the medication. I poop black water again and I am put back on the medication. That is the cycle of my life.
When you have to go to the bathroom as many as 11 times before noon, when you have lost control in public places more times than you would care to count, when your friends automatically pull over to the side of the road when they see that special look on your face, you find ways to compensate. Crummy Gut is my way of coping. And I hope that if you are part of the Crummy Gut tribe, it helps you cope, too. If not, then at least we can all laugh together because — admit it! — how can you not laugh at a good bathroom adventure?
Happy pooping, people.