Let’s Caca!: Raising Awareness about Crohn’s & Colitis, IBD Symptoms, and Medical Care

Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week, Dec 1-7 BadgeAs you can see from the nifty badge to my left, it is Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness week.  I was going to update you on my Keppra-faced life, but this seemed more important, and a bit time limited.  So, when I think of Crohn’s & Colitis, what awareness do I feel needs to improve?  I would have to say, just the sheer willingness to talk about it.  The symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are often considered a “private” problem.  The message is put out there that you should not be sharing about them.  Part of the reason so many people go so long without receiving a proper IBD diagnosis is because of the embarrassment of talking about their symptoms, even with a doctor.  I started having symptoms in my early teens.  I only made my parents aware of the problem when my body decided to put it on display for them.  And then I definitely down-played it.  They did their best to seek treatment for me, but the message from the medical community was that this was my problem.  I needed to figure out how to eat for my body.  It would be over ten years before a doctor even scoped me partly because  I did not share with my parents or the doctors the severity of the symptoms.  When I went to college, I definitely didn’t share with my friends the severity.  And it was certainly a nixed topic in my more romantic relationships.  I even spent every night of our visits to my husband’s family’s house between the toilet and the floor of their only bathroom balled up in pain, praying that no one would have to use the bathroom and that the pain would reside or I would die.  This also meant that I got only snippets of sleep during the entire visit and was fatigued and irritable during the day.  I never told him what was going on.  Even after getting diagnosed and being more aggressive in seeking medical treatment, I’ve had medical staff be so uncomfortable about the topic that it’s not only made me feel ashamed, but also made me want to stop talking about it.  For about the past year, I’ve been pilgrimaging to Baltimore to receive treatment from John’s Hopkins.  The first gastrointestinal specialist that I saw there could not say, “diarrhea” or any word relating to the nether regions.  When discussing the symptoms she’d drop her voice and not make eye contact.  This is at John’s Hopkins.  From a doctor who specializes in gastrointestinal issues.  It is even more common among the general medical community.  Luckily I now see the Crohn’s & Colitis Specialist at John’s Hopkins who puts me much more at ease.

Yes, what we do in the bathroom is private, but we also need to feel like we can talk about these things when necessary.  Why do so many comedic scenes use bathroom issues?  Because they’re embarrassing.  People laugh at the actors’ discomfort.  But even if embarrassed, people need to feel they can discuss these issues.  Especially with the medical community.  I always find laughter helps in an uncomfortable situation.  So, in an effort to help ease the discomfort of these topics, here are some products I’ve found throughout the web-a-sphere. (Click the pictures to be taken to a site where you can buy these gems).

Retro "I just pooped myself" buttonHere’s a nice vintage style button to help with that awkward admission to your significant other.  This definitely beats my first experience with this.  Wherein, I didn’t tell my husband why, I just told him I wanted to leave the store, “Now!”  And then refused to put my seatbelt on (because I didn’t want to sit on my derriere), and avoided looking at or talking to him on the way home.  Most couples have hand signals to convey that they want to leave a social setting.  With this, you can just tap the button.  And because it’s retro, it’s cool.

The Long Journey of Mister Poop Book, in English and SpanishThis book, The Long Journey of Mister Poop: El Gran Viaje del Señor Caca, can help teach you the digestive process.  Place it on your coffee table so you can become comfortable with the terms, in English or Spanish!

Cute, colorful poop cell phone charm sold by MooshCreations on Etsy.Cell phone charms are a hot accessory in Japan and poop charms are one of their top sellers.  Why?  It’s supposed to bring luck!  So, next time you’re feeling down in the dumps, embrace the Eastern philosophy, strap a charm on your cell phone, and think of all the goodness that’s headed your way.  This one is a cute handmade version from MooshCreations on Etsy.

Civet CoffeeWhat type of coffee is worth about $7 a cup, without a fancy coffee chain label?  The crappy kind!  Civet Crap Coffee is also known as “Kopi Luwak.”  Only 500 kg of the coffee is produced each year.  The beans are collected after fermenting in the digestive track of the civet.  Yep, it poops them out.  It’s of course cleaned and then ground, packaged, and sold to the lucky few.  I put some of this in my husband’s stocking last year.  It really is incredible.  The flavor is amazing and there is no after taste.  Which you know because you’ve read it, but it’s just a very strange thing to actually experience.

Bathroom Blogger mp3 speakersIf you’ve read my Who am I? page or you’ve hung around me for point two seconds, you know that I love music.  And, you’re reading this so I’m guessing you know that I have a blog.  Considering the content of this post, you’re also aware that I have an inflammatory bowel disease (indeterminate colitis).  Hmm…if only there were a product to represent all of these things.  Isn’t it great when life works out like that?

So, remember it’s okay to laugh at the absurdity of IBD, but don’t laugh at the person, laugh with them.  If you’re experiencing the symptoms of IBD, do talk about it with medical specialists.  Be frank and honest.  Try not to feel embarrassed.  And if you do, laugh through it, but keep talking.  You can write a blog post about it later.  And if you’re in the medical field, for crying out loud, get a handle on your own embarrassment.  Put your patients at ease, encourage them to talk more, and get them the help and treatment they need and deserve.

Now, if you’d like to help raise awareness and encourage better medical treatment for those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, I think you’re awesome sauce.  How can you help?  You can read up on Crohn’s and Colits and encourage others to do the same by visiting CCFA.org or the CCFA facebook page.  They have some great resources including free calls to medical staff and teleconferences.  I’m also encouraging you to make caca a more acceptable part of the conversation.  Grab the Crohn’s and Colitis awareness badge at the beginning of this post, or one of the other images from here, and make it your profile image for a day or two.  No longer Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week?  Grab the image and get the discussion going anyway.  The diseases don’t pay attention to the calendar.  Here’s some other poo art to consider, all available from zazzle.com.

Child answering the phone asking if mother is done poopingUnicorn pooping rainbows

Poster with Dove & Olive Branch that reads, "Give Peace a Chance or I'll Poop on You"One Cute Little Turd PosterToiletpaper and Poop with "Friends Forever" written around themCatching Elephant Poop

Know of some other great poo products?  List them in the comments section.

As always, thanks for reading!

Related Articles from This Site:

Related Articles from Other Sites:

  • Want some basic poop facts?  Who doesn’t? SmellyPoop.comhas you covered.
  • Get talking! Visit the IBD Sucks! interactive support forum for people with crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and the like.
  • Visit CCFA.org, check out their facebook page, or follow them on twitter.
  • Enjoying the Holidays is a pretty good article about doing just that with IBD by Karen Guglielmo featured on the CCFA.org site.

5 thoughts on “Let’s Caca!: Raising Awareness about Crohn’s & Colitis, IBD Symptoms, and Medical Care

    • “Everybody Poops” is a classic. And the comedic spoof, “Nobody Poops but You and that’s Concentrated Evil Coming out of Your *Bum*” makes me chuckle.

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