In honor of today and what it means I am going to write about my mom.
I have a special relationship with my mom because she too has Crohn's disease. My mom was diagnosed just three years before I was, in her 40's. At the time my mom got sick, I was very much caught up in my own world and didn't understand what she was going through. I knew she was sick and losing weight but looking back, it didn't affect me at all. People would often ask, "How is your mom feeling?" and when I heard those words it was almost surprising because I didn't even realize there was a reason for their concern. She never let my siblings or dad know how bad it was. Thankfully, once my mom got the proper diagnosis, she was put on a medicine called Asacol that she responded to wonderfully. Since her initial flare up in 1998, she hasn't had any major problems.
Because of this, my mom understands my illness more than anyone else. Even though she is healthy by Crohn's standards, she will never be normal again. Even though our experiences with Crohn's have been drastically different, we still are still bonded because of our diseases.
My mothers' dedication and selflessness towards helping me heal remain remarkable. There is no sacrifice she wouldn't make for me. The fact that my mom would work a twelve hour shift taking care of people who were dying, only to come home in the morning and take care of me before taking care of her own needs--well that's just pretty damn amazing. My mom has packed stomach wounds when they were infected, bathed me when I didn't have the strength to do it on my own, dressed me when I couldn't even bend down to the floor, brushed my hair, emptied ostomy bags, cried with me, emptied drains, packed wounds in my behind, injected me with medicines, sat with me through infusions, called doctors and begged for pain meds...I could go on and on...
I also know my mom carries the burden of knowing her genetics are what "gave" me Crohn's. I know she has often felt angry that she had to watch me go through so many terrible flare ups while her disease has been in remission. With each of my bad days she felt bad that I was the one in pain and not her. Like any parent, she wanted to take the pain away for me. I know her emotional pain was equally piercing to any physical pain I felt.
On a day like today I am even more grateful for my mom because I am aware of friends who no longer have their mom around. I am thankful to know there is one person in the world who will always be there for me in every capacity. I know from this point forward there is nothing I can't overcome as long as I have my mom supporting me.
Regardless of any guilt my mom could ever feel, I also know there are qualities of greatness inherent in my her that run through my veins, too. If the only way I were to receive her great qualities came along with the burden of Crohn's, then I am completely okay with that because she is an amazing woman.
Happy Mothers Day to all the mommas.