Due to DBT and work day four of my Crohn’s and Colitis awareness week post is again backdated! Hopefully you all understand! Today’s post is all about how I found dating with Ulcerative Colitis; baring in mind that from the age of 10 I got poorly and by the time I started dating or being interested in boys I had had my diagnosis for 4 years which meant if people didn’t like it, it was tough shit hahaha pun totally intended! Also I do apologise for the swear to any younger people that maybe reading this post.
I have had 5 relationships in my lifetime; Dave and Tom were about 3/6 months each, Ollie was around 7 months, Stewart was 5 years and obviously 00Steve is 8 years and counting. Dave was my first boyfriend and we worked together but I don’t think I was hospitalised whilst we were together but I think he knew I was ill but didn’t know much more than that, he also lived across the street from me which meant with my constipation I could usually hold out till I got home. Ollie was next and again I think I managed to stay out of hospital but he knew I had Ulcerative Colitis as I did stay over at his, both him and his family were pretty supportive and understanding which was really nice and I didn’t have many worries regarding this. Tom and I were never really suited as a couple more just best friends who got signals mixed up; due to him being my shortest relationship he didn’t see me in hospital but he did see me suffer with my bowels when I stayed over and again was supportive.
Stewart saw me through many hospital stays, medication changes – in fact his mum came and got trained in how to give me my methotrexate injections because doing it myself made me feel like a junkie and really sick. I think the hardest part with this relationship was the fact I could be on the toilet for ages and there was only one toilet to use, I think it annoyed us all in different ways – me because I felt embarrassed and everyone else because they needed to use the loo! He was also there for my first surgery and his mum picked me up with his eldest niece when I was discharged as my parents had to work. We never really wanted kids together but as I was told my fertility could drop by 25% from having the surgery we said if it happened it happened, as we aren’t together anymore I think it was a good thing for both of us that it didn’t! After my surgery when I started staying round again I struggled to eat without being in pain and had to now deal with diarrhoea and urgency which was a whole new experience for me. One time I didn’t get to the toilet in time and it was on the carpet and bathroom floor; I was truly mortified but he just went and got a scrubbing brush and water and cleaned it up whilst I cleaned the bathroom; even though we definitely weren’t right for each other I will always appreciate how him and his family were with me and did their best to make me feel like it wasn’t ever a big deal it definitely made having surgery easier knowing that not everyone would treat you like your were disgusting.
When I got with 00Steve I had been living with my jpouch for 2 years and didn’t realise that I had pouchitis and didn’t know until after Ra-Ra was nearly two. My pregnancy was horrible as nobody including myself thought it was IBD related. 00Steve never cared how often I had to go to the toilet and knew pretty early on that I had had surgery and what it was. It didn’t phase him one bit but I don’t think he knew that sometimes I would get essentially overflow and leak, but then again I did the washing so it was easy to hide; because lets face it no matter how honest I was with him I didn’t want him to know that the woman he loved pooped herself sometimes. He coped pretty well with my hospital admissions after the pouchitis diagnosis even though we had a small child and at the time a very large dog. In fact that was probably the hardest thing we ever had to do was give Jenson to our friends parents, he was after all our baby boy. When I was told at a GI appointment that I was just going to be kept on antibiotics until the pouchitis flare calmed down I waited three weeks before telling him I was going to have surgery. After I used scare tactics on myself to get used to the idea of having an ostomy I told him and he said that it was up to me and if it meant I would get better he was going to accept my decision. I tried a bag on and stood starkers and asked him if he would still find me attractive as that was literally my biggest concern; he said the bag wasn’t great but it didn’t change how he saw me. Nearly three years later it hasn’t phased him and we barely notice it is there now, he doesn’t make me feel disgusting on the rare occasion when my bag leaks and understands somedays I may need to go to the toilet more frequently. I have less hospital admissions now but the odd time I do have to go in he seems to worry less now probably because it is things like tummy bugs or blockages which he has seen me deal with mostly at home. I have to say 00Steve honestly made the transition from being really freaking sick to having an ileostomy the smoothest transition ever I truly am lucky to have him as my one and only, which means no dating for me!
Dating with IBD or an ostomy isn’t a complete minefield and there are plenty of people out there who just don’t care that you are sick in the respect that you are still you. Obviously there will be jerks on both side of the gender fence but just think that your IBD or ostomy is weeding them out and you aren’t wasting your time on a wasted relationship. How has dating with IBD been for you? If you missed yesterdays post on what it was like working as a teenager with IBD please click here.