Having a chronic illness is not fun, having 2 is just plain rubbish and more than that I don’t know but if you do you have my good vibes coming your way. What is often overlooked in the treatments and symptoms is the effect they have on us on the outside and what we look like. When your feeling terrible and having a flare up the last thing on your mind is how you look, it’s when you get your symptoms under control and feel better physically that you notice the external changes. Since my diagnosis and I have started to improve physically I’ve been feeling quite down about how I look.
I’m so grateful to be feeling so much better and I don’t want this to be a woe is me type of blog post. I’m not looking for sympathy or compliments I’m just sharing the areas that bother me.
Bloating is a big issue for me, I’m tall and slim naturally but my stomach has been a problem area for a long time an likely to do with the combination of Crohn’s and endometriosis. I bloat by the end of the day, I bloat when I ovulate, I bloat if I eat something wrong and I bloat when I’m on my period… apart from being very uncomfortable and sometimes cause me pain it also does nothing for my confidence. I find my fashion style has developed around the bloating and usually go for oversized tops rather than tight jeans and tight tops just to make sure that area is covered up.
On the other side of bloating is my weight, I got into a really good routine last year of going to the gym and weight training, I was actually starting to see some muscle. As soon as my flare up I now know it was started in July that all went out the window and the weight I had gained fell off and just kept on falling off. Crohn’s and Colitis are notorious for weight loss and “skinny people” and I am one of those. I do get comments from people about my weight which I personally feel is hurtful as I would never ever comment on someone being too slim or overweight and why would you? Either that person is very aware of their weight or they are completely happy how they are and it’s none of your business to comment on it. This one is an odd one for me as I have never been bothered by my weight unless it’s at an unhealthy level because of health concerns but it is the one that other people mention the most. Even back in school people would call me anorexic or tell me to eat a burger…
Another big one for me is my skin. I have naturally oily skin but it honestly can’t decide what it’s doing from one week to the next and I’m no stranger to the odd blemish. When I was in hospital I was on about 3 different antibiotics as they thought I might have an infection. What this did is make my skin so clear and the best I have ever seen it but since I’ve come off the antibiotics but carried on with steroids I have had a big acne flare up. I’ve been getting a lot of cystic spots that just do not go away no matter what I try.
The dreaded moon face is a completely new experience for me and something I was completely unprepared for! I wake up in the morning and I look like a chipmunk, I have forgotten what my cheek bones look like and am relying heavily on contour make up to give my face any shape other than completely round. I know this is temporary and when I get off the steroids it will go away but right now it’s driving me up the wall.. everyone else says they don’t notice it but it’s hard to look in the mirror and see a different face. In addition to the moon face I’ve also noticed that I’ve got more facial hair than usual, nothing crazy I’m not growing a beard but there is definitely more peach fuzz than I’m used to. So I currently have a moon shaped face and also the surface of the moon texture, overall it’s a bloody nightmare.
I’m all for body confidence and 99% of the time I’m completely comfortable in my own skin, it is just hard on days when you feel great but you look 6 months pregnant or you’ve got the skin of a teenager! I do remind myself that feeling good is better than looking good and am working to overcome these insecurities but I guess for now until everything settles down I am stuck with them, but if you do have any tips for any of all of the above please do share. Knowledge is power!
Thanks for reading!