I’d like to give a shout out to all the dads out there who have inflammatory bowel disease, yet persistently persevere to make life happen.
I have been dealing with UC/Crohn’s for 18 years now, and in that time, I have had seven surgeries, countless procedures, two near death experiences, my colon removed, a j-pouch, my ego scared, and my relationship with God strengthened. I’ve tried every prescription drug, had every side effect, and continue to fight the good fight on a daily basis. I’ve also been blessed with a beautiful wife and life partner, as well as four amazing children (10, 7, 3, and 9 months). This takes an already difficult situation, and adds more “life” responsibility as well.
You see, as a father, you place the needs of your family and children above your own. A father doesn’t really get a day off. And when you’re dealing with health issues that can cause daily battles, it’s easy to find yourself in a place of self-pity, weakness, or doubt. That’s why I’m absolutely amazed to see the strength of all the dads out there that can deal with this struggle, but continue to be a dad first, push through, and ensure that “life” still happens. You see, Crohn’s doesn’t mean you can miss baseball practice, the soccer game, the anniversary dinner, or just “life” in general. Life will go on with or without you, so all those with chronic illness are heroes in my mind. In fact, being a father of four has been the most motivating and rewarding things we could have done as a family.
I can remember when I was recovering from one of my more recent surgeries, my family came in to visit me in the hospital. Like most fathers, I felt the need to provide for my family, get back to work, I just had to get going. I just didn’t have time for this! There are MORE than enough reasons for everyone impacted by IBD to feel defeated, want to give up, or take an easy route. My family is a CONSTANT motivation for me to keep going and keep fighting the fight. I cannot and will not let them down. I think most fathers feel that way. We are here to help shape our children, and ultimately provide the ability to learn, have fun, be kids, and eventually mold them into productive members of society. It’s a tall order for us all, but I think men with IBD have learned to be persistent with their health battles, and that also helps us to persevere through the trials and tribulations of fatherhood.
So today and every day, I commend all of those fathers who refuse to let their disease dictate their life. Take the time to get to know a father with IBD, and you will meet one of the most courageous strong willed people in the community. As a man, we can sometimes let ourselves down because as an individual, it just impacts me. But as a father, that is not an option. We must persist, have faith, and fight the fights every single day, so that we can continue to mold and shape our children, and provide support and guidance for our families that mean absolutely everything to us.
We are motivated, we are strong, and we have IBD. Above everything else though, we are blessed to be a father, and if lucky enough, a dad.