IBD or Cancer?

A question from one of the IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) support groups on Facebook went something like: “Which would you rather have, IBD or cancer? Someone said that cancer is easier put into remission than IBD and IBD never goes away.”

My response:
Whoever said, “IBD never goes away,” is wrong. The docs can’t find any signs of it in my body and that has been the case for 5 years now. Nothing is permanent. That person was probably having a hard day with IBD and my heart goes out to him or her. I think that everything we “get” gives us an opportunity to grow and increase our awareness, compassion, and love. The specific kind of ailment is not all that significant in the grand scheme of things. We can die and suffer from lots of different ailments, not just IBD or cancer. I did have a couple of brushes with cancer, which were not life-threatening. I also had a few severe flares of IBD that were life-threatening years ago. I got to face the existential issue of “I am going to die someday,” which made me more appreciative of everything that I normally took for granted. The experiences I had with heavy suffering from severe IBD opened my heart. I’m glad that all signs of IBD are gone from my body and yet I am also grateful for what IBD taught me — how to care for myself and have deep compassion for others.

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