Back in 1999 I had just returned from Italy with my family. It was a wonderful experience but as a result I learned something quite striking about myself. That was the fact that the dairy in Italy was literally deadly to my body. When I came home I got so sick I lost 25 lbs in less than two weeks. I was pale white and couldn’t hold down any food. The doctors thought I had a parasite from Europe called Giardia. It turned out to not be that and 3 months later I was still not able to function and I was still undiagnosed. Finally during month 4 I went to an intestinal specialist and he diagnosed me with Crohn’s Disease.
What is Crohn’s? Lets just say it’s not fun and I had to take lots of medicine. We are talking up to 20 pills a day that included Prednisone (steroids) and a Leukemia drug called 6 MP. I went from really healthy, fit, and energetic to slow, sick, and depressed. It was constant doctors, friends and family feeling sorry for me, and struggling through school. I was now defined by my condition. This lasted for a good 5 years. My mind became conditioned to use my “condition” as an excuse. It was a vicious cycle.
Luckily for me I came to California, an environment ripe for health and vitality. I began to feel differently about my condition and felt like I could find alternatives to my medication and maybe even beat it myself. I began reading about inflammation, which tends to be the basis for chronic illnesses. I learned that there were things I could add to my diet that could help me counteract the inflammation and make the medication I was taking unnecessary.
After 3 months of taking the non-traditional approach to my disease I began to lessen my medication. I told my doctor I was determined to not be defined by this disease and to not just mask it with medicine, but to really beat it!
After 6 months I was completely off my medication. I went from monthly doctor visits to once a year. I have been off my medication for almost 10 years. I even went as far as to think I could help my doctors other patients and asked him if I could speak to some and see if I could get them out of pain and on the track to recovery.
What I was confronted with was not what I was expecting. These people didn’t want to get off their medication. They didn’t want to take the chance of leading a more functional life because in their eyes the risk was too large. I saw the look in their eyes and the fear of even having to go through the pain again.
I went as far as to write an ebook on how to beat Crohn’s disease holistically and naturally and I got more lash back then positivity. This is when I realized PEOPLE LOVE THEIR PROBLEMS. Many people define themselves with their limitations and if you take it away from them, what do they have?
The moral of the story is that you are not defined by your limitations. Whether you have a condition like diabetes or cancer or whether you believe you are limited in your ability to be successful or happy because of some extraneous factor (social status, financial status, health, race, religious creed, etc.) the fact is you are NOT YOUR CONDITION OR LIMITATION. You are, in fact, pure potential.
If we allow ourselves to defined by our limitations or what we think are our disadvantages we will make it very difficult for ourselves to truly be happy. We will be constantly chasing something that is always just over the horizon.
I could have died in 1999 yet many Crohn’s patients have it way worse than I did. I partially believe it’s because of my belief that I can get through anything that I truly desire. You too can do the same. Heck, everyone on this planet could do the same. The problem is again; we love our problems and love telling people that we are sick or disadvantaged. It’s all nonsense. I am not being uncompassionate here, I am saying that our limitations should be seen as nothing but life in its true glory challenging us.
I briefly let Crohn’s disease define me. I was Cort with Crohn’s Disease. Now I am just Cort. Don’t let your limitations define who you are…