Love In The Time of Colitis


This is Colitis.

It’s not glamorous. A Friday “off” together involved one 4-hour Remicade treatment at my new doctor’s Infusion Unit. I was chair-bound, pinioned by my I.V., and my husband made use of the time by getting some work done. Still, we had fun. He ate the gluten-loaded cookies they left for us, we chatted, and when he had to make a call I got to read the magazine I’d saved for this very occasion. Afterward we went out to lunch and ran some errands. It’s nobody’s dream romance, but it’s reality. It’s making the best of the situation, it’s carving out quality time wherever we can find it, it’s being there together and there for each other. Do I envy my friends’ Facebook posts showcasing their exotic and adventure-filled dates with boyfriends/girlfriends and husbands/wives? Sure. I sigh wistfully, imagining that one day I won’t have to post photos like the above to let those closest to me understand what I’ve been up to. My love life isn’t all ski trips, Broadway shows, glitzy new restaurants and beach vacations. Maybe at one point it was, but things change, and now “dates” are squeezed in around doctor’s appointments, infusions and the out-of-nowhere day where my UC wants to keep me couch (or toilet) bound. Social life? Um…well, it’s hard to plan for the following weekend when you have no idea what you’ll feel like by Friday. Will you even have the energy to want to eat out, never mind to go dancing? Will you have energy enough to even want to see your friends if they opt to come over? It’s tough for the partner with Colitis, and I’ve begun to understand that in many respects, it’s tougher for the partner without it–a.k.a. The Saint. When you exchange vows you hope for the best, and while you know that shit happens, on your wedding day you assume the difficult times are only for other people, or at least older people. On your honeymoon you think paradise will last forever. You can hardly conceive of a marriage that isn’t white picket fences, champagne bubbles, lazy Sunday mornings, cruise ship balconies, puppies and roses. And then the universe smacks you upside the head and tells you to wake up. It piles on vet bills and taxes, student loans, car accidents and injuries, blizzards and hurricanes, long hours and layoffs, stress, stress and more stress–and even sometimes Ulcerative Colitis. So here’s a shout-out to my wonderful husband for caring enough to want to be there with me, for making an otherwise boring treatment fun, and for having my back when the going got (and stayed) tough. You are one in a million, babe.