The past few days, I’ve been on vacation with my family in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to explore the Smoky Mountains.
I had been really looking forward to this trip for awhile, but when I found out that I have colitis and that I would have to be doing the “butt-drops” twice a day every day, I started to get a little nervous. I didn’t want to have awkward conversations with my family. I didn’t want to be the center of attention. I didn’t want them to be asking me how I was feeling or how it was going. I didn’t want to have to talk about the logistics of the “butt-drops” or worse, have someone walk in on me while I was doing it.
Despite my concerns, I knew that these worries were nothing compared to the worries I would have when I didn’t know what was wrong with me. This was nothing compared to the days when I was panicking sitting in backed-up traffic on the parkway. It was nothing compared to urgently needing a bathroom and having literally nowhere to go.
So I knew that however uncomfortable it may feel to go on vacation with my family while needing to administer an enema twice a day, it would be nothing to the embarrassment and humiliation of having an accident or of needing to leave a work meeting, or any other horrible moments I’ve had in the past few years.
Lucky for me, we stayed at a comfortable lodge that was far from “roughing it.” The lodge had three bedrooms and my husband and I got our own. I was able to do the “butt-drops” in the morning right when I woke up and at night before I fell asleep without anyone knowing.
And because I’m still taking Imodium to help with any frequency or urgency issues, I didn’t have to worry the whole day whether I would need a bathroom. I got all my bathroom needs out of the way in the morning before breakfast and then I was good to go.
We went white water rafting, hiking all day, long dinners out, and not once did I feel like I was either going to have an emergency or that anyone in my family even noticed anything.
I had told my mom before we went on vacation that I absolutely, under no circumstances wanted to talk about it while on vacation. It’s too soon, I wasn’t comfortable discussing it with my siblings and I didn’t want it to ruin anyone’s vacation.
Maybe someday, I’ll be able to joke about it more, but not yet. Right now I’m still just taking it one day at a time.
I will say that it helped me while on vacation to not talk about it and not think about it. I was able to just be in the moment, whether we were on top of a mountain or in the middle of a river. If I wasn’t thinking about it, then I could just have a normal day without worrying about my stomach. Sometimes, half the battle is in my head.
Obviously, having my own room was a perk. I don’t know how I could have done it if we were camping in a tent, or sharing a room.
And really, I’m still convinced that the key is Imodium. When I started taking Imodium to help with the symptoms, I had such immediate relief that I’m afraid to stop taking them, even though I know that I can’t be sure if the “butt-drops” are working since the Imodium is likely masking any symptoms that would otherwise be showing. My doctor said to wean off the Imodium, but I’m not ready yet.
I have more trips coming up in the next few weeks. They won’t be pleasant, but if I can survive the Smoky Mountains, I think I’ll survive a visit to the in-laws and a work conference.