Yesterday, as I watched Aidyn play with his cars and listened to him bring the characters to life, I thought about how he lives his life without skipping a beat, all while he deals with the stomach pains on a daily basis. These are the kind of pains that may send you to the doctor or hospital, but not if you have a chronic condition like short bowel syndrome, or any other digestive disease. These sometimes hurt very bad because of the build up of gas and other times it's a real annoyance. He eats and drinks all day long to keep up with his four year old life; everything goes right through him. It causes him to have about five bowel movements a day.
His stomach distends at the height of all the consumption. You can see his discomfort. But he continues on because he doesn't want to be bothered. And because he doesn't want to be bothered, he hardly let's the discomfort show. As his Mom, I know when he needs relief, and I pester him to go use the bathroom. Reminding him it will get worse if he doesn't. I don't envy what he puts up with. He is constantly showing us how to be strong people. But sometimes we need a reminder of his reality.
I think putting into words what he must feel like everyday helped me a lot. My husband read this poem and said it was sad. It is. It is not to be sugary and sweet, but real. It is supposed to make you feel. I hope it makes anyone who reads this think twice before judging others. It's not always plain to see if a person is living a struggled life. But maybe we can all be less critical and give a compassionate smile to one another, because it may be what a person with chronic condition may need to push on through their day.
Model, Aidyn Stephany
Poem and photo, 2013 © Liz Stephany