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  1. From Pretending to Truly Being OK: A Journey From Illness to Health With Postinfection Irritable Bowel Syndrome: The Patient’s Perspective Johannah Ruddy Rome Foundation, Raleigh, North Carolina Pain is something we all experience. Growing up the oldest in a conservative, protestant, middle class family you had to tolerate pain and learn to deal with it. Getting sick was not an excuse for sympathy or a day off from school. It was almost a badge of honor because you were tough, not weak like others. Maybe that’s why, at the age of 13, when it finally came out that I was sexually abused for 4 years by my cousin, I held back communicating my deepest thoughts and feelings about the experience. Rather, I felt the need to express to my mother that I was okay, even though I wasn’t. I was a “good girl,” but was dying on the inside, and I still had to show I was okay. So, I stuffed down the emotional pain and moved on to college. I married a great guy, had 2 kids, and with great passion I started a career in health and social justice nonprofits. Although I could help vulnerable, oppressed, and ill people in similar situations, I could not reverse the trauma in my own life. I also managed through more than a dozen surgeries, the care of my son with congenital health issues, and saw family members through attempted suicides, cancer diagnosis, and death. Through it all, I had to be OK. Full story: https://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(18)35212-0/fulltext © 2018 by the AGA Institute
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