In 2008, after the second misdiagnosis of the terrible wasting disease that had me bedridden and wretched, I sought the opinion of a colorectal surgeon. He did a cursory (yet still excruciating) examination and pronounced me “severely diseased,” a horrifying phrase to hear while lying on a doctor’s table. He said that when I found a new gastroenterologist we needed to reconsider the possibility that I had Crohn’s disease. Which, of course, I did. I started monoclonal antibody treatment for it in 2009 and began to improve. Crohn’s does flare intermittently, but I’ve responded well to the biological medications, and in the last few years suffered only rarely.

Yesterday I had my first colonoscopy since I was originally diagnosed. It was possible that my doctor would find evidence that my disease was still active–not enough to be symptomatic, but still enough to require more medical intervention. That didn’t happen, though. From looking at my colon and ileum, he couldn’t even tell I had Crohn’s. The words I get to take away from this examination are, “complete remission.” That’s a phrase I like much better.