We all know why we are here… Basically sometimes chronic illness sucks. One day I will write more about my personal challenges with Crohn’s disease but today… I just want to talk about grilled cheese. Yes, you read correctly. Today’s blog is about grilled cheese. You might be asking why… I’ll tell you.

Every IBD patient has different dietary restrictions so the actual “grilled cheese,” is really just a symbol of how the little things can have such a big impact on our day.


This day started out pretty rough, and my ileostomy was not cooperating. It just seemed like nothing was going right. It took a while, but I got myself all sorted out, and got the kids picked up from school. Then my cousin asked me one simple question, “what would make you feel better?”  I’m not the best at asking for help or saying what I need. But today I asked her for a grilled cheese.

It reminded me that the small really do things matter. The fact that my cousin made me a grilled cheese sandwich meant the world to me. The care and love put into these small acts of kindness, can shift the day into such a different direction. When we are having a bad day, we can get stuck thinking about all the bad things that are going on and the battles that our bodies fight each day. It’s easy for things to snowball out of control.


Today, though I just didn’t want to fight. I wanted to forget about my morning and that gooey, buttery crunchy first bite helped me to forget, and filled my mind with joy. Joy is something, that in my experience is fleeting when battling a chronic illness.  I ate each bite slowly and deliberately, savoring the taste, the texture, and the joy that each bite brought me. I was able to forget about my crappy morning, or Crohn’s Disease, or ostomy bags, or surgery, or medicine. I just thought about each delicious bite. It was incredible.

When you feel overwhelmed by all the negative, it’s so important to try to redirect our thinking to something positive. Even if it’s just a little something positive, it can help change your perspective. Believe me I know this isn’t easy. I know it’s hard, but it is a skill that could drastically impact the way your day ends. It can turn a moment of defeat and sadness and turn it into one of comfort and laughter. I know it did for me. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and answer honestly when someone offers.  And if the opportunity arises, redirect yourself and take a little time to savor a moment of joy with a “grilled cheese.”


Lisa Durling was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 9 years old.  She had several surgeries and had permanent ileostomy surgery at 40 years old in 2018. She currently resides in Riverdale, NJ and has been married to the most wonderful human for 16 years. She is a mom to 3 incredible littles- 3 boys (13,11, and 6) who’s capacity for compassion and empathy that make her proud every day. Lisa was a special education teacher for 16 years for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and has a BA in English and Writing.  She is an animal lover and all things food lover and feels that humor helps cope with her disease.


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