Crohns & Colitis Week. Part 1/3 || My journey with Inflammatory Bowel Disease began back in October 2016. I had just returned from my first yoga retreat where I had spent 5 days with my best friends feeling the healthiest I had in a whole year. I had been struggling with symptoms for 18 months that it had been believed were after effects of a bout of Ecoli I had previously contracted and within 2 weeks of my return, my health had plummeted. My symptoms included urgency of bowel movements, both constipation & diarrhoea (who knew you could have both at once!), passing blood with each bowel movement, severe abdominal cramping, weight loss and hair thinning (to name a few). .
After several blood tests and a trip to a private hospital as I had been ignored by the NHS, they found my inflammatory markers were around X15 higher than they should be and I was admitted to hospital. The following day I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. I spent the following week on IV steroids as well as many others to get this flare under control. And so my journey began. .
One of the biggest struggles living with an IBD is that it is an invisible, chronic illness. At this point I had just begun a new job which involved regular trips to London. Managing a flare when on the tube (I.e no toilets/ trapped underground) is an anxiety & logistical minefield. I learnt where every toilet in every city was, which companies allowed you in, which kicked up a fuss. Often I was denied/ questioned by premises for using their toilets or shot accusatory looks as I ran into a disabled toilet and sat for 30 minutes riding out the pain. Every aspect of your life is impacted. Yes I appeared a fit, able young woman on the surface, but on the inside, my body was backfiring and had begun attacking itself. .
If there is one thing I can share with you, it’s that you have absolutely no idea what someone is dealing with. You cannot judge on appearance alone because who knows what’s happening under the surface. Have courage, compassion and be kind. Your smile, kind word or knowing glance might just pick someone out of the darkness. #ibdwarrior
Not going to lie, I kinda assumed I’d be lying in a hospital bed mourning our break-up right about now....yet here we are heading down to the beach together. (My stoma clearly has separation anxiety 😂)
After surgery fell through last week, I was frustrated and upset. I had this weird feeling of emptiness and disconnection from everything around me. Someone suggested anti-depressants. I was so taken aback.
I do believe anti-depressants have their place, for me, last year I was there...briefly. However, I also believe we’ve been so conditioned to think we have to be happy all the time, that as soon as we aren’t, we assume something is wrong with us and we need a pill to fix it.
It’s completely normal to have a bad day, or even a bad week. If we didn’t have them we wouldn’t recognise or appreciate our good days. The feelings I had post ‘surgery’ were completely warranted. I allowed myself space to be upset, to cry...a lot. Then I put my big girl pants on and moved on with life. My disappointment was a natural reaction to an unnatural circumstance. It doesn’t necessarily make me depressed, it just makes me human.
✨ Positive people also have negative thoughts, they just don’t let those thoughts grow and destroy them.
In honor of #Ibdawarenessweek I wanted to share my story with all of you on this platform as well.
This disease has truly altered my perspective on so many things. One thing I am grateful for from having this disease is the ability to emphasize whole-heartedly with anyone living with a chronic illness. Before, I had no idea of the daily struggles anyone with a disease had to endure and only felt sympathy and pity for them. Now I know. And now, I know how to help.
I truly believe this disease is another reminder of my purpose, and that is to help and serve others. I know that sounds kinda weird, but I know first hand how embarrassing it is to speak out about this disease, and if I can help one person realize they need to go in and see a doctor or if I can be there for someone going through something similar, that’s one person not having to suffer in silence.
If you are interested in helping but don’t know anyone directly impacted by the disease you can go to the link in @crohnscolitisfoundation ‘s bio & research or maybe even donate to research efforts.
And if you are someone who thinks you’re alone with any illness you might have, know that you have me and that you are not alone!❤️ #crohnsdisease#ibd#ibdwarrior#crohnsandcolitisawareness
**Long Post Alert**
It's Crohns Colitis Awarness Week!!! Woop woop! Little tiny miniscule #fridayflashback through my journey, but three big moments nonetheless.
Those scans were my 3rd colonoscopy (more than most people even do in their life) in 2015, right after I had switched to my new GI doctor. He wanted to see how bad my ulcerative colitis actually was. Turns out I actually had ulcers and bleeding past my colon which meant I had, drum roll pleaseeeee....CROHNS!
-insert countless side effects, multiple meds, doctors appts, missed events, and pain for the next two years-
Flash forward to March 13th, 2017, the day I was told I was in remission! I couldn't help but to cry happy tears looking back on my journey. I was off steriods, found a med that my body didn't reject and for the first time in almost 7 years I was controlling the disease, it wasn't controlling me.
I told myself the day I reached remission I would schedule an appointment to get a purple ribbon tattooed on me to help me represent my process. 4 months later and thanks to Amanda @luckycat314 I have a beautiful purple awareness ribbon on my side.
I still have to be careful what I eat, some days are worse than others and I have to be strict with my meds. I definitely have a new lease on life and I'm still fighting for a cure! 💜💜💜
“When everything feels like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top.”
Despite all the challenges I’ve faced because of my illness, I wouldn’t change it for anything. Because of my IBD, I found camp, I became a nurse, I made so many amazing connections, I ran my first half marathon and now I’m training for a full one, and it’s made every every mountaintop I’ve climbed that much sweeter. I love my body and I love my life. Colon or no colon, I’ve still #gotguts 💜Happy end of #crohnsandcolitisawarenessweek ! #myibd#ibdwarrior#ibdvisible
Just. Don’t. Stop. 👊🏼
B I G U P D A T E —————————————————
So I kinda saw this coming. As you all know things haven’t been going very well for me lately & today I was told that I have to resort to surgery 💉
It would mean the world to me if any of you girls & guys who have had the surgery for UC would help a very scared girl out. I would just like to know how all you warriors deal with it all, in the hope I can too! So please comment or DM me! ❤️ —————————————————
I’m hopefully going to be chatting to a surgeon & stoma nurse in the next two weeks to get the ball rolling & my surgery should be early next year.
“You see, the truth so many people seem to miss, is that happiness doesn’t start with a relationship, a job or a college degree. It starts with YOUR thoughts and what YOU tell yourself everyday.” - now read this over and over again. By M.H. ☺️| Hey there lovely Sunshines! 😘 I am pretty excited about sharing today’s blog! It is almost finished, just need to make an awesome picture first when I get back home 🙌🏽 I know I usually don’t share two pictures in one day, but since I haven’t shared a snow picture yet... I thought I should at least upload the one and only snow selfie I got ❄️⛄️🙈 and the snow is disappearing after a few days of heavy snow fall, so can’t really make a new one 😂 | Stay tuned this evening for today’s blog! 🙌🏽 | 📸 with my iphone6s
Tonight I put my star of hope pride of place on our Christmas tree. This star gives me hope that one day a cure will be found for these invisible illnesses. It gives me hope that even when I can’t fight that someone is always fighting for me, hope that together we can raise enough money for vital research to be done. Text hope to 70500 to donate £10 to @crohnsandcolitisuk to help others and give them hope💜🎄⭐️
Getting a little help to get through the holidays. @netflixca and Remicade seems like a perfect mix.
Ok I totally already posted this on my story today but I am really loving this facial oil by @kensington_apothecary !! I was on Uceris for a brief period prior to my colonoscopy last month. Although it made a difference and slowed my flare, it made my face break out horribly (along with a few other cray cray side effects)! That along with drinking lots of drinks (coconut water and juices) with sugar for my colonoscopy sent me into full on face freak out. I spotted this little bottle at my local Whole Foods and apprehensively bought it (I’m a bit scared of putting oil on my face, I’m already oily!). But seriously, this stuff doesn’t leave a heavy residue, lies beautifully under make up and has helped soothe and clear up my scary skin. This is Facial Oil Number 2, Pure Clarifying Oil with pumpkin seed oil and tsubaki oil. The company is PNW based, so I can shop local and they use all organic, Non GMO ingredients. I’ll keep you posted but so far it’s a WIN! 😍🙌🏽
“It’s not how big the house is, it’s how happy the home is.” ❤️ | A family picture with my adorable baby’s 🤶🏻😻🐦🎄✨ I made a cute Christmas family picture at the Christmas tree which I’ll be uploading on the first day of Christmas. | Don’t forget, tomorrow a new blog will be online💫 Stay tuned 😉 | 📸 with my iphone6s