So it is no surprise that this post is about Crohns Disease. It has been long over due and I have thought about writing something publicly for a long time (since I started blogging). However, I feel like now is the right time to do so. I will start from the beginning. When I was 13 I got very ill, lost a lot of weight, became anaemic, sick, constantly slept and had no idea what was wrong with me. After several trips to the doctors and hospitals, staying over night for nearly a week, countless scans, blood tests and Colonoscopy (for those who have had one or know what this is, it isn’t pretty), I was finally diagnosed with Crohns Disease.
This was the start of a complete lifestyle change, obviously beginning right at the start of my teenage years I found it really hard to go out with my friends and do normal things.
What is Crohns?
Now I will attempt to explain or describe what this illness is, in the best way possible. Don’t read this if you are squeamish or will judge me because I’m not going to shy away on the facts. Firstly, we all have a large and rather complicated digestive system, and for some of us unlucky people they can become over complicated. They don’t know what triggers Crohns or why people get it but a lot of people believe it to be genetic.
So any way, it targets an area of the digestive system most commonly the start of the large intestine, this is where your body takes the broken down food and absorbs all the nutrients it needs. When Crohns targets an area, it attacks an ‘infection’ with white blood cells, which makes the area inflamed, aggravated and sore. The white blood cells are usual helpful and target any problems in the body, but in crohns they are seen to be overactive on the digestive system and they don’t know what causes it. If you zoomed right into the bowel wall it would look like lots of fingers all moving around and these are what absorb the nutrients. When Crohns targets an area they become swollen and sore, therefore not being able to absorb the things you need. Resulting in the following: Diarrhea, weight loss, Anemia, Fatigue, loss of appetite, hair loss, blood when going to the toilet (lovely I know), vomiting and worse of all the pain. Now when treated early, Crohns can be very manageable and easy to live with. The things listed above don’t always occur, but when, like me, you get treated in the later stages it can be more severe.
After 2 years on undergoing different types of medication, tests, 100’s of blood tests, trips to hospital, painkillers and days off school, I was told I may have to have an operation. I went on a liquid diet for nearly 3 months, as a last attempt to let the bowel heal itself and it didn’t work. So when I was 15 I had a much needed operation to take out the infected area of my bowel and re join it again. It was done by key hole surgery and was a massive success. After I recovered and was on my feet, I could eat again and live life as all other normal teenagers. With the exception of taking medication every day, life was a lot easier and enjoyable after a 2 year struggle.
Living and Remission
Living in remission of Crohns is fairly similar to people who are on Remission from Cancer. You start off by going to the hospital for check up’s weekly, then as you improve it turns to monthly and after 3 years of going every 6 months for a routine blood test and check up, I was off the list and free.
I loved every day, as much as I could being well and able to do all the things I wanted, you take for granted how good this feels. Obviously I would occasionally have a bad day and be really tired or have a tummy ache, but I would sleep and feel fine the next day. I don’t really drink alcohol much for the reason that when I do, it takes me days to recover from a night out and I usually vomit a lot!
About 3 years ago I had a bit of a relapse when I first started university, and was put back on steroids making my face fat, my hair got really thin and it was a pain in the arse. However, within a few months I was okay!! So I wasn’t scared and everything was fine.
The effects on others
I always feel sorry for the people around me. Countless times I say sorry because It not only affects me but it affects the mood of my family, my boyfriends I have had and obviously my amazing lovely boyfriend Chris who I am with, and my friends. Letting my friends down is probably the worst feeling of all, because a lot of the time I don’t think they understand why, or some people assume without realising they are doing it, that I am faking it. Trust me, I wish I was. It seems, when a big plan is coming up, like a day out or something, the illness comes to say hello. This has happened so many times and when I have to cancel on a friend the guilt and upset makes me feel sick and hate myself. Seeing my boyfriend speechless because he doesn’t know what to say to help me is, well I don’t even have words.
On it’s way back
Lately, Crohns has popped up again to say hello. This time in the form of several water infections that just don’t seem to want to get better. I am on my 4th course of antibiotics and hot water bottles are the only thing that help numb the pain. It has got to the point where those hospital check ups are going to start again and basically I am a bit scared because I don’t know if it’s the Crohns or something else. It is probably the loneliest and lowest points in life when this happens. I just want to say i’m so sorry to those who see my tweets and it seems like i’m so miserable. I wish I wasn’t, when I was younger I coped so much better!!
Today I have had to cancel on plans that I really wanted to do, and it hurts real bad. Keeping on top of things and do my uni work whilst travelling all across the country is tough. But enough is enough. I need to start looking after myself again, and it is so lonely I can’t even express.
I don’t really know the intentions of this post, I think for me to get everything off my chest. For you all to understand why I may seem like I moan a lot. For those closest to me that try to understand but just can’t. Or to my dearest friends and boyfriend who help me cope every day. without your support I think I would have given up on everything. I love all the support, and the cuddles and my piglet hot water bottle being heated up for me. I can’t express the joy it gives me.
All I know is that, I am going to get through this and be strong, but I need those around me to understand. It may seem like I am being ignorant if I don’t reply to a text or a message, but I promise I’m not it’s just hard to when all you want to do it lay in bed. I am going to keep going to university, because that means more to me than anything to get a good grade, I am sometimes to passionate i think!! Love you all, followers, friends, best friends, family and of course my Chris. Thank you for understanding, yes I will probably look at this post tomorrow and think what a total Emo I am being. but either way, at least you know a bit more about me.
I am not always this ‘dressed up’ person on my blog, who lives in a sea of rainbows and poops glitter. I am me, Paige Joanna Calvert. and I have this Disease that is a part of who I am. But I wont let it define who I am. and that is where all your support comes in.
If you want to read up more on Crohns Disease then click here.
It is an amazing charity working for Crohns and Colitis, without you there wouldn’t be these new medicines to help us get better.