I thought it was about time I shared an updated blog post on my Crohn’s and where I am at. In the past I have shared my story, medication and updates and it’s been a while since I last wrote one. Last week I got told I was officially in Remission by my specialist. With such great news, I thought it was about time I explained what happened to get me to this point.
What is ‘Remission’?
When you go into Remission it means you show no signs of disease or condition symptoms. The same thing happens for Cancer patients once they go through treatment, if it works. Remission is confirmed after several tests whether that is a blood test, scan or sample of some kind. It essentially means you are clear or free of the condition and no sign of it in your results.
I flared up at the end of 2014 in December, after a lifestyle change put me in hospital. In the March of 2015 I moved to London, changed doctors and hospital and everything was really tough. Back in Spring 2016, I was still struggling. Each day was difficult and my symptoms weren’t subsiding. I made a video about my journey and explain a lot about it back then. I mainly suffered sickness, blockages and severe cramps. As well as this I was fatigued, run down and nothing seemed to be working.
The year of 2015 was a really really difficult one for me. Moving away from my family during a flare up and changing my doctors who didn’t know my previous 10 year Crohn’s history. I was put on Steroids and Azathioprine and was on that for over a year. As my condition progressed it wasn’t improved by the medication, it stayed in limbo. So although it wasn’t getting worse it didn’t get better. Thanks to my amazing specialist doctor, he fought for me to get a better (more expensive) drug.
What Helped Me?
Moving to London actually meant a change for the better in a hospital that care for me. After a year and a half (just over) of fighting my illness, my specialist said it was time to try something else. He introduced me to a drug called Humira, medical name is Adalimumab. The drug has proven to give many patients huge success in bettering there condition and getting them into remission. The only issue is it costs a lot of money and funding on the NHS is hard to get. My specialist sent off for me to have it and thankfully it was successful.
What is Humira?
The Crohn’s and Colitis website explain exactly what it is perfectly;
Adalimumab is a biological drug made from a synthetic (man-made) antibody. It belongs to a group of medicines called ‘anti-TNF’ drugs or therapies. This is because it works by targeting a protein in the body called TNF-alpha (tumour necrosis factor-alpha). Your body naturally produces TNF-alpha as part of its immune response, in order to help fight infections by temporarily causing inflammation in affected areas. Over-production of this protein is thought to be partly responsible for the type of chronic (ongoing) inflammation found in the digestive system of people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Adalimumab binds to the TNF-alpha and this helps to reduce the inflammation and relieve symptoms.
How do you take it?
The drug is taken as an injection, which you have to learn how to do yourself. It was really scary at first having to administer it myself but as I learnt it got easier. Having said that it never hurt less (I wish it did)! I took it once every two weeks and no longer needed tablets of any kind, which was the first time in over 12 years I didn’t take anything.
Photos by Georgie – Beauxoxo
Having been on Humira a year back in May, they ran some tests and a week ago I was told I am in remission. This means I no longer need to take the Humira and it’s proven to be a success. For me, it doesn’t mean a completely ‘normal’ life forever. I have gone back on the original Azathioprine to maintain the remission as well as some essential vitamins I was low on in my blood count. Overall, I am so happy and I generally feel so much better in myself. My health is the best it’s been in years and I’m positive for my future.
If I get any signs or sudden symptoms they will re-apply for me to go back on Humira and at least I know it works for me. Day to day I get the odd issue like the fatigue is very much still present and IBS like symptoms but over all I’m happy, heathy and so glad the fight has settled. Some days I do get pain but it’s manageable at the moment which is good.
If you are still on your journey through it, I promise it will get better, just keep on fighting. If you need any more tips make sure to check out the Crohn’s and Colitis UK site.