We’re coming to the end of Crohn’s and Colitis Week (1-7 December) so we thought we would share some stories of those who live with these chronic illnesses.
Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are two forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which mainly causes pain and inflammation in the digestive system. At present there is no cure for IBD, however it can be controlled with medication or surgery if necessary. IBD can also cause symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue and eye problems.
Alice’s Story – Ulcerative Colitis
My fiancée and I went to Glastonbury festival in 2016 and on our last day I came down with severe food poisoning. I spent all day on the toilet and anyone who’s been to a festival will know how grim the toilet situation is! For months after the festival I couldn’t get off the toilet. It was affecting every aspect of my life. I couldn’t eat or sleep as I was in so much pain.
My parents came up to visit from Wales a couple of months later, and my fiancée told them how bad things were. I was being stubborn and thought it would go away on its own. I have a massive phobia of hospitals so I didn’t want to admit something was wrong and deal with that! My parents literally dragged me to the hospital, where a doctor straight away said he thought I had either Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis. I had no idea what any of those things were!
I was booked in for an emergency colonoscopy where they found my Ulcerative Colitis.
Things have been bad since my diagnosis. I’ve pretty much been in a flare the whole time, with the odd remission now and again. I’ve been on steroids, enemas, foams, oral tablets, laxatives and suppositories.
I am scared of my future with UC, but if I can get through all I’ve been through already, I know I’m going to be ok in the end.
Mike’s Story – Crohn’s Disease
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2013 and I had my first colostomy surgery in 2017 due to the sigmoid part of my colon being so diseased. Six month after my surgery I ended up with a hernia, which is quite common for stoma patients. After visiting my surgeon, they agreed that I could have a reversal along with a hernia repair and this went ahead in August 2018. Unfortunately the reversal failed as the piece of bowel they tried to reattach flaked away and I ended up contracting sepsis and pneumonia, which left me in ICU for 2 weeks.
My mental health took a nosedive and I was diagnosed with PTSD, my hospital was a massive support to me during 2019. This year my surgeon agreed to do a second hernia repair and on 24th September, I underwent hernia repair surgery, which was successful. However, about 5 days later, I got rushed back into hospital with a bowel obstruction caused by adhesions and scar tissue from previous surgeries and disease. Eight weeks on and I’m starting to feel more like my old self. During my illness I have found support in Facebook groups.
For more information and advice on Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, visit Crohn’s and Colitis UK https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/