So… it’s been a while since I last had the energy to write a blog, mainly because I’ve been hauled up in hospital for the last few weeks.
As many of my friends will tell you I’ve been complaining for over a year with lower abdominal pain, at first there’s obvious sympathy but as the months drag on, and you yourself get bored of saying you don’t feel good, my friends must have been close to de-friending me (I almost de-friended myself).
However a year on and following lots of medication, 2 hospital admissions and 1 surgery I finally feel on the road to recovery… let’s hope it continues for everyone’s sanity!
To give you a slight breakdown of the last year, without boring you too much, this is how my year of health issues panned out:
In February 2013 I was made redundant (13th of Feb to be exact) and without knowing it at the time possibly one of the best things to have happened to me… believe me though if you’d said that at the time I would have just cried. This isn’t necessarily a health issue however at the time steered me along the lines of it potentially being stressed related.
In April, Andy (my husband) and I went on our honeymoon (7 months after the event but something we were extremely looking forward to). While we were away touring Singapore, Australia & Dubai (hopefully I’ll get to blog about this one day, or go back and re-live it for you in real time!) we indulged in all the culinary & alcoholic delights you come to expect from a holiday. With this I didn’t think about my stomach pains as much and put it down to over-indulgence. However looking back at the pictures I’m sure people must have thought I was a bad mum-to-be with my extremely bloated pregnant-like stomach.
The next few months became quite a blur until my GP referred me to a Gastroenterologist, and following a colonoscopy (not one of the highlights) and an ultrasound I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. After such a long time of feeling pretty under the weather this diagnosis felt like a mini win & while I knew it wasn’t a curable disease just knowing felt like I could start treatment and learn how to make myself better.
It’s funny having never really heard of Crohn’s Disease or Irritable Bowel Disease it’s amazing how many friends or friends of friends know someone who is also in the same position. Like most people now I Googled everything to do with Crohn’s and the overwhelming feeling was that it’s such an individual disease and therefore diets/medications/surgery is so unique to each person. This overwhelmed me a fair bit but I set a side keeping a food and drink diary to try and understand what led to my flair-ups.
I started taking 11 tablets a day including a mixture of steroids, immunosuppressants & other bits and bobs. The fear of steroids was high for me and I was worried about all the side effects which it is known for… however I have to say for me I didn’t feel I had any of the side effects (although friends & family did say how could they tell if I had mood swings when that was the norm… charming!) and it felt like it relieved the inflammation I have since continued taking the immunosupressants however over time I just continued to get worse and worse.
Over Christmas we had lots of family staying and so the diary… diet… no-alcohol took a back seat and the festivities weren’t dampened.
However by February this year everything culminated in a week long pain attack, we were in the Yorkshire Dales with friends staying in a log cabin – the best style of holiday we try and go on yearly (and more to the point this was a year on from attempting to stay in the same log cabin having arrived a week later than we’d actually booked it). This weekend was pretty much ruined for me, solely down to abdominal pains, rushing to the loo for nothing to happen and being awake for hours in the night. I tried to join in with the cycling, walks along the coast & fish and chips but my food intake was minimal, my energy levels were nil & sadly for me my alcohol intake was zero! We butted on an additional week with family in the log cabins but sad to say I just deteriorated.
February & March this year have been quite a blur but following a chance encounter with a surgeon who was covering in my local hospital I have been taken into his care and so far (touch wood) not looked back. Last week I had surgery to remove my small bowel which was successful and now I’m on the road to recovery. It’s likely that following a biopsy the results will still show Crohn’s disease but hopefully without my thoroughly inflamed small bowel & focus on diet I can start to understand how I live with this moving forward.
For now I’m on 3 months of anti-biotics which means zero alcohol… gutted and currently I’m mostly laid down on the sofa or bed trying to build up my stomach muscles to sit up unaided… I think Andy is the most excited for this!
Sorry for the long & probably boring explanation of how I made it here! I will be continuing to blog about new diets/ideas I’m trying so if you’re interested keep popping back to see how this ‘Crohner’ is getting on!