Walking for IBD

We did it!

The Crohn’s and Colitis UK #WalkIt went so well and it was such an incredible day. The sun was shining and the spirits were high. When we first got to Edinburgh, we noticed the bright purple tent through the trees and when we arrived to the area, it was like a sea of purple! It was so amazing to see how many people were there to support and raise awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. There were lots of different stalls providing food, information and support. There was also an inflatable bowel which was awesome and had information throughout all about Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

To start off the walk, there were amazing dancers and live music for entertainment. It was a fantastic atmosphere that got everyone excited. During the walk, it was so lovely to have people coming up and asking what we were walking for and what IBD was. It felt so good raising awareness and being able to spread the word around the city of what IBD is and why awareness is needed. We took the wrong route and ended up doing almost 6K instead of 5K (oops!)

At the end of the walk, I felt really emotional that I had done it. I’m so glad that I felt well enough and had enough energy to go through with it. It was a bit overwhelming (in a good way) that so much effort was put into the day to raise awareness of these diseases that are so often misunderstood or unknown. We met some lovely people and it was nice to hear others stories of why they were there and their experience with IBD. I was so grateful for Connor being there with me. He is my biggest supporter and I am so thankful to have this wonderful partner who cares so much (sorry for the cheese!)

 

After the walk, we went for a Nando’s date which was so delicious! And then explored the shops around Edinburgh. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the cat cafe, Maison de Moggy. It was the best way to chill after the excitement of the morning.

 

 

Overall, the day was so incredible and I am so glad that we took part in the 5K. I am so grateful to everyone who donated and sponsored us as we have raised £240 for Crohn’s and Colitis UK. Thank you so much! I am hoping to fundraise more for CCUK in the future and I will keep you all updated.

Love and Light,

Rebecca xo

Raising Awareness of IBD and What You Can Do To Help

Raising Awareness of IBDHey everyone,

I just wanted to check in and say I am so grateful for all of the donations/ sponsors so far (if you missed my last post, I am taking part in a 5K walk to raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis UK) and it makes me so emotional to think how much support I have behind me. The money raised for Crohn’s and Colitis UK could help fund research for treatment and even a cure someday. Funds can help provide information and advice for over 1,000 people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease which is just incredible.

Crohn’s and Colitis UK Website

This charity was the first place I turned to when I was diagnosed. There are so many useful resources on there such as their Crohn’s and Colitis Companion which is an interactive resource that gives users information or advice on things like their symptoms, treatment options and how to live with IBD. This is really easy to use and so helpful for people who have just newly been diagnosed or anyone who needs a little support. There are over 40 leaflets and booklets available to download covering everything from financial aid to the symptoms of both conditions. It is so important to raise funds and donate as they use the money for incredible things like determining causes of IBD and the newest treatments. Recently £700,000 has been awarded for the research into new treatments and improved care for patients.

#WALKIT

#WalkIt is happening all around the UK. There is a 5K or a 10K that you can do or volunteer at. I am so excited to take part in the walk and to meet others with IBD. I think it is so amazing that we will all come together to support this amazing charity and each other. It is important to keep raising awareness of these conditions, being invisible illnesses, they can be so damaging to someones body, but at the same time give the appearance of being ‘well’.

It is amazing that more people are becoming aware and more understanding of chronic/invisible illnesses but there is still a long way to go.

The most important thing that anyone can do is to have compassion for others. We all have something going on in our lives, you never know what people are going through. Their lives may look perfect on social media but a smile and a filter can hide a lot. Every single person has their own struggles and it is important to keep that in mind every single day.

An Update on My Ulcerative Colitis

I am doing great at the moment; I haven’t had a flare in around 2 years. However that doesn’t mean that I feel healthy and fab every single day. There are still good days and bad days but my bad days are better now than the ones I used to have. The symptoms I’ve been having recently are some stomach cramps/pains (these tend not to come to anything and usually decrease) and fatigue. Fatigue is what I struggle with the most and it can be there even on the good days. I usually help this by resting as much as I can and trying to reduce my stress, although I fight a losing battle most of the time.

It can be hard some days to not let it get me down but I just have to pick myself up and keep moving forward. This is my life now and my UC isn’t going to stop me from living it to the fullest.

How You Can Help

You can help raise awareness of IBD by joining in the #WalkIt, donating or even just sharing this blog post. If you or your loved one has IBD, becoming more comfortable with the symptoms makes it easier to talk to others about them and thus raise awareness. The more we talk, the more recognised and accepted these conditons will become. I waited longer than I should have to get medical help as I was too embarrassed to tell my family. It is okay to talk about your bowel habits, every one has them! It’s normal and we need to get over the taboo of talking about poo.

Thanks for reading ❤

Love and Light,

Rebecca xxx

Fundraising for CrohnsColitis UK- 5K #WalkIt

ff

Myself and my fiance, Connor are going to be taking part in the Crohn’s and Colitis UK Walk It (5K) in Edinburgh in July. As most of you know, I myself have Inflammatory Bowel Disease and so I am taking part to raise awareness for this illness and raise funds to help support the charity. Funds raised will go to Crohns and Colitis UK and this can help with providing support for those with IBD and also help the investigation into looking for a cure. This is a charity very close to my heart and I can’t wait to help raise awareness! If you could, please donate to my Just Giving page (I would be so grateful!)

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rebecca-crawford4

ccec9y

Here is the information on #WalkIt if you are interested: https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/get-involved/walk-it

The money raised goes to Crohns and Colitis Uk and “This could help pay for 2,000 people to get the information they need about Inflammatory Bowel Disease.”

Thank you for reading and if you do donate or even share this post, I love you and am so very grateful for the support ❤

Love and Light,

Rebecca xxx

 

#WorldIBDDay 2017

Hey lovelies! So it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. I wanted to just check in quickly and let you know I’ll be more active when I come home from my holiday (I’m currently in Tenerife and having an amazing time!) But I couldn’t let today go by without posting something for #WorldIBDDay. As you all know it is something very close to my heart as I was diagnosed in 2013 with Ulcerative colitis and my life has been changed in many ways since then. Ulcerative Colitis is one form of Inflammatory bowel disease; the other Crohns Disease. These illnesses are non-curable and can cause many symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea, nausea, fatigue, anaemia, stomach has cramps and pains, constipation and so much more.

I’m going to put links to all my posts I have written previously about Inflammatory Bowel Didease and my journey with it. I hope you’ll take time to read them and share or spread the word. We need to raise awareness for this invisible disease so as to help people suffering and those who are close to them.

A Support group for those with IBD

What I’ve learned from having an incurable illness

8 pieces of advice for anyone suffering with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

An Honest Letter to my illness

10 Things you need to know about Ulcerative Colitis

Colitis and Me

Fatigue and IBD

I hope this helps anyone suffering or having any symptoms and that it also creates understanding for those who don’t have IBD.

Thank you for reading and I’ll be back on the blog soon!

Rebecca ❤

PS. there are some useful links and websites about IBD in this post here: Living with Ulcerative Colitis

Accepting Where I’m At

via Daily Prompt: Acceptance

It feels good to be writing on here again after a short hiatus, which feels like forever! I have been going through a phase of feeling uninspired and unmotivated but then I had an itch to post something today. However, I kept having thoughts of I don’t know what to write? and it’s been so long, what if it’s not good enough? I started scrolling through the reader feed and came across a daily prompt: Acceptance. Wow. As soon as I read that, I knew that was exactly what I needed to do. Accept where I’m at and honour those thoughts and feelings.

Acceptance has always been a difficult thing for me to practice. I struggle with change and things not going the way I plan. So, the moment I read the word, it hit me like a ton of bricks- I have been doing the exact opposite of accepting.17467930_10211874244753597_1974983819_n

There’s been a lot going on within the last couple of months that has been causing stress and anxiety. I have started a new course at college and I’m struggling with the workload. I am so exhausted all the time– my fatigue has come back with a vengeance. I’ve had too many days where my stomach is extremely painful and I feel sick. And I am in constant fear of my ulcerative colitis flaring up. I’ve been trying to push these feelings away and just keep on going. But I think by doing that, I’ve subconsciously been worrying even more about it. I still have thoughts of I hate this, why me?,  I just want to feel normal. I shouldn’t be thinking so negatively. I am beginning to realise though, that having these thoughts is okay. I just don’t believe that it is possible to think positive thoughts all the time. Yes, I blog about positivity and choosing love over fear etc but this is real life and it is not that simple all the time. There are days where I struggle to move out of bed or to get up and cook dinner. And there are times when that’s not because I physically can’t- sometimes I’m just so mentally drained that all I want to do is curl up in a ball.

When it comes to acceptance, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I don’t want to look at it like, Oh, I’m not accepting this situation so I’m making things harder for myself. I want it to be a learning experience in which I can say Yes okay, I understand that it will be hard work to accept this but I am willing to do so and I will get there eventually.

So this is me promising myself that I am going to look after me, my body and mindset by accepting all emotions, thoughts and situations that come up. That being said though, it is okay for me not to accept it every single day. It is okay to have off days where I want to curl up in bed and just order food in. Or even to just be angry or upset about being in pain or feeling down.

I hope that you are able to come to terms with and accept the current situation that you are in and if you are not in that place yet, that is perfectly okay too.

Love and Light ❤

I was inspired to write this after seeing what the #dailyprompt was for today and also reading  this post on acceptance.

Fatigue and IBD

People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease often suffer from fatigue. 2 out of 5 patients will struggle daily with fatigue even if they are in remission from the disease. Remission from IBD simply means that there are no/ have been no symptoms for a lengthy period of time.

WorldCancerDay.png

What causes fatigue?

Fatigue can be caused by a number of factors including

  • anaemia
  • steroids
  • side effects of medications
  • dehydration
  • weight loss
  • anxiety/depression
  • interrupted sleep
  • pain

It is no wonder then that patients with IBD suffer from fatigue as a lot of these factors are linked to the disease.

What does fatigue feel like?

Fatigue can make you feel exhausted and cannot be helped by sleeping or resting. Fatigue is not just tiredness. It is so difficult to push through the fogginess and exhaustion and it can be mentally and physically taxing. This often leaves the person feeling weak, drained and worn out.

Symptoms of Fatigue

  • brain fog
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • feeling “heavy”
  • exhaustion
  • sore or aching muscles
  • irritability
  • muscle weakness
  • impaired decision-making
  • blurry vision
  • low motivation
  • poor concentration
  • poor appetite

How Fatigue Has Affected Me 

Fatigue is something that I have to deal with on a daily basis. I can sleep for hours and hours and still wake up feeling as if I haven’t rested. It’s horrible. I have spoken to my doctor about it but as there is currently not a lot of information on remedies for fatigue, I was told to eat more red meat to see if it would help. I can’t say that it made much difference. I have had to reduce my working hours down to part-time as working full time was too taxing for me. I currently work 5 hours and I can come home and have to sleep for the rest of the afternoon. The level of fatigue varies day-to-day and there are some days that are better than others. I find though that when I am not having an active flare-up, it does tend to be slightly lessened. During a flare-up the fatigue is horrendous and can be so bad that I have to lie down after taking a shower. It is such a difficult feeling to explain, it feels like a fogginess or a big cloud is hanging over you and pulling you down. It’s worse than just feeling tired, it is physically and mentally draining.

What I Do To Help Reduce My Fatigue

  • Drink plenty of water
  • De-stress! Take a long bath, do yoga, meditate etc
  • Exercise, a little goes a long way.
  • Eat lots of fruit and veg
  • Take vitamins
  • Sleep as often and as much as I can. Naps are everything!

These things do not get rid of the fatigue but they do make it a little more manageable.

I hope that there will be more research into fatigue and the link with IBD as currently around 80% of IBD patients suffer from it. We need a treatment or something to help reduce the symptoms so we can go about our every day lives with a bit of normalcy.

If you suffer from fatigue and IBD, you can log your symptoms here in order to help the research go further.

Here is Crohns and Colitis UK’s pdf about fatigue and IBD which I used for my research for this post.

Thank you for reading.

Love and light,

Rebecca ❤

My Aspirations for 2017

Happy New Year beautiful people!

Much the same as last year, I won’t be setting resolutions because I feel there is too much pressure that comes with the word. I am going to be setting aspirations; something that I hope to achieve. That way, if I don’t manage to get something on the list done or it doesn’t happen how I want it to, I am less likely to feel disheartened. However, there is nothing wrong with setting resolutions if that is something that inspires you. You do you!

My aspirations for this year are things that I hope will help to improve my confidence and self love. This is going to be the year of me. And I don’t mean that in a selfish way, I just want to focus more on being happy and growing as a person.

my-7-aspirations-for-2017

No.1 Focus more on my own happiness.

I plan on doing what makes me feel good and if there is something that doesn’t, I want to be able to say so.

No. 2 Take the time to listen to what my body needs.

This is something that is so important due to my IBD. There are times when I forget to take my medication or forget to drink enough water or even overwork myself. I am going to work on being more aware of what it is my body is telling me; whether that’s “go for a nap” or “eat that chocolate bar”.

No. 3 To take each day as it comes.

I often have so much anxiety over what’s to come in the next few days/ weeks or stressing about things that have happened in the past and it totally removes me from the present moment. I want to be able to be fully here and I think by doing this, my happiness will improve greatly.

No.4 Learn to love every single version of myself.

I want to love every part of me on the good and bad days; when I’m happy, sad, anxious, in pain etc.

No.5 Spend more time with friends. I don’t see my friends enough and I think a big part of that is down to becoming comfortable in my routine. This year, I am ready to step out of my comfort zone and put more effort into my friendships and taking part in lots of fun stuff!

No.6 Get back into my spiritual practice.

I’ve fallen away from my meditation, yoga and other rituals that I had been loving. I want to get back into this again as I felt great at the time. If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations of self-improvement/spiritual books, please leave me a comment 🙂

No.7 Choose positive over negative.

We can control our thoughts and although it can be difficult, it is possible. Our mind is a very powerful thing and can control our life if we let it. I am going to be taking back control of my mind by focusing on positive thoughts more.

Thank you for reading, let me know in the comments one thing you are hoping for in 2017. I wish you all the most wonderful joy-filled year!

Love and light,

Rebecca xo

Highlights of My Year-2016

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying the rest of the holidays before the New Year. As there are only a few days left of 2016, I thought I would share a bit about my year with you. Although it’s not all been sunshine and rainbows- there have been many struggles too- I wanted to focus on the experiences that I have loved this year and those that I’m grateful for.

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS:

JANUARY-MARCH

2016 started off pretty well for me as I turned 21 in February and had such an amazing time celebrating. My mum and step-dad got me a lovely gift of a night away in a hotel with my fiance and it was so beautiful. I then had lots of fun with family and friends and even had a small party. It was fantastic! Also, in February I completed my modern apprenticeship and became a qualified nursery practitioner. I am absolutely loving my job and was so grateful to be offered a position in the nursery were I did my training. In March, I was lucky enough to attend two gigs; Adele and Country2Country. Both of these were incredible. Adele was so amazing live and I had such a brilliant time. At Country2Country, I got to meet one of the singers, Andrew Combs- I was so happy because I got to tell him I loved his cardigan haha – who was great live. One of my favourite singers, Kacey Musgraves was performing and she was absolutely wonderful! It was a brilliant gig and I’m happy that I will be going back next year.

APRIL-MAY

In April, I went to see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis live for the second time and it was brilliant! I was having way too much fun bouncing around to the songs that I didn’t get any good pictures! My holiday in May to Portugal was probably one of the biggest highlights of 2016. The weather was brilliant and it was so lovely to have a week to just relax in the sunshine with my best friend. We made so many memories and I can’t wait for our holiday in 2017 that we will have!

JUNE-SEPTEMBER

In June, I had my graduation for completing my modern apprenticeship and it was a brilliant day. After the ceremony, my mum, Connor and I went out for a lovely meal to celebrate. I went for my first girls weekend away to Edinburgh in August and it was so much fun. (You can read my post all about it here.)

OCTOBER-DECEMBER

My mum graduated in October and now has a Post Graduate Diploma Level in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I am so so proud of her and all the work she has put in to get to where she is today. Her graduation was so beautiful and very emotional! To finish off the year, I had a wonderful Christmas with my family and I am so grateful for everyone in my life right now.

Also a little side note on my health in 2016; overall it’s been a pretty good year in terms of my IBD, I haven’t had a flare up since the beginning of the year and that cleared up quickly with steroids. I have had to cut out some dairy products to try to help my stomach pains but so far I haven’t noticed a great change. I am just so thankful that I have made it to December without a serious issue or hospital admission. Let’s hope that continues long into 2017!

BLOG HIGHLIGHTS:

I can’t believe I reached the one year milestone in September with my blog! Thank you to all of you for reading, liking, following and commenting; it means so much.

My blog post; 8 Pieces of Advice for anyone suffering with Inflammatory Bowel Disease was featured on thedisclosed.com and the response was amazing.  I am so glad I managed to help raise awareness of IBD and help some people suffering.

I also wrote An Honest Letter to my Illness where I really sat and thought about what it was like to live with IBD and how it had changed, not only my life, but me as a person. I feel that since writing this, I have come to terms with it more and accepted it as part of me.

I set up my very own Etsy Shop this year, which is something I had wanted to do for a long while. I sell inspirational, handwritten quotes, gifts and cards. If you are interested, you can check it out here. It would mean a lot if you left some feedback on what you think of the products.

To finish this post off, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who was there to share these wonderful experiences with me and to my followers for always being there to read what I post. I hope everyone has an amazing New Year and I wish you all the best for 2017 ❤

Love and Light,

Rebecca xo

 

 

Colitis and Me

 

ccec9y.jpg

As part of #CrohnsandColitisAwarenessWeek, crohnsandcolitis.org.uk has set up an option to create your own poster to spread awareness of the differences of IBD from person to person. This is my poster on how living with Ulcerative Colitis affects me and my life.

 

10 Things You Need to Know About Ulcerative Colitis

10 Things You Need to KNow About Ulcerative Colitis.png

1. Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The other main form of IBD is Crohn’s Disease. IBD is an autoimmune disease which means that the immune system attacks the healthy body cells.

2. Around 146, 000 people in the UK are living with Ulcerative Colitis.

3. UC causes inflammation and ulceration of the colon and inner lining of the rectum.

4. Symptoms can vary from person to person and can include; blood in stools, diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain, extreme fatigue, anaemia and severe weight loss in some cases.

5. There is no known cure.

6. Treatments for UC include immuno-suppressant medication or anti-inflammatory medication which aim to reduce the inflammation. There are many different kinds of medication for IBD such as steroids, injections etc and sometimes they do not always work, resulting in surgery. Surgery for UC includes the inflamed part of the colon being removed and an ostomy being created. This is when an opening in the abdomen is created to allow the intestines to go through and a bag is attached in order for the person to pass waste into. The surgery is usually only required for those with severe cases of UC.

7.  The cause of Ulcerative Colitis is unknown but researches believe it could be caused by a person’s genes, environment and the immune system reacting in an abnormal way to bacteria in the gut.

8. IBD is not the same as IBS. IBD is a disease and has no cure. It is a life-long illness whereas IBS is a syndrome and can be treated/controlled with medication or changes to the diet.

9. It is not just a pooping disease. There are many symptoms of IBD and not only that, there are many problems caused by having IBD such as joint problems, side effects from medication, mental health issues and much more.

10. People with UC/IBD often don’t look sick. This is because it is an invisible illness. This means that the person could look absolutely fine but be really struggling on the inside with severe symptoms and you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at them. This is why it is so important that awareness is raised.

To help support research for a cure for IBD, please text CCAW22 £_ to 70070 and share this post.

This is a subject very close to my heart as you will know if you know me or follow my blog. I was diagnosed with UC 3 years ago and it completely changed my life. I want to be able to raise awareness as it something that I had never heard of until I was diagnosed and I hope that anyone struggling with symptoms has a loved one with IBD or has been newly diagnosed can find this piece helpful.

https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/

http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/files.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/Publications/ulcerative-colitis.pdf

Thank you for reading ❤

Rebecca xo