Those of you who have been following my blog or know me personally, know that I have a chronic illness, Ulcerative Colitis. Ulcerative Colitis is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. There are two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
I am writing this post as 2 years ago this month was when I was admitted for my first hospital stay. It lasted 5 days and consisted of many tests, blood transfusions, x-rays, colonscopys and much more. It is an experience I will never forget and I want to raise awareness of these “Invisible Illnesses”.
Crohns Disease can affect the digestive tract from the mouth to the rectum whereas with Ulcerative Colitis, it it usually the colon that is inflamed.
Some symptoms of IBD/ things that can stem from it:
- abdominal pain or cramping
- rectal bleeding
- weight loss
Although the symptoms are very much physical, a lot of people forget (including doctors) about how this can affect your emotional and mental wellbeing.
With IBD, no one can see what is going on with you as it is all happening inside your body. This is what makes it so difficult for people to understand just how ill you can be as when you have IBD, mostly you don’t look ill. There can be days where I am in so much pain and so fatigued, yet you wouldn’t know it to look at me.
No two IBD journeys are the same, so what works for one person might not for another. Life would be boring if we were all the same!
I know from speaking to people with IBD that it can be lonely and isolating, especially if you are having to go to the toilet 10 times a day! It can be frustrating and depressing and most of the time you wish you were normal and you curse your disease.
I want you to know though, that it is not all doom and gloom. There are periods of remission, where you feel good and things get better. It is all about being grateful for those good times and appreciating what you have.
I feel that having IBD has changed me as a person, I am stronger and I try not to take things for granted. I am not perfect and still have the days (sometimes weeks) where I get angry and I hate my body, but I have this disease for life so I need to make the most of it and live every day to the fullest.
Things that I have learned from having this disease:
- There will be days when you can’t get out of bed. That’s okay. Rest as much as you can.
- Don’t take your health for granted
- Make the most of the good days
- Love yourself during the bad ones
- You are stronger than you think
- Don’t push yourself too much
- Don’t be afraid of speaking out about your symptoms
- Not everyone will understand your struggle, don’t worry about them
To anyone who is suffering from any kind of digestive issue, I urge you please don’t wait to get seen by a doctor. They will be able to help and give you the right medication.
If you are interested in reading more about Inflammatory Bowel Disease, please check out this amazing book, “From The Inside Out” written by Matthew Williamson with excerpts from people with IBD (including me!)
Also, head over to Sophie McNaughton’s blog to read a heart-warming interview about a girl who has Crohn’s Disease and how she has developed a clothing line to raise awareness.
Thank you for reading and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Love and light ❤