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

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What I’ve Learned From Having An Incurable Illness.

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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:

  • fatigue
  • abdominal pain or cramping
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • nausea
  • diarrhoea
  • constipation
  • anaemia
  • 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 ❤

Rebecca xo