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

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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

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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

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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

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.

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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 ❤

Colitis and Me

 

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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

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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

An Honest Letter to My Illness

Dear Ulcerative Colitis,

When I first heard your name, I did not know what you were or how you would change my life. I had no idea of your magnitude. I thought you were something that would disappear with taking some pills. Little did I know, I was going to be stuck with you for the rest of my life.

What a crazy three years it has been since that day I first became aware of you. It hasn’t been the easiest or most glamorous of times. You have brought me so much pain, sickness, stress, anxiety and isolation from the world.

However, I do not blame you. I know that you appeared because I needed to learn how to take care of myself better. At the time, I was under so much emotional stress and I  didn’t take care of my body or mind. You came to me with a message;

“You need to stop and slow down. You didn’t listen to the signals your body was sending you and so now I am here to push you into self-care and learning about your wounds.”

I am grateful for this, because without you I wouldn’t have begun this journey of self-love and healing.

I have come to accept that you are part of me and you are a constant reminder to listen to my intuitions about my body. However, that does not mean that I do not fear you. I am always worried about pushing too far and upsetting you. Our relationship will never be one of love but it does hold qualities of gratitude and acceptance.

Finally, I would like to thank you for pushing me to explore who I really am and find my authentic truth. I don’t hate you, not really.

I hope that one day we can be good friends and I will fear you no longer.

Love,

Rebecca ❤

Happy 1st Birthday LiveInTheLight 🎉

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We did it! A full year of having this wonderful space to share my story and light with you all! I cannot believe it has been a full year since my first post on here! I just wanted to say a very big thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog posts and to those who have shared, liked or commented. To my followers, thank you for being a part of this journey and supporting me. It has been a wonderful experience and I am so excited for what the future holds for LiveInTheLight!

Stay tuned for many exciting updates…

Many many hugs and gratitude,

Rebecca 🙌🏻💖

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Acceptance

Hey lovely readers, sorry I haven’t been as active on here recently…I have been struggling with things to write about as I wasn’t feeling so positive within myself and felt that blogging about positive things just wouldn’t be authentic. So today, I want to talk about my experience with accepting change.

ACCEPTANCE:  willingness to tolerate a difficult situation.

Within the past couple of months or so my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome(different from my IBD: inflammatory bowel disease)) has been flaring up. I’ve been having pains in my stomach almost every day and have been feeling generally unwell. I continued with taking my medications and trying to reduce any stress. I knew I had my annual hospital checkup on the 7th of July so I held off going to my doctor until then. When I went for my appointment, the consultant seemed happy that my Ulcerative Colitis (IBD) was under control and that it was my IBS playing up. He told me to try cutting out dairy to see if that would help my symptoms. Coming away from that appointment, I was quite happy with how things had gone and feeling positive that I had something to try.

However, a few days into going dairy free and my thoughts and feelings about it weren’t so positive. I started thinking of all my favourite foods that I could no longer have; pizza,chocolate, cakes, ice-cream etc. I realised that this was not the way to go about it so I researched into alternatives and have been finding it not so bad since. I’ve even been able to go out for meals and find something to eat that I like with no dairy.

I have still been feeling a little down and not really sure why. I think it is a mixture of change and hormones. Change has always been something that I’ve struggled with, even if it is a positive change. I’ve always found it a little hard to accept the transition to a new experience in life but I am willing to stop resisting. I really want to share this ‘Acceptance Prayer’  with you as it is what I have been reading every day to shift my mood.

I have realised how important acceptance is. Acceptance allows you to be free of the power of your life circumstances as you are making the choice to accept whatever is going on. Acceptance is also you trusting that life will work out and that the universe has your back. It will stop you from feeling fearful of change. So whenever something comes up for you, take a deep breath and repeat “I accept” until you feel the stress and angst melt away. Trust and have faith that everything happens for a reason and all will be well. It will not happen overnight but if you are willing to accept, you are on the right track to long lasting happiness.

Thank you for reading and I hope this has been helpful to you ❤

Love and Light,

Rebecca xo