IBD

by - January 07, 2018

Okay, this is gonna be in many parts and ongoing as my journey continues - I will have Crohn's for the rest of my life, so this is a Neverending Story (ah-ah-ah-ahhhhh).

One day I noticed I had been scratching my ankle in my sleep - it was red, hot and itchy. I presumed I'd been bitten by something and thought little of it. For about a week my ankle was swollen - it was huge and barely fit in my loose trainers. I tried staying off of it, elevating it when in bed/at work. It wasn't going down. Then, one morning, I woke up feeling really rough - very flu-like, all of my bones ached and I could barely move and I definitely needed the toilet.

I had a tattoo booked with my favourite artist (Danielle Rose) for that weekend and a few days later I was flying out to Berlin (my favourite city) with some of my closest friends - I could NOT be ill.

Waking up every hour or two to use the toilet, I decided it best to cancel my tattoo (which I've sadly still not been well enough to re-book) and Danielle was the most understanding, I felt so bad as I hadn't provided a deposit but she was honestly so, so, sweet - thank you darling, and please check out her work.

I tried every home remedy to try and cure the shits (soz) and it did slow down. I decided I couldn't miss Berlin and grabbed some Immodium, drank plenty of water, ate some bananas and toast and pretty much avoided everything else - I hadn't really noticed a loss of appetite, but it soon became apparent. Once in Berlin I was "okay" for a day or so, but then I lost all desire to eat - totally abnormal for me, I had no energy, I had a weird rash on my skin (I did a meningitis glass test) and I literally couldn't get off of the loo or sleep. It got to the point where I very nearly booked a flight home, but I stuck it out and my friends were understanding - they're really great and I love them, they know who they are. I felt particurlarly bad for my darling El, who was over from Austrailia (though I did get to see her witness snow for the first time, which was a highlight of my life).

When I got home, I left it a day or two but I still felt like trash so I booked a doctors appointment.

She told me it was likely a mixture of my anxiety and suspected arthritis and prescribed me some Naproxen and sent me on my way. I always read the leaflet of new meds and saw it was a NSAID and that these can cause stomach ulcers. I didn't know what was wrong with me, but I knew that there was something wrong in my gut and decided not to take them. I'd ride it out, it had to be a bug or something.

Anyway, fast forward 4/5 months and I had lost approximately 6 stone (down from about 13stone), still going to the toilet 30-40 times a day/night and still no appetite. I have not slept more than 3 solid hours at a time, sometimes waking every hour to go to the toilet. I've not eaten, I have no idea how I'm alive let alone working a full-time job, having a social life, going to a festival (abroad!?) and considering moving out of the family home. My GP told me it was all anxiety related and maybe IBS and I should avoid my trigger foods - I wasn't fucking eating anything to avoid.

Another month went by and I'd only got worse - I had googled everything. I thought I had AIDS, Hepatitis, tapeworms, e Coli, lupus, Lyme disease (I was kinda hoping for this because then me and Kathleen Hanna would both have it) and God knows what else. I genuinely thought I was dying from this undiagnosed illness, but I also thought it was all imaginary because the doctor said it was my anxiety. I had also read up about various gastrointestinal diseases and illnesses and thought one of these most likely.

I went back to the doctor - crying, begging, screaming - for a referral to a gastrointestinal specialist. I asked to be weighed. I weighed 6 stone 2 lbs. Now, I'm only 5ft 2, so I know I shouldn't weight much, but also, my ribcage shouldn't be protruding front, back and my chest. She tried again to palm me off with anxiety. I threatened to sue for malpractice if she didn't write me a referral there and then. She obliged, apologised for upsetting me and causing a panic attack and we also discussed going on medication for my anxiety and depression. She prescribed me 50mg Sertraline daily.

Sertraline was heaven for me - okay, the first few weeks were horrendous, I wanted to die and didn't leave the house but it gave me an appetite. I could eat for the first time in like 7 months. My gut still wasn't cool, but I was eating- that really was a massive thing for me.

I got my referral through and a choice of hospitals - one of which is a private hospital, but it would be through the NHS. Yes, please!

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