It’s a shocking moment when you’re faced with the news that you have Crohns Disease. Yep that’s right you now have a disease that will be here for the rest of your days and most people know absolutely nothing about it so prepare for a world of confusion and lack of understanding! When I was diagnosed a number of years ago now I had no clue what Crohns Disease was and as soon as I learnt all about it, my initial concerns were followed up with embarrassment and what I would tell people. I’ve luckily come a long way since then, and although I am always faced with this disease showing up to cause havoc at any given moment, I have learned to get back to a decent level of health and not care what anybody thinks about me or the stigma that is sometimes associated with hidden illnesses. If you’re hearing this life changing news for the first time or are experiencing some of the symptoms associated with Crohns Disease, here are my tips to come to terms with it and get started on an upward path to health.
Don’t Ignore the Symptoms!!
If you’re anything like me you’re probably dealing with unexplained sickness for a long time and telling yourself that you just have a bug, maybe you’re low in iron or maybe this is what everyones energy levels are like when they hit their late twenties!!! I was so foolish that I put up with being sick for years without ever getting any help and just stayed in complete denial. My advice is to get help straight away. Go to your GP and try to get seen as quickly as possible. It can be a lengthy process getting diagnosed so get the ball rolling as soon as you start to feel consistently unwell.
Remember that you are not alone.
Almost 20,000 people in Ireland and 300,000 people in the UK are thought to be living with Crohns Disease or Colitis, collectively known as IBD. There are many brilliant support platforms available to seek help and advice from. Here are a couple:
Treatment for Crohns is always improving.
You may need to try a plethora of medications and/or surgery but there are medications and options that will absolutely help you try to manage a lifestyle that is somewhat normal and will allow you to get back to a healthy self. From listening to my doctors, nurses and the information on the sites above the good news I’ve spotted is that new therapies are always being approved that will make treatment better in the future!
Going to a concert or football match or most social events will always be different if you have Crohns Disease so after you can accept that, all you need to do is plan. Check out where the bathrooms are, bring a change of clothes, pack your medicine and avoid eating or drinking anything that you haven’t tried and tested before.
Learn what your triggers are.
The down side of Crohns Disease, from what I’ve learned, is that everyone has different triggers. For me stress is a major one and so is Chinese food unfortunately. I have made lists over the years of what foods/liquids trigger a flare up and they have been crossed off the list of what I can eat and drink. It will take time to do this but keeping a diary of your triggers will make life a lot easier in the long run!!!