Tag: colitis

Crohns update – 9 months Post-Op

Processed with VSCO with c7 presetYou’ll have to excuse the completely unrelated photo, inbetween looking like a homeless woman and having the baby kicking around like they are stuck in some sort of prison, I didn’t manage to get a good photo showcasing my 9 months post op stomach.

I don’t quite know where to start, because the outcome is fairly obvious – I’m pregnant, therefore the surgery was a great success.

Processed with VSCO with c8 presetThe intial first weeks following surgery, as you know, were extremely difficult. I was unable to walk properly for at least a month and was relying on people to take care of me. I lived in my pjs (so nothing has changed really) and just kept hoping that each day id wake up and be able to do a little bit more.

A lot of people have wondered the most obvious question, what was your first shit like after surgery? I’m not gonna sugar coat it, it was how I imagine child birth will be like and I still have Vietnam flashbacks of the trauma. But despite the gas masks needed and watching the cleaners go in like the monsters in monsters inc when they bring back a childs item and have to be quarantined, things only got better.

6 weeks after surgery me and john travelled to crete. I was extremely nervous flying because all previous flights have been a nightmare fuelled with anxiety and holding in a fart that may or may not be a shit alongside my vomiting. But both flights there and back were relaxing and amazingly non eventful, there was no sickness and no anxiety in spite of the fact I thought I was gonna have a blood clot and die before I made it to sunny Greece (6 weeks is the minimum you are able to travel after major surgery *unless it is avoidable* because of risks of blood clots due to the pressure).

September came around and from what I can recall I don’t think I even thought about my surgery or my crohns. I was still struggling after a large meal however, needing to rush for diarrhoea exactly 30 minutes from ingestion (like clockwork) and had a mediocre pain. But instead of an on going flare up, it would be 5 minutes of intense flaring and then gone for the rest of the day/night. I got back into a normal routine, and Processed with VSCO with c7 presetwe were now officially settled into our new home to start the rest of our lives.

With the positive changes of my body, being able to get through days/weeks/months without vomiting and being able to eat without any consequences, my anxiety had completely disappeared and my mind was so positive, enjoying every minute of health. A lot of changes were made because of how one surgery gave me the opportunity to live a life without crippling fatigue, daily naps and morning sickness.

Nights were fuelled with alcohol, good food and the friends that have stuck by me throughout all my life changes. It’s a difficult thing going from an ‘ill person’ to a ‘healthy person’ because its not just your body that changes, your mind and your outlook changes aswell. What I’ve found has come from that, is friends that were there when you were ill seem to be non existent now you have a life of your own, now you are independent and are able to look back at your choices and decisions and see what is really the right thing for you to do in life, seem to put out others.

A little like Munchausen syndrome, you come to realise that without even knowing it people around you influence your illness in multiple ways and only when you escape the cloud of ‘being ill’ or being the friend ‘with a disease’ you find the friends that are willing to carry you on in your ‘new life.’ Some people won’t understand the changes you make in your life and why you make them, they don’t understand how something that seemed so comfortable and secure, something that seemed like a great environment and relationship can suddenly…not be.

They’ve known you having fun in a world where you are ill, where your life is built around being ill and the consequences that that illness carries. When you suddenly become healthy and your mindset is completely different you start to completely change, you change the way you enjoy your life, because it’s suddenly so healthy, long and Processed with VSCO with c9 presetfulfilled and things that once made you happy when life didn’t seem so full, now become burdens, they are reminders of your ‘old life.’ The things that once seemed good for you, in hindsight, only unknowingly influenced your illness. Whether that be mental or physical.

That is the part of following the light at the end of the tunnel that you don’t know. You’ve always seen the light at the end of the tunnel, but what about when you get there and you are ‘on the other side?’ It really is a whole new world, a whole new you.

New body.

New mind.

New outlook.

New values.

New opinions.

The hard part is accepting some people and some things aren’t meant to be in your new life, not out of anger, hatred, spite or anything negative but purely because they don’t understand the complete transformation your life has taken. The same as you find new things, make new friendships and find completely new joys in life.

November comes around and surgery legit is a distant memory, I have no symptoms of my Crohns and I have no reason to even think about it. I’m enjoying everything.

However, towards the end of November I began to get very ill, I was being sick every morning again and was tired 24/7. My health was short lived, I thought. Untill I decided id tempt fate and piss on a little stick, yknow for the fun of it. Three tests later, three positives later and 6 lines later, it wasn’t my Crohns returning with a vengeance, it was a new living being sucking the life out of me.

I had surgery to give my body the chance to carry a child, with a limited time for fertility Processed with VSCO with c8 presetit was dire to go ahead with having my bowel resection if I was going to be able to get past that dreaded first trimester. The doctors had determined my Crohns was the reason for my miscarriages and so when the first trimester came and went, that was the ultimate acknowledgment that told me everything I have endured, was worth it, it worked.

Surgery was the best decision I have ever made.

Anyone who thinks surgery is a scary thing, is the last resort and the worst outcome possible, it was the BEST decision I ever made. (Although perhaps second to dumping some ugly drug addict when I was 19, haha)

I am now 22 weeks pregnant, entering my third trimester and I was warned my crohns will most likely make an appearance, and it has. From 18 weeks till now my crohns has reared its ugly head, but unlike anything pre-surgery it is manageable and non-threatening. The flares come and go, and although I have a few accidents here and there it is nothing compared to pre-surgery days.

Crohns is incurable, it will always be in my body, inbedded in my DNA and therefore it is expected to have some good and some bad days. It is expected to have flare ups and suffer still even though the severely diseased bowel has gone. But for now, I am having a baby and that is all I want. I may be ill again once she is born, but that’s okay because she’s here and my body allowed me to grow her.

Life is great, my health is great (most of the time) and for 9 months post op, I’d say there’s nothing I could possibly say, nothing that could possibly happen, that would make me think that having surgery was a bad decision. (Even though I went bat shit crazy during).

 

xoxo

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Introducing…Trust Your Gut


My name is Billie Anderson, I’m 21 and I’m a history student down on the sunny English coast! If we are talking hobbies in conjunction with student life, it mainly surrounds how much alcohol you can consume without hospitalising yourself. And also knowing where the cheapest pizza is to soak up all that booze!
The other things I enjoy in life (along with wine and pizza) aren’t exactly mainstream: I owned two very naughty ponies who loved to see how quickly they could throw me into the mud! As a kid I’d spend my pocket money on a new bridle or rugs for the horses rather than makeup and clothes like my friends!
I’m also an avid petrol head – an interest that was spurred by my grandad when he took me for a drive in his classic Porsche 924 when I was 7. I almost drowned when the passenger-side foot well flooded with water! There is so much character to a classic car – the smell of pure petrol mixed with 50-year-old cigarette smoke that is ingrained into the upholstery of a 1971 mk1 Ford Capri is so much more exciting than a Prius! Ive always preferred scrolling through classic car magazines looking at engines and the restoration of some beaten up old Beetle, than the ‘top ten reasons why your crush is ignoring you’ section of Hello!
Im also a super nerd! With the end of university growing ever closer, it’s a time that every student dreads… Dissertations! Along with my not-so-conventional hobbies, the area of study I specialise in is the history of piracy. So it’s 10,000 words about the life of Jack Sparrow and ‘research’ includes watching my way through every single Pirates of The Caribbean film! Not a bad way to spend the year if you ask me!
Now I’ve tried to make myself sound slightly interesting, onto the blog I run! Around 9 months ago I created Trust Your Gut. I started this project after being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis – one of the ugly sisters of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) – the other being Crohn’s disease. I decided to write about my illness due to how isolating it can be; I felt so alone in my fight against Colitis, not knowing anyone who had experienced it, and I didn’t want anyone to go through the same thing I did.
I found myself spending more time in hospital, talking to doctors, rather than going to uni and partying with my mates, so Trust Your Gut became a place where I felt other people could get a more human response to the illness rather than just the clinical talk you get from doctors and nurses.
As my illness progressed however, it became clear that my UC was very serious and the drug therapy I was placed on wasn’t making me any better. So in January 2018, one year after my diagnosis, I underwent major abdominal surgery to remove my very angry, ulcerated colon and given an ileostomy (so I haven’t got a large intestine and my small intestine pokes about an inch out of my stomach into a bag). Due to my surgery, Trust Your Gut went from being all about my life with a chronic illness and spreading awareness for IBD, to stoma awareness.
It is now all about how my little stoma bag saved my life!
From my point of view there isn’t enough awareness about IBD or stomas – particularly for younger people – and I hope that Trust Your Gut can be a platform to spread the word! This is a blog that has been a little refuge for me and hopefully other people (those who are diagnosed, have a connection to the disease through someone else or even those who just want to find out more) in raising awareness for an illness that isn’t talked about enough!
Along the way I’ve been inspired by so many other bloggers, vloggers and Instagrammers who all do so much to raise awareness for IBD and stoma life. The little Instagram family that I’ve built up over the last few months has been a lifeline of support and love in the fight against such a difficult disease!
Trust Your Gut has been something that I’ve found I truly love – a little project that hopefully helps raise awareness for those who don’t know about IBD and also a place where those who do know about it can find some comfort in knowing they aren’t going it alone! I love divulging all my secrets and probably boring the pants off everyone on there! In amongst the non-conventional hobbies I have, I now have a very non-conventional blog to go with a non-conventional stomach, all in the hope of spreading a little love!
You can find out all my secrets about bag-life here (https://trustyourgut.blog) and on Instagram too (@billieandersonx)!
Here’s to making the very non-conventional stomach I have conventional!

Billie’s Instagram:

Billie’s Blog:

billie 6

*Written by Billie Anderson, Trust Your Gut | Edited by Dawsonxo | Photo credit by Billie Anderson, Trust your Gut | Subject to Copyright*

16 Things you didn’t know about Crohns (18+)

Besides the general definition of Crohns Disease which I’ve gone on about and had to describe a billion and one times before I thought I’d make a more cheery (dunno if cheery is the right word but nonetheless its better than putting f*cked up) list of things to expect when you’ve been diagnosed with Crohns or Colitis.

For those who don’t know though here is a quick summary. Crohns disease is an inflammatory bowel disease which causes inflammation anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract – from the mouth to the arse hole, so pretty much anywhere, as well as creating numerous other conditions that can come and go throughout time like anaemia, arthritis, fatigue, etc. Crohn’s is most known for being a “bad stomach ache” which is completely wrong and if you do think that you’re probably one of the idiots that think man flu exists or that Queen Elizabeth is a reptile, so (politely) fuck off.

But anyway, here is my list of things you’ll most likely encounter/have (and probably wont admit to) when suffering with IBD:

 

1.       The most obvious being you shit yourself A LOT.

 

2.       You’ll have done a grand tour of your country’s hospitals, testing each out like a celeb and mentally composing your trip advisor review.

 

3.       Getting drunk is fucking awesome because not only can you be a lightweight, forget all about how you hate your life or be the first to vomit at a party but you can get rid of your constipation by doing a huge vodka shit.

 

4.       Be a twenty year old grandma with arms and legs that don’t bend.

5.       Be wheeled everywhere in a wheelchair when you have a bad flare up and experience what pure luxury is watching someone else suffer pushing you up a hill whilst you chill.

6.       Have a seriously wide knowledge of toilet comforts. (Still waiting for Victoria Plum to respond to my product tester application)

7.       Mastered doing a boss winged eyeliner whilst having an explosive shit.

8.       Not give a fuck about contraception because getting pregnant is FUCKING HARD. (Disclaimer: I’m joking kids, you should always be protected…Alex if you’re reading this, you should just avoid sex altogether.)

9.       Farts probably aren’t just farts but it’s cool cause you wear three pair of granny pants out anyway.

10.   MI5 could hire you for your fast and sly (running to the toilet) exits and skills at convincingly blaming other people for your vile smells.

11.   Prepared with extra coverage foundation for when your face flares and looks like a baboons behind.

12.   Sleep all day everyday.

13.   Having stuff shoved up your arse is just the norm and not a wild Friday night.

14.   Your pet will love you more because you can’t go to work and have to stay with them 24/7.

15.   You have so many pills to take you don’t need breakfast cause they’re practically like a meal.

16.   You’ll probably be a mentally fucked up psycho with no filter and zero fucks given to embarrassing situations but you’re a boss and will slay whatever circumstance life throws at you.

  dont be like the rest of them

 

 

*Disclaimer – [1] these are meant in jest with no harm or offence meant to anyone suffering with or sharing particular similarities to those mentioned in this article. [2] I do not own the ‘don’t be like the rest of them darling’ photo, credit goes to Etsystatic. 

My Upcoming Surgery

I’ve been inundated with messages from people asking about my surgery which is so lovely so I’m going to do a little explanation of what this entails.

Basically, after years and years of tablets, infusions, injections, steroids, enemas, suppositories (you name anything for your bottom end and I’ve had it) and not to mention countless doctors, I am going down the surgical route. This means that either by keyhole or literally a slit straight down the stomach –colon I wont find out until on the table (well, me personally will find out when im awake obvs otherwise that would be terrifying) – and will be taking out 20cm of intestine, part of my colon, parts of other random bits and pieces that are too damaged and a hell of a lot of scar tissue.

The small bowel (or small intestine) is where my Crohns is most active, it is commonly used for the breaking down and absorption of nutrients but because of my Crohns, this is severely damaged and not a lot is really happening in there and so it clogs up, gets damaged and creates other ways to breakdown everything – I think, its hard to follow because each doctor says a different thing.

I have multiple fistulas in my small bowel also, which are kind of like little alleyways. The intestine coils fistularound like a weird fat worm but when a fistula is formed instead of finding its way around the intestine normally, flowing around the corners, it creates holes in the intestines walls and makes a short-cut to pass through.

The bowel resection I will be having is the removal of the diseased intestines and colon and then if there is enough healthy intestine that has not been attacked by my Crohns yet, the ends of all the little bits will be stitched or stapled back together. This is most likely what I will be having this time round. I say this time as it is unlikely I will not need further surgery because Crohns disease is a life long disease and cannot be treated, no matter how much of the disease you can surgically take out the disease will still be there lurking to take another bit later on.

However, when you do not have any healthy gut left, this is when the surgeon will create an opening called a stoma which is a hole through the skin of your stomach. The small intestine is then attached to the outer wall of your stomach (the stoma) and a bag is fitted so that any stool will pass into the bag, known as an ileostomy. This can be permanent or semi-permanent. Yes, that does literally mean that instead of winding down your intestine and lying in your stomach to be passed out of your arsehole it will come out of your intestine directly – no bumhole is damaged in this process.

So yes, that’s basically a simplified explanation of what I’m having. I’m thankful enough that I have my partner john who suffers with the other form of IBD, colitis, and he himself has had numerous surgeries. Although they did it in Spain and his interpreter was in the bed next to him with pneumonia so he couldn’t understand a word of what was happening, to which I’m fairly confident they stole his kidneys or intestines and sold them on the black market. So he understands and supports me through the process and we can both have mashed up looking stomachs together (as I know a lot of you with Crohns are worried about how your body will look post-surgery). He will argue with me till he’s blue in the face that he has a belly button but I can tell you he does not and his favourite thing to do when he’s had a drink is get his scars out and tell people he was attacked by a shark.

Also people have asked me why I have decided to do this now, to which the answer is, as I have been trying to have children for the past year or so, I have been unsuccessful and have miscarried twice. I have since found out that my Crohns has been too active and caused too much damage that my body was unable to keep the baby alive and growing normally. So after this surgery, not only will I be a hell of a lot better with my health but I may be able to carry children and have a normal pregnancy as well, which is my goal for the future.

Feel free to get in touch if you want to know more on the surgery or if you’re having it yourself and need some support.

*Diagrams from other sources

before