As many of you know I have Crohn’s Disease as well as HS, and on Twitter I was fortunate enough to ‘meet’ a relative newbie to the Crohny family. Paul has been a policeman for many years and is now a DS within a busy Major Crimes Unit. He has not long been diagnosed with Crohn’s, I will hand you over to Paul who explains the effect it is has on his life.
Okay, firstly I have never written a Blog and I do not pretend to be a literary genius, so excuse me if I ramble, use incorrect grammar and the like. What you will get is what I feel about this illness that has sprung itself upon me and what it means to me and mine. I guess this will also include a pretty clear description of what this illness has meant physically for me, apologies for the squeamish but if you are reading a Blog about Crohn’s what did you expect!!
In no way is anything I write meant in a condescending way to anyone.
So, a bit about me, 45 year old bloke, been a police officer for approaching 23years and I currently hold the vertigo inducing rank of Detective Sergeant on a Major Crime Unit. This pretty much entails me investigating Murders and crimes in action (kidnaps) etc.
I currently live with my wonderful partner and my equally wonderful 9yr old step-daughter, this Blog will touch on the way this illness has also affected them.
Following a trip to Menorca I developed a bout of diarrhoea. Now I do not feel that this is anyway connected as it is a destination that I have travelled to regularly and never before had any issues. Similarly, I did not eat or drink anything that to my knowledge would have brought on the upset stomach.
Over the next 4 weeks my upset stomach became gradually worse, involving me visiting the toilet 5 to 6 times a day. This normally came about within an hour or so of eating, when I would get a stomach ache, not cramping but just the feeling that I needed to go. I could generally ignore the first “warning” but it became clear that on the second warnings arrival I would need to visit the “throne” pretty quickly.
The term “throne” is slang for the loo/toilet/WC/bathroom/john etc for the benefit of the posh amongst you or any overseas followers of @marmiteprincess’s blog who may happen to read this!
This led me to believe that having spent so much time on the “throne” I surely had Royal lineage. It also made me wish I had shares in Andrex!
As you can imagine and those with similar IBD’s will know all too well, this kind of bowel action has a fairly devastating effect on a very sensitive area of the anatomy. So along came the haemorrhoids and a very very painful fissure.
Quite rightly, following another couple of weeks my partner made me go to the Doctors and fortunately within two weeks, after a colonoscopy and a CT scan I was diagnosed by my gastroenterologist DR Fullard, who happens to be a very nice chap, with Crohn’s Colitis. He reliably informs me that this is Crohn’s in the colon.
Now at this point I am acutely aware that I appear to have had a fairly easy time with my Crohn’s compared to others. The one thing that has struck me with both Crohn’s and UC is that it appears to manifest its beastly self in so many different ways and with such varying severity. Since being diagnosed with Crohn’s Colitis I have become aware of people that I work with, that my partner works with that all seem to have a relative that suffers with one or the other. Some have had to have numerous operations and some have been diagnosed for many years and have not had any surgery at all.
In saying this, what I am also aware of is how my own perhaps minor symptoms have made me feel both physically and psychologically.
Now I am not quite Victor Meldrew, but as the years have progressed it is fair to say I can, on occasions vent my spleen! Now the arrival of Mr Crohn’s has not made this situation any better! I also had the thought that what may be wrong with me, having “researched” my symptoms pre diagnosis on the internet was in fact bowel cancer and I clearly was not long for this earth!
Luckily, despite my grumpiness and “impending death” my lovely partner Gill put it all back into perspective for me and we got on with finding out what was really wrong.
I make light of the ways this affected those at home but to be fair Gill and Natasha had a fairly torrid time for about 8 weeks trying to look after the world’s worst patient. Even my future Mother-in-law came down from up North to lend a hand. Which I must say I really am very grateful for. For the support that they have all shown and continue to show I will be eternally thankful!
Physically, I do not recall ever having felt so ill, so tired, on the stroke of exhaustion even. My appetite had completely disappeared, I think this was also psychological as eating equated a visit to the toilet. This resulted in the loss of 2 ½ Stones / 35 pounds or 16kilos for you youngsters. So eventually I had no option to but go on sick leave from work. Now this may not seem much to some but over the last 10 years I have been lucky enough not to have been ill and in the 12 years prior to that I had really only suffered sporting injuries. Being away from work and feeling so rubbish left me for 5 weeks with a real feeling of isolation during the day. Also the Pred and Anti-biotics seemed to make me particularly rubbish in the mornings! Sometimes tearful and emotional for no good reason! Really was crying over spilt milk as I made my brekkie!
And as for clumsy and forgetful – age or meds I’ll let you comment.
This brings me on to the good side of having time to kill and the internet. Once diagnosed I found the NACC.org.uk website where I discovered a wealth of free information about both Crohn’s and UC. I also discovered through Twitter, which prior to this had not used very much at all, the most brilliant support network from a bunch of complete strangers!! Most of whom have a far more torrid time than I am having but always have the knack of saying the right thing and passing on advice and sometimes just raise a smile with their bizarre “twitterings” so a big thank you to you all, you know who you are.
I will now just wait to see where I fit in amongst the varying degrees of severity and please don’t take offence but I will be happy if I can remain where I am for the foreseeable!
Last but not least a massive thanks to @marmiteprincess for allowing me to contaminate her great Blogs with all of the above!