What people with IBD should know

I am often asked, “What would you tell someone recently diagnosed with IBD?” So, this is what I think you should know! Look out for clickable links in this blog, leading to more detailed information! For many, a definitive diagnosis is a massive relief after a long period of being unwell. This does not mean that acceptance is easy, after all, you have just been diagnosed with a chronic disease which has no cure. Do NOT panic, we’ve got this, life is not over! It is worth pointing out that no two IBD patients’ lives are the same. The disease does not always manifest in the same way, and the fact that a treatment works for one person does not mean it will work for another. This makes IBD notoriously difficult to treat. That said, some IBD patients may have one flare, find the right medication straight away and never have another, and that is fantastic! For the rest of us, being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis may mean some lifestyle changes and som

Why I'm grateful for my IBD diagnosis

Who would have thought you could make some really great friends BECAUSE you have a chronic illness?

Well, that’s what has happened to me… 

I suppose it is a bit like being an alcoholic and going to AA. 

After months, maybe years of trying to be normal, being angry that your family and friends aren’t listening or just don’t get it, you find yourself in a room full of people who see your struggle. You don’t even have to say any words. Sometimes it’s enough to just sit back and watch… and listen.

You see people just starting out on their journey and you understand the struggles that will come. 

You see people who have struggled for years that have grown strong and they’re still getting stronger. 

You see people who can’t fight anymore, that want to give up because they are really, desperately tired. 

You see people who are a true inspiration and you know that they will make a difference to your life. 

I feel lucky to have IBD. There, I said it! Had I not been ill I would never have come across these wonderful and inspiring people.

I would never have learnt who my true friends are, I would never have realised how much my family love me and I’m pretty certain that had I not been ill I would have continued to drink an unhealthy amount and god only knows where I would be now. 

I have lost a lot of ‘friends’ who resented my moaning, my letting them down because ‘I just really don’t feel like it tonight’.  

This doesn’t upset me, quite the opposite in fact, I have separated the wheat from the chaff so to speak and it feels good. I know that the people that I make time for now are deserving of it, and I am completely uninterested in those that aren’t. My mum says I’m rude, I just think I’m no fake and will not pretend to be interested in someone’s life when I’m really not. It takes a lot for me to let people in now. This may be seen as a negative to some but I believe that the people who really want to be in your life will stick around and keep hammering at those barriers until they are mere bumps in the road. In my mind, these are the people that have earnt my loyalty. 

The friends I have now may be few and far between but they are real. 

My relationship with my mum when I was younger was terrible. Partly my fault and partly hers;  I was a shit and so was she. She didn’t like me and she didn’t love me until she nearly lost me. I didn’t like her until she loved me.  

Having been so ill and having been in so much pain makes me grateful for every day that I can physically get out of bed. It doesn’t matter how many painkillers I have to take to make it possible for me to get up and carry on, what matters is that I take them and I do it. 

I am stronger now than I have ever been. I know what’s important and I know what isn’t. I know what I want and I won’t settle for anything less. 

I, like many others I am sure, had a ‘please wipe feet here’ sign on my forehead for quite some time but I have taken it down, incinerated it and flushed the ashes down the toilet!  

I have my faults, I know this but I all in all I am a good person and knowing that makes me more confident in the decisions I make which in turn makes me happy. 

Had I not been ill, I do not think I would have been as happy as I am now or as comfortable in my own skin. I wouldn’t have met the many people online that help me on a daily basis without even knowing it. For many years I felt like I was stranded and alone on an Island, but now I have company. 
I get up every day and I am grateful I can do that.
I sort my lovely doggies out and I am grateful that I have them.
I go to work and I am grateful that I have a job.
On the way I wear my headphones and I sing like no one can hear me and I’m grateful that I am happy enough to do that.
I go to the shops on the way home and I am grateful that I can afford food.
I get home and I am grateful that I have one.
I log into Facebook, respond to a few notifications send a few texts and I am grateful for every person that is on the other end.
I get in the bath and I am grateful for my body.
I change my bag and I am grateful that for two months I have had no pain.
I dry my hair and I’m grateful it’s getting healthier.
I dance around the bedroom and I’m grateful that today, I have the energy. 

I am grateful BECAUSE I have IBD. Had I not been ill, it’s safe to say that I would still be a shit.