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

How IBD is like an unwanted house guest

You know the type:
Turn up unannounced. 
Ruin your plans (even if your plans did only involve laying around in your PJs all day and drifting in and out of consciousness). 
Expect you to cater to their needs.
Outstay their welcome. 
Leave traces of themselves for you to clear up. 

Well, that pretty much sums up IBD to me. 

In my case, his arrival was completely UNANNOUNCED. He came storming in with not even a hint of a warning with his stinking attitude and the need to screw me over. RUINING MY PLANS of trying to remain attractive for as long as possible in my very new relationship! Of course, he has also taken away many nights and days out, festivals and work events too! 

Life suddenly has to change, his dietary requirements, eating and medication routines need CATERING FOR!

When I was told I had Ulcerative Colitis I was also told it was usually easily manageable with medication and most people can continue to lead a normal and happy life with maybe a few changes to diet etc. I was expecting to be miraculously better real soon and back to normal in no time at all. Fat chance! Consider his welcome well and truly OUTSTAYED! No getting rid of him. In fact, the only way to be rid of him was to cut him out entirely. 

Does that mean you can return back to normal? Does it heck! It means you crap in a bag for a year whilst you decide how important spawning children is. It means you need more surgery and your insides mutilated. It means even when you're lucky enough to poo through your arse again that it happens at least 8 times a day! You have to plan trips around toilet stops. You can still get IBD in your newly formed internal pouch. Even if you don't you can still get the symptoms of a flare in the rest of your body. Bad joints, skin problems, fatigue, other related autoimmune issues, the list goes on.
The only difference is that with an unwanted house guest you can evict them when it gets too much. You don't have the option to throw him out and lock the door.

With IBD, TRACES OF HIM REMAIN part of your life and your body for as long as you live... 

So what do you do about it? Do you shout and scream and get angry at him every day? Do you ignore him and pretend he doesn't exist? Do you cry yourself to sleep every night just wishing he would go away?

Well, maybe you do for a while... It won't help but it is part of the journey.  Eventually, you learn to co-exist. Maybe not harmoniously because he is still a right royal pain in the ass but you are together forever and acceptance is a massive step towards understanding and coping. 

So what do I suggest? Invite him in for a cuppa. Figure out what he likes and what he doesn't and don't anger him. Don't get stressed because then he will too and he will make sure you pay for it.

Take him by the hand and walk off into the sunset with the understanding that this is now your life and whilst it might not be the happily ever after you were looking for it's the only ever after you've got.