This time three years ago I was under general anaesthetic for over 6 hours having parts of my insides removed and other parts investigated. I still remember it like it was yesterday. Another year went by and trust me, this one flew. It’s been a good year, aside all in all, I’ve not had any major issues. In the last few months of 2018 I’ve been dealing with a couple of unexpected things personally, but it is what it is!
Originally, I was planning to write “10 things IBD has made me grateful for”. That was until I started struggling just as much as I did when I wrote 10 things I can’t live without (ughhh). So here’s the next best thing I came up with… enjoy!
5 things IBD has made me grateful for
My mum – there’s a good reason for this one. It’s one thing hurting and suffering, but seeing my mum hurt because of mine was a whole different level of pain. My mum has always been my number one, but I think going through everything I did made our bond so much stronger. She really is my rock.
Good health – whenever I wasn’t dealing with a relapse of crohn’s I was enjoying life… a little bit too much. I’ll be honest, in my teenage years I never really paid attention to how complicated and severe crohn’s can get.I was out with friends most of the time and more often than not, not looking after my health. But now I’ve learnt to appreciate being in good health and not take it for granted.
My love of writing – I don’t think I’d be a writer if it wasn’t for the hospital teacher giving me my first ever journal when I was initially admitted. There’s only so many hours on end you can flick through Cosmogirl or play Temple Run so I started to cure my boredom by just writing. Whether it was just some random story or my thoughts and feelings, things just came naturally. I’ve always had a passion in reading, it didn’t surprise me that writing is something I enjoy too.
Food – I’m a BIG foodie. Unexpected since I spent the majority of my life having a love/hate relationship with food. Whilst IBD made me despise some foods, Squishy has given me the ability to eat anything and everything and enjoy it too – expect chocolate but it’s a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things!
A different outlook on life – due to maturing at an early age in life, I’ve always had a different outlook on life. Pre-ostomy, I always thought having a bag would be the Worst. Thing. Ever. How wrong was I… after getting Squishy I realised there’s so much more to spending days on end in bed crippled from pain and nausea. It taught me how to grab things with both hands and appreciate the journey on the way.
4 things IBD has taught me
How strong I really am –the pain felt as if I constantly had 100s of knives scraping through my abdomen from right to left, the uncontrollable symptoms, isolation and life changing surgery at 19 years old along with everything else in my personal life taught me that I’ll always be stronger than I let myself think.
To strive towards my goals – and never give up! The end goal is always worth it, regardless of how easy or difficult it was to get there.
How to handle stress – this is another biggie because stress is one of my main causes of a relapse. It’s far from easy however it’s a must.
Strength in numbers – I have a small but great support system. A WhatsApp group called “Bad, Boujee & IBD”. We talk pretty much on a daily basis – well except me, I drop in occasionally, but my friends are understanding. There’s been a couple of times I’ve approached the group chat when I’ve been a bit lost and quite upset. I’ve cried to them, ignored them, left the group only to come back to leave again and thrown in my unpopular opinion at times. Yet they’ve always been there for me. Having people around you who have been through or are going through similar situations definitely helps. The truth is, without Sam, Natalie, Ravi, Kim, Cat, Dan and Andy I’d probably still be very lost and upset!
3 IBD related things I think about on a daily are
Have I lost weight?
Am I doing enough to keep well?
Is Squishy going to behave or give me a tough day?
2 IBD symptoms I’ve been relieved of since surgery are
1 thing IBD has given me
A level of confidence, now I don’t go around thinking I’m perfect because we all have flaws and I’m certainly not that confident. I am however a lot more confident than I used to be, I love the fact I’m more positive about myself as a person and I’m much happier in the way I look and feel!