Hidden Illnesses awareness

This post is a bit of a random one, not the normal thing I would post on my blog. However, something I saw on Facebook made me think I should do an awareness blog. I hope you all don’t mind….


This is the quote of the status I saw on Facebook:
“Please put this as your status for at least for an hour if you, or someone you know has or had an invisible illness (Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Kidney Disease, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, MS, LUPUS, Diabetes). My one wish is that in 2011 a cure will be found. Do it for all who have an invisible illness, it’s a daily struggle, especially when nobody believes that they are not sick or disabled.”


This status stood out to me because I am one of those people. A little over 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. It is not a fatal illness or indeed one that deems me incapable to look after myself, so please don’t think that I am doing this for sympathy or anything like that. I am writing this post purely to raise awareness.


I am not great with medical wording so if you click here, it will tell you what Ulcerative Colitis is.


But here is my story of how I came to be diagnosed with it.


Before I had my daughter, I had a full bill of health. I had her in 2006, and after suffering serious itching on my hands and feet, I was taken into hospital at 38 weeks, with fear of having Pre-eclampsia. After various test’s, I was told my Liver enzymes had rocketed to 150, (where the normal and safe level should be between 10-40, I was told.) So the only thing to do was bring on labour early. Now even though there are not strong enough links, or enough proof, there are apparently whispers about, that liver problems can cause Colitis. 


When my daughter was 9 months old, I began having problems. I was having bouts of diahorrea and constipation and after a while, I noticed I had blood and mucus, too. I thought I was just sickening for something so didn’t do anything about it. I had been feeling bloated and been suffering cramps, also. 


Then one evening, I was watching Street Doctor, (remember that!) and someone on there had blood in their stools and the doctor said, ‘well let’s do a test so we can rule out bowel cancer.’ 


That scared the hell out of me!


Because, I was not only having the odd tiny bit of blood, I was having a fair amount, every time I went. 
I didn’t sleep much that night and first thing the next day, I went to the doctors.


Cut a long story short, after many tests, a sigmoidoscopy (Ouch!) and a colonoscopy (double Ouch!) I was diagnosed with it. I have to watch certain foods in my diet which are known to set it off and I take between 4-6 anti-inflammatory tablets every single day to keep the condition at bay; depending on whether it is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ day. There is no known cure for it at present, however, the disease is known to be able to go into remission for years and then give way to flare ups every so often or when it is triggered.


This is just my story, there are millions of people out there with this, and many other hidden illnesses that people don’t know of. 


I consider myself to be quite healthy. Yes, I suffer with this condition, but apart from that I am generally a healthy person. I don’t want sympathy, I just want people to be aware that these conditions exist and it’s not always what you see on the outside, that is the whole story.


Crohns and Colitis UK are an organisation also raising awareness and providing a place were people can meet other people with the same symptoms and struggles as themselves to talk to.


People tend to be happy to talk about other illnesses, but because this one involves the bowel and isn’t too ‘glamorous’, I think people are less inclined to speak openly about it, they are embarressed. So, if you suffer, or know someone who does, please don’t suffer in silence. And if you have these symptoms but are afraid or embarrassed to go to your GP, please don’t be. If you do have the condition, there are people who can give you advice on how to make things easier and there are medications out there to help you live a normal life without feeling so rubbish!


I hope I have done what I intended, and raised awareness about a condition which has changed my life, but not in any way, dictates it.

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