Guys, lets talk about looking after yourself.
I know that this might be easy for me to say – couple of months into remission with my Crohn’s, preparing for a new and exciting job, coping well with my stoma – but looking after yourself is important. So important.
Actively being present and finding out what works best for you. I am somewhat more able to do this now because I am not unwell.
For me, this now means getting my Vitamin B12 and changing my contraceptive.
Since my first surgery, I’ve known I need to have my B12 checked. I had my terminal ileum removed – the part of the body which absorbs the vitamin – so my deficiency would only get worse the longer I left it. If I hadn’t had to have my ostomy surgery, it would have been done already. And the last couple months as my recovery has sort of ended and my life has begun again, I’ve gotten some serious fatigue hit me like a sledgehammer. I knew I needed to get this sorted. So I went to my GP, he wrote me a script for the injections – one injection every 12 weeks, so a whole 18 months supply! – then booked me an appointment with our practice nurse for it be administered. Start to finish; 48 hours. I was impressed. Until I had the actual injection – JEEZ LOUISE DID IT STING! And it was a long sting too, my gosh. I felt utterly shite afterwards too for about 24 hours; I was not a happy bunny. But now, 5 days later, I am much more vibrant; I am getting more actual sleep, feeling refreshed when I wake up and not so groggy during the afternoons! Winner. I know that this will continue until about a week or so before my next injection.
On top of that, in that same appointment with my GP he advised me to switch contraceptives. Reasoning? My patch I use – Evra if anyone wants to know – has a new flag on it causing migraines and DVTs. And it’s those aura migraines to boot. I have had them in the past, many moons ago but he would not reissue my patches due to my history. So a switch is needed. A previous GP appointment led me to consider the implant so that is what I am having fitted this week.
I suffer from PCOS – Polycyclic Ovaries Syndrome, the first condition I had before the IBD – so my periods were always scattered, always unpredictable until I tried the patch. Now, without my colon and a body which isn’t constantly trying to fight my diseased digestive system, everything is now much more normal. I am hoping the implant can continue this normality for me.
Recovery from surgery might be physically ‘over’ but it isn’t mentally.
I am still coping with all these new things that are making me more ‘normal’. And this isn’t even a return to who or how I was before my Crohn’s diagnosis, this is a new normal. This is my body finally being able to work correctly, for the first time in these five years, maybe even longer. It is a hard concept to grasp some times; that when I look down and see my ostomy, I see sickness and disease but I am no longer sick or ‘diseased’. I still have Crohn’s – it has not gone away with my surgery, it has just been ‘fixed’ for the time being – but it is no longer the all consuming issue it once was.
As we come into a new chapter of my own life in the present day, I find myself reflecting on where I was last year. Add to that, that this week is my birthday week; I also look back at last year because of that too. It’s been a rollercoaster and no one could have predicted it going where it did nor expecting me to be where I am right now.
I hope to share those thoughts and feelings over the next couple of days.