Ten Year Crohns-versary

I sit here writing this a few weeks before the date of diagnosis with IBD because the emotions around August always get me thinking about September 7th.

I let myself really go back to that time, fill my mind with memories and remember all the firsts I had in those first six months.

I remember the hot touch of my skin. I remember the soreness of my joints, of how sensitive my butt was to sit down on after numerous trips to the bathroom. I remember the feeling of my hip bones on the hard hospital chairs in waiting rooms. I remember the smell of bleach, disinfectant, hospital sheets, the rubber mattresses, the lingering smell of the last meal served and the plastic smell of IV bags, cannula plasters and alcohol wipes.

I experience these things time and time again, each time I have had an admission or had a procedure. I still get some PTSD from visiting the hospital, especially right after an admission. Even more so after the traumatic ones. I become familiar with that feeling, but also the navigation of the hospital, from getting to A to B, sometimes to C without hesitation, without asking for help, almost on autopilot.

I think about how little I knew back then, how new and naive I was to the medical profession and how inexperienced I was as a patient. The saying is true, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, to experience what I have done in the last ten years.

But I sat in an interview for a new job in June and realised that all that the last decade has taught me. About life, about health, about work-life balance and about me – my drive, my ambition, my goals and my passions. Including my past decisions. I finally saw how I could harness this. I could clearly see the positives of being a chronically ill person. I’d joked and lightened the mood in the past with my comments of ‘professional patient’ and ‘advocate’ but the biggest thing is becoming my own advocate. Learning how much I can take. Learning when I need to step away, when to say no and when to push myself.

And I got the job.

So this September 7th I will be on Day Two of my Level Four Apprenticeship to become an Accountant.

And my change in career came from my health. It came from waking up and realising that I could no longer put myself and my health second. It had to come first. And I had to find a way to heal from my trauma by stepping away from something and taking a chance with something else. It is paying off.

And I feel so encouraged by this new mindset and a new chapter. It happens to nicely come in such a poignant time in my health journey too like the stars are aligning and allowing me to flourish. At least I hope so. And if even it’s not ‘hope’ it’s down to me. I control things, like this. I am making the best of my situation. I am doing what is best for me. I am calling the shots.

So what has ten years of Crohn’s Disease looked like? Seen as I’m going into the accounting world, let’s look at the numbers!

Would I change any of this?

I’d maybe have had my stoma created a little earlier but honestly, the low of that summer gave way to such a high, I sort of don’t want to miss it. I always try to take something out of my experiences, lessons if you will, but not every time. Things are sometimes just shit and you have to push through. Slowly, like you’re in the mud, but always forward. Even if it’s tiny baby steps and it’s exhausting, forward.

Until next time,

Do you have any questions or queries? Or just want to share your own experiences? You can leave me a reply here or leave comments via my social media accounts – on Twitter, find my blog page on Facebook and over on Instagram

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