World IBD Day!

Today is world IBD day! The aim is to spread awareness about Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Now one of the reason I guess that maybe this isn’t one of the most publicised conditions is because nobody likes talking about poo. Shit, crap, shite, dung, fecal matter, chocolate export, bum nuggets, logs, big jobbies.

Anyone can develop IBD – and at least 261,000* people are affected by Ulcerative Colitis (146,000*) and Crohn’s Disease (115,000*) in the UK – Although recently published data suggest that this could be as many as 620,000.

The illnesses can occur at any age, but often begin in younger people aged 10-40. There are up to 18,000* new cases a year. Both conditions are found worldwide, but are more common in developed countries.” *Figures published by NICE Guidelines (2013)               – Website for National Association for Crohn’s and Colitis

As many as 5 million people around the world suffer with IBD. It can cause a variety of symptoms from fatigue, weight loss, anaemia, abdominal pain, generally feeling unwell and of course the big one, the shits. Now that last one was something I got bad. I was going 50+ times a day when I was at my worst. I lived in that fucking toilet, watching whole bloody series of 24, and full feature length films in there.

Today is about trying to make people aware of this illness and its symptoms. In hindsight, I should have gone to the doctor about 6 months before I started to have problems but of course, your bowel habits change when you first get to uni and you instantly put it down to a bad diet, drinking too much and generally a poor lifestyle and you can even convince yourself that for six months because you don’t want to go and talk to a man in a white coat about your poo, how often you do it and of course its colour and consistency.

If I hadn’t hung around and maybe actually gone to see a doctor, who knows if it would have got as bad and as advanced as it did. You can’t live in the past and i now have to crack on with my current situation. What I would urge other people to do is not sit on their hands out of embarrassment. I mean come on we have all watched embarrassing bodies and jesus christ GP’s must drink a lot to un-see some of the stuff they have seen, so by that standard talking about your poo for 10 minutes pales into comparison. What if I had gone 6 months earlier and they put me on 1 tablet and that sorted everything out and I never had another problem, now I will never know. I don’t want you to put yourself in that position where your left wondering like I am.

Luckily now with all the advances in modern medicine we can fight this horrendous illness with various tools from drugs to surgery. Medical research is so important I have essentially scraped the barrel in terms of drug based treatment. I was on infliximab and then humira, both biologic TNF inhibitors, trust me wikipedia can explain what they are better than me. Now they are essentially the last line of defence in the war against crohn’s because once they become ineffective there is only surgery. Saying that, I think one more has just been developed but I need to do more research into it. So research as ever is still so important to winning this battle. So if you can spare it, donate a couple of quid by text. Just think of it as me saving you from having a couple of drinks and that hangover not being so bad. You can find the details below. Oh and a picture of me swagging out with my bag out #getyourbellyout

Get your belly out

Me 1 year and 9 months after surgery looking a darn sight healthier!

You can now donate to Crohn’s and Colitis UK by sending a text message from your mobile phone.

 Just send a text saying CCUK14 and your donation amount to 70070

e.g. If you wanted to donate £5 you would text: CCUK14 £5 and send it to 70070.

The full amount of your text donation will go to the charity.

text donate to Crohn's and Colitis UK

 

“The strongest of steels are forged in the strongest of fires”

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Return Of The Mack

So I have been absent from my blog for a little while now. I intend to turn that around. My life has changed so much since August the 31st 2013. That was the date I had my life changing surgery. I am now sat  here thinking about how I don’t want to have to go to work tomorrow whereas I used to sit at home utterly depressed about how I spent every day staring at the same four walls interspersed with episodes of Jeremy Kyle, wanking and of course shitting. That was pretty much my life for nearly 3/4 years. I can’t even accurately keep track in my mind because it just seemed to blur into one big haze of shite.

 

Now I have spent a year working for a large corporate estate agents in north London. It’s not something that I intended to get into but they were the first people to say yes. I had a couple of friends that were in the industry and I figured, hey people are always going to need to buy houses! The one thing I have realised is that I am never ever ever going to have a fucking snowballs chance in hell of being able to afford a mortgage or save up a deposit. Going to work every day with a colostomy is now totally natural to me. At first it was so alien, it scared the life out of me. What if my bag leaks? What if someone notices it? What if, what if, what if? Of course there have been a couple of “close calls” for want of a better word. The worst was when I had a gentleman sitting at my desk giving me the details of his property so we could arrange a valuation, which takes about 5 minutes, and I notice the foulest smell that I recognise unfortunately to be me. It was like a mixture of decaying donner kebab mixed with a tanker of crack head arse sweat. Now I instantly noticed the smell, then I watched the poor gentleman’s face change as he has started to chew on my floating arse biscuit. I watched the colour drain from his face as he thought about smashing his face into the desk to end his pain.

 

Shits gonna happen, excuse the pun. However, luckily so far these events have been few and far between and generally I’m pretty confident about my situation. Yeah I have to remember to carry bits and bobs round with me and I’m a bit more self conscious with my clothes and what you can see. For example I have just booked my first holiday in seven years and my first post-op holiday. I am bricking it a bit, leaving the safety of home, the UK, the NHS, my family and all sorts. Having to get my pale and now slightly chubby body out on the beach or at the side of the pool. Now that I find more than a bit nerve wracking. I used to, and like to think part of me is still doesn’t care about what people think of me, within reason. I mean of course, I worry about what my friends and family think but not total strangers. Sadly I now have to admit that there is a part of me that does worry what people think of me, how they will react if they know I have a colostomy. I got told by someone that had already had the operation that ninety-five percent of people that you tell or find out will deal with it well, there will always be that 5 percent that are total wankers. I have heard horrible stories about other peoples reactions from other people with the same condition that have made me want to take a chainsaw to the offending numpty’s skulls. You know what though, I cannot wait to spend seven days in the sun with my missus and a couple of really good mates. 

 

I’ve managed to work for a year a year now with minimal problems from my illness, the only bad thing at work is when I go in with a raging hangover. Yes I am still drinking unfortunately and am, of course, continually promising to stop drinking but I have cut it back. I am also still smoking, again I have cut that back and I do intend to pack it in. Half of me has the attitude that I’ve been through hell and I have the right to let my hair down and do what I want. However, the sensible side of me is in a headlock from the rebellious side as its trying to mumble “Oi Hastie! You peenarse!” You were convinced you were going to die and you didn’t, and you’ve been given a fresh start minus the active Crohn’s. Why are you acting like such an unhealthy dick?” 

 

Honestly, I don’t know why. Like I said I feel like part of me has earn’t the right to live how I want to even though I know it might not be that good for me in the long run but I do need to change it. I’m going to join the gym at the end of the month. The aim is to go religiously 3-4 times a week eventually, for at least six months. I used to be so motivated to get fit as it was working towards a goal of joining the military but because now there is no goal like that I have totally lost all the motivation to do any exercise, well other than this new fangled spare tyre looking thing I’ve got affixed around my waist.

 

I’ve managed to start doing a few things that I wanted to pick up when I was healthy again. I’ve been going clay pigeon shooting more and more regularly and now am looking to get my own licence and gun as its so much cheaper if you shoot regularly. I also sailed with a crew of 5 (including me), from Ipswich to Vlissingen in the Netherlands. We then spent a week going round the various lakes and canals, drinking lots of dutch beer, which by the way is fantastic. Unfortunately we couldn’t head to Amsterdam due to weather and time constraints. I had such an awesome time, even though I found out when I got home that I had broken my foot on the second day and continued to hobble around all week being called a pussy and being told I had only banged it. Thanks guys. Nearly as good as the time on that holiday when I dropped my freshly purchased large donner kebab in front of a group of about 50 people coming out of a club. Mildly embarrassing.  I couldn’t have done any of this 2 years ago due to what I was going through at the time and it’s made me so glad that I had the operation done because it really has given me my life back.

 

Ok there are some things that I really will never be able to do again, well it would be sensible to never do them again such as contact sports like rugby, boxing, martial arts. All things, that in an ideal world, I would like to have given a good go at. I mean I guess I could do these things but I can’t imagine going into a ruck in rugby with a full bag would be the smartest Idea. Although potentially it means people wouldn’t tackle me due to the fear of ending up coated in fragrant material. 

 

At the end of the day these are small losses in my eyes. I still can go and enjoy watching England play at twickenham one day, because lets face it I was never going to be that good, walk of hours in the woods, get on the tube, go to work and generally live my life.

 

Small prices to pay for the ultimate prize.

 

Me and Emma

Me and the missus after a day of shooting

Soon I will be back, watch this space…….

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