Monday 28 June 2021

Half Marathon Plodder

When I started blogging, someone once asked me if I minded that my main topic was my Crohn's - I guess meant in a way of did I want to write more about me, without the obvious affiliation to my disease. And I didn't really know how to answer it?

The older I've got the more I've realised that it is part of me; whether I like it or not it has an effect on all areas of my life, both good and bad. And the fact of the matter is, I am my Crohn's and my Crohn's is me. Of course there are days when I begrudge the seeming unfairness of it all - especially when I was younger and I was spending more time in hospital waiting rooms than I was at university. And in more recent times realising I really don't have a choice at all in how my body behaves. But my body has also fascinated me by pretty much pretending Crohn's is gone when I've been pregnant with my boys, and it's allowed me to go on and have two very healthy, wonderful pregnancies. Swings and roundabouts, etc.

I had my post-op colonscopy on the weekend and (surprise, surprise), there's still signs of active disease which means upping my dose and frequency of my biologic meds. So yes, it can still get me down. I'm doing as I'm told, I'm taking my medicine... I'm doing all the things the doctors advise AND YET we don't ever really seem to get ahead of the disease.

But despite all of the monotony of a chronic illness and pain, I got my Crohnsy arse in gear and I managed to complete my pledged half marathon distance for Crohn's & Colitis UK. Well done me. 

I aimed to do 7 miles walking as I was waaaaaay below on my iron - normal healthy person optimum iron ~40, I came in with a strong 4. So I packed my backpack and off I went into the wilderness of the westcountry with only my headphones and the cows to keep me company. My main concern was literally shitting in the woods, but alas, no Paula Radcliffe this time round. I found that the walking itself wasn't too bad and I think because of how crap last year was, there was definitely that drive to plod on and keep going. To see donations coming in as I walked was so encouraging (shed a tear by some sheep in a field because I'm a mess?) But it really did spur me on. So much so, that my aim of 7 miles came and went and lo and behold these little tired legs completed the half marathon in one stint. 

I really am proud of myself because I really didn't think I'd manage it. And I did my 13.21 miles in 4hr 23m. Because of my shameless pride I have no qualms in saying the Walk It fundraising campaign ends on 30 June so this is my final call to anyone who would like to donate to Crohn's & Colitis UK. 

I'm going to try and put some videos up of me rambling whilst I rambled. But just want to say a massive thanks to everyone that has donated so far. It means so much to me, as I imagine this is a charity that I will need to lean on many more times in the future.



Sunday 13 June 2021

All the Things

Not really sure how to start these posts now, when it’s more of a current health update, as opposed to the woes of yesteryear (NB: 2020). But if I’m going to ramble on about certain IBD situs, then I guess I might as well keep you informed with the now...

Had my appointment with Gastro on Monday. Essentially my bloods say I’m anaemic again and I need another iron infusion; they want to get up my arse with another colonoscopy to assess post-op if my 12 weekly home injections of biologic meds needs increasing to every 8 weeks instead; to try not to lift my sons due to the abdominal hernias and then could I please shit in a pot for a stool sample (my words, not theirs). All this before pending surgery, if covid deadlines allow. So that’s a barrel of laughs ahead!

And whilst I’m dreading any letter that arrives with a hospital postmark in case it’s my kidney operation date, I had one arrive this week for the eye hospital because *spoiler alert* apparently Crohn’s can also affect your eyeballs and get inflamed there too. Specsavers weren’t too sure what was going on in my left eye and thought it best I got referred to the eye specialists. Lovely time.

I mean, I’d be lying if I said I’m ok with the volume of things that seem to be happening in one go? So as a distraction I’m going to try and complete my half marathon walk this coming week. Ideally in one day, but, you know, I’m a little bit broken inside ha. Plus it’s also very warm at the moment - don’t want to be chafing as I stride up a hill with a big stick.

Will let you know when I’ve walked my walk and whether I can stand up by the end of it. For now though, I plan on sitting in my garden in the sunshine and listen to my children play. Make the most of the fleeting British summertime.


My JustGiving page 


Sunday 6 June 2021

Walk It 2021

I have full imposter syndrome about doing sports, but here we are. It's June. The month I committed to doing a half marathon's distance for Crohn's and Colitis UK. 

As I touched upon in my last post, 2020 was a tough year for everyone what with Covid19 and the uncertainty that brought in these unprecedented times. Yet from a personal, Crohn's point of view, it was my toughest year to date. Throw in a global pandemic and WHAT A RIDE. Honestly? When I had my flare up in March, I thought I was going to die and my body had had enough. I've never felt so vulnerable. When it happened again in September I just didn't know what was going on in my insides and what the plan was - if there even was one.

Yes, ok I've had all the operations and procedures when I've flared beforehand and generally I've been fine (?) with that. But I have never vomited *actual* shit before; and all at a time when I wasn't even sure if my husband was allowed in hospital with me when I needed him the most. 

But hey, now it's quite the anecdote and conversation starter at least.

That week in March 2020 was a whirlwind...we had our boys' christenings and the next day at 2am I was blue lighted into hospital with the whole shit shenanigans. At one point prior to ringing 999, I was breastfeeding my baby whilst being sick in a bowl. The rest is a bit of a blur - but to summarise, once in hospital and all the pain relief, I had a CT scan and the strongest IV antibiotic steroids to try and calm down the inflammation in my small intestine, as it was essentially causing a faux blockage. Persevered with a week of meds and the bloods and tests showed things had calmed so off I went home.

Fast forward to September and I was optimistically getting my hair coloured - even though I felt beyond rough (lockdown locks had gone wild, plus I thought the pamper might make me feel better). However, I ended up being sick in her bin in between rinsing the colour off and knew things weren't going to be ok. I rang the other half and said to get his mum round to watch the kids as this was looking to be another 999 situ. Even though my hairdresser was incredible in that situation, I could imagine that the professional part of her must have been like 'Jesus Christ, that bleach needs toner. It's so brassy.'  We simply paused on the 'do and I promised I'd be back to finish it off soon. LITTLE DID I KNOW. 


It seems strange writing about September in such a pragmatic way, as I look back at the Instagram posts from that time and I just wasn't ok?? Like I said, I've had like nearly 20 operations but this one hit different: that the inflammation from March never really went away and was now an actual blockage. The urgency of an op, the seriousness of it. The fact that it's not just me; it's my husband and two boys that are relying on me to pull through this flare. 

Because of covid, there were the obvious and expected delays with things which inevitably allows thinking time. When you're on your own in a hospital bed, the mind can really run wild. But I got my op; resection in the small and large intestine, with an incision down my stomach and a new belly button for good measure. The optimism was creeping back in, and now it was all focus on the recovery. That was until I got a temperature, got incredibly distended and couldn't pass wind for days. They say after that type of surgery that your bowels forget what their job is, so to try walking around and what not, trying to encourage bowel movement. Never have I willed on a fart as much as I did during this time. Any sort of humility and decorum had long gone.

The fart never came.

Instead, I got another NG tube and was having litres of dark green fluid syringed out of my stomach. I had another CT scan because they thought I had a leak from where the new bits of intestines were joined together. Fortunately I did not have a leak - I guess things were just going to take their time and test me physically and mentally as we went on. But yeah sure. Was in hospital for a little while and then once I'd done the enigmatic poo we'd all been waiting for, it was time to head home again and start the next stage of recovery.

Recovery took longer than I'd thought and hoped it would, but I also knew I couldn't push myself too much. To go slow, rest, look after myself. And after six weeks or so I was miles off the state I was in before my operation and I felt able to look forward to the good bits.


Side note - Probably worth mentioning here that a kidney consultant rang in Autumn last year to discuss the CT scans I'd had when an inpatient in March. Turns out I have a couple of kidney stones knocking around. After many a phone appointment and consultations in hospital since, I'm now actually waiting on another operation in the next few weeks. 

I want to do my walk before I'm back in another post-op recovery period. If you'd like to help my fundraising, the link is below...

Harriet's Walking - Walk It 2021

Thank you in advance, you wonderful people.



Wednesday 14 April 2021

Oh hello again...

I mean, I’ll be honest when I say I thought this initial post would essentially be a quick catch up from the last post with a nod to the hiatus. But it seems I haven’t posted since April 2019 and in the words of Ted Hastings from Line of Duty: “Mother of God!” Haven’t things changed since then!?

As I don’t have 2 year pregnancies like elephants, I did of course go on to have our second baby in the Summer of 2019; a little boy who decided to arrive 5 weeks early. He’s a dreamboat who’s now 1.5yrs and doing wonderfully. My eldest son is due to start school this year and we’ve just got a Cockapoo pup. We’re a busy little unit, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Oh, also not sure if I mentioned at any point that our cat now only has three legs? We can save that for another time. We must press on!

But where do you even begin with the shitshow that was 2020? Apart from the obvious angle of a global pandemic which turned the whole year (and world) upside down. I feel like if ever there was a year when I should have been writing as a therapeutic tool, it was probably 2020. But I didn't. I suppose 2020 felt like frequent information overload and so subconsciously I spent time to take in what was happening around me. And now I guess it feels a bit like maybe it's worth trying to vocalise my adjusting to the ‘new normal’, negotiating through the uncertain future plans and what that might look like. Equally it is impossible for me to look at last year and not acknowledge that from a Crohn's point of view, it was the hardest year I've had in bloody ages. What. A. Joy.

I want to talk through all that in separate posts though, as it was a wonky old time and, I don’t know, it feels a bit heavy. However I need to put it out there so I can finally process it all? From shielding and being an extremely vulnerable to the time I actually shat out my mouth due to an intestinal blockage - it’ll be quite the literary ride!

Hope to have you join me. It’s nice to be back.


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