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.


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