Monday, 28 March 2011

Highway to Hell

A conversation (or more appropriately, argument) with my mother today regarding Lent and the idea of "giving up" certain habits/food stuffs for 40 days and nights led me to ponder on what I have "given up" due to the arrival of Crohn's into my day to day life. 
The gist of the conversation-argument hybrid (lets call it a 'converment') was based on Mum thinking its acceptable to eat Jaffa Cakes during Lent (having given up "sweet things" and alcohol) as they are "only biscuits". Now we all know that beloved Jaffa's are both 'sweet' AND 'cakes' therefore she was shot down in flames. How appropriate. She still bought the Jaffa's though. 
Anyway i've calculated that during the course of the last year i've had to give up on spicy foods, milk and strangely have lost my chocolate addiction, replacing it with crisps. Can't eat much in the way of red meat, green vegetables, ice cream, pasta, cheese or bread.
I've absolutely no idea what any of that means medically or scientifically but I do know it's balls.
So strange that now I have an amazing appetite and could eat for Scotland but there is really nothing tickling my tastebuds! Irritating and frustrating but at least I'm not burning in Hell over a packet of Jaffa Cakes. Shame on you Mum :)

Monday, 21 March 2011

(Drug) Trials and Tribulations

I'm now over a week into my drug trial. The first 7 days were fine, the 8th and 9th not so good - muchos vomiting and constant queasiness, dizziness and a 48 hour headache. This could be attributed to the affects of the drug or... a possible bout of food poisoning due to my lack of skills in the kitchen. Hoping its the latter as this trial lasts for 3 years! Hopefully my cooking skills have time to improve in that length of time, although its highly unlikely.
The basis of this trial is to establish if Crohns's post-op is better treated with a drug called Mercaptopurine or nothing at all. Therefore the pills I am taking are either the drug or a placebo. I wont know which one until the trial is over and i'll be monitored over the next 3 years with regular appointments, blood tests and unfortunately, regular colonoscopies. Not pleasant but it means the doctors will be able to spot any potential problems more quickly than would have done otherwise, and hopefully act on them before another big flare-up.
So a long road ahead, slightly on edge watching for any changes in my body or if i'm feeling any different, and its early days but so far so good.
Off now to make some lunch... wish me luck!

Monday, 14 March 2011

For Crohn's and Country

Doing a spot of Crohn's related 'googling' (the unofficial term), has lead me to discover the various well-known people throughout history who have also been Crohn's sufferers.
The most notable being Alfred The Great, born 849 and King of Wessex from 871 to 899.
The Royal Society of Medicine were made aware of the monarch's condition through a book written at the time by Asser, King Alfred's Welsh bishop and "admirer". He tells us that after Alfred had married he participated in a "grand feast" which lasted for a day and a night and he was "struck without warning in the presence of the entire gathering by a sudden and severe pain that was quite unknown to all physicians". Many around him alleged this had happened "through the spells and witchcraft of those around him, or the Devil who is always envious of good men".
In my case my 'grand feast' consisted of a baked tattie which 'lasted for' half an hour. I was also 'struck without warning' but 'in the presence' of my Mum and Dad. Thankfully they advised rather than consult a witch-doctor I should take a trip to the conventional doctors Surgery. Sensible. Unfortunately, Dr Bell (The Devil in this scenario) was presumably 'envious of a good woman' and sent me on my way with some indigestion tablets. 
Asser advises that the "stricken Monarch" despite his symptoms "was able to pursue matters of state and the things that gave him pleasure with some energy". I am also able to complete my online Tesco shop and enjoy Coronation Street 'with some energy'.
So, in conclusion, I am not in any way trying to compare my my meager self with royalty, how dare I?! 
However, I do feel Great. ;) 

Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Nightmare before Crohn's

The diagnosis of Crohn's can be challenging to say the least. Several tests are required to assist in making the diagnosis. In my case I was initially told I had appendicitis and sent straight to another hospital to have my blasted appendix removed. This was obviously not the case and several months of further blood tests, CT scans, MRI scans and a final Colonoscopy finally confirmed the doctors suspicions I had Crohn's.
The strange thing was when I finally was advised of having this condition the relief was incredible. No more did I have to quietly worry I was a massive hypochondriac, wonder why I was feeling faint and sick after a few bites of food, wonder why toilet times were so traumatic and I was always bloated and sore. Although the doctors explained this was not a curable disease I was so much more hopeful that soon they would be able to start some form of treatment and I would start to feel better.
Now, after my surgery the difference is incredible, I feel almost normal! And although this is never going away and I may need surgery again (and again) in the future I can now enjoy a meal without pain and can start to make plans without worry i'm going to collapse in a heap or have to rush for the nearest loo every 5minutes.
I recently met a lovely woman in the dreaded waiting room at the hospital. We got chatting and she told me she also has Crohn's and has is currently waiting for her 14th operation. She has no bowel left and a colostomy bag, struggles to walk and weighs next to nothing, but is the cheeriest and most optimistic woman i've come across in a long time.
You, lady with no name, are awesome.