After sharing my health sorry so far and while I am awaiting diagnosis I am very honoured to be hosting blog posts from other bloggers about heath conditions they or their loved ones face everyday
Today on my Health Story Series is the lovely Cat who writes a wonderful blog, Rock And Roll Pussycat where she writes beautifully about life with her husband and son and today she has written a post on what the effects are of living with someone with Crohns Disease.
You can also find Cat here:
What is Crohns disease and how does it affect family life?
Crohn’s disease has had a massive effect on our family life for the last 30 years, after my Mam Jennifer was diagnosed just after my 2nd birthday.
For those of you that don’t know, Crohn’s is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system or gut and comes under the same medical wing as Ulcerative Colitis, though does have a different effect on the body. Crohn’s can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, all the way from the mouth to the anus, but ulcerative colitis affects only the large intestine. The inflammation can cause further problems such as fistula’s within the intestines, strictures (narrowing of intestines) fissures and in my Mams case, abscesses.
It’s a chronic condition that will never go away, though can be ‘managed’ with medication and dietary changes to reduce ‘flare ups’. No diagnosis is the same, it affects each sufferer individually and there are varying levels of severity. There’s no definite known cause of Crohn’s though Doctors do believe it is genetic and can be hereditary.
A diagnosis of Crohn’s will often lead to surgery to try and repair damage within the bowel, they cut away the unhealthy part of the bowel before re-joining the healthy ends together.
Unfortunately my Mam has very severe Crohn’s and to date has had ten major operations (including 4 bowel resections). She also suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pernicious anaemia both of which are linked to Crohn’s and the immune system.
She has had a really rough time over the years to say the least. I’ve said my last goodbyes four times now, the first time when I was 8 years old.
Now that I’m a Mother myself, I appreciate the struggle and pain she must have gone through to give me a great childhood. My Dad wasn’t around but I was lucky in that my Maternal grandparents were the best you could have wished for. They lived with me every time my Mam was admitted into hospital for a lengthy period. They fed me, cared for me and helped grow when my Mam wasn’t able to. It must have been so hard for my Mam missing out on so much of my childhood, not being able to run around, planning every trip out around where the nearest toilets were and relying on her parents for so much help and support.
Some of the main symptoms for my Mam are abdominal pain and diarrhoea, extreme tiredness, dramatic weight loss and Anaemia. When I was 8 my Mam weighed less than 5 stone. She couldn’t keep food or liquids in, her bones stuck out and she was so poorly. She was finally admitted into hospital after collapsing at a routine bloods appointment at the local GP’s. She remained in hospital for 20 weeks. 20 weeks of nightly hospital visits with my elderly grandparents, 20 weeks of worrying that a teacher would call me out of my class to tell me my Mother had died. Probably the worst time of my young life.
Back in those days, the Doctors at our local hospital weren’t so knowledgeable about Crohn’s, there wasn’t a specialist based there and a lot of the treatment was trial and error. Over the years my Mam was Guinea pig for various types of medication and experimental treatments, some helped, some made her worse. It’s only in recent years that they found a medication that has helped stabilise her condition somewhat.
Crohn’s has had a hugely emotional and practical impact on our family life. My Mam has learnt to live with only a few inches of bowel remaining. She’s really restricted with what she can do as she can’t eat for around 24 hours before she has to go somewhere otherwise she has to stay within a short distance of a toilet. I worry constantly and become really anxious if I’m unable to get in touch with her on the phone especially as she gets older.
She’s fought hard to see me grow up and I feel extremely grateful that she’s able to see her only grand child grow up but I seriously wish Crohn’s disease would bugger off!
Thank you so much Cat for sharing this really sensitive post with us and sharing what its like to live with someone with this awful and chronic condition.
Why not pop over and see what else Cat is writing about over on her blog Rock And Roll Pussycat