Because of today’s news story about Crohn’s on BBC Breakfast and Radio 1’s Newsbeat, alot of people with Crohn’s and IBD are feeling hard done by, attacked even. And all because some simple facts were said. Junk food legitimately COULD be a cause behind Crohn’s or IBD. But it’s only ONE of the possible causes. I understand why people have got a bit angry, but it can be rectified. But honestly, I think there’s some truth behind it. And I sent an email to Newsbeat detailing reasons why, because of my personal experience, but that’s just it, Crohn’s and IBD is a VERY individual thing. For instance, many with the disease have chronic diarrhoea. I never did until last year when my symptoms got super bad.
Anyway, the following is my email to the BBC, and basically my entire story with Crohn’s up until now.
I’m 24, and I was diagnosed in 2007 when I was 17, stressing over exams and working in McDonald’s(and eating the free meals during my break, junk food maybe?). The doctor first thought I just had anemia, due to tiredness and stuff, but after a few blood tests and a colonoscopy(fun!), it was deduced I had Crohn’s. The doctors were actually surprised I’d been diagnosed so fast. Which was kind of worrying…
My symptoms were mostly the cramping/pain, fatigue and weight loss at first. I was put on drugs to control it and I was fine for years. In 2010 there was a slight hiccup but nothing major.
Then in 2011 I decided I was going to work in China, (always wanted to go) and in January 2012 I went, with only 3 months worth of drugs. I could have got more, but it would have been complicated, so I decided to see how I went, and miraculously, I was fine! No tiredness, no pain(unless I ate the wrong things, which happen to be mostly vegetables), no issues whatsoever! I was living fine, eating spicy food, fried noodles/rice, meat buns, whatever, I had no problems. I think in the last couple of weeks before I came back in 2013 stress about coming home was causing a bit of pain, but it wasn’t till I actually got home till everything went downhill.
It was slow at first, but the pain came back, lack of energy, and then the weight loss began, along with vomiting and even some diarrhoea, which I had never suffered from before! I weighed about 80kg when I came back from China, and now I weigh 55kg, on a good day. I ended up being admitted to hospital in August for 2 weeks, then again in November for 2 weeks, completely screwing up my plans to find a job in Birmingham.
I was admitted again at the end of December, right after my birthday and christmas, I really didn’t want to be in over christmas, but I probably should have been.. I ended up staying in hospital for over 4 months… from the 27th of December to the 5th of May.
It was decided by my doctors and surgeon that I needed surgery, as the drugs weren’t working any more. And I couldn’t eat anything either, just threw everything up, so I had to be fed by a tube into my arm, they tried tubes down my throat but I always threw them up.
Surgery was planned for the beginning of March, I thought it would all go fine. Sadly not the case for me. I ended up with septicaemia, not once, but twice. Ended up with drainage tubes for the liquid gathered in my stomach, experienced the worst pain I have ever experienced and finally had a second surgery to correct the first, septicaemia again, I was completely out of it for a week or so, I remember nothing from the time I had the second and THIRD surgeries. I ended up with a jejunostomy and a stoma bag. Woke up in intensive care, still fairly groggy. It’s honestly painful to remember how bad I was, I had a gaping open wound because they couldn’t close it after the 3rd time, had to leave it heal on it’s own. Makes me actually want to cry.
Spent another month in hospital slowly recovering, getting strong enough till I’d actually be allowed home. And getting used to my stoma. Who I haven’t named, like alot of people do, I just swear at it profusely when it misbehaves while I’m changing it usually. On the upside, my stoma is only temporary hopefully, and it should be getting reversed in July, if all is well. Then I might be able to get back to real life.
I’d never made a big deal over my Crohn’s. Because I’d never had any big problems with it until recently. But right now I’m stuck at home with my parents in Norfolk, not really allowed out on my own even. I know they’re just worried, and with good reason, I was in trouble for a bit I know, on breathing tubes and god knows what else(was totally unaware of alot of this, I remember waking up for a bit and thinking I was in a hotel in London though XD).
So. Yeah. Thought you might liked to know, since I went to China, was fine, came back, all hell let loose. And I know for a fact the cases of stuff like Crohn’s have increased in China along with the presence of fast food like KFC and Mcdonalds, hell, they were crazy for Pizza Hut while I was there, but I think Japan is big on pizza too… either way. Seems like too much of a coincidence doesn’t it?
So make of this what you will. I for one am not too horrified or saddened by the junk food swing, cos I believe there could be some truth it in. For the reasons in the email above.