Sunday, 4 January 2015

My Story: Part 7

In January 2009 I went off all my Crohn's medication because I was pregnant. When the pregnancy test came up positive my Dr's first words were "Oh no". Not what you want to hear when you are pregnant. After that came the worst four weeks of my life. I had a blighted ovum. It means that you get pregnant and the fertilised egg implants but no baby grows. Because there is an implanted egg you have all the pregnancy symptoms and hormones but no baby. It was hell. To make sure that it wasn't just a slow growing baby, I had an ultrasound every week from 8 weeks through to 12 weeks. Often in these cases you'll miscarry, however I didn't. I had what they called a missed miscarriage so had to have an operation to get rid of everything. It was awful. I felt like I was aborting a baby even though I knew there was no baby. I felt pregnant so it didn't seem possible that I wasn't. Hell. I hope none of you have to go through that, it was horrible.

The Crohn's drugs probably had a lot to do with my blighted ovum. They are category 3 drugs which are the highest risk ones you can take during pregnancy. We hadn't planned to get pregnant and I was on birth control, but due to me not absorbing things properly, the birth control hadn't worked. 

By March 2009 I was working three and a half days a week. I was also catching the train to work. I started out catching the train one day a week and slowly worked up to catching it every day. When I first started catching the train I'd have several rest stops along the way. It'd take me half an hour to walk from the train to work, when I was healthy it only took me four minutes. 
I continued working those hours until I went on maternity leave in 2011.

I also started warming up. When I was sick, I was so cold. I've never been so cold in my life. I've always enjoyed winter and the cold weather but when I got sick I was freezing and I just couldn't get warm. It was like I was cold from the inside out, even my bones were cold. I felt like my bones were frozen and they were radiating the cold out through my flesh and freezing me from the inside out. Even in the warm weather (around 38 degrees) I wasn't hot. In that heat I'd feel like I was starting to thaw out, but I was still a little bit cold. Magically that feeling stopped at the end of 2009.

Slowly but surely things started to improve but it wasn't until 2011 that I really started to feel normal again. The pain had gone away, my energy levels were good and I felt like my old self. When I got pregnant with Chai I was worried that I'd have a flare up but I didn't. I was very, very worried that I'd have a flare up after I had him but again, I didn't. 

I'm very lucky to be able to say that other than a few minor flares I am still in remission. These days I lead a fairly normal life. I am careful with my diet, but no more careful than I was before I got sick (I've always liked to eat healthy food).

It's only in the last few months that I have stopped needing my vitamin b12 injections. I'm extremely pleased that I don't need the b12 shots, it means I'm absorbing b12 and that means my bowel is doing okay. 

I still get stomach pain every now and again, but it's pretty rare and the pain isn't bad, it's just a niggle. 

I'm one of the lucky ones. I know a lot of people who struggle daily. People who don't get better and have had parts of their bowel removed. I'm eternally grateful that I got better. 

When you've been gravely ill you don't take your health for granted, you know how precious it is and you know that without your health you have nothing. Despite it being an awful time in my life, I'm grateful for the lessons I learned. I learned who my friends are. I learned that I am bloody tough. I learned compassion and I came out of the experience a better, stronger person. For that I'll be eternally grateful.

That concludes my Crohn's story. I have many other stories that I'll tell over time but now it's over to you. If you have a story that you'd like to share (anonymously if you wish) send me an email.

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