My name is Lucy Harman and I have an incurable autoimmune disease called Crohn’s. What’s Crohn's you ask? Well, to put it scientifically it a disease that causes my digestive system to get inflamed and covered in ulcers that cause internal bleeding and prevents my body from absorbing nutrients, hence causing malnutrition and dehydration. It triggers a disorder I also have called Anaemia which means my body doesn’t produce sufficient red blood cells to combat my blood loss from the disease. But to put it in simple terms, Crohn's is one massive pain in the ass...literally.
I have decided to start a blog to document my journey of being diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disease at 18 years olds, I want to show other Crohn's and Colitis warriors that they are not alone and give an insight to others into what our lives are like with constant hospital appointments, medication and having to fully adapt to my new lifestyle.
Before I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease I had never heard of it, most people when they think of autoimmune diseases think of MS or Lupus but in fact, In the UK it is estimated that 300,000 people suffer from IBD. Which roughly equates to 1 in every 210 people in the UK. Which is higher then both Lupus and MS. It is a Chronic Illness that can have a massive impact one the patients life, causing intolerable abdominal pain and extreme fatigue. It is referred to as an Invisible Illness as from the outside you wouldn't be able to tell someone has Crohn's, unless maybe they have an Ostomy Bag on show, which not all patients have. This can make it very difficult when disclosing your condition to someone as we are often met with the phrase 'oh well you don't look sick'.
Unfortunately there is a massive stigma around Inflammatory Bowel Disease and most people who are not aware of the diseases full impact think its just when you go to the toilet alot, which couldn't be less true. I was so terrified by my symptoms before diagnosis and so embarrassed that I didn't tell anyone, I mean who wants to call their mum when they're 18 and say you're constantly bleeding when you go to the toilet. It ended up getting so bad that I was rushed into hospital on Christmas Day completely malnourished and dehydrated because my body had started to completely shut down. That shouldn't ever happen to anyone, I want to raise awareness to allow people to help get diagnosed early so they do not have to experience a flare like I did.
I am going to be writing about Crohn's itself as I learn about it, my experience of living with this disease during the pandemic, Advice for those both with Crohn's and without Crohn's, and just in general document my journey. I aim to expose how difficult the fight with IBD is and the tough times we go through as Chronic Illness battlers but also show what amazing lives we can lead despite our conditions. I want to help to break the stigma and help Crohn's and Colitis become a more well known condition.
Thank You :)