Trust your guts

listen to your gutHow often have we all heard that phrase? Before being diagnosed that sentence always went over my head, but ever since being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, it has taken a whole new meaning for me.

My symptoms started as a 15 year old, I started to get intermittent stomach pains and lost my appetite. I was already under a paediatric GI for coeliac disease so I discussed things with them and they organised a long list of blood tests, an ultrasound scan and a barium meal follow through.
We were told that nothing ‘significant’ had shown up and since I wasn’t loosing huge amounts of weight, it was best to leave things as they were for now, my GI thought he had put me through enough.

As the years went by, my symptoms came and went in cycles, although there was no pattern or set length. When I switched to an adult GI, things took a bit of a turn, I’d had over six months of constant, worsening, pain, my appetite was nonexistent and I’d lost a fair amount of weight. I went to see my GPs numerous times between hospital visits, and apart from one ultrasound, it got me nowhere, they kept insisting that there was nothing majorly wrong, and that it may well ‘sort itself out’.

After a year of this, I finally got back in with my GI and told him what was happening, although he didn’t seem overly concerned, he did finally order an MRI scan which I got almost three months later.

By this point, I was going off to university to study child nursing, once I was there, things evidently got worse, I lost about a stone in just three months, and I started having episodes of vomiting. I landed in hospital three times, each time being offered a different explanation, none of which seemed to fit.

Eventually, the hospital back home contacted me and said that they had been asked to arrange a colonoscopy, I called my consultant for a reason and he said the MRI had shown inflammation, this was two months after the scan had taken place (they told me at the time I’d hear back in 10 days maximum). By this point, I was forced to leave university and was struggling to eat anything at all.

listen-to-your-body-info-297x300I finally got my diagnosis of Crohn’s less than a month before my 20th birthday, almost five whole years after my symptoms first started and was told that my original follow through exam had shown some small abnormalities. All along my guts were telling me that something wasn’t right, I knew more needed to be done, but at times felt that there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Since the diagnosis, I have pledged to always listen to my guts, (and the rest of my body for that matter) they have always been honest, and I will push as hard as it takes for as long as it takes to make the doctors listen too!

 

Written by Nicola from glutenfreecookiemonster