The day started off in a relatively positive manner. They still hadn’t diagnosed me with anything in particular, it was still just IBD but it felt like whatever they were putting into my body was starting to work. For the first time since being admitted to hospital, and come to think of it since the day I went home from work ill, I had a shower by myself. I was so ill at home, I spent most days in bed and then that continued in hospital, it was just a baby wipe job or my Mum helped me because I was too weak to do anything myself. I never thought at the age of 22 my Mum would still have to be showering me. It felt odd and weird at first, but I’d rather it was my Mum than a nurse. So showering myself that day was a major thing for me, all the nurses seemed proud too and quite surprised that I’d done so. They were all worried when I’d been away from my bed for so long, and admittedly it did take me the best part of 45 minutes, but I did it.
It was later that day that I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, so it was then about treating it with steroids and other medications and getting my head round everything.
It was all so surreal because two weeks previously, I thought I just had a stomach bug from Turkey and then I was in hospital being told I’ve got this incurable disease – but they didn’t know what caused it and if I didn’t respond to the drugs they were going to start me on I’d need to have major surgery in the next few weeks, but they were confident I’d avoid that.
Everything was too much to deal with and I remember burying my head in the sand a lot.
It felt like suddenly I had this really scary diagnosis and a brand new consultant. Looking back now it seems like I had a different consultant for each stage of my treatment, but back then it just felt like as soon as I was starting to feel comfortable talking to someone about my bowel movements in as much detail as I was expected to, they’d just go. So it was week number two and consultant number two (although I had seen a few other doctors on MDU as well, not sure where they fit in still but they were talking about surgery from day one and reassuring me it wouldn’t happen any time soon. Oh how wrong they were…) Dr Goodings was lovely though, so were his junior doctors, I can not fault them one bit.
I didn’t really understand much about my diagnosis at first. From what I understood, my colon was really inflamed and as a result my immune system was attacking itself which was what caused the bloating, cramps, sickness, diarrhoea and everything else that was wrong with my body at the time. I wanted to google it but I was too scared, because google always tells you you’re dying and that’s exactly how I felt most days. I felt like I was on my death bed. I felt so physically weak and emotionally drained I did’t think I could keep going anymore, but I knew I had to.
The nurses had bought round a few leaflets for me to read about UC and treatment but my head wasn’t in the right place. My concentration levels were really low and it felt like I’d just been given a death sentence.