Feb. 24, 2020
Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, affecting more than 300,000 people in the UK. There's no known cure and living with these conditions can be a daily struggle both physically or mentally.
Rachel was recently diagnosed and you can read her candid words below. Crohn's & Colitis UK were there for Rachel during that difficult period and that's why she's facing her extreme fear of heights to raise money for them.
We'll be dangling Rachel on a tiny rope from 262 feet and then slowly (very slowly) lowering her back to the ground. She'll be screaming all the way down, but it's ok because we've been assured by the organisers that it's so high up that we won't hear anything.
Rachel really, really, really doesn't want to do this so please help us make sure it's at worthwhile! Any and all donations are greatly appreciated.
In October 2016, something happened to my body and my health started to deteriorate. I originally put this down to me being at university and living off fish fingers and noodles (with the occasional salad!). Over the course of that October, I lost a stone in weight and ended up in hospital almost on a weekly basis in the most agonizing pain I have ever experienced. Almost like my insides were being ripped out, to the point where I had a few blackouts just from the excruciating pain.
Fast forward a few years, and after several hospital trips, countless appointments, repeating everything to different specialists, I got my diagnosis - Crohn’s Disease.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease which affects the digestive tract. It causes ulceration and inflammation, in my case of the small colon, which affects the body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrients and eliminate waste in a healthy way. It tends to take years to diagnose as symptoms of most Inflammatory Bowel Diseases present in very similar ways. Crohn’s is also a life-long condition with no cure.
‘Living with Crohn’s’ and ‘having Crohn’s’ are two very different feelings. Having Crohn’s means taking care of my diet, cutting out foods that I know aren’t good for me, taking medication, and generally just looking after myself. Living with Crohn’s is much worse.
What comes with Crohn’s is a whole load of poop (punny). The hardest part is accepting. Accepting that what you have is going to make your life a bit difficult. You can’t go anywhere without googling where the nearest toilets are, you worry that the woman who sneezed on you on the tube is going to make you ill because when you get ill you don’t just get the sniffles, it’s a month of trying to recover. You worry that everyone is going to judge you because of the shame you feel for yourself. And the anxiety. The worry that this is your life. You’re going to suffer from nausea and chronic fatigue for the rest of life. You hate looking in the mirror because of the weight loss, followed by the weight gain and bloating. You panic thinking one day you’re going to end up in the hospital again, and this time will need a stoma bag because it got worse.
I felt alone when I was diagnosed. I was the only one out of all my friends to have a lifelong disease, so I contacted Crohn’s and Colitis UK. I remember crying down the phone and finally just letting it all out. They spoke about the disease and sent me documents so I could really learn about what I have. They helped me gain the courage to start speaking out about it and not feeling ashamed or embarrassed that sometimes my digestive system just fails on me.
There’s a lot more to my story. A lot more courage that I as a person need to start accepting and speaking about. But with the support Crohn’s and Colitis gave me, I want to give something back. So, with the help of 2Simple, we are raising money and I’m doing one of the things that absolutely terrifies me. Abseiling! Falling from a great height is one of my biggest fears and so to give back to a charity that has helped me, I’m going to do it. As Crohn’s and Colitis would say: It takes guts.