Friday, 18 October 2013

A pain in the bahookie...

Bahookie, noun (Scottish): one's backside, bottom or bum

I suppose I am quite a greedy person which is why one illness would never have been enough for me. If one is good then two must be better!

When I was 24 years old, I was diagnosed with the chronic bowel disease, Ulcerative Colitis. This is an inflammatory disease (the sister disease to Crohn's disease) that affects the large intestine and brings with it the kind of symptoms that people don't normally discuss! If you want all the juicy details, click here.

My road to diagnosis was, compared to many others, relatively smooth. I was having a tough time at work and had been signed off with stress (illness number 2 - come on down!). During that time, I noticed that I had some blood in my stool.

This is where I will take a break to apologise and inform you that one of the biggest symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis is the lowering of any embarrassment when talking about poop and etc. Where other people cringe, blush or suffer from abject horror, I can talk crap until the cows come home. This is the only (the one and only) symptom of UC that is contagious and I note that my family also talk crap on occasion!

Anyway, being of a certain generation and a nosey parker, I quickly went online to find out what was wrong with me. I self diagnosed myself and went to the doctor to tell him all about it.

I remember quite clearly telling him my symptoms with my mum beside me for support. In an attempt to alleviate my worries, my mum said to Mr Dr: "She's convinced herself she's got Crohn's disease!" The words "silly billy" were implied by the tone. Nobody obviously told Mr Dr that the correct response to such a statement is something along the lines of: "Don't worry - she hasn't." Not my doctor. He comes back with: "She probably has!"

Oh for heaven's sake! Wasn't he the same doc that just signed me off for stress? Do I look like I'm a calm, non-worrying sort of person? Thought not!

Anyway, what he lacked in tact, he more than made up for in doctoring when he managed to get me an appointment with the hospital with great haste.

To protect the innocent, I will now provide you with some words and allow you to fill in the details yourself.

Big lunch.
Hospital gown with gaping back.
Tea and toast.

Hospital toast is the best - isn't it? I remember vividly the surgeon/consultant-man coming over to me while I was lying in the bed, recovering, and told me I had UC.

My reaction: Cool - is there any more toast?

It was only once I'd bought myself a book about my disease that I realised the huge impact this potentially could have on me. I guess, when something doesn't have the word 'disease' in the title - you just don't seem to think it's that bad.

I'm now an old hand at this bowel business. Foam enemas, laxatives, colonoscopies, steroids, blood, guts and hospitals - I've had an education!

I'm now on 12 tablets a day to keep me under control (in body, at least) and haven't had a major flare up for about a year. Having at one time been on 28 tablets a day - I'm quite pleased with that!

I suppose that the reason for this walk down memory lane is because of how I've been feeling lately. I just don't feel great. I've been trying to come up with more descriptive words but that sums it up. I don't feel quite right.

Despite most people, most medical people anyway, assuring everyone that food doesn't make any difference to UC, I can't quite believe it. How? How is that possible?

Even though I believe that food can and does affect the disease, I have to hold my hands up and say that my diet is worse than atrocious. I'm actually ashamed of how badly I eat, when I eat, what I eat and if I eat. And I feel that I really suffer for it. Food hurts.

I have been contemplating an elimination diet where I go right back to the basics and start to reintroduce foods one by one until I see what makes a difference and what doesn't. I'm not sure if I've got the willpower for this, if I'm honest. Yet, should it work, my energy levels will increase, my bloating might disappear, my skin could improve and I just might start to feel AWESOME!

Surely there has to be some sort of sacrifice to get some potentially amazing benefits.

I'll let you know.


  1. I have been known to talk crap on occasion! :oD

  2. Tee hee. I mostly talk crap, too, but now I have an excuse!! :D


Thank you for your comments.