The Chronic Illness Tag.

I came across this tag a few months ago, and it has been sitting in my drafts for ages, so I thought I would finally get on with it. My illness is something that I am very open about, not because it is something that defines me, but because it is a part of me. Hopefully, this tag will raise some awareness and if you have any questions, do feel free to leave a comment below.

1) What Illness Do You Have?
I suffer from a form of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) called Ulcerative Colitis.

2) When Were You Diagnosed?
I was diagnosed in June of 2016, about 4 days before I went to New York for the week, so I was very drugged up on steroids!

3) Have You Ever Been Hospitalised
I have, a few different time for a few different things, but in terms of it being due to my illness, it was around the end of summer 2017. It was pretty bad and I was in the hospital for 11 days, and the doctors were fairly sure I would need to have urgent surgery due to having been undertreated.

4) Have You Ever Had Surgery
I have had surgery, but nothing relating to my condition thankfully. As I said I was very close to needing surgery when I was admitted to hospital in 2017, but I’m glad things didn’t end up that way.

5) Do You Take Any Medication
I’m currently on an immunosuppressant called Azathioprine as well as using a biologic called Vedolizumab.

6) What Do You Wish People Knew About Chronic Illness
I wish that people understood that just because you look okay, or seem like you might be having a great time, does not necessarily mean that you ARE okay. Despite me having a great time, laughing and joking does not mean that I’m not struggling, have been struggling, will struggle.

7) How Can Awareness Be Raised
By talking. That’s the simplest answer, yet it seems to be the most difficult for some. Talk to people, tell them that you’re struggling, explain what the illness is because if you don’t explain it to people, people can’t understand it and by default don’t talk about it.

8) Who Knows About Your Illness
I’m very open about my illness, if people ask or have questions, I will happily chat about it and answer their questions. The majority of my family and a few of my friends know, but as I say, I’m not exactly shy about so there’s probably loads of people that know that I don’t even realise know, through them reading a blog post or seeing something on Twitter.

9) How Do Your Illnesses Affect Your Life
Except for feeling tired and achy sometimes, it doesn’t really. I still live my life day to day like anyone else does. The only difference is that I need to take medication to keep things running smoothly. On a really bad day, the brain fog can be really bad and I’ll struggle to keep a conversation going, or retain any information. But those days are very few and far between these days.

10) If You Could Tell The Medical Community One Thing About Your Illness, What Would You Tell Them?
I wish you would listen. I was passed from pillar to post for a good few years with my symptoms, that in the end, it was something I ignored. Which only lead me to be iller and having to pause my whole life, just to try and get things back on track. If someone had really listened all those years ago and hadn’t just told me it was ‘woman problems’, or had actually bothered doing some tests, maybe it wouldn’t have to be treated as harshly as it is now. It takes two minutes to really listen, or book a test, or at least put a patients mind at ease.

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