Today’s date (15th March) is not what I’d call a special date in my life, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Seven years ago today I was officially diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a painful illness that unfortunately has me live in chronic pain on a daily basis.
As strange as it sounds it was actually a good thing to be diagnosed as it meant I could finally get some treatment for it. Growing up as a kid wasn’t particularly great, I tended to have pain but nowhere near as much as what I suffered with the week prior to 15th March.
Eight days before the 15th I started to feel ill. Really ill. I was in a ridiculous amount of pain, more than I’d ever had, but unfortunately doctors were clueless about the cause and left me with nothing by laxatives (which did more harm than good) and paracetemols (which did nothing).
I can still remember that level of pain, since then I’ve come close but have only ever had that level of pain again once. At that point my digestive system had totally closed up due to excessive internal bleeding and inflammation. I’ll save you the gory details but in short I was a goner.
I was rushed into hospital where an x-ray showed the severity of my situation. I had more wires in me than I care to remember, I can’t fully remember what I was being given but I do remember they gave me a few shots of morphine that put me to sleep instantly (eight days of no sleep will do that).
Before I got the injections I was told I’d be going to surgery, which was a scary prospect considering things were looking bleak. I don’t really want to have the thoughts I had when I was dropping off to sleep not knowing if I’d ever wake up ever again that’s for sure.
Obviously I did wake up, and when I did I found even more wires in me. It turned out I’d been asleep for quite a while and in that time one particular doctor had decided to see if steroid treatment would work before trying surgery. To most people’s surprise, it did. I don’t know how much got pumped into my veins but it started to reduce the inflammation, putting me on the (admittedly long) road to recovery. Considering just how bad I was, my recovery has been an absolute miracle.
To be honest I don’t really think about this all that much, but since that day when I was as good as dead, my life hasn’t been the same. Not just in the way I live it but in the person I am and how I live my life.
I have been reflecting on it all recently, sometimes I get annoyed because I’ve survived while other people in my life haven’t. It’s not that I’m not grateful to be alive, I just think Em deserves to be more than I.
In the seven years since I survived I’ve done so much with my life. I’ve picked up two high class degrees, travelled the world, helped children with the same illness as me (Crohn’s or UC), had some really good jobs, met some great people, and raised thousands of pounds for CICRA.
It’s the little things too, for example I just do things now that I would never have done before – throwing all caution to the wind. I always remember getting fed up, walking into my living room to randomly tell Em I was going to stop taking my meds (the side effects are shocking). A ridiculous notion that nobody thought would work. Four years later and I’m still here doing it without them (if any youngsters are reading this, do as I say not as I do!).
In all seriousness though, I’m actually quite proud of myself. I haven’t wasted a day since I got out of the hospital. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done some stupid things as well, but overall I’m pleased with the amount I’ve achieved.
Thinking about it, I’m not entirely sure the old me - the one before 15th March 2006 - would have been able to do all the stuff I’ve done. The guy I am now is far superior in every way. I’m physically fitter than I was back then, stronger, I have more endurance, and my adrenaline packs a ridiculous punch (admittedly thanks to certain meds). Admittedly I have trouble keeping weight on, for obvious reasons, and of course there’s the pain but other than that I’m much better!
Whatever I’ve set out to achieve I’ve done. No matter how hard it’s been I’ve done it and I’m proud of that. I’ve kept every promise and seized every day. I’ve picked up my degrees, have worked for some good companies, have a good job, the only thing I didn’t achieve was a wedding and that wasn’t exactly in my control.
In the last twelve months alone I’ve done loads. I ploughed myself through university while working as a marketer as a couple of organisations, landed a good job, all while dealing with a lot of stuff.
I also started writing for Nintendo Life too! Which has really been the best thing for me. I love writing, I love games, what more could I ask for?
Sure the past seven years have been tough, I’m not going to lie and say they’ve been a breeze. Last year was probably the hardest one of the lot, but in terms of Crohn’s I’m doing pretty well. Who knows what the next seven years will hold, but I want to make sure I get even more done than the last seven. I have a couple of projects on the go at the moment, I’m looking forward to seeing how they turn out.
I’m not sure what’s been making me think about this recently, I tend to take the route of burying it with everything else in my mind. It’s good to reflect on things though.
Today I got my Masters certificate through from uni, I’m a Master of Science with distinction. Could I have done that without Crohn’s moulding me into the person I am today? Who knows, all I know is the next time you think something’s impossible or that something is too hard, think again.
Anyway that’s enough rambling from me. I’m running the Manchester 10K in May for CICRA. If you’d like to sponsor me you can using this handy link. I can also put you on the paper form if you prefer.