Friday, 15 March 2013

Crohn’s and me: Seven years on

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.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sharing is Caring.

Since I started using Twitter my time spent on Facebook naturally decreased but recently I’ve all but stopped using Zuckerberg’s networking behemoth entirely. It got me thinking about why I’d stopped using it and the more I thought about it the more obvious the answers were. I don’t think it’s one specific reason but a collection of several…

There’s the the new Timeline feature which is a bit of a pain but I don’t think that’s the reason. When I first got it imposed on me I didn’t know what to do with it, but in time I figured it out and I don’t actually mind it that much. However the timeline does ruin the pages (or likes) feature as I’ve seen working in small businesses trying to build up their social network presence. It is abysmal for them and I’m still surprised it hasn’t been modified yet…

I think what annoys me the most about Facebook from an individual standpoint is the endless obsession with sharing everything. I mean, don’t get me wrong, sharing is great and all but I am getting a little fed up with being encouraged to do so all the time by Facebook. Tell us where you are! Update your status! Tell the world what you bought off Amazon! It’s all a bit bizarre…

Monday, 23 July 2012

Bird Watching.

Wimbledon has been and gone this year and I’m missing it already. Every time it comes around I get more than a little addicted to it and pretty much watch every available match when I can.

I do like tennis and would watch it a lot more if it was on terrestrial tele more. Maybe that’s why I get so excited when Wimbledon’s on because I’ve been starved of tennis for a whole year thanks to Sky having bought all the other tournaments like greedy little kids who come to birthday party buffets with Tupperware boxes.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Anyone for Tennis? - Mario Tennis Open Review.

Mario has certainly been in his fair share of sports game throughout his illustrious career. He’s had a stab at football, golf, tennis, volleyball, and hockey to name a few; he’s even an Olympian these days! Of all Mario’s sporting efforts though, the Mario Tennis franchise has been one of the most popular over the years and now 3DS owners will have the chance to take to the court with Mario Tennis Open.

It all began twelve years ago when Camelot released Mario Tennis on the N64, one of the best games on the console and my personal favourite tennis sim of all time! Okay, so Mario Tennis isn’t the most realistic tennis sim out there but I find it to be the most enjoyable! It’s essentially a simplified version of the sport with tonnes of action, loads of vibrancy, and the Mario Brothers instead of the Williams sisters. However saying that realism is definitely needed in some degree or the game simply doesn’t work. Just look at the below-bar Gamecube effort Mario Power Tennis where ‘power moves’ were added allowing the player to make an unreturnable shot once they'd built up enough power. The only way to return one of these shots was to have a power shot at your disposal too; you can probably see why this stopped the game from being a success.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Moving the line with the goalposts.

Unsurprisingly the goal-line technology debate has opened up again during Euro 2012 and what a surprise, it involves England!

This time however England actually benefitted from the incorrect refereeing decision during their group match against Ukraine. With England 1-0 up Ukraine were giving everything they had to grab themselves an equalising lifeline to stay in the tournament they’re co-hosting. In the 62nd minute they thought they’d got it when Marko Devic’s shot looped in to the goal but was scooped out by John Terry on the line.

When it first happened on live TV I thought it was definitely over the line but then I started doubting myself as there is a man with a Wii remote stood a few feet away to make a decision. Surely he’d get it right, it’s his only actual job for the evening but no, it turns out a quick video replay proved he was indeed wrong not to give Ukraine a goal as the ball had clearly crossed the line.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Bad Boycotting Behaviour.

This afternoon I was procrastinating on Twitter when I saw that someone had retweeted a tweet from The Sun about how overweight people could consume the Earth’s supply of food rendering us all to wallow in what they dubbed an ‘armaglutton’.

Pretty standard stuff from The Sun and the word armaglutton is pretty funny so why not retweet it, you’re well within your rights as a free citizen to do so.

This person did just that and was quickly told off by someone for retweeting the ‘vile’ newspaper that is The Sun asking them in no uncertain terms what was wrong with them. You may have already guessed but this person was indeed a Liverpool fan…

Friday, 15 June 2012

Take. My. Money. - Nintendo E3 Conference 2012.

So with the other two big hitters having done their conferences, it was left to Nintendo to close up with theirs and they did it a little differently this year. Instead of having one big conference they used other means to tell us all what they’re doing over the next year. First of all before the conference itself they did a Nintendo Direct to reveal a few things with the gamepad being the main news, then they had the conference itself where they focussed entirely on the Wii U and its games, and then they finished off with a 3DS showcase, showing off several upcoming 3DS games.

Compared to their big rivals, Nintendo’s conference was much more modest and humble. Whereas Sony had a ridiculous arena full of people, Nintendo used a much smaller venue to set the stage for the Wii U. This played out pretty well for Nintendo as it felt a lot more homely and it allowed Reggie Fils-Aime to do what he does best.