31 December 2013

My Memory Jar....

It has been a whole 365 days since someone mentioned the idea of a memory jar to me. How time flies!

The object of the Memory Jar is for you to note down all of the special outings, happenings or celebrations that happen over the year. Starting on January 1st right up until December 31st. So you jot everything down on all sorts of note paper, coloured card and stick them into the jar. All kinds of treasures can also be included as there are no rules, cinema tickets, leaflets or flyers...but maybe avoid putting anything in there that may stink!  Once your jar is stuffed to the brim and believe me your jar will soon fill up you are not permitted to open or look at what is inside until December 31st.

When I first heard about it I thought I would give it a go as what harm could it do. A year on and I am so so glad I have done a Memory Jar. With today being December 31st I can not WAIT to open the jar to remember all of those special moments I may have put to the back of my mind. I can already tell you that I have forgotten half of the things I jotted down. From returning back to college and getting my exam results to special days out with family to starting a new blog, I find it crazy how much can change in a year.

I plan to select the best memories and place them in a scrap book so I can look back with fondness over the coming years.

Why don't you give a Memory Jar a try this year and of course do let me know if you plan on starting one yourself!!
You will be surprised how much can change!

29 December 2013


I feel it is safe to say that you can not understand Anxiety until you have experienced it yourself. Over the years I have heard people talk about suffering with Anxiety, I have felt for them and given my sympathy.

I am very new to Anxiety and wouldn't wish it upon anyone, it is horrible. Your body gets spooked by something, maybe having to face a large room of people or having to visit the dentist... which is when your body goes into 'fight or flight mode'. My Anxiety is most definitely linked to my Ulcerative Colitis. When I get panicked I start shaking/trembling and my knees go to jelly, I sweat, cry and get a feeling of having to flee the current situation. For me, it is definitely flight mode ha.

It is the strangest feeling to have your body react almost independently to your own rational thoughts. What's worse is that you know you are being silly but that does nothing to stem your body's panicked reaction. Afterwards I can find the funny side to having jelly legs, but it is exhausting and leaves you drained. The rush of adrenaline is crazy and your body is just off doing its own thing.

At times it gets incredibly frustrating as there are times I want to go places but the Anxiety will trigger and by the time the sweating, trembling, jelly legs and crying have all stopped... I'm too tired to go out.

I have been lucky in the fact of not suffering with Anxiety until now. I get anxious when I need to be at an appointment or when I am meeting someone at a set time. I don't want to let the people down but I have no control over by body's reaction. I used to think Anxiety was a bad case of nerves, but after suffering with it myself I can see and know first hand how debilitating it can actually be. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. 

I have read that Anxiety is common amongst the Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's Disease and IBD community.Which when you think about it, isn't that surprising. I wish someone had pointed this out to me before hand as I thought it was something I had brought upon myself. 
Turns out we all get anxious about needing bathroom trips whilst out and about or fearing we will leave friends standing alone as we dash off home to the comfort of our own bathrooms.  

I am determined to over come it as I am doing with my Ulcerative Colitis and everything else life seems to think is appropriate to throw my way! Bring it on world... I'm ready for you!!

23 December 2013


I am finding this blog a really helpful way of getting used to the idea of living along side my Ulcerative Colitis. I guess as much as I hate it, it is now part of my package.

I have done quiet a bit of thinking over the past few days and have really noticed how I have been neglecting friends. Anyone who suffers from Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis will know how difficult it is to be upfront and honest with friends about our illness. We tend to sugar-coat things and leave out all of the horrible side effects. When you think about it we have a pretty serious illness, which isn't going to go away anytime soon.

I have made numerous attempts to explain to friends why I decline invites or no longer show enthusiasm when they plan trips away and so forth. The truth is I envy them, the way they can just pack their bags feeling care free and do whatever they like.

So I decided it was time to try and explain a little more about why I have been so elusive. Trouble is I can no longer type my text messages as I am crying my eyes out. Anyone who is following my blog will see how last night I was on cloud 9 feeling really brave and positive. Well just look at me now HA back to earth with a hefty bump!

Trying to explain is hard. How much do I tell them? How much of it will they really understand? At the minute I am under the impression they just think I'm being a really sh*tty friend. I'm not a crap friend, I try really hard to keep in touch via phone/post. The truth is that Ulcerative Colitis does get in the way, it does stop us from doing the things we would have never thought twice about. Friends can be really understanding and supportive, I guess I should give them more credit.

What do I have to lose? I shall continue sending some more or better explanations to friends and I will of course let you all know how I get on. I'm not going to lie, opening up is really hard.
Wish me luck :)

*Follow up*

So I told my friends. I told them I was sorry for being so elusive and that I really don't enjoy turning down invites, that the truth was that sometimes I am simply just too poorly. I attempted to let them in on how serious my illness can actually be. How I am at a stage where I am just so emotionally drained. What response did I get I'm sure you're all wondering...well...

IT WAS AMAZING! Many of them sent back huge messages of support, telling me I was thinking far too much into things and how they loved me unconditionally. They reassured me that I am not a pathetic friend and how much they value my friendship. I guess the outcome was that even though to us suffering with Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn's Disease the illness consumes us at times, it turns out that friends see all the good and positive things within us that we sometimes forget or find hard to see.

If you are reading this and thinking maybe you should be a little more honest with friends, wanting to let them in a little bit more, my advice would be to do it. DO IT!! Be upfront and honest because like me you may just be surprised on the reaction you receive.
This time I am wishing you luck :) 

22 December 2013


Support comes in all shapes and forms.

The support from my workplace to me having Inflammatory Bowel Disease has been mixed. I used to be a key player in the work team, I worked hard and was doing well in climbing the career ladder. My management have been supportive, they have moved me into the quiet office where I now do a little admin work. There are days when I get asked too much of and days I feel that the support is lacking, but I am often surprised by the kind response I get when I call in sick.
Colleagues are rather nosy and judgmental. I understand they think I am getting preferential treatment but they tend to be rude in the way they ask questions. I have had to learn to ignore people and their outspoken opinions! (easier said than done.)

Friends can sometimes be wonderful and I find myself wondering how it is I still have friends when I spend so much time being poorly. I try my best to explain why I can't make certain trips or accept invites. It is safe to say that you truly learn who you can count on when you become unwell. I have lost touch with a few along the way but deep down I am still the same person I was before my illness and am always on the phone trying my best to support them as much as they do me.

The medical staff I have dealt with have been marvelous, although my consultant is outspoken and pushy HA! 'Are you back in work yet?! Why not?!' In all fairness I think I need that push some days, although I hate to admit that he is sometimes right.

Family I would say are the shining stars...and also the biggest head ache. They are angels when I cancel plans that I have made the previous day due to not feeling great. They understand why I may be wary to do certain activities or spend hours on a day out. Family are very tolerant, as my mother's new saying goes 'I'm used to you by now!!' Though there are times when even they just simply don't get it!!

Nobody knows the physical side or can contemplate the emotions that come with such an illness. I have been extremely determined and hopeful about my Ulcerative Colitis but the cracks are starting to show. My emotions can get the better of me some days I'm not afraid to admit. There are days I think why me? Days when I think about my mortality, wouldn't it be simpler? Days I laugh, smile and think life isn't so bad after all.

The best support I have had is from the Crohn's and Colitis Uk website and the fellow champions on their forum. No questions are off limits, everyone asks whatever is concerning them and people find ways to inspire and laugh again.

So to everyone who ever has, is or will support me in future a huge thank you to you all!

Ulcerative Colitis awareness.

I find telling people about my illness sometimes frustrating, sometimes embarrassing but most of all I feel deflated that nobody has heard about Ulcerative colitis!

I am often asked 'what's wrong?' to which I reply 'I have Ulcerative Colitis' then comes a puzzled look and 'aww bless you' so I find it amusing to put them on the spot and question them 'You have no idea what that is do you?' and the response I get every single time is 'Nope!'.
I ask 'Have you heard of Crohn's Disease?' to which I regularly get 'yes I've heard of that one' which I must say knocks the wind out of my sails a little.

I usually spend a few minutes covering the very vague basics of the illness and am surprised to learn that many have heard of or know someone who suffers from either Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's Disease, except it is not discussed.
Although there are days when I simply can't find the effort/strength to explain.

I know; I know it is embarrassing to discuss Inflammatory Bowel Disease but the more we can talk about it, the more awareness and the more effort that will go into finding a cure!

Please help those, suffering every single day by raising awareness.

21 December 2013

Lets talk Ulcerative Colitis...

People don't like to talk about Ulcerative Colitis which is probably why you have never heard of it. Not to worry though as until 4 years ago I had never heard of it either... now I am stuck with it Ha!

Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease which affects part of or all of the colon. Basically we all have good bacteria which is found in our colon, this bacteria works every day to fight off any bad bacteria or disease and for most people it causes no trouble at all.
For those of us with Ulcerative Colitis it's thought that our good bacteria is working overtime, trying to fight off an infection which is not there causing more harm than good.

Ulcerative Colitis is a life long incurable illness and it can only be managed with periods of 'remission'. Some people opt for surgery to try and eradicate it but this is a gamble and one which for me is definitely a last resort.

There needs to be more awareness of Ulcerative Colitis in order for more people to hear about the condition which hopefully with lead to more research and the thing we all hope for... a cure.
Please help by sharing my blog so I can share my journey with you all and show how much this condition effects people every single day and the human side to illness.