14 May 2014
WORLD IBD DAY - 19th MAY 2014
What on earth is 'World IBD Day' and why are people celebrating it?!
World IBD Day stands for 'World Inflammatory Bowel Disease Day' and it is a chance for over 5 million people worldwide who are diagnosed with either Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis to stand united and share awareness with the world about these life long, life altering illnesses.
Which brings me onto why I'm celebrating etc.
This will be the 5th year since I began getting sick with what turned out to be Ulcerative Colitis, so I am partly going to use World IBD Day as a bit of a 5 year anniversary mark and have a bit of a knees up! (except for no alcohol as that makes us poorly - ok well maybe I'll have a REALLY small tipple) It is a celebration after all right?!
Why is this my first time celebrating it?
This will be the first year I am celebrating World IBD Day as simply - I had never even heard about it before!! I began blogging less than 6 months prior to writing this post and before then I had no access or intentions of learning anything more about Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis than what the doctors told me. How my thinking has changed on THAT!! I have realized the importance that doctors don't always know the best options and have learnt how important it is to arm yourself with knowledge to steer the treatment in a direction which you think will work best for you (but that's a story for another time).
So - Should we 'celebrate' an illness that has changed our lives, tried to kill us, taken away so much and carved out a new path for us all?
Of late I have found it really hard to find/look for the positives to a chronic illness. Those who simply just get on with it seem so far out of reach to me at this moment in time. Though I am too quick to forget that in the last 5 years since becoming unwell I too have gained things I never would have imagined I would have were it not for my diagnosis.
It is no secret that IBD makes you a stronger person for you have not much of an alternative - to crumble is simply not an option (although wallowing is highly allowed as long as its not for too long) but aside from gaining strength I never imagined I would have gained, what else have I learnt?. I have learnt the value of real friendships, I learnt the importance of 'life', I learnt to take time out and 'enjoy' the simple pleasures in life - all of those things I simply never had time for in my prior busy, overworked, overrun, overstretched hectic life. I never got to enjoy the small things in life.
I returned to education which is something I always wanted to do but again was too busy to find the time. Since I became unwell I MADE the time to go back and study. I did extremely well, whether it was because I was older, wiser, more focused or was able to do it at my own pace - I managed to achieve the highest grade/marks I have ever had. It was such a magical day when I opened my results paper. I think I may have even let out a small squeal of delight!! Well done me!! You see, with all the bombardment of the negatives thanks to IBD it's far too easy to forget the 'not so bad's'.
I have made AMAZING online friends!! I have become a BLOGGER!! Never had I ever invisioned myself blogging, to be honest I had nothing worthwhile to talk about. Now look at me :) Spreading a bit of comfort, education, support and hopefully the odd bit of laughter here and there. I mean to be able to communicate, laugh, cry, support one another who are going through the exact same trials and tribulations as you is a feeling like no other! Even though these last few months have been the toughest (emotionally) since my Ulcerative Colitis journey started I too have never laughed so much in all of my days!! :)
I'm sure there are more 'not so bad's' about having IBD but let's move on with the blog post...
Therefore needless to say that come this World IBD Day (May 19th) I will be holding up a glass of my favourite alcoholic beverage and I will be saying 'well done you - you survived 5 years of this life changing illness. You didn't give up hope, you overcame SO much and you have your whole future ahead of you....even if it wont be how you originally imagined it would go.'
I too have a BIG event planned, I shall be cutting 8 inches of my hair off whilst raising funds for Crohn's and Colitis UK then later donating the hair to the Little Princess Trust. To read all about my fundraising challenge simply CLICK HERE to see how I shall be raising awareness on my side of the pond.
How you can get involved?!
Whether you plan a hike, marathon, bake-shale, lemonade stand, tea party or charity event. Whether you are wearing odd socks, wearing purple or painting social media purple (the colour associated with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) make sure you do it with a huge smile on your face!! I have no doubt there will be lots going on in the IBD online and offline communities, so be sure to show your support to them and GET INVOLVED or simply hold your own little tea party from the comfort of your own home. The main reasons for World IBD Day is to RAISE AWARENESS, create/spark CONVERSATION and EDUCATE the public on what Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are and what life is like with these life changing illnesses.
Let us continue the trend of making 2014 the best year yet for IBD awareness. Let's keep the momentum going and throw ourselves a delightful celebration!!
Whichever way you decide to spend this World IBD Day - make sure it's one that makes you shout 'I HAVE IBD AND I AM LOUD, I AM UNASHAMED AND I AM KICKING ASS!!' Wooohoooo!!
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