Title: “I’m Fine?!” – Navigating Chronic and Mental Illness; without Faking ‘Fine’

Author: Kathleen Nicholls

Pages: 157 Pages

Publisher: Independently Published

The Blurb

Let’s face it, living with chronic illness is hard enough. Throw in mental health issues and that’s a whole other ball game most of us are too exhausted to play. I want to shed light on the often unspoken correlation between poor mental health and chronic illness. I aim to show you there is life after a diagnosis or either (or both), and how to adapt and thrive despite it all.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Having IBD is hard. It is damn hard. What is even harder is all the additional crap (pun intended) that comes along with it.

For some (and most definitely me) is the stress, anxiety, and emotional distress that can also come with having an IBD.

Kathleen Nicholls is the perfect person to talk about this topic because she has IBD and has suffered because of it.

I found I’m Fine comforting because someone else gets it on the same level as I do. Anxiety is different for everyone but knowing that someone else has similar symptoms due to the same underlying problem makes me feel less alone.

“I’m Fine?!” – Navigating Chronic and Mental Illness; without Faking ‘Fine’ by Kathleen Nicholls is available now.

For more information regarding Kathleen Nicholls (@kathfantastic) please visit www.kathfantastic.com.

Title: Entyvio Tablet – A Prescription Medicine Used in Adults with Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease

Author: James Lee Anderson

Pages: 96 Pages

Publisher: Amazon Media

The Blurb

“Although, your health condition may impact your everyday life, do not let it define who you are.”

ENTYVIO is a prescription medicine used in adults: (a) with moderate to severe active ulcerative colitis (UC) when certain other UC medicines have not worked well enough or cannot be tolerated, and (b) with moderate to severe active Crohn’s disease when certain other Crohn’s disease medicines have not worked well enough or cannot be tolerated.

Thanks and may you have a good understanding about this product—ENTYVIO. You may want to share this book with your family and friends who may be in need of help and would want to use this product. Take care, and as always, be well!

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in November 2012 and since then I have had a few setbacks. I have flared up and been seriously ill, hospitalised and also – thankfully – been in remission. Sadly, I am back to square one having an awful flare up (at the time of writing this review May 2018). I

Because of the nature of this illness and how much a person can help them self to get better I am a firm believer that knowledge is power so I have tried to consume as much information regarding Ulcerative Colitis as possible. What I have learned is that knowledge can also be a terrifying thing.

I read Entyvio Tablet because it is the new medication that I will be having (by the time this review is live I will be on my fourth infusion) and I swear I wish I had the blissful ignorance that I had before. The side effects are freaking scary. I know that you have to be warned about these things and that they don’t happen to everyone but in other cases of medication going catawampus I have tended to be the exception, not the rule.

I am glad I read Entyvio Tablet. I know what to expect and what to look out for but I do worry that reading it has made me hyper aware and may have turned me into a bit of a worrier.

Entyvio Tablet – A Prescription Medicine Used in Adults with Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease by James Lee Anderson is available now.

Fatigue FreeTitle: Fatigue Free with Crohn’s and Colitis – How Diet, Mindset and Lifestyle can Increase Your Energy when Living with IBD

Author: Greg Williams

Pages: 111 Pages

Publisher: Amazon Media

The Blurb

A complete guide to naturally overcoming fatigue / increasing your energy levels when suffering with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. This book takes the reader through the necessary steps in a clear simple way, and covers a large number of areas including diet, mindset, exercise, sleep, testing, toxin exposure and more. An absolute must for anyone who suffers with inflammatory bowel disease. Written by the leading expert in naturally helping sufferers of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis.

The Review

I’m always sceptical about ‘quick fixes’ and the pessimistic side of me thinks that if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is.

This is kind of how I feel about Greg Williams’ understanding of Colitis. I have Colitis and without trying to make a funny pun (but doing so anyway) it is a pain in the ass. Greg Williams’ book is pretty interesting. His reason for trying to find a better way off living with Colitis is because his wife struggled with the condition. He is a nutritionist so he merged his two worlds to write the book.

There is a lot to be learned from Fatigue Free with Crohn’s and Colitis – How Diet, Mindset and Lifestyle can Increase Your Energy when Living with IBD. Stuff that even after five years of being diagnosed I didn’t know. It also looks at the condition from the perspective of “what is the root of this problem” and not from the go to move of “how do we medicate.” That was quite refreshing.

Whilst I don’t necessarily think I am quite sold on the total concept of Fatigue Free with Crohn’s and Colitis – How Diet, Mindset and Lifestyle can Increase Your Energy when Living with IBD I definitely have a better understanding and a fresh perspective on my IBD.

I would recommend this book to anyone suffering with IBD.

Fatigue Free with Crohn’s and Colitis – How Diet, Mindset and Lifestyle can Increase Your Energy when Living with IBD by Greg Williams is available now.

For more information regarding Greg Williams (@IBDSuccess) please visit www.iamgregwilliams.com.

3 Stars

Conquer ColitisTitle: Conquer Colitis Now! How to Treat Colitis &n Live Pain Free for Life(The Doctor’s Smarter Self Healing Series)

Author: Dr Brad Turner

Pages: 32 Pages

Publisher: Create Space Independent Platform

The Blurb

Learn how to treat Colitis and live pain free for life by following the guidelines in this easy to read format. Your pain and your symptoms can be controlled by using hassle free techniques that Dr. Brad Turner has outlined within the pages of this book. Everything from avoiding trigger foods to using natural remedies to make the pain bearable are within the pages of this guide. Stop your suffering now and use a plan that works for you.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

For those living with a chronic illness such as Colitis, you, like me will know that knowledge is power. It is the reason that I read as many books as possible about Ulcerative Colitis. I want to know what I am dealing with.

Unfortunately for me, Dr Bad Turner’s book (whilst being out of date – no fault of Dr Turner) didn’t offer me any information that I wasn’t already aware of. Furthermore, the book, whilst aimed at the patient came across as very clinical at times. Medical terminology was used and not explained to the laymen.

Hopefully, a more updated version will be released with new information and advice to help the person with the condition.

Conquer Colitis Now! How to Treat Colitis & Live Pain Free for Life(The Doctor’s Smarter Self Healing Series) by Dr Brad Turner is available now.

2 Stars

So despite the glib title to this post it is actually accurate. Since the 23rd of March I have left my house but a mere four times. Three of those outings were medical related. As some of you may know, I have Ulcerative Colitis and since mid-March I have been flaring up.

Ulcerative Colitis is a form of IBD. It is less well known than its sister disease – Crohns. I like to think of it as the Kim Kardashian of the IBDs circa 2004-5 when Kim K’s friend Paris Hilton was the better known celebrity. One day UC will be as famous as Kim K’s derriere…which I guess would be a bit ironic being that it is a disease that can affect the ass.

I’m pretty sure I had the disease for a long period before diagnosis. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and looking back I can see many periods of my life that could have been considered as having actve disease; excessive bouts of diarrhoea, stomach pains, blood and mucus in my stool (sorry for the over share). Throughout college and university, I never left the house without Imodium. Looking back that probably should have been one of the first clues.

During this period, I worked in a call centre. They had toilets away from the floor I worked on and if I was having what I now refer to as a ‘Colitis moment’ I would use those bathrooms. This was fine until one day a sticker was posted on the toilet door saying if you have frequent bouts of diarrhoea and there is blood or mucus in your stool go to the doctors. This could be a sign of cancer.

Jib that! I was terrified. So I did what and normal, terrified person would do. I ignored the problem and hoped that it would go away.

It didn’t.

They say that flare ups can be triggered by stress and before I was diagnosed I was going through a very stressful time in my personal life. The symptoms were getting worse. I went on a trip with work. It was an outward bound trip working with GCSE PE students taking them gorge walking and camping and I genuinely don’t know how I got through that trip physically because I was in a mess. When I returned home the diarrhoea started again. I went to see my GP who booked me in for blood tests, gave me some medication and requested my first colonoscopy. It turns out I was severely anaemic and had to be put on iron tablets and also B12 shots every three months.

But I was still getting worse. Needing the bathroom up to 20 times a day is exhausting especially when you are passing blood every time you go. Sorry if you are squeamish but it isn’t a little blood. It is a full on Carrie moment down your toilet. I used to live on the third floor of my house and some nights it was easier to bring my quilt and pillow down to the corridor and sleep outside the bathroom rather than having to run up and down the stairs so much. I was once found by my mother doubled over in the bathroom, unable to stand up straight. She threatened to kick me out unless I went back to the doctors.

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in November 2012 to very little fanfare. I didn’t really know what it was and my fiancé (then boyfriend) was the one who explained to me that it was a chronic condition with no cure. I was diagnosed by having a colonoscopy which showed the damage to my large intestine. There are many different forms of colitis and mine happens to be Pancolitis which means that my whole large intestine is diseased.

Since diagnosis, I have been medicated with various drugs. The main one that I have to take every day is Pentasa. I take 4000mg per day. I have also had to be medicated several times with Prednisolone steroids (these bad boys are not fun) and I have suffered the horrible side effects – mood swings, insomnia, headaches, shortness of breath, massive weight gain, thinning of my bones and hair loss. My doctors have also tried me on a variety of different medications that have had some pretty bad effects on my body.

I was treated with Azathiaprine after my first serious flare since diagnosis which caused me to develop Sweets Syndrome and Pyoderma Gangrinosum and my chin fell off (I kid you not. For photos please look at the One Year Later post).

I was then medicated with Infliximab which is classed as a biologic. This is medication that is administered intravenously initially over a six hour period and after a loading dose you have to have an infusion every eight weeks. I loved Infliximab. I felt amazing after taking it. Sadly after 10 lovely months I grew immune to it and had an anaphylactic attack when being infused. Fortunately though, Infliximab put me in remission.

I spent three happy years in remission. Sure there were still small periods of feeling yuck but the majority of the time I was fine, just mainly tired with sore aching joints. But I was, for all intents and purposes, fine.

In May 2017, I started to feel a bit rough. It was just little things: tiredness, dicky tummy, fatigue. It steadily got worse and by the end of August – after trying a new form of steroid I was back for another short stay in hospital. It took several weeks to get the flare up under control and even more than that to get my strength back. Little things, such as standing up to heat up soup, would leave me shaking for hours afterwards. Being sick really does knock it out of you.

Since November 2017, I have been back at work and for the most part I have been fine. This recent flare up has come completely out of the blue. There is no rhyme or reason for it and I can honestly say that I didn’t welcome it. After the last flare up my doctor decided that he wanted to be pro-active. I asked to see if I could just stick to the Pentasa for now and if a flare up happened again then I would go for new medication. He advised me to go onto another biologic but was happy to wait to see if I maintained having no active disease but because I am flaring up now I have to take hospital advice and will soon be starting infusions of Vedolizumab (or its brand name Entyvio). This again will be administered intravenously in hospital once every two months after a booster dose.

To say I am sceptical is a bit of an understatement. I guess when I have had so many medications either eat away at my own body or for my body to grow antibodies towards it I am just not filled with confidence that it is going to work. Is it wrong of me to feel that way? Probably and it is completely unfitting with my otherwise sunny disposition. I just can’t help but feel like the medication or my body is going to let me down.

If Vedolizumab doesn’t work then from what I have researched the next step would be surgery. This would potentially mean having my colon removed and having my intestine coming out of my stomach (think Alien but less angry) and my waste be collected in a bag. Now people tend to think of this as the worst thing but over the last two flare ups I have come to the conclusion that it really wouldn’t be the worst thing.

Ulcerative Colitis has robbed me of more than the last 28 days. I used to do things. I used to go to music festivals and eat out and be able to get public transport without counting the minutes between stops and trying to figure out where the nearest accessible bathroom is. I could learn to drive or ride in a hot air balloon (although to be honest a hot air balloon ride does not appeal to me in the slightest) I could get stuck in traffic and not have a panic attack or I could even just go for a walk. Things that I took for granted before having Ulcerative Colitis symptoms.

So I guess the point of this post is this: I’ve got a sore colon but I’m still rollin’. Ok, no it’s not that. I guess the point of it is just to vent or to discuss what I have been going through and to make people that little bit more aware of invisible illnesses or to take the poo out of tabpoo – that last one didn’t really work did it?

Ah well.

That’s me, folks, diseased bowel, intestines, and a weird sense of humour.

Lisa x