With just a week left until my life-changing surgery, if there were any doubts as to whether I should have the procedure, the events of this week allayed any fears that I was making the wrong decision.

During a Crohn’s flareup the symptoms are pretty consistent and persistent with the odd ‘normal’ day thrown in but due to the complexities of the disease and your body, each day still varies. One day you may experience a lot of blood, the next no blood at all but more mucous and the next neither blood nor mucous. You may have to go to the toilet a dozen times in a morning but the next you’re down to a more ‘normal’ 3 or 4 times. This week I have experienced the whole gamut.

[Pauses to rush to the toilet]

And with the frequent toilet visits comes the pain. A bum is usually used to being used a couple of times a day so when it’s working overtime things start to hurt when sitting, when walking, when doing nothing!

For the most part, when I need to go, I make it to the toilet on time. Through experience I know when I REALLY need to go and when I can push it, but sometimes I push it too far because I want to finish my breakfast or I’m just not ready to get out of bed and that results in a mad dash to the toilet where I still JUST make it.

However, there are times when I’m just too far away from the toilet and don’t make it. Over the course of the last 9-10 months of the flareup, I’ve had a few bad accidents when I’m just too far from the toilet but these are more of a monthly or bi-monthly occurrence. This week has been different and I’ve had 4 accidents within 5 days!

Being Ruled By My Bowels!

When you get the urge to go to toilet I find there are two different types. The first is generally just because wind is making your body think it needs to go to toilet when really it doesn’t. The second type is the more troublesome type of urge. If I experience pain and discomfort in my abdomen it means poop is on the move and I (genuinely) have a minute or so to find a toilet otherwise it’s coming out whether I’m ready or not. To make matters worse, due to numerous surgeries for peri-anal abscesses (I’ve had 3 this year!) I have limited control over the old poop chute!

Twice this week I found myself in trouble in a town centre. The nearest toilets were in a supermarket a few minutes walk away and I knew I wouldn’t make it. In this situation I would try my hardest to not go to the toilet which doesn’t do my body any good and then my body would just start to do it’s thing. The severity of the accident depends on how far away I am before my bowels takes over.

Then the other two occasions my bowels decided that the best time to kick into action was whilst I was in a car! With nowhere to go and no chance of getting to a toilet fast you just have to go through the ‘motions’.

Finally, when I wanted to end my week by doing something that I love – photographing a race – the Crohn’s struck again! There’s certainly nothing pleasurable about having to take a number 2 on the side of a country lane! Or leaking blood whilst driving home!

My Insides Have Had Enough

So, with everything that happened during the week plus how I’m feeling today I’d say I was primed for surgery. I’ve had enough, my bum has had enough and I’m pretty damned sure that my large intestine has had enough too. It’s time to do this!

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Diagnosed with IBD in 2002, I have experienced the usual ups and downs of having a chronic disease and tried numerous medications but the time finally came in 2018 to elect to have surgery to improve my life.

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