18 September 2014

From the inside out - book review

This is a first for me! My blog has never been the sort for book or product reviews but here is a book I just HAD to tell you about. THE book that's causing a buzz within the IBD community>
They say 'don't judge a book by its cover'...well this time it's totally fine to do so, for the content matches the outstanding cover artwork done by the talented Hannah Walker.

What is it? What's it about?!
'From the inside out' was compiled by the brilliant Matthew Williamson (an IBD'er himself) who gathered up a handful of IBD'ers and pilfered their stories all revolving around IBD, their journeys and the #GetYourBellyOut campaign (I joke he asked sweetly). Within you will find a plethora of blogs, stories and poems all whopped together to create something truly unique.

I won't tell a lie, I was super keen to get my hands on a copy of said book...mainly because my story features within it mwahaha. On a serious note I was super looking forward to hearing IBD 'from the inside out'. It is rather rare to come across those who fight a daily battle with either Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis that are willing to throw open the doors and tell you an honest account of their journey with IBD. Thank's to the #GetYourBellyOut campaign people have in recent months become more comfortable with sharing their stories which has been a joy to see. Whereas others battling the same illness find comfort in knowing they are not alone in these battles so what better way than to feature these stories within one book.

Not one who likes reading? Not to worry, the paperback book arrived with large print so no need to don those spectacles. If you are a grammar nazi...nope not the book for you as this book contains its raw charm with the odd blooper thrown in for good measure. Not good with numbers? That's totally fine...for the page numbers have magically vanished and accidentally been left out of the book! Do take caution as there are a few F' words thrown in there but again...totally in-keeping with the cheeky monkeys who reside around the campaign, never backwards in coming forwards as they say. Ha - whoops! Though it all just add's to the books charm. I don't think it will go down as one of the all time greats BUT I don't feel that's what the book intended to be! The book is a raw account of peoples honesty...bloopers and all :) The #GetYourBellyOut campaign have always done things a little whacky and out of the ordinary so this book by Matthew reflects the campaign well. Full of character, charm and a few chuckles thrown in for good measure.

What better way to spend the afternoon than lazing about with a nice cup of tea and the chance to lose yourself in other peoples realities. As it turns out the book already has an army of supporters, none more so than my darling Fergie who has been glued to it since it arrived!

Could this book become one of the best sellers? You never know! From the buzz surrounding it and the supportive IBD community sales are going incredibly well. Matthew has kindly decided that 50% of all royalties from the book sales will be donated towards the #GetYourBellyOut campaigns fundraising total. Every penny raised by the campaign will be in aid of the national 'Crohn's and Colitis UK' charity who support those tackling a daily battle with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

How can I get my hands on a copy of this sensation I hear you ask...
If from the UK you may purchase your copy through Amazon.co.uk (available on Kindle & paper back)> Click here!
If from elsewhere on the globe you may purchase your copy through Amazon.com (available on Kindle & paper back)> Click here!

Once your copy arrives be sure to snap a selfie and upload it to your various social media accounts in a bid to continue the crusade of raising awareness of both Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis right across the globe! While you're at it do show the #GetYourBellyOut campaign some love Xx

3 September 2014

Tide of emotions

It will come as no surprise when I say that the tide of emotions that come hand in hand with a chronic illness can be compared to no other.

How is it I feel so utterly helpless and vulnerable whilst at the same time feeling strong, united and empowered. It's a really bizarre mixture of emotions. Throughout my battle with Ulcerative Colitis I have felt the highs and the very dark lows. Mainly the highest high was thanks to the steroids they sometimes hand out which means I literally was HIGH on life ahaha (trust me Prednisolone will make the sanest of person CRAZY!!) I will happily admit to being one of these such cases.

Facing your own mortality is a strange place to be and I am not embarrassed to openly admit that I have been through this stage. I'm probably more comfortable talking about this stage of the battle with a crohnic illness as it's a stage I have been through (more than once) but thankfully this is not where I am currently at. So I'm going to talk about it because if your a loved one of someone who has Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis then you should totally know all of the facts, sides and effects it has on a person.

There have been times when I thought I was dieing and in fairness I think I was well on that road. My health was so poor that my body was not far from shutting itself down. I'm now in a much better place so please nobody worry for me - I'm fine, I'm actually doing pretty well. Anyhow back to the topic. It is said that many face mental health challenges/battles because of IBD and I can whole heartedly understand/see how this can be. I thankfully have not had depression though I have had extreme lows - thoughts to myself like 'it would be so much easier if I wasn't here' 'there is no happiness for me while I have Ulcerative Colitis' etc. I was at a point where I was so downtrodden and sad/unhappy that all I was thinking about was my own mortality. I'm sure many of us have been through the 'Why me?!' 'This isn't fair' 'I just want a break from feeling unwell'. Truth be told...it's super hard to live with an illness day in - day out with no rest-bite in-between for the duration of your life! I speak with many who are struggling, many are in the same exact position I was in...some worse...but know that you will be okay! You may never be great...but you will be okay!!
It's at moments like that, when you are at your lowest that you find it hard to grasp onto a reason to smile. For me - my cat playing was enough of a reason for me to snap out of my horrid mood. To see nature at its best, with no cares in the world is a joy and a blessing to watch. Sometimes in life you have to get back to basics. Stop running around and being caught up in the madness of life and illness and just sit and watch as life continues on around you. Sit for a while watching the birds interact and see that life's not so bad after all.

I feel it's important to be as honest as possible about every aspect of Inflammatory Bowel Disease as its most definitely not all roses and sunshine! Unfortunately mortality and death is something that needs to be discussed. I hear time and time again of people who are completely unaware that people can and do pass away from complications from both Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. The important word in that sentence was 'due to COMPLICATIONS' this means (from my understanding) that you can not directly die from having Inflammatory Bowel Disease but there are a lot of high risks which sadly do and can lead to the loss of life. These could be such things as complications from surgery or toxic megacolon to name only a few.
*Disclaimer, I am not a doc so please double check any of the info I hand out*

Life can be hard at times there is no denying that and I'll be the first to put my hands up and say life has thrown more than a person should have to bare at me. But- I am still here, going strong as are you too :)

What I find fascinating about writing a blog is the way I can document how I'm feeling at particular times in my journey with Ulcerative Colitis. I wrote the above blog post many months ago and in all honesty I'm not sure why I never posted it...maybe I was worried of how people would receive the post or maybe I felt it wasn't finished. Over the past few months, the more involved with the IBD community I find myself the more I hear about beautiful souls who have sadly lost their battles. These have ranged from gorgeous young women to those later on in life, for we can leave at any age. I think for this reason alone we shouldn't shy away from the topic of death and I feel it is super important we make clear how serious both Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis can be. We also need to make clear that yes these are physical illnesses but we go through emotional hell!
What you don't see is the fatigue, anemia, anxiety, depression to name but a few. There is so much going on behind the 'I'm okay' persona. We don't have much of a choice, we must continue to stand strong and fight. No matter how downtrodden you are or how many times you cry in a day...you WILL find a reason to smile again. I am living proof of this. I am now in a much happier place, my emotions are no longer all over the shop. I find time to giggle and smile. Life is still pretty sh*tty living with this illness but I take it day by day. Not all days are bad, find the good in each day no matter how big or small.

To family and loved ones please know that there is so much going on inside that we often fail to mention. Whether due to not wanting to worry you or not wanting to feel a burden but I feel it's important to give you an honest version of what we go through. There is no manual to having your whole life altered out of the blue, all we can do is try and your understanding helps tenfold! x