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My Midlife Struggle With Crohn's Disease and How I'm Conquering It

Imagine if you will!

One day you’re a fully fit and active forty-something, and the next you are reduced to the best achievement of your day being making it to the local shop, buying some soup, cooking it and eating it! It all began one Sunday night last November. I went to bed feeling fine. Next I was awake in the middle of the night, vomiting and sat on the toilet.

I had to take the week off work and went back the following week, really not feeling very well. I had unbearable stomach pains, unable to sleep and very fatigued. My company sent me to their GP, who referred me to a gastroenterologist. Fortunately, I am lucky to have private medical insurance, so was able to get an appointment the following week.

The consultant began by asking me lots of questions and weighing me. I had previously weighed 83kg but had lost 6kg. He felt I had Crohn’s disease, but wanted to carry out various tests. Over the following months, I had:

  1. Many blood tests.

  2. Stool tests.

  3. MRI scans.

  4. CT Scans.

  5. Ultrasound scans.

  6. Colonoscopy.

  7. Two different types of endoscopy.

After my first endoscopy, it was revealed I have Barrett’s Oesophagus. This is where the cells in the esophagus grow abnormally. It can lead to cancer, in a small number of people.

The final test was a capsule endoscopy in late April. This involves swallowing a large pill, with a camera. This takes hundreds of images, that are then sent to a portable monitor, which are then reviewed.

What did the test show?

A couple of weeks later, I then received a call to see the consultant that evening. Naturally, I fretted for the hours before. The consultant informed that I did indeed have Crohn’s! Crohn’s is a long-term condition, that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.

A relief you might think. In some ways yes, in others very frustrating.

I queried that if it was felt that was the diagnosis in November and the proximity of pain, why was the capsule endoscopy not done firstly! The response I received was very disappointing.