10 thoughts everybody has when they’re diagnosed with IBD

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    10 thoughts everybody has when they're diagnosed with IBD
    So many questions (Picture: Mmuffin for Metro.co.uk)

    I write a lot about Inflammatory Bowel Disease, from my hospital trips to socialising.

    However, sometimes I forget just how scary it was to be diagnosed back in 2012.

    10 pieces of advice for a newly diagnosed IBD patient

    In fact, I often get messages from those who have just been diagnosed and the narrative is always the same – a sense of confusion, frustration and despair.

    So, today I wanted to take a step back and talk about what it’s like to be diagnosed with IBD and the thoughts we all have when we hear those words: ‘you’ve got Inflammatory Bowel Disease’.

    1. At least I know it’s not cancer.

    I know that sounds harsh but I’d be lying if I didn’t say this was one of the first things that comes into your head.

    However, once you learn more about the disease, you realise that comparisons like these really aren’t helpful.

    2. I knew it wasn’t in my head.

    Relief.

    Relief that you’re not making it up or ‘stressed’.

    Relief that you’ve got a real condition that’s written down on paper and you weren’t imagining it all.

    happy person
    (Picture: Getty)

    3. So, how long until I’m back to normal?

    Oh, how naive. You’ve been diagnosed so it makes sense that your next thoughts are on getting back to normal.

    But this is the new normal now.

    4. What on earth do all those long words mean?

    Imagine talking to a doctor or a nurse after sedation and figuring out what the hell ‘terminal ileum’ or ‘azathioprine’ means. It’s just gibberish.

    5. I have no idea what to do next.

    It can almost be a bit anticlimactic leaving the hospital.

    The comfort of the medical team have gone and all that’s left is a prescription and an appointment for a few months’ time.

    So what the hell are you going to do in between?

    6. Can I drink? What on earth should I eat?

    Cue the next thought when you walk past a pub, or perhaps a McDonalds – can I drink alcohol? What should I eat?

    Just a couple of the many questions you kick yourself for not asking (this will happen daily over the next few months).

    10 thoughts everybody has when they're diagnosed with IBD
    (Picture: Mmuffin for Metro.co.uk)

    7. Surely there must be a cure?

    No, there’s not. So don’t even go down that Google black hole.

    8. What will I tell people?

    Then comes the hard part: telling people you’ve got IBD.

    It can seem easier to use euphemisms but ‘dodgy tummy’ won’t cut it here. Spell it out and be honest from the start.

    9. Why have I got it?

    After the relief, comes anger. Namely comparing yourself to others and wondering why ‘you’ have it and they got away scot-free.

    It’s not healthy but it is normal. And one day you will realise you’ve accepted it.

    10. There’s a Facebook group!

    God bless Facebook. There’s a group for everything and you’ve found one.

    In fact, one with 20,000 people with the same disease as you. Hurrah!

    Yes, these thoughts might seem angry, irrational or negative, but they’re natural. However, as time goes on, you do learn to live to accept your disease and make the most of life with it.

    Jenna Farmer writes about IBD over at www.abalancedbelly.co.uk  and runs an IBD Facebook group.

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