Crohn’s Journey With Natalie-Amber

Hello my gorgeous Pelican Lovers,

How have you been?  Cannot believe how fast the year has gone and that we are already in MAY! Time flies and that is exactly why we should live everyday like it is our last because before we know it, we will be 95 and having races with our fellow nursing home friends with our walkers.

My journey with Crohn’s

I know it has been a while since I updated you on my Crohn’s journey and considering it is World IBD day there isn’t a better time than now. So sadly, my Crohn’s has returned and after 3 years of remission I am no longer still that way. This relapse built up over time and now I am aware of one of my symptoms regarding this, I can keep a close watch in case god forbid it happens again. One of the main symptoms was bloating to my belly – I looked 7 months pregnant and no matter how healthy I ate, how much water I drank nothing was shifting this. When the blockage sorted itself out in hospital alongside the steroids my belly started to go down. I now know for future if this happens again it’s a sign for me. Remember I am not a doctor, and everybody is different so this may not be the same case for you.

Anyway, as I said it built up over time and then Thursday evening the day before we had that crazy storm the worst we have seen in forever I had the worst stomach pains. I thought I could sleep it off but I couldn’t even get to sleep the pain was that bad. I was running to the toilets every 30 mins to throw up. This took me straight back to those 7 years of constant pain and sickness where I was misdiagnosed. Friday morning approached and there was no change, my mum took me straight up the hospital. When I got there, I was crying and constantly running to the toilet to vomit, at this point it was black and watery more than any sort of food. The nurse said I was having a Crohn’s flare so sent me to another unit in the hospital for further tests. This unit however I was sent to was so over stretched the wait would have been all day. I had to lie on the cold hospital floor to lie down because there were no chairs available, the pain I felt was unbearable. It’s crazy, I forgot that agonising pain I dealt with for 7 years and when it came back I questioned how I seriously lasted 7 years with this horrific pain that not only can I not find the words to describe, but that I also lasted years with no medication.

Anyway, one of the nurses who worked on the ward happened to know me (thank you God) and she moved me to a room as she was not allowing me to lay on the floor especially in Covid times. She made sure the nurses came and put an IV into me asap with painkillers. Again, I kept questioning how long this was going to take to kick in as the pain just was not moving. It was not until 2 days later when I had been moved to Meldon (my old surgical ward) did they realise the reason the pain relief was not working because they had been giving me a dosage for when I was 6 stone! (4 years ago) Nothing had been updated despite all the times I still go up to see my consultant and have colonoscopies. Going back to the room I was moved into I stayed there all day, crying in pain, desperately trying to get comfy, I got sent at around 9.30/10pm to another ward to speak to a surgeon. It was there they decided to keep me in overnight and to also have a scan the next day.  I was then pushed in a wheelchair to the Daisy unit which is a ward for short stay patients.

I got to Daisy and as I said earlier no matter what they gave me pain wise I was still in agonising pain, crying, throwing up black bile and not passing anything from behind. I then had an amazing surgeon who came to see me and sent me for the scan as my surgeon sadly was not in that day and was hard to reach because of the storm and signal where he lives. This surgeon sent me for a scan and moved me to the surgical ward and said I am no longer a short stay patient. I got to the surgical ward and hallelujah I was given the correct dose for my weight of painkillers and put on IV morphine which I could press anytime I needed too. I finally got a better night sleep that night. I was awoken by another surgeon at around 2.30am to inform me I had a blockage and strictures and narrowing’s; I was only allowed to drink fluids – no food, they were hoping I would be able to pass stool soon otherwise surgery would have been the next step. You can imagine how scared I was when the words surgery came out of their mouths. It brought back so much trauma from my first two surgeries. I was praying to God to just help me pass stool, I could not go back into that dark place I used to be in. I met some lovely ladies on the ward and one of them I am still in touch with. I had some of my old nurses shocked to see me back also but pleased at how healthy I looked considering.

Now, days went by, and I was not passing any stool hence why my surgeon and consultant would not let me out. I was sent for more scans to check how bad the strictures and narrowing’s were. I was starting to panic then; no stool means surgery. I don’t know if you believe in the power of crystals, but I do, and my thoughts were proved correct when my boyfriend came to visit me on the ward and brought two crystals with him. Amethyst and Black Obsidian. Now black obsidian is good for blockages, I kid you not he put the crystal on my belly and within 1 hour I POO’D!! yes, I pooped myself but WOOHOO my bowels had moved. Seriously it was such a good feeling. It was then my bowels started to become uncontrollable, and I spent a few days in nappies as I had to constantly keep changing them. I am not ashamed to say I had to wear nappies, end of the day my health comes first over embarrassment and at that point I was just relieved I had avoided surgery. I stayed in hospital for 9 whole days.

The aftermath

 I am on a soft food, low fibre diet and my consultant is checking if I need my medication altered. I had steroids for 6 weeks and I am finally now off them also. My face this time round was nowhere near as moon face as the last. I also am waiting for an Endoscopy appointment as sadly on top of all this I have a damaged swollen Oesophagus and my consultant wants to check if this is the Crohn’s. Hence the soft food diet as I get pain when eating.

I am sharing all this with you because it is so important, we as an IBD family keep sharing our experiences, showing others that it is not attention seeking. It is not a bad thing to talk about our health. You are raising awareness however you may choose. It is not only helping others find a voice but normalising our disease and showing that it is nothing to be ashamed of. We all poop whether it’s from our bums or a stoma bag attached to our tummies. I will be throwing another fashion show this year to raise funds for Crohn’s & Colitis UK and I will also keep breaking stigmas in the modelling world and showing that we can still follow our dreams and that Crohn’s disease is nothing to be ashamed of.  We should still be represented. Another way you can help raise awareness is by YouTube videos, Instagram videos/posts and WALK IT which is finally back this year.

I really do wish you all the best health possible and honestly look after yourselves. If you feel something is up you know your own body, don’t leave it,  go to the doctors or reach out to your IBD nurses or consultant asap. Do not hold back, if you want to post about your IBD do it and the ones who really matter will support you every single step of the way.

Until next time my warriors…

Lots of love,

Natalie-Amber x x

Meet the blogger: Natalie-Amber

Meet Natalie-Amber, a model and local BBC Radio Presenter from Swindon.