Sunday, May 15, 2011

A river in Egypt

I'm always surprised when my Crohn's flares up. I don't now why I'm surprised since obviously it's the kind of disease that will do that and my Crohn's monster is a temperamental beast that has flared up for no reason on a pretty regular basis since taking up residence in my intestines. Sometimes it flares because I've eaten something I shouldn't have, sometimes it flares in protest to antibiotics and sometimes it flares for no discernible reason at all because frankly, it's a bit of an arse.

I could recite what a flare up looks like without really even thinking about it. I know my Crohn's disease like the back of my hand. Yet, somehow flare up's manage to sneak up on me almost every time and I find myself standing in the middle of it looking bewildered and thinking where did that come from? Granted, sometimes I go from perfectly fine to full flare in the space of meal, but often there are some precursors or a build up that should tip me off to the impending flare. More often than not, I completely miss these (Er more likely, ignore them, pretend they aren't happening, dismiss them as something else) yeah ok, we get the picture.

I enjoyed a delightful nine months of remission during my recent pregnancy. I knew (academically) that pregnancy is often protective and can result in spontaneous remission. I knew (academically) that post pregnancy could mean the end of the period of remission and a return to normal disease activity. Normal disease activity in my case means, sadly, endlessly flaring Crohn's but I got used to remission. It was lovely not having to worry about where the nearest toilet is and being able to eat 3 meals a day without feeling bloated and sore and nauseas. Nine months is long enough to develop a false sense of security and I knew (denial?) I'd be ok afterwards.


My Crohn's started to flare up within days of giving birth. Embracing the last point of good toilet posture (Allow yourself time, do not rush) is easier said than done when there's a little person screaming blue murder in the next (and often, the same room). Think a baby's urgent cries are loud under normal circumstances, try being in a bathroom with those cries echoing and bouncing off every wall! Anyway, there was a slight delay in getting my Infliximab transfusion and after several frantic phone calls, some moments of panic and a fair amount of swearing the transfusion occurred just before Easter. Once I had that, everything would go back to normal, normal being remission, not pre-pregnancy normal, yeah?

er, no.

So the flare continued for a couple of weeks. I was pretty sure I had some sort of virus or bug, all the symptoms fit: fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, stomach pain, fever, diarrhoea. Of course those are all the normal symptoms of a flare too, but it couldn't be that, I'd had the transfusion. I even went to see my GP who told me that it probably was a bug and it would pass without the need for any medical intervention. See, I was right, I had caught a bug. Never mind the fact that bugs are contagious and nobody else, least of all the baby with virtually no immune system, was even remotely sick. Never mind the fact that bugs usually only last a few days to a week. I got a bit worse followed by a bit better, then a bit worse again. Two steps forward, one step backwards. Another fairly typical sign of my Crohn's flare ups.

Eventually it dawned on me that this weren't no bug. The unhappy realisation occurred at 4am whilst on the toilet (where else would a Crohn's related moment of enlightenment happen?) I'd had to stop feeding the baby midway through and race to the loo. Whilst sitting there I conceded defeat.

All hands to report to battle stations, Crohn's, my old frenemy, is back.



  1. Wow, I had no idea that pregnancy could cause a Crohn's remission.
    So sorry that it has revisited you :(
    How sucky.

  2. I didn't know either until my specialist told me. Then when I did a bit of research into it it turns out pregnancy can cause remission in a whole host of illnesses. Nobody really knows why. If only they could harness what ever it is.

  3. Just wanted to let you know that your blog is the first Crohn's blog that made me laugh, not cry with fear. It helped me feel normal again after I was diagnosed almost a year ago. Thanks.

  4. Thanks Anon, I'm glad you're enjoying it. I figure we either have to laugh or cry and laughing is much more fun :-)

  5. The illness of choice is all in the mind: all hail the mind's choice of illnesses!