Every Friday I will be highlighting an invisible illness, we all know they exist but exactly how much do we know about these conditions and the people that suffer from them? I myself have an invisible condition and it is very easy for people to assume that because I look OK and I walk,talk and act OK that I am fine when quite often this is far from the truth.
Last week I spoke to Terri who was very brave when she told us all about how living with a mental illness borderline personality disorder affects her life. This week we are talking to Tasha about her condition colitis.
Please could you introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about yourself. What you enjoy doing.
My name is Tasha. I’m 24. I am engaged to my partner Jamie. We’ve been together for 8 years, engaged for 2 & have 3 beautiful children. Holly (4), Kaytlin (2) & Alice (10 months). I spend the majority of my time at home looking after the children but I do have a part time job (10 hours a week). I love being a stay at home mummy because it gives me the chance to watch my girls grow up. I really enjoy cooking, I find it very theraputic. In my spare time I like to watch the soaps or even a good movie. When I get the chance (or even spare money) I do like to go out & socialise with friends.
What is your invisible illness?
My invisible illness is Colitis. Colitis is basically inflammation of the colon. I spend pretty much every day in pain. It varies from day to day. Some days it is barely noticeable/bearable but other days it can be so bad I find it hard to move. Its not controlled via medication or pain relief. I gave up with going to the doctors because they would throw all different types of medication at me & it doesn’t work. I found my own ways to deal with the pain.
When did you first notice your symptoms?
I first noticed symptoms in 2010. I went to the doctors with tummy pain. They put it down to several different things & kept fobbing me off with all sorts. It wasn’t until I saw a doctor that used to see my mum (who has crohns) when he wanted to look further into my symptoms.
What was it like getting diagnosed?
It was awful getting diagnosed. I went through so many tests & everytime they came back normal it would be a little frustrating. The last examination I had was a colonscopy, which is a small camera up the back end. This was extremely painful but this is what got me my diagnosis. I finally got diagnosed in 2012.
How does it affect your day to day life?
My day to day depends on how my illness plays me up. On days where I can tolorate the pain I can do what people do but only to a limit. On a really bad day I can hardly get out of bed. The pain can stop me doing most things. I have to stick to limits otherwise I end up in too much pain. It can be really frustrating sometimes but I cant sit for too long nor can I stand for too long.
Do people treat you differently because of your illness?
Not very many people know about my illness because Id rather keep it to myself so I dont get treated differently. I dont need people running around after me, id rather do it myself whilst im able to. Even on bad days I still get myself up out of bed & carry on with my day.
What advice would you give to somebody else suffering from your condition or perhaps to somebody who may have symptoms?
The only advice I give to anyone with my condition is to know your limits. Pushing yourself too much only make matters worse. Take things as easy as you can & do ask for help if needed. To anyone who has symptoms I would keep pushing your doctor/GP because once diagnosed you can be treated if the right medication is found. And it saves it progressing.
Do you know of any good groups or organisations of support for people with your illness?
I dont know any groups or organisations of support because I generally don’t tend to bother with it. I just try to ignore it. Which is probably the worst thing to do.
What are your goals for the future?
My goals for the future are to live a happy life with my partner & children. I don’t want to let my illness get the better of me. I want to get a full time job & be able to look after my children myself without having to rely on anyone else. I will fight this til the end..!
Thank you Tasha for speaking to me openly about your condition, It must be tricky raising 3 very young children whilst being in pain most days, hopefully by speaking up you will help other mums of young children to realise that they are not alone.