Holiday heaven or holiday hell?

It’s ironic or down right sadistic that I’m sat writing about this subject at home when I should be either watching the sunset in Menorca or getting ready for dinner…, anyway external forces dictate otherwise so I’m being all stoic and carrying on regardless in true British upper lip stylie.

Truth is, for all the fantasies and dreams I have of fabulous holidays I can count on one hand (actually two fingers), how many great holidays I’ve had where my stomach hasn’t sabotaged it, in fact I’ve had some horrific holiday experiences with my honeymoon being the worst of them all – the edited version is us in Mauritius and me having to stop the taxi driver on the ride back to the airport so I could make an emergency pit-stop in some sugar cane fields, the picture, if you dare to visualise it, is me squatting down over a make-shift hole and using my not finished book as toilet paper, I think this was what you call a cringe-worthy moment in one’s life. All thanks to ‘Gambas’ on the last night. The second most hideous memory is me considering ‘going’ in a plastic bag on a toilet-free 12-seater plane heading towards Chichen itza in Mexico, I literally felt like dying. After that excursion I spent the rest of the two weeks in our hotel room. I look back and think how did I get through those moments and sometimes, why did I bother in the first place!!

For anyone with Crohns, Colitis, IBS or any other stomach condition, going on holiday can be a nightmare – stress, heat, different water and food all make relaxing and enjoying yourself quite a challenge.

I actually believe that I developed Crohns after contracting Hepatitis B in Spain when I was in my late teens. Copious amounts of seafood and paella resulted in one almighty stomach bug that stayed with me for months after returning home. Back then I knew nothing about what to eat, and not eat abroad, so wasn’t aware that hepatitis B was often linked to shellfish who filter the sediment and crap off the bottom of the sea, it’s this stuff that carries all the bacteria.

So what can you do to prevent a bad tummy and protect yourself as much as possible?

  1. You all know it but DON’T DRINK THE WATER, or have ice cubes in your drink. Instead ask for an iced glass or go for a drink like beer that doesn’t require ice.
  2. Avoid the salad bars and salad choices on the menu – I know this one is hard if you eat clean as fresh produce is the staple, instead go for cooked veg.
  3. At breakfast opt for omelettes and cooked foods rather than fruit salads and yoghurt. If you want fruit choose ‘wrapped’ fruits such as oranges or bananas.
  4. If you are at a good fish/seafood restaurant and can see the produce on offer chances are you’ll be ok, however, if you are all inclusive or you see huge pans of paella or seafood dishes being cooked on mass I’d say give it a wide birth.
  5. Avoid street food at all costs!!!
  6. Pick dishes off the menu which are hot meals, eating something which has been heated through has more chance of killing off all nasty bacteria.
  7. If you do get ill stick to basic food. Avoid alcohol, dairy, refined sugar, fizzy drinks and caffeine. Instead eat the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, apples (stewed), and toast (dry).
  8. Keep hydrated but always drink bottled water.

And what other things can you do?

  1. If you have an existing condition such as crohns or colitis make sure your travel insurance covers your illness
  2. Carry hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE
  3. If you have a serious condition avoid going on holiday to developing countries
  4. Consider self catering where you control what you cook
  5. Take a small stash of ‘safe’ food in your suitcase. My guilty secret is ready salted Hula Hoops, they help me out every time.
  6. Make sure you have enough, and then some, medication to cover all eventualities. The worst thing is seeing a doctor abroad and shelling out an arm and a leg for medication.

Good God, as I sit here I’m remembering more and more holiday food nightmares, another highlight being a dodgy takeaway in Turkey which claimed 6 out 8 of our party in 24 hours. That said I have fabulous memories of holidays in South Africa, Egypt, Greece, America and the list goes on, in the end it’s about being sensible and doing what you can to limit the risk. I know it’s holiday and you’re supposed to let your hair down, however, I’d rather keep my guard up and my food down (and in) 🙂

Egypt 2010, a tummy trouble-free holiday

A picture of health

You know THAT one photo where everyone comments how amazing you look? Yes you know the one, we all have ‘the one’.

But what if that one photo captures a moment in time where you’re anything but amazing, in fact internally you feel at your lowest and not the picture of health and happiness your misleading photos portrays? 

I was talking to a friend recently and both of us have had similar experiences, a photo or series of photos which capture a moment or time in your life when you’ve hit close to rock bottom and the physical results effect your body. So if that’s the case what does the viewer see and deem to be fabulous?

2012 at my sickest

Christmas 2012, me at my sickest

This is my photo. Looks like I’m having a fun time, however, I was 17 days post my diagnosis with Crohn’s disease and was on a high dose of Prednisone (steroids), Pentasa and Azathioprine – a horrific immune suppressant drug normally given to transplant patients when receiving a new organ. I’m holding onto that glass of orange juice for dear life as I felt so sick from the disease and the drug’s side effects, I thought I was going to pass out. In the end I conceded and we left pretty soon after we arrived. 

The irony is as soon as a friend posted the photo on social media the compliments flooded in. At the time I accepted them with kindness but now looking back it makes me a bit (a lot) annoyed. 

Why?

Annoyed because the only physical change people saw was a thinner version of ‘me’. The Nadine who couldn’t eat properly and had lost about a stone. People were judging my fabulousness by my weight. 

In comparison, today I am drug free, eating (healthily) without issue and have made exercise and fitness part of my daily routine. I’m fitter, stronger and healthier than I’ve been in years and yet not one comment along the lines of you look well, blah, blah, blah. 

Again why? Because I’ve put back on the weight I lost due to regaining the ability to eat and enjoy food. Doesn’t matter I’m more toned  and muscular and can run uphill and down dale for hours on end, the fact is I’m bigger which in the eye of the beholder equates to ‘not looking my best’. 

Thank you society for warping our perception of health, beauty and fitness. 

 

Me completing the 10k Mud Runner race 2 weeks ago

 
This is me today, and weight aside I do feel at my best. However, if one more person remarks to me that muscle weighs heavier than fat they maybe on the receiving end of my newly honed right hook. 

My ‘best’ is feeling well enough to enjoy food and exercise, not chasing society’s ideal of thin = beautiful. 

Raw chocolate squares

Please visit my new website, Eat Clean Nadine, where I’m sharing my dairy and gluten free recipes. First up is raw chocolate squares!

Eat Clean Nadine

I created this recipe after adapting an American recipe which used cup-measurements. After I invested some time researching how to convert U.S. cups to our (UK) measurement system, and added in some new ingredients, it was all systems go!!

raw chocolate square cutIngredients

85g coconut milk
85g honey
240g coconut oil
1 heaped teaspoon of organic cocoa powder
Half a teaspoon of salt
30g crushed walnuts
30g raisins
30g chopped dried apricots.

Method

  1. Mix the coconut milk and coconut oil together with a hand whisk until completely blended together.
  2. Add salt, cocoa powder and honey to the blended coconut oil and milk and mix again.
  3. Finally add the dried fruit and nuts.
  4. Pour the mixture into a cling-film lined flat dish (I used a 9 inch square one), and put in the fridge to set for 30 minutes.
  5. Cut into squares once set.

Preparation time 

10 minutes, 30 minutes refrigeration time.

Cooking time

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My prescription for a better life

I’m a marketer by trade so I should know better than to leave 18 months between blog posts but the truth is I’ve been busy living life and haven’t felt the need to write a post.

If you recall, I had a massive life overhaul. I upped sticks from the city (and living down south) and moved back to Worcestershire with my husband and children. The move also resulted in me seeing a new gastroenterologist and trying a new course of medication, this time to combat Bile Malabsorption, not Crohns. However, taking the Cholestyramine didn’t last more than six months as again the side effects were as unpleasant as the symptoms it was preventing so instead I decided to ditch all the meds and go it alone.

Overall it’s been fine, I haven’t had a flare-up but there have been times where I’ve pushed my body too much by eating and drinking the wrong things by being lax and I think subliminally, testing myself to see what my body could and couldn’t take. The upshot is that after going around the houses of trying to reintroduce dairy and wheat and experimenting with different foods I’m happily back to a wheat free and dairy free diet. That combined with a daily dose of vitamins and exercise has got me to a pretty good place where I’d say the good days far out way the bad.

For the last month I have seen a personal trainer/nutritionist who has really helped focus my mind on what I put in my body. Not just in terms of nutrition, but also how to fuel it correctly for maximum energy and health. For years I have suffered with nail psoriasis which has meant I’ve constantly worn polish to hide the hideousness of what lies beneath (yellow and black detached nails), but now I’m proud to go au natural and wear nothing – the time and money I’ve saved is a bonus in itself!

I also didn’t realise that I was adding to my woes by cutting out carbs. Since 2007, a year after my son was born, I started a diet with SureSlim (a tailored blood test related eating plan), and ever since I’ve been in the mind-set that carbs are the enemy. However, after throwing myself into fitness I started to feel fatigued, nauseous, dizzy (with brain fog), and suffered from circulation problems which would see the ends of my fingers turn white and be agony. Now fellow Crohnies will know all of those could be attributed to IBD so I didn’t look for another root cause. I was happy to accept that I was no longer glued to the loo and in comparison these issues were the lesser of the evils until they went on and on and on. After various routes of investigation – hormones, thyroid and diabetes my doctor and PT suggested I reintroduce good carbs – healthy grains (brown rice, quinoa), sweet potato and squashes etc. and hey presto it’s worked! It just proves excluding certain food groups, in certain circumstances can have dire consequences. I’m now eating clean – nothing processed, no refined sugar etc. and going great guns. Please take a look at my Facebook page Eat Clean Nadine if you are interested in diet and fitness.

The other revelation is after taking a 12 month career break I’m now back at work. My firm agreed I could return part time (three days), two of which I work from home and on reduced hours. This has enabled me to be with my children – a luxury I never benefited from before when down south, still have time for myself (to do household chores and workout), and I’ve near enough eliminated my travel – an activity which on a daily basis caused me maximum stress.

I now feel I have achieved the Holy Grail which is the ultimate work/life balance. I have the luxury of time and have irradiated all the stress which gives me time to focus on my health and prioritise family. I’ve thought about this long and hard and believe this is my own personal formula for happiness. 

Health + family + time.I know, as I’ve been there, affecting a change is massive. It’s scary and in itself stressful but if you can identify what are the triggers and get shot of them you are winning.

I now realise stress is a massive contributor to my condition but by recognising and managing it my stomach now has a fighting chance especially when you add in decent food, nutrients and exercise. I think that formula is a no-brainer for everyone.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on your formula and hopefully I’ll see some of you over on Eat Clean Nadine too 🙂

Who’s BAD?

Today is day 44 in my new life. There’s nothing significant about today other than this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write since pressing pause on my career in the City and moving from Surrey to return to the motherland in Worcestershire.

There were many reasons behind mine and my hubby’s decision to up sticks and move to the countryside, but Crohns was the catalyst. Even though I can’t escape or outrun the disease, by moving locations and changing the way me and my family live or lives (slowing things down), can only have a positive impact on my health.

So far I’ve had 43 days living a relatively normal existence.

I’ve swapped a daily three-hour train commute for a five-minute school run, I’m surrounded by beautiful countryside and have traded the smell of aviation fuel wafting from Gatwick Airport and city-generated pollution, for the odd whiff of silage and the more pungent chicken farm odour – both smells that remind me of my childhood and say ‘home’ to me. In a weird way I like them.

Ditching a monthly pay cheque considerably healthier than my body, is the furthest thing from my mind now. I’ve learnt you can have all the material things your heart desires but if your daily grind includes feeling unwell and your every move is of the bowel type, money means shit quite frankly.

Since moving I’m now under a new consultant who during our first meeting speculated that my health issues could be attributed to something in addition to Crohns so he has started treating me for bile malabsorption which I’d never heard of.

Apparently bile malabsorption is common in Crohns sufferers but is not that well known and most of the time overlooked. Also a lot of people with Bile Absorption Diarrhea (BAD), are misdiagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) so I urge anyone out there suffering with similar symptoms to go and speak to your doctor.

I now take half a sachet of Colestyramine powder per day and have to confess the results have been amazing, so much so I haven’t wanted to say too much in case I jinx it. Since taking my first sachet I haven’t experienced one flare-up. No cramps or diarrhea, nothing in fact. The powder does have pretty grim side effects though so am now battling stomach pain (a new kind), nausea and broken/restless sleep, although these symptoms comes and go.

Another drug my consultant has also prescribed but I’ve yet to take is Amitriptyline. It’s classically an antidepressant but is great for treating BAD. I have reservations about taking this one as the last time I attempted to take an antidepressant (for Postnatal Depression), I tumbled down the black rabbit hole with frightening speed and it made my depression worse. I don’t want to repeat that experience. Ever. However, it may work really well for others.

One thing this has proven to me is what I secretly suspected, Remicade/Imfliximab doesn’t work for me. Even after four infusions I have not felt any benefit which is really frustrating me. Since the first infusion I wondered how could I be taking a really potent drug which everyone else waxed lyrical about and it have no positive effect on me at all? I suspect my fourth infusion was my last.

In addition to the new drugs I’m continuing my wheat and dairy free diet and now being really careful about the fat I ingest too as saturated fat and greasy food is not a friend of someone with BAD, nor is brandy or champagne I’ve realised in the last 44 days. The morning after indulging in both of these wasn’t pretty.

Now that I feel a bit better in myself (it’s taken nearly 18 months to feel this good) I’ve headed back to the gym and taken up yoga in a bid to help manage my stress levels as I’ve accepted that stress was a root cause to a lot of my stomach problems.

Hopefully this upward trend will continue and my escape to the country coupled with the new medication will turn me from a BAD girl into a good girl.

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My Angels, My Devils

For anyone in ‘the know’ you’ll spot that the title of this post are lyrics from a Black Crowes song – Thorn in My Pride. Like Crohns – an invisible disease, my love for rock and heavy metal isn’t visible if you look at my exterior.

When suited and booted for work in the City, or when I’m in ‘Mummy-mode’ attending parent events at my children’s school, the tell tale signs that I’m ‘one of them’ is kept under wraps and my tattoos are covered-up, skull earrings taken out and the other paraphernalia withdrawn from public view. But, come the evening – mainly weekends, if I’m not hosting my own rock radio show on Mosh and Destroy (www.moshanddestroy.co.uk), or listening to one of my fellow DJs shows, I’ll be off to a gig somewhere – mainly in London.

Up until the end of last year, when my Crohns seemed to really ramp-up, I was going t0 approximately three-four gigs a month. Now, not through choice, this has reduced to one or maybe two every couple of months, as for every gig I’ve been to in the last two years, there’s plenty of gigs I’ve had to miss, or others where I’ve had an attack at the venue and had to leave while the band is still on stage.

If you’ve read my other posts and understand the urgency of my condition you’re probably wondering why I’d put myself in a situation where I’m stuck in crowd of thousands with minimal access to decent toilet facilities.

Believe me, I’ve asked myself this too on countless occasions, but when something’s your passion, or is the thing that ‘gets you through’, you don’t give up.

Music – heavy metal in particular, has been my obsession since my early teens, and live music and attending gigs is my thing, however, living with Crohns Disease has made this more of a challenge and something I see as my nemesis which will not beat me, or stop me doing what I love doing – hence My Angels, My Devils.

Having said that in the last six months there are three standout gig-related ‘incidents’ that I haven’t forgiven my intestines for…

The first was in December, 2012 – Stone Sour at Brixton Academy. At this point I was one week post diagnosis and had been on prednisone (steroids) for a week too. Much like every gig I attend on a ‘school night’, I packed my ‘gig clothes’ bag so I could get ready at work and then go straight to the venue (I swear my work’s reception staff think I’m a hooker because at least once a week I’d enter the building dressed in my corporate get-up and then leave the building several hours later clad in ripped jeans, skyscraper heels, red lipstick and leather jacket), however, I woke up on the morning of the gig and was immediately in pain. I struggled to work in the hope it would ease throughout the course of the day, but instead it worsened and at 5.30 pm I had to concede that the only rocking I’d be doing that night was on the loo.

After getting myself across London and home on the train I met my other half at the other end and literally played tag-team with him. As he got out of the car to get onto the train to go to the gig, I got into the car and drove me and the kids home. How I could see with the tears streaming down my face I don’t know. I wasn’t distraught because I’d missed a gig I really wanted to see per se, or wasted the price of a ticket, but upset because my hubby had to go alone and that I really thought that after getting a diagnosis and starting a course of treatment I would instantly start to feel better – how naïve (I know that now).

The second gig I had to miss I still can’t really think about without being gutted. It was Opeth supported by Anathema, playing at Union Chapel, Islington. All elements of this gig were set to be outstanding – the band (who I love), the venue, and the fact it was an acoustic set. Again, I didn’t feel great during the day but powered through until the end of the day. This should have been enough of a sign for me to swallow my pride and say I can’t do this but me be me, I battled on. Irritatingly I made it through all of Anathema before I had to literally run for the toilet.

Now, for anyone who’s been to Union Chapel you’ll appreciate this is no mean feat. Running the gauntlet on this occasion involved negotiating various narrow stone staircases, running through the bar where Mikael (lead singer from Opeth), was stood chatting to people – of course I couldn’t stop, and then on the final furlong I was greeted with a mile long queue to an outside portaloo – NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know how I held it in but I did.

After this episode I returned to my pew (I was in a church after all), with my zip undone, sipping water like a women possessed just as the band came on. I remember the first song but after that everything was a blur as the next stomach spasm came on full force. At that point I finally had to say to my hubby and friends I had to go so we hot-footed it out of the venue as other bemused gig-goers looked at us muttering ‘philistines’ under their breath (of course they weren’t it was just my own self conscious paranoia). Once outside I then had to get across London and home – a journey which took one and half hours and again was punctuated with many tears.

The most recent episode etched on my brain was at Download Festival (a heavy metal music festival) last month, of which, attending this event and staying well for the full three days, had been a point of both focus and stress for me.

As anyone who is into heavy metal knows, this is the biggest event of the year where the great and good from the rock world convene – not going, was NOT an option, however, I had built this up to be one of my biggest challenges to overcome and time and time again, over many months, I’d try and rationalise with myself how I, with a chronic disease not fully under control, could contemplate standing in a field with 120,000 fellow metalheads and only a handful of portaloos?

Casting aside ridiculous ideas such as incontinence pads, only drinking liquid for the entire weekend, or blagging my way into the disabled loos (not so ridiculous as IBD is a disability), I decided to take another course of steroids and hope for the best.

Friday went without incident, on Saturday my stomach behaved beautifully, but by Sunday afternoon it had had enough. At one of the busiest times – during Airbourne, my stomach somersaulted and I knew I was in trouble. I quickly dragged my hubby to the loo-queues and waited patiently to get inside a portaloo which I have to say, all things considered, weren’t too bad at all. But once I started that was it, my stomach was on a roll and I knew I had to leave. Trouble is I was designated driver that day so if I left everyone had to come too. In the end my lovely friend Kirsty volunteered to come back with me to the B&B (yes I wasn’t camping), and then drive back to the festival – what a star…

But, if you’ve ever been to a festival, you’ll know getting offsite isn’t a quick process so with the unwanted incentive of ‘touching cloth’ I navigated the crowds of people like a Border Collie slaloms through the polls of an agility test – I was up and out. We did attempt a pit stop at a block of loos situated halfway between the arena and car park, however, they were so blocked and disgusting that the thought of using my bucket I had stashed in the back of the car, was much more appealing.

Once off site and driving like the wind I made it back to the B&B in one piece and although I missed Rammestein – another band I love, the relief of making it back to the privacy of my own room, was a reason to celebrate in itself.

I now have a self-imposed hiatus on attending gigs over the summer and will start back up again in Autumn, by which time I hope my bowels will start to behave and dutifully observe gig-etiquette. If not, if you see me in a loo-queue, please be kind and let me go first 🙂

Maybe IBD sufferers should have a badge like pregnant ladies… instead of ‘Bump on Board’ ours should say ‘Dump on Board’?

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Glued to the Loo

Today is a beautiful summer’s day, I can hear grass being cut in the distance and birds chirping across the way in the old oak tree I can see from my bedroom window.

I’m not outside enjoying the sun, nor am I at work – where I should be on a Monday afternoon, instead I’m in bed with my insides knotted up in yet another ‘flare-up’. The spasms are so tight I’m actually holding my breath and resisting the urge to breathe as this only adds to the discomfort and the increasing pain as it continues to build and build.

The end result of this spasm will be me sat on the toilet while, as I put it politely, ‘the world falls out of my ass’. Not an attractive image hey? Imagine that coupled with your entire body shaking, covered in sweat – like you have the worst fever ever, your legs going numb, and just for good measure my knees and calf muscles covered in marks where I’m gripping them so tightly while I sit on the loo and assume the ‘brace position’ and try and deal with the pain.

I’ve only been diagnosed with Crohns Disease recently – 3 December 2012, this date is etched on my brain as fresh and as painful as my most recent tattoo. The diagnosis I thought would be a major stake in the ground after suffering for over 20 years, but the magnitude of the monster I’m dealing with is a lot harder to accept than I ever anticipated.

I imagined a diagnosis would feel like a weight lifted, instead it feels like a life sentence when you know there is no cure. And don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not the big ‘C’ and it’s not life threatening and there are LOTS of people out there a lot worse off, but when you have one of the most socially-unacceptable, cruel diseases, there’s no consolation.

Let’s also get it out there, yes my surname is ‘Croney’ – I am a Crohnie Croney, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry when the irony of my name sank in…

I’m not sure in all honesty why today of all days I feel compelled to share something that is so embarrassing and personal, apart from the fact I have this thing and so many people (including my nearest and dearest) haven’t got a clue what living with this disease actually means. Maybe it’s the fact that last night my hubby advised me to sit down with my Dad and try and talk him through it again, even though my parents have been on this journey with me every step of the way.

The reality of my life now, even after starting treatment – Remicade/Infliximab infusions every 6/8 weeks, which I’m not convinced are working (but that’s a subject for a future blog), is that I live my life by a day-to-day routine and not being able to plan anything more than one day ahead. The latter being a point of frustration for both me, family and friends, especially the ones who ask me if I’m going to be well a week next Thursday to go out?… I DON’T KNOW!!!!

A normal day for me is waking up and within a second assessing how I feel… on a brilliant day I will feel normal with no pain at all (this is rare), or I will have mild/moderate pain I know I can cope with, or within a second of my eyes opening I’ll be in agony and spending most of my day either on, or near to, a toilet.

After getting myself ready, which some days can take an age if my ankle joints are hurting, or my eyes are swollen, or I feel like I’m going to vom (more typical symptoms of Crohns), I can then go on to packing my bag which always includes medication, tissues and perfume, the last two are a MUST and go with me everywhere in case of an emergency – of which there are many.

If it’s a working day my hubby and I drive the kids around to the child-minder before he drops me at the train station. On a good day we can do this journey in about five minutes, on a bad day we may drop off the kids and then he has to drive me back to the house so I can go and sit on the loo. Then when I feel ‘safe’ enough to leave the house he drops me at the station. The alternative outcome to this scenario is that the ‘safe’ feeling doesn’t materialise and then I’m housebound for the rest of the day and I’m forced to work from home.

On the days I make it to the station I have the same thoughts while waiting for the train:

  1. Please don’t let the train be delayed or cancelled as the station toilet is grim. It’s also locked so I have to go and ask the guy in the ticket office for the key (really embarrassing after the tenth trip)
  2. When the train comes please let there be a seat next to the loo
  3. PLEASE don’t let the toilet be out of order or ‘occupied’
  4. Please don’t let the train be so rammed that people are stood outside the toilet door.

Once I’m on the train I then pray to God, or anyone else who will listen, that my stomach will hold out for the journey, or at least until I get to the station the other end. Nine times out of ten I try and go to sleep as this is the only thing to stop me panicking/worrying the entire journey.

When I’ve got off the train I become a toilet expert, I know every toilet in every station, café, restaurant etc. on my route to the office in case I’m ‘caught-short’ – having to go quickly happens a lot. One minute I can be walking down the road happily and the next minute feel the initial twinge which means I need to get to a loo pronto, therefore having tissues and spray on you at all times is a necessary evil as you never know the state of a toilet you’re going into…

Train journeys are probably the easiest of all if I’m honest. Tubes and buses are like Russian-roulette and I only attempt them when I’m 100% confident I can make it without ‘incident’ as any mode of transport without a toilet is a daunting prospect for any Crohnie.

Car journeys are up there in terms of stress levels, they’re all well and good when you can stop at service stations but when you’re stuck in a traffic jam on the M25 there literally is nowhere ‘to go’ and on occasions the kid’s porto-potty has been disarmed and ready for use as has a bucket. The glamour…

I’m not going to go into every gruesome detail but you get the idea. I basically live my life by needing to know where the nearest toilet is. Having children is actually a blessing in these scenarios as I can normally take them with me into most places to use ‘their facilities’. I also do have a ‘Can’t Wait’ card from Crohns and Colitis UK, but have to say I’ve been too embarrassed to use it up until now.

Having to share the fact that you are just about to poo yourself with either a stranger or friend is probably one of the most shameful things ever, but worse than this is having to reassure your children that Mummy isn’t going to die from her naughty tummy and explain she can’t take you swimming or to the park today as she needs to be by the loo… that’s what hurts most, forget the physical pain.

xx

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