During the week leading up to Easter 2008, my Mum, Dad, brother and I went to France to stay with family for the week. We rang NHS Direct the morning we were leaving as even sitting up was painful, I was being sick every week and practically living in the bathroom. I lost A LOT of weight, even though I was already really skinny, size 8 and dropped so my size 8's hung off me. The nurse suggested a hot water bottle and paracetamol and if it got worse to go to A&E.
During the week in France, I didn't leave the house. I looked 8 months pregnant, my stomach was so distended. If I sat up I'd scream and cry in agony and have to lie back down again. Every minute of those few days I had a hot water bottle on my tummy, which seemed to relax the muscles a bit giving some form of relief for the brief period it was hot. On the day we were leaving, I couldn't eat or drink anything; I was clearly dehydrated and just felt the poorlyest I'd felt in my life up to that point! We went to a restaurant on the way back as we were staying in a B&B in Calais, before the final tunnel crossing and drive home. I ate a small bread roll and tried to drink a bottle of water. I felt awful and as a result had to leave and as soon as I got outside was violently sick, unable to keep the water and bread down.
The next day we drove back home. On the way I was getting worse and worse, and had to be helped to walk at service stations. After that my parents decided I was going to have to go straight to A&E once home.
In A&E I was terrified, I'd never been in hospital before, never had a blood test, nothing medical at all before. They called me through and took me to X-ray. After that point I wasn't allowed to walk anywhere. Nurses and Doctors were crowded around the computer screen looking at my X-ray results. They came to me, put in an IV drip for some fluids to re-hydrate me and said I was being transferred to Coventry University Hospital by ambulance. As I've now learned they thought I had a bowel blockage and needed surgery as soon as possible. I had burns on my stomach from holding the hot water bottle to it for weeks on end.
They gave me some codeine for the stomach pain and as a result I can't really remember what happened after that. The next day I went for an ultra sound scan and they muttered Crohns briefly. I was taken back up to the ward where I met my consultant for the first time and started on a strong dose of IV steroids (administered 4 times a day into a vein, after 4 days of that it would be changed to tablets) I was really sick from the codine that day and in an incredible amount of pain. It was unbearable I spent a week in Hospital, which was Easter week in March 2008.
On the day I left they told me I'd be going for an MRI scan to confirm if it was Crohns. I was told to drink a litre of the laxative Movi- Prep and then that I was going to have a dye injected to help show up the bowel on the scan.As a result of that MRI, Crohns was confirmed and I was started on Azathioprine and continued prednisolone steroids. My stomach began to reduce in swelling and I got some relief from pain at last and could being to eat again, this time strictly low residue.