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Meet Katie

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2018 and endometriosis in 2020. Having two diseases with overlapping symptoms is a struggle to manage, especially when they’re both in the lower abdominal region. The treatments can counteract each other, and the cause of my pain can be difficult to pin point, which is a hindrance for both myself and my consultants.

My Story

Once I was diagnosed with Crohn’s, I was reluctant to seek help regarding my endometriosis symptoms, I simply blamed them on my existing disease and hoped they would disappear. I had read about women with Crohn’s having problematic periods, so it was an easy culprit.

 

It wasn’t until the heavy bleeding and deep pelvic pain during sex started that I recognised my symptoms as abnormal and sought advice from my GP. We discussed several causes including pelvic inflammatory disease, Crohn’s and endometriosis. I remember going home thinking ‘wow that illness beginning with ‘e’ (I’d never heard of it before and couldn’t recall the long name) matches my symptoms perfectly’.

 

I racked my Mum’s brain for the name of this disease I called ‘e’ and scoured the internet to learn about it. The more I read, the more confident I became that this was the cause of my problems. I had many ultrasounds, some of which revealed abnormalities around my ovaries and fallopian tubes, but failed to confirm endometriosis, so I brushed it aside and resorted, once more, to blaming Crohn’s as the cause.

In the summer of 2020, I became very unwell with Crohn’s symptoms and was hospitalised. I was an inpatient for about a month and during this time, I went for surgery to remove part of my bowel and form an ileostomy. However, when I woke up I was told that the surgery didn’t go to plan and the surgeon found endometriosis. I was shocked, confused and upset. I’d convinced myself that Crohn’s was my only problem, and I’d wake up from surgery with a healthier body and an improved quality of life. Instead, I was told that I now had a second disease which would mean on top of my existing appointments, scans and medication, I would be subject to further hospital visits.

My experience with these illnesses so far has been tough. I fear for my future, my fertility and my health. However, the help and support I’ve received, particularly online, is overwhelming. I’ve formed friendships all over the world due to my diseases, and for that, I thank you endometriosis and Crohn’s!