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Audrey T
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/9/2008 3:23 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello all,
I'm aware there are threads circulating around about coping mechanisms with Crohn's however I was wanting to put a different spin on things.

I guess I'm asking for advice but I'm also having a rant, because my boyfriend and I broke up, I no longer have anyone to rant about Crohn's at anymore.

I started university roughly 3 weeks ago, I thought I was doing just fine but within the past week I've been so bad that I physically can't sit through my lectures and have to go home. Today I ran out of my maths lecture (with around 200 pairs of eyes following me...cringe) and had an attack and sat in the toilets and cried, I was in so much pain. My friend recommended that I just go home and he'd bring notes for me to copy up later. I feel that I spend all my nights catching up on the work that I should be doing in class because missing class makes me feel so guilty.

This is probably ridiculous but I'm terrified to go to the doctors in case they hospitalise me. I'm currently at university away from home, I was desperate to come to St Andrews, that my parents reluctantly agreed to let me go, and they are paying a lot of money for my accommodation, just so that I can have an en suite toilet, money that we really can't afford. I don't want to be hospitalised because I don't want to feel that I am wasting my family's money on an education that I'm not even getting. I spend more time in the toilets then I do in classes.

My boyfriend and I broke up last night, because he's in Ghana doing voluntary work and I'm in Scotland. We did try the whole LDR shenanigans but I was getting far too ill and he was worried about me constantly that I didn't want to put him through it anymore. The LDR was just putting a strain on our relationship, and cracks were beginning to show.

I've noticed people talking about seeing therapists etc, and I'm wondering if maybe I should arrange to see one? The Crohn's has really depressed me, I'm away from my family and my (ex)boyfriend of two and a half years, my friends at uni know there's something wrong with me but it's not something I feel comfortable discussing with them.

I honestly have no idea what to do, I'm only seventeen, I feel so young and inexperienced in how to cope with this WITHOUT other people...Advice would be appreciated!

Kudos to anyone that reads all that by the way!

gachrons
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4527
   Posted 10/9/2008 3:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi AudreyFirst off I would like to say welcome. Do not be afraid to go to the Dr. he might be able to help you so you can be in class more. You are lucky to have such a good friend that is so helpfull . As far as talking we are always here if you need someone, but if you are getting depressed maybe you need someone to talk in person. There are other people here that are continuing there education and I am not sure how they cope I do know that it is hard for them at times. Have you tried low roughage diet? What sort of meds are you taking? I know it is hard when a person breaks up with someone and it can cause someone to feel alone foe awhile or a abondoned but that feeling doesn't hang around forever it passes. lol gail
Hallarious woman over 50 ,CD ,IBS 27 years--resection,fistula's,obstructions,and still alive.lol gail


EMom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 990
   Posted 10/9/2008 5:32 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Audrey T. Welcome! I feel so badly for you! Please let your parents know what's going on. They will have ideas for you! You don't mention whether you are on any medication for your Crohn's...

You might want to consider taking a really good probiotic (found at better health food stores) if you aren't already. It could help relieve some of your symptoms. Also, removing sugar and other refined carbs can be beneficial. (My son follows the Specific Carbohydrate Diet [SCD] from the book "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" by Elaine Gottschall. I bet you can find it in Scotland!)

As for coping, others here would be better with advice than me, but yes, seek out any free services your university might offer. The UK has a very high per capita rate of Crohn's sufferers. Possibly you could find a local support group. Try calling a local major medical center to inquire...maybe they can direct you.

And of course, you now have us! smilewinkgrin This is a great place for support!
Mom to 16 year old boy diagnosed in June, 2007.
Omega 3s, digestive enzymes, probiotics, vit. C, calcium w/D3, a good multivitamin and SCD legal yogurt
Started The Maker's Diet in Sept. '07. Gradually learning/using more SCD recipes, too! (cooking challenged)


Nanners
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 10/9/2008 6:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Audrey T welcome to Healingwell. As you can see you will find alot of support here from folks living with the same DD as you.

I have lived with this disease now for over 30 years and just this past year started seeing a therapist. Its been really beneficial for me. I have someone to listen and provide advice on living with the DD. It really really helps. I all of sudden developed a really bad case of anxiety. Thru therapy and with some anxiety meds I am now able to stop the anxiety attacks in there tracks. I recommend you get in and see your family doc and discuss the way you are feeling. Living with this disease and having no one close to you can be really traumatic sometimes.

I agree with EMom that maybe you need to take a good look at your diet. I live on a low residue diet all the time. You can google it and get some ideas on what to eat. I no longer eat red meat, only chicken, fish and turkey. I don't follow any SCD or Makers diet, but they do work for some. Also are you taking any kind of Crohns medication. I am a firm believer that even when in remission everyone should at least take some kind of maintainence medication. I take one of the milder ones Asacol, and it works well for me.

I recommend you get in to see a GI soon so that you can get this flare under control. But I also want you to realize that sometimes stress (such as the breakup with your BF) can cause an increase in symptoms and maybe just getting that under control and watching your diet can quiet things down. Good luck and keep us posted on how you are doing.

God Bless,
Gail *Nanners*
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 32 years.  Currently on Asacol, Prilosec 60 mg, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain and Calcium.  Resections in 2002 and 2005.  Recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and doing tests to see if I have Inflammatory Arthritis or AS.


Audrey T
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/10/2008 1:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you guys.
I'm currently on 15mg a week of Methotrexate, clearly it's not working, I feel awful all the time.
I came home for the weekend, my parents keep shouting at me because I got really upset about being ill...I don't know what to do.
I barely eat anymore because it hurts...

gachrons
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4527
   Posted 10/10/2008 2:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Audreyhope your parents calm down. Have you tried low roughage diet? Are you planning to see your GI soon? I had to go on ensure that heps when food isn't getting in because of the pain I had. Perhaps you need more testing to see what is going on with you. lol gail
Hallarious woman over 50 ,CD ,IBS 27 years--resection,fistula's,obstructions,and still alive.lol gail


Keeper
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 10/10/2008 2:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Nanners is right about the stress. It can bring on all the problems you get with Crohn's all by itself. And there is nothing like starting university and living away from home and breaking up with your boyfriend and worrying about being sick to cause stress. I don't know if it is available in the UK, but there is a herbal remedy that helps with stress called Holy Basil extract. In any event, you need to do something about the stress - it is making you sicker. Really, if you can't manage it otherwise, talk to you doc and get something for stress - valium or anything is better than being sick. You also need to do something to control your symptoms. If the Methotrexate is not enough, get more help. You are storing up trouble the longer you let this go on.

LMills
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 10/10/2008 2:45 PM (GMT -7)   
If you are having health problems then don't put off going to the doctor. Your health is much more important than attending class because you won't be attending class at all if you don't address the problem at hand right now.
Second, seeing a therapist could be a really wonderful thing to do. I've had to speak to a few people and it really does help!! Don't be afraid to see someone. It sounds like you need it...

I want to say to that I am so sorry that you and your boyfriend have split up. I know it makes things seem so much worse sometimes when something like this happens. In this light, surround yourself with those you are closest with now if you can help it.

I know the guilt of missing class because of this disease(and have stayed up for hours making up the homework in that guilt as well!). I have missed quite a few this semester but have explained the situation to my teachers, gave them doctors notes because I did go to the doctor beforehand the semester started and made copies of what he gave me, and registered with my University's Office of Disabilities.
I know you can make it through college...just make the necessary preparations. There is no reason that this disease should get in the way of you pursuing your future. It is possible and I know you can do it :)

Just please, remember that your health comes first and foremost. If this doesn't come first then you will only be digging a yourself a hole you can't get out of in the end.
20 years old, Diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn's and Colitis in May of 2008.
Currently taking:
Prednisone(down to 10 mg), pentasa, bentyl as needed, prilosec, tandem plus, humira, and good probiotics
Surgery for ectopic pregnancy most likely the result of severe Crohn's inflammation in July of 2008.
http://weblog.xanga.com/harlequin_garret


ivy6
Elite Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 10/10/2008 2:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Audrey, and welcome,

First things first: are you registered with the disability support office at St Andrew's? I ask this because a lot of people with severe illnesses (myself included) have gone to university and battled through, unsupported, because they were unaware that their illness counts as a disability. If you are registered, you may be able to access some excellent help: for instance, they may be able to get someone to tape your lectures and / or take notes for you, so you don't need to worry about missing vital sections of classes while you run to the toilet. They may also be able to make special arrangements to help you get through exams, and help you get extensions for your essays.

Second, about your not eating: are you able to try a liquid diet there, or are you stuck with college food? Do you know about drinks like Ensure and Fresubin, and Polycose powder?

Third, if all else fails, might you be able to access open University or correspondence classes until your health stabilises? I know this is a bad option because St A's is a wonderful university and you must have worked incredibly hard to get there, but I mention it because I don't want you to feel that you are losing every chance of a higher education if you do end up finding yourself too ill to battle through your course there.

I'm glad you've come here, and I'm looking forward to getting to know you better. Hang in there.

Ivy.
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.


lilcrohnieUK
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 414
   Posted 10/10/2008 3:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi there, I'm also at uni in the UK and Crohn's does count as a disability, make sure you register with the disaability office they can do so much to help! I got a refund of the difference between standard accomodation and en-suite accommodation (which was £25 a week difference!), a computer, equipment to record lectures for when I struggle to write plus special arrangements for assessments so that I can be in a separate room near a toilet for exams so if I have to run out it doesn't create a scene. I had a flare up last year at uni and they helped so much making sure my lecturers knew and getting me extensions on deadlines etc.
Also all unis will have a student counselling service, I used this as I got depressed and anxious in my last flare and it helped loads as its true stress and anxiety does make Crohn's symptoms so much worse but getting all the help from the disability office and the counselling is what got me through last year til I got treated, go and talk to someone in the office and they will help you its so worth it!
Also it may be worth talking to your doctor about some diarrhoea meds? Just something to get you through those lectures, methotrexate can take months to work or maybe you need a larger dose? Get talking to people and hopefully they'll be able to help, hope you feel better soon :-)
 
 


Audrey T
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/10/2008 4:29 PM (GMT -7)   
I registered with Student Support Services and they've sorted out arrangement in terms of me being allowed to leave the room during class and exams, but that's really all the arrangments that were made. I think I'm okay for deadlines etc, I'm doing physics so I never get essays, just problems to work through and it's more exam based than course work. Sometimes its so hard trying to understand other people's notes when you've not been in the lecture yourself..some of the concepts you need to be shown things...
I think if there's anything I want from SSS, I can request it but I'm so naive, I don't even know what to ask for. God, I feel so...unresourceful about all of this, and I've been diagnosed for at least three years!

I'm in self catered residences, so it's up to me what I eat but I basically live off green tea and water. Sometimes I feel so tired that my flat mates will make me food but most of it is pasta which I don't think my stomach can take to be honest..

I think my parents think I'm just "not growing up", they've only really got the brunt of it now, because they went on holiday to Thailand the day before I left for uni, so I was literally on my own for three weeks, and they've only just got back. So I'm pouring out all my emotions in one go. They just keep saying I need to get a grip, which I feel is a bit harsh...

As far as diets go, I know absolutely nothing! Do they work? Is it costly? I really need to start educating myself on this disease, but I find it hard to sit online and read up on pages of things, so any advice you guys can give me well be very appreciated by all means.

Do you guys think I should arrange to see my GI, which would mean taking time off uni because my GI is at home in Glasgow, or I should go to my GP in St Andrews? I don't even know who my GP is, I registered a couple of weeks ago and haven't heard anything since...

gachrons
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4527
   Posted 10/10/2008 4:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Just my opinion here but you need to find out if your not eating because you are depressed or because eating gives you pain. Are you loosing weight? Maybe try the GP and if that don't help get to your GI. No they aren't that costly but it is food and a person has to eat. Low roughage is easy to digest and easier on the system. lol gail
Hallarious woman over 50 ,CD ,IBS 27 years--resection,fistula's,obstructions,and still alive.lol gail


EMom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 990
   Posted 10/10/2008 5:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Audrey T said...
As far as diets go, I know absolutely nothing! Do they work? Is it costly? I really need to start educating myself on this disease, but I find it hard to sit online and read up on pages of things, so any advice you guys can give me well be very appreciated by all means.


Gee, Audrey, don't be so hard on yourself! {{{{{HUG}}}}} You are young and away from home for the first time and shouldn't have to deal with all you're dealing with. How many people go to college and have to worry about trying to figure out their disease, diet, etc. all on their own? I can answer that. Not many! But the good news is YOU CAN!!! You sound VERY intelligent! You have all your ducks in a row... You arranged for SSS, it sounds like you're doing well with your classes. Pat yourself on the back! You should be very proud of yourself!

If your medication isn't working, maybe it's time to talk to your GI. Contact him/her first by phone and see if he'll call you back personally. Ask for a phone appointment since he's so far away. You are his established patient so he SHOULD do this for you! You should tell him everything that's going on. Maybe he'll be able to prescribe something over the phone. I hate to say it, but maybe a short course of prednisone? Have you taken it before? And yes, follow up on your GP situation. They could collaborate if need be.

To answer your question above, yes diets do work! Not for everyone, but for many. The SCD which I referred to in my previous post has tons and tons of free online resources and tens of thousands of followers! It also has the book I referred to and many cook books that are compliant. The Maker's Diet is also a good approach. The book has the same name.

My recommendation would be to try to do something now with your doctor medication-wise, but at the same time begin educating yourself on these diets. They really do help people and could make a big difference for you! You could start reading up on them and then gradually begin following one as you begin feeling better. I know it's tough when you have your college studies that have to come first, but think of these books as a relaxing novel you read each night before bed or when you have a few spare moments. Reading and learning about this d disease and these diets will empower you in the end!!!

Or you could simply transfer to a college right here in my town and I'll cook for you!!! smilewinkgrin

Hang in there!
Mom to 16 year old son diagnosed in June, 2007.
Omega 3s, digestive enzymes, probiotics, vit. C, calcium w/D3, a good multivitamin and SCD legal yogurt
Started The Maker's Diet in Sept. '07. Gradually learning/using more SCD recipes, too! (cooking challenged)


EMom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 990
   Posted 10/10/2008 5:22 PM (GMT -7)   
In case you missed this, check out our recent discussion on the SCD:

http://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=17&m=1262312

You may need to copy and past into your browser, as I still don't know how to hyperlink on this site. shakehead

Be sure to check out the two links posted by Margie11 near the bottom!!! That is a small sample of what's out there!
Mom to 16 year old son diagnosed in June, 2007.
Omega 3s, digestive enzymes, probiotics, vit. C, calcium w/D3, a good multivitamin and SCD legal yogurt
Started The Maker's Diet in Sept. '07. Gradually learning/using more SCD recipes, too! (cooking challenged)


FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 10/10/2008 6:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Audrey !! First off, you are doing an amazing job of living your life, going to the school of your choice, and not letting crohns hold you back. But, you are going to have to figure out how to deal with it all, and everyone does it differently. We even disagree sometimes on this board but I personally feel the easiest way to deal with this disease is to be honest with others about what is wrong with you. I know it can be hard when these people still seem like strangers. But for me, it made me WAY less self conscious. I would leave class, go to the bathroom, come back to class, leave again, etc. I was less upset b/c I knew they knew my crohns was acting up and not that I was some strange unknown person w/ a strange unknown issue. So as I meet people I just try to casually work it into conversation. I would tell your professors too so you don't worry about them thinking you are rude. Make sure you get an aisle seat near the door so you can slip in and out as many times as necessary. There is no reason to sit in class in pain not learning anything when you can go take a quick poop, feel better, and get back in there.

Now the food issue. You gotta eat or you are just going to feel like crap from starving yourself. By eat I mean consume calories. Start with some smoothies. Blend ice and yogurt and some slim fast powder or other powdered meal replacement. Toss in a bananna. Eat apple sauce, drink broths, maybe a little rice or toast. When you start handling that better try so plain chicken pieces. Go slow. Treat yourself like a baby. Green tea might not be the best choice if it has caffeine. That can irritate your guts a lot. I like peppermint tea or any of the decaf herbals.

Now I know what I suggested contradicts those that suggested the SCD. There are lots of diet ideas out there. SCD is more extreme and a bit harder to comply with. But if it helps it would be worth it. You might want to try just a bland liquid/light diet first and if that doesn't work try the SCD. I would see your GP at the university and ask if he/she can refer you to a local GI. I would ask about taking 5 ASA drugs in addition to what you are on or maybe a course of steroids like entocort or prednizone.

I hope you can at least tell your roomies what is going on with you. It will be nice to have their support and not feel like you are always hiding something. Best wishes!
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.


beartooth
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 517
   Posted 10/10/2008 6:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Audrey,

I am so sorry that you are going through all this during your first year in college. I don't have Crohn's, but I have Ulcerative colitis, which is very similar to Crohn's. Everything that I've read in this thread has been good advice, but I have to stress that it is important that you eat. Your body needs nutrients to help deal with the disease you have, and if you don't have any nutrient resources, your body can't try to heal itself. I'd also say that you should get in to see a doctor, because you're meds are obviously not working for you. Does you school offer a health program for students? The university I went to in the US did. They had everything from campus doctors to on-site counseling (and it wasn't just academic counseling!). You sound like you really need someone to vent to. This forum is a great place to always find a sympathetic ear, and it is great being able to get advice from people who have experience in dealing with this disease. Lastly, if you have already registered with the SSS, find out what other accomodations they can make for you. It seems apparent that you are suffering from depression as well your Crohn's, and the combination can be immobilizing.

You had a question about diets, but unfortunately there is no one cure for everyone. When and if you get the energy to read through posts, you will find what works for one doesn't always work for others. But that does not by any means mean that you shouldn't be trying different things. The SCD would be a good place to start. I'm no expert on it, so I won't even try to explain it.

I know you don't have the ambition or energy right now, but once you are starting to feel a little better, I'd recommend keeping a food journal. Write down what you eat everyday, and then track your symptoms. You might be surprised to find out that things you thought harmless actually cause you pain the next day. During my last flare, when I had little appetite, and everything seemed to upset my guts, I was living off of Rice Crispies and soy milk, a couple of scrambled eggs, sometimes pasta and marinara sauce, and home made banana bread. And oddly enough, Fritos and tortilla chips didn't do me any harm. That was just me though. If you eat some Fritos and they cause you pain, don't hunt me down or anything please!

I feel for you, and I wish that your parents had more of an understanding of what you are going through. Perhaps you could direct them to this site, and have them read a few things, so they can see what their daughter is dealing with. It is often really hard to get others to truly understand how Crohn's and UC affect our lives. Have faith that you will pull through this. You are depressed about the end of a relationship, and the loss of that companionship, but perhaps you can use this forum as a surrogate for letting your emotions out. We are here for you, and no matter what you need to say, there will be someone who will be willing to listen.

Good luck. Keep us posted on how you are doing. This is a really stressful time for you, and it would be nice to here how you are faring.
Brandon
 
36 y.o. male
Diagnosed w/ moderate UC in May '06
Asacol, Florastor, VSL#3, Wellbutrin XL, Prozac, multi-vitamin, Allegra, Lialda, Colocort enema, Prednisone (trying to taper down)

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