Crohn’s and Colitis UK has been supporting everyone affected by Crohn’s and Colitis since 1979. They are leading the fight against this disease through campaigning to improve lives, driving pioneering research, bringing people together and breaking taboos. Every day people are diagnosed with Crohn’s or Colitis, the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease. These diseases affect people from all walks of life, of any age, sexuality or gender and each diagnosis is life changing. In the last five years various improvements have been made including: increased access to a specialist team including an IBD nurse, more chances to keep conditions under control with biological drugs and new drug formulations allowing treatments to be more flexible. However, there is still a long way to go and for 1 in 4 people their diagnosis takes over a year and for 1 in 2 people it involves visits to A&E.
Care is not necessarily guaranteed to be personalised or specific to the individual. Education, career, personal and social lives are disrupted and many of those diagnosed feel misunderstood. Pastiche’s very own Matthew knows all too well the difficulties in obtaining a diagnosis. This is his story.
Matthew’s Story: I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2022 after 10+ years of struggling with diarrhoea, passing blood and debilitating pain. I was constantly being told by doctors that it was just IBS and to ‘not get so stressed’. Becoming a dad in 2018 made me realise something had to be done and I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. My GP finally referred me to a Gastroenterologist and after a colonoscopy, MRI scan and endoscopy they found scarring in my small intestine and stomach and there is damage all the way up to my mouth. I have been on multiple courses of steroids and am now on chemotherapy drugs. As a result of Crohn’s I am being tested for ankylosing spondylitis arthritis which affects my spine and multiple joints. Both are auto-immune diseases and in 30% of cases both are linked. Some days are very challenging, both physically and mentally. Fatigue is one of the most impacting side effects and the hardest to explain to people without judgement. I have to take things one day at a time due to the unpredictability of this disease, which is one of the biggest challenges and it has had a major impact on both my work and personal life. Throughout it all, Olivia and the kids have been a constant support and helped me get through the good times and the very bad times. I could not have coped with this disease without them and also all my friends at Pastiche. This charity choice means a lot to me and I wish to help spread awareness of a mostly invisible condition. #ittakesguts to talk about Crohn’s and Colitis.
On behalf of everyone at Pastiche and involved with our production, thank you for any donation you wish to make to our bucket collection.