Colitis & My New Family

I didn’t think I’d be “brave” enough to write about my Colitis here. It’s something I’ve always kind of chosen to keep to myself, and I don’t really know why. Of course all my friends and family know – how could they not when they’ve been there during the tough times from diagnosis through to the present day – but it’s not something I broadcast to the wider world.

However, the last few stressful weeks have taken their toll and I’ve had to review some things, because until now I haven’t wanted people to know that my Colitis is an underlying reason for anything. What they think has never bothered me. I’ve never wanted it as an excuse. I’ve never wanted it full stop. I’ve always tried to make Colitis work around my life, rather than the other way around. Since Little H’s arrival though, I’ve been starting to think this might need to change.

For those of you who don’t know, Ulcerative Colitis is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Crohns Disease is often more widely known – UC is a milder form of this. This blog post neatly summarises some of the misconceptions and symptoms:

Reading this blog made me realise that I deal with a lot of this every day. Not sure why it was this one, I’ve read similar ones before… but the reason it has been affecting me more than usual recently is simple. Fatigue.

People who have read my previous posts will know that the last few weeks have been a bit crazy; new (higher pressure) job, house burgled, new house, poorly child… we actually ended up taking Little H to A&E where they were worried about her hydration levels. This is a lot to process mentally – and it is therefore very draining and has left me pretty fatigued.

Turns out, being fatigued and the father of a 12 week old aren’t exactly a match made in heaven!! Even less so when your wife contracts the virus that made your child a grumble-pants for a few days and so is completely wiped out herself.

I. Am. Shattered.

My brain needs some time off. It can’t carry on burning energy at its current rate! Physically my body is developing new aches all the time, and I can’t remember the last time I did any meaningful exercise to cause it. Main reason being that by the time I get home from work I barely feel I have the energy to change a nappy – let alone go on my bike! Seriously, there are days it has been that bad and it makes me feel awful.

So maybe it’s time to stop being so stubborn about my Colitis and making it fit around a life I once had and want to cling onto. I’m not saying I will go completely the other way… I know for example that there are certain foods that can make it worse. Problem is that I really like those foods. So I’m not going to stop eating them – but I will stop wondering why I feel worse afterwards – it will have been a conscious choice.

Maybe, for the sake of my little girl and my family, I need to start accepting that Colitis is part of my life. It doesn’t need to “fit around” – it needs to “fit in”. I started taking my condition more seriously last year when it worsened – but now by not changing my approach again I’m going to make myself ill. Then I’m no use to anyone, least of all my beautiful family.

I’m not sure what change is going to look like yet, but it is needed. I can’t carry on like I am. Colitis driven fatigue will not become a reason for me becoming a lousy Dad. It can’t and I won’t let it.

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