Since the birth of her first daughter, Amy Jeffery of Boothstown has lived with Crohn’s and says it was a tough period of her life.
Amy Jeffery, 41, first noticed symptoms at 19 whilst at university, and so scheduled a meeting with her GP.
“My brother has Crohn’s and was diagnosed quite young, so when I mentioned I had been feeling unwell, he immediately told me to go to the doctors.
“But, they told me I was too old, and sent me away. So, I went away thinking I was okay.”
At age 24, Amy fell pregnant with her first daughter. During her pregnancy experienced no symptoms but after she gave birth, she became extremely poorly.
“I would do things like setting up a play area in the toilet, because I’d spend so much of the day in the toilet, and she needed a place where she could play safely.”
As listed on the NHS website, symptoms of Crohns include stomach aches and cramps, fatigue and diarrhea.
“I remember laying on the floor playing with my daughter and I just fell asleep. I have no idea how long I was asleep for, but when I woke up she was still there playing beside me as if nothing had happened.
“It was then I just started thinking differently about things and became so worried about my Crohn’s affecting my daughter.”
Gradually, her Crohn’s got worse. In her work life, she had to leave her job as the symptoms grew too severe, whilst in her home life, she was unable to join in with the other mums or play-dates.
“The whole thing just made you feel worthless and of no use to anyone.”
In 2008, Amy had her second daughter, and during her pregnancy she became very well; “It felt like I had a respite of it.”
Amy stated that only in the past six months has she felt like she has gone into remission and her symptoms haven’t affected her.
Throughout the years, she was involved in many drug trials and medications, all in the attempts to help her Crohn’s and be there for herself and her daughters.
“I’ve had medications where it felt like I was blowing up because I was having an allergic reaction to it. But I would keep going with it because all I could think was ‘If I’m this bad on it now, how bad will I be off it.'”
This week is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness week, in the aid to raise money for charities to improve the quality of life for those living with Crohn’s.
On December 6th, it is Purple Friday, in which you can hold quiz nights and fundraisers, or simply wear the color purple to raise awareness and show you support.
“My children have grown up around it, and I’m glad they’ve seen the wonders of the NHS and how it’s helped me.
“All the nurses know my kids and we’re like a little family. But, a family you don’t want to see very often because if I see them it usually means I’m ill.”
Amy’s experience with Salford Royal has kept her strong throughout her journey with Crohn’s, saying that their nurses have been a tremendous help and on her ward, she has been treated with a personal care she hasn’t received anywhere else.
For those living with Crohn’s and Colitis, there is a ‘Can’t Wait Card’, which makes it easier for those living with the condition to use toilets in shops, restaurants, and non-public facing buildings. It helps those in urgent need, and is also available in 30 different languages so when traveling abroad, you won’t be disadvantaged.