Friends with (Medical) Benefits


Strong relationships are a must to anyone battling a chronic condition. The most important ones in my life are my boyfriend – who is very patient with me, my parents/step parents – who at times, don’t quite realise how much I am suffering as I don’t like to worry them, work – who have proved to be very understand and my close friends – who always are happy to be at my beck and call.

Thanks to these people in my life, I feel I can be more open about the symptoms and struggles of my constant fight with one of the least glamourous illnesses, Crohn’s Disease.

Maintaining relationships (not just lovey dovey ones) takes a lot of work. It should be 50/50 from each side. However, when you spend the majority of your life in the bathroom, sleeping and doped up on medication you can let your 50% slide. I personally don’t mean to distance myself, just sometimes the struggle of having a shower, putting on make-up, getting dressed into normal clothes while my pjs are in sight can be too much for my inflamed body to handle. I always try my best to power through though.

Over the past month I have been struggling with a flare like never before. I also don’t live with my mum anymore so I was independently trying to cope while on a heavy dose of Solpadol. Let me tell you, it was not fun and games! Thank goodness for Russell (my knight in shining armour, or actually, my rugby kit wearing boyfriend) He kept toilet rolls stocked up as I was going through rolls like they were going out of fashion, put up with my mood swings, and let me share with you that they were not pretty. “Yes I want chicken nuggets, but NO I AM NOT GOING TO EAT THEM!!!” Ahh that’s one for the memory box. He kept his cool while I was having countless melt downs, He never judged me when I would insist on leaving the house in my pjs and most importantly to me – my hot water bottle was always hot. As my dad says, “He is a good one.”

See, when I first go told I have Crohn’s, I felt yucky. At the age of 17 my life revolved around boys, my friends and the latest celeb gossip not poo, medicine and needles – which is my biggest fear. I never really told anyone the ins and outs. People just thought I had a bug, which was ok because I never corrected them! When I left school at 18, I soon realised that if I was more open about my symptoms, the people in my life, hopefully, would be more understanding. This was true for the majority. However I did have to break a few ties which definitely were for the best.

My advice would be try when you can to make the effort with loved ones. Send texts to communicate (you can send these from the toilet and no one will know!), Accept help if they offer as it can be the perfect excuse to see them – I always accept the offer from my dad to do my ironing, and if you can be bothered, Stay active on social media, Instagram is useful for finding new people going through similar times as you -  I tend to use the hashtag #crohnslife. 

(Blog photo is of Clair and her boyfriend Russ on holiday) 

Clair's Twitter: _weeginge

Clair's Instagram: wee_ginge

Holly Gouldthorpe