Joshua’s story

Lethargic, melancholy, and fatigued are three words that accurately characterise how I felt on a regular basis during Year 11 of high school. I assumed it was common for kids to be lethargic after 12 years of schooling, but it was a different form of lethargic. Not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to eat, not wanting to move. This describes how daily life was for me throughout one of the most “memorable” years of high school. Missing virtually every class (20%), failing to attend memorable events (formal and camp), and being unable to communicate with my classmates in one of the few years I have had to spend meaningful time with them. Year 11 was awful for me.

Despite several visits to the doctor, they were unable to determine the source of the problem, supposing it was due to sleep deprivation or student stress. Finally, there were telltale symptoms, such as huge amounts of blood in stools, that it wasn’t all in my head and that something was very wrong. Nonetheless, the doctor blamed it on something else, citing hemorrhoids. As a result, my existence consisted of going back and forth from the GP clinic to the pathology facility for blood tests. It took 10 months to acquire approval for a colonoscopy. After a lovely nap and a few weeks wait, the colonoscopy revealed that I had severely inflamed bowels and that it was not just hemorrhoids. Rather, it was either Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, and after another month, it was diagnosed as Crohn’s disease.

Year 12 – the year I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease – was equally as bad since I was put on steroids (for 8 weeks) to control the inflammation, which damaged my sleep and immune system, making me more prone to illness. Needles, Needles, Needles. I’ve had so many needles inserted into me to protect myself from contagious illnesses that I feel like an 80-year-old. Finally, I was permitted to go from steroids to Mezavant, supported by more blood and stool testing.

As a result, it was discovered that my inflammation levels are still too high, and I was directed to the third step of inflammation control, which is to change medications.

To share your story, click here.