Why start a blog?
Before sharing why I called my blog Climbing with Crohn’s, I thought it was important to explain why I created a blog in the first place.
I’m 28 and I have had Crohn’s Disease for 17 years. Up until recently, apart from 1 operation and several flare ups, I have been able to live a relatively normal life. Crohn’s disease only crossed my mind when I took my daily tablets. Last year this changed when even though I was not experiencing symptoms, I discovered that my condition had been active and causing damage. This led to the adoption of a new medication called Inflectra, that I receive in hospital via infusion every 8 weeks.
This discovery and change in medication drove me to get more involved in the online IBD community, where my primary goal was to find out as much as I could about my condition and the new medication I was due to start. I achieved this but I also learned that I was also able to help other people by sharing my own experiences, even though I may not have been through as much as others with Crohn’s disease or Colitis.
I discovered that everyone with IBD has a different experience and it made me realise how important it is for people with IBD to stand up and share their own story to raise awareness both externally and internally to the IBD community. I’m also aware of how much I don’t know or understand about my own condition and I hope that by writing more I’ll begin to boost my own knowledge.
Why Climbing With Crohn’s?
I’m sure that most individuals with a chronic illness will sometimes feel that their disease defines them as an individual. I’ve certainly felt like this at times. This is partially why I decided to name my blog Climbing with Crohn’s. By doing this, it’s a reminder to me that Crohn’s disease is just one aspect of my life.
When I’m able to, I love to go rock climbing. I also thoroughly enjoy playing guitar, going to gigs, reading (usually about Everest and climbing expeditions) and watching films. I did not want to tie my blog down to just writing about Crohn’s disease. I want it to be a true reflection of my life with IBD and with everything else that makes me who I am.
The more I thought about my blog title, the more I realised how good an analogy rock climbing is to life with a chronic illness (at least I think it is – bear with me here!).
For me, a day with a chronic illness is like a day long rock climbing trip. If I’m going rock climbing I need to plan and pack the equipment that I need to enable me to get through whatever type of climb lies ahead. I would not be able to go top roping if I did not pack my harness, chalk bag and climbing shoes. When I climb I also need to make sure that I plan the route I intend to take and ensure that each move I make is a calculated move that uses as little energy as possible. An individual with a chronic illness often needs to plan their day out in advance as well. They need to make sure they take their medication and any equipment they may require to support their health. They often need to make sure that the day is not too busy so that they won’t totally tire themselves out. For me, I know that if I’m going out on an evening, I’ll try to have a relaxed day to save my energy for the night time.
Unless you’re bouldering or Alex Honnold, the majority of climbing cannot be done solo. Climbing requires a belayer. For most climbs the belayer is there to catch the climber just in case they fall but sometimes the belayer can pick up the slack and enable the climber to take a rest for a few moments. This is very much how I see the importance of support from friends and family for someone with a chronic illness. Most days support is not needed but it’s important that it’s there to catch falls and provide occasional respite.
I hope this explains the idea behind why I started this blog and why I called it Climbing with Crohn’s. Let me know what you think in the comments section below!