Naturally everyone in your life isn’t in the same place, and more often than not you are actually separated by a large expanse of water! So when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, my mum quickly told my godparents, father, step-father, grandma etc. first (actually at this point I was still coming round from the sedative). However, there were other people I needed to share this diagnosis with, simply so they could understand why over the last 6 months I hadn’t seen them as much as I used to, or if I had been acting differently/distance, I also felt I needed to tell a couple of the girls at work so they could also understand. The easiest way to let a large group of people know was to write an email – so I thought I would write a post on sharing your diagnosis with people but also show you the email I sent. Since joining social media as Coping With Colitis a lot of people have been afraid to share their IBD with their friends, which I think is madness! It is so incredibly important to let people in and let them know what you’ve been going through, how can anyone understand or help you when you keep them in dark? I also thought for the next 8 weeks I am going to be on a course of steroids and who knows how that will change me… particularly in stressful situations at work (I will do another post on letting your employer know). Anyway, without further or do, this is how I shared with my friends near and far, and now I am sharing it with you..
“Dear friends and family,
I hope you are all well. I am sending this mass email as it is easier for me (so do forgive me for the lack of personal touch). With so many of you scattered around the globe it makes much more sense.
In recent years I’ve suffered pretty much silently over what I thought was severe indigestion until it became so unbearable I shared my agonies with a few of you … thanks for listening, by the way. I put it down to stress or simply just an overly sensitive digestive system. I don’t mind admitting that since November 2016 my pain increased dramatically making it incredibly difficult to maintain a cheery outlook, stay in touch and focus on what is important in life.
Food, which I bloody love, has felt like the enemy :(, evenings out have become draining and I just haven’t been my usual self. I know some of you have picked up on this, and I have been more anti-social than usual (I know I can be quite anti-social at the best of times, lol).
Yesterday I finally found out why … I have been diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, more specifically Ulcerative Colitis. What this means for me is a lifetime of management. There is no cure.
In danger of boring you all, but if you are curious here’s a useful link: (https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/about-inflammatory-bowel-disease/ulcerative-colitis) it explains it better than I ever could. In the short term, I have been put on a course of steroids for 8 weeks – I will try and remain my usual sassy self, but I have heard roid rage is real 😉 this also sadly means no alcohol for the duration of the course. Booo. But hopefully this means I am on the mend – in the long term like I said it cannot be cured but through steroids and eating certain foods I can reduce the inflammation and in time I will be able to have a G&T and that burger that I am so desperately craving right now.
Although any sympathy is much appreciated this email is meant to just update you – the important people in my life. (If you are going to reply, just press ‘reply’ rather than ‘reply all’ otherwise you will be sharing your responses with everyone :))
Writing this was so therapeutic and it (surprisingly) came so naturally… not everyone responded, but I was touched by those that did and actually in a time like this I really think your true friends rise to the top.
How did you share your diagnosis with friends and family?