Thriving not Surviving: 40 amazing accomplishments from IBD patients

As you might know, this week is Crohn’s and Colitis awareness week. I am always on a mission to bring a bit of positivity to the proceedings so today I wanted to do something a bit different. I wanted to share how much so many of us accomplished despite living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. 
Although I am not yet in remission, I do have much to celebrate this year. I have a great job, I’m pregnant and I’ve had some great experiences-from events, to leading my own workshops to writing for some dream publications. In other words, I’ve managed to put a big two fingers up to my Crohn’s Disease and achieve lots along the way!


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3 years ago to the day, I was in hospital after another fistula surgery. I remember writing an open letter to Crohn’s disease on my way to the theatre on my phone (which I’ve linked in my bio if you like a bit of nostalgia like me) despairing at the thought that constant operations might be my life. I remember as the anaesthetic kicked in, I turned to the surgeon and said ‘I’ve got big plans so I want you to make sure you do your very best to get it all this time-I’m not coming back in a few months! This won’t be my life!’ And he promised me he would. 3 years later and he was true to his word so far, I would love to say I’m in full remission but I’m not. But I have a baby boy on the way 🤰 a job I couldn’t love more if I tried and the energy to enjoy my life. What more could a girl ask for? I can still remember the last line of the post in my head now ‘one day the battle will be over, and I’ll have won.’ It was naive to think a fight with a chronic illness would even be fully conquered, but this Crohn’s and colitis awareness week; let’s celebrate the victories. Whether they are an hour, week, a day or year. Let’s celebrate the times we stuck two fingers up at the bastard and lived, laughed and loved #ittakesguts

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But the post isn’t about me. So many of you have done the same. 40 in fact! I asked on social media for you to share your own achievements too! So if you’re feeling a bit low, I want you to make a cup of tea and read this blog post from start to finish: because yes life with IBD Is undoubtedly shit (literally!) but it doesn’t have to stop you from living it to the full! Whether it’s a big life goal, a bucket list or simply being happy, it is possible. I asked 40 IBDers to complete the following sentence ‘Despite having IBD…’ and here’s what they said (please note, if no name is given the individual wishes to remain anonymous).
Jeane: Despite having IBD, this year I still managed to become Ambassador for an IBD network, have an art exhibition, receive an honouree doctorate and become involved with projects for domestic abuse and suicide prevention. If I waited for a day when I felt well enough, I wouldn’t do anything!
Despite having IBD and a stoma, I still run my own business, enjoy kayaking, have a great, intimate relationship with my husband – and am going to India at Christmas for a week-long meditation retreat! 
Kira Despite: having IBD I still enjoy being a wife, Mother, Sister, daughter, friend and work colleague. Despite IBD, I have happiness and enjoyment every single day.
Sam:Despite having IBD, I’ve become a Pilates Instructor and Mom. I help others every day learn how their bodies work. I’m able to have extraordinary empathy for those who hurt.
Emma: Despite having IBD I still managed to have two beautiful babies, qualify as a teacher, complete my masters, start my own business and go on our dream trip to Lapland last year.
Buffy: Despite having IBD, I have managed to compete in the Gojukai Karate World champs in 2017, placing 5th, win gold in 2016 and 2018 in the South African champs, and recently successfully grade for my 4th dan black belt all while being mum to my young daughter and running my own business. When I was first diagnosed I was told by so many people I should stop karate. The thought never crossed my mind…
Gemma: Despite having IBD I work full time as an Event Manager running events in the UK and Europe and have just booked my second snowboarding holiday since my diagnosis 
Rachel: Despite having IBD I have a full-time job, am a single parent to 3 teenage children, have a lovely boyfriend, do festivals and camping and importantly make all the decisions about my care and treatment (and am lucky enough to be able to tolerate drinking wine regardless)
Tiffany:Despite having IBD and a stoma, I can drink the lads under the table, eating whatever I want and enjoy travelling alone.
Natalie from The Spoonie Mummy:  Have completed half my degree and continue to work on it!

Erica from The Incidental Parent:I still manage to be a good parent. We might not have as many days out as others but we make up for it in other ways
Colin:  I still can be a high school student while managing to spread awareness about Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Find Colin’s blog here.
Emma: This year I managed to run the Great North Run whilst in the middle of a really bad Crohn’s flare.
Ellie from Cereal and Peanut Butter: I ran 2 half marathons, spent 8 years at Uni, lived abroad for a year, spent a year travelling Australia, skydived, bungee-jumped and more!


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This week is #CrohnsAndColitisAwarenessWeek so I’m sharing a personal interview I did on The Squeeze Magazine earlier this year – click the LINK IN MY BIO to read about my journey of living with Crohn’s since the age of 8 ⭐️ I started my blog during a Crohn’s flare-up in my first year at uni, while playing around with my diet to find what works for me 👍🏼 I don’t often talk about it but I hope the article in my bio resonates with some of you – I would LOVE to hear what you think 💜⠀ ⠀ Direct LINK IN BIO, or head to ✨⠀ ⠀ ⠀ @emmalouisemaw @press_london⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #cerealandpeanutbutter #food #foodbloggers #foodblogger #healthblogger #health #crohnsawareness #instafood #glutenfree #dairyfree #healthyeating #plantbased #ItTakesGuts #healthbloggers #crohns #crohnsdisease #guthealth #ulcerativecolitis #colitis #ibd ⠀ @bryonyhopkins @loismills @natalieannhayden @jennafarmer @rhiansrecipes @chronicblogs @bowelcancerrsrc @crohnsandcolitisuk @crohnscolitisfoundation @chronicloveclub @fightlikeawarrior @gutsygirlblog @blondegoneclean @ibdfitness

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James Conlon from Toilet Me and IBD:  Despite having IBD I’ve managed to continue working in retail and recently celebrated my 11th year at my job. I also wrote for a major publication 🙂 

Michael: Despite having Ulcerative Colitis and a stoma, I still take part in First World War reenactment/living history events

Sera: Despite having IBD, I still work full time, having being promoted again in March. I have the most supportive Fiancé, who becomes my husband in June and will continue to go on holiday whenever possible.!

Jennie: Despite having IBD and a stoma, I’m still here, working part-time and being a mum to a beautiful two-year-old boy who along with his daddy and brother are the most supportive people in the world.

Roxanne: Have lived a great life! (Apart from when in a flare or in the hospital!)partied in my 20’s, got married, raising 2 beautiful children and am HAPPY. Despite having no colon.
Sami. Despite having IBD, I still managed to travel the world working onboard cruise ships for 2 years, after that became too much for my body, after 1 year in the hospital I decided to end the ships and now I am a student veterinary nurse.
Tom: Despite having IBD (and an ileostomy) I still… Climb three times per week and regularly complete obstacle course races. I also work full time as a lawyer and I’m about to begin training for Neptune Steps in 2019
Tracey: Despite having IBD,(Crohn’s disease ) I have raised 5 kids to adults ( 2 of them I succeed to adopt when they were tiny babies ) I also have had a stoma for 34 years, I did this mostly on my own 
Kay: Despite having UC and getting my colon removed and getting a j pouch I still managed to get my degree.
Sara: Despite having IBD I have still married my soulmate who has stuck by me since I was 16 years old. Finally managed to get a job this year after being in remission
Hattie Despite having IBD I have still worked as a journalist for 4 years, written for seven major publications, written a book, travelled the world, managed my mental health problems, and signed to a literary agency.
Nicola: Despite having IBD, I’ve still managed to work 3/4 days a week, being up my daughter from the age of 20 months old on my own and maintain a house. 
Yvonne: Despite having IBD, I worked full time in the construction industry, travel the world doing yoga which I loved, care for my disabled son who also has acute Crohns and won carer of the year award and just recently did an article in the financial times love life

Candace: Despite having IBD I still managed to get a degree, Post Grad and Masters and work full time and live life to the full.
Ivor: Despite having IBD, I still work full time 37 years after diagnosis.
Lorna: I work full time while also undertaking further development by doing a NVQ level 4 degree. Love to travel and have lots of weekends away as well as holidays abroad. Live life to the fullest and enjoy my life.
Brenda: I still walk aim to walk at least two miles a day.

 Still graduated with a first, took up martial arts, and founded a theatre company. Am now working towards a masters degree while still producing new shows for fringes every year.

Lisa:  Despite having IBD I managed to graduate college a few years ago and become a Montessori teacher, travel and meet the love of my life.
Moll: Despite IBD I still fulfilled my dream of moving to Canada, model, be a nude model for art classes, have sex, work out, Everything!!!!
Claire: Despite having IBD (UC) I’ve managed to maintain my full-time job, get married and had a beautiful baby (although not so much a baby anymore, now 5) and since having my ileostomy 3 years ago, I’ve taken up running and have completed 8 half marathons (the first one I completed 7 months to the day from my surgery) and have been given a charity place (for CCUK) to run the London marathon next year
Becky: Despite having IBD (UC + Stoma) I got married, have two beautiful babies one of whom is 10 months old and continue to work over 40 hours a week and be mum and housewife 😊 basically I live my life as normally as possible 
Catherine: Despite having Crohn’s and a permanent ileostomy I still had a baby, conduct choirs and perform in public, go walking, run workshops and give public talks. It does take a lot more planning and energy but I have a great deal more determination because of the hurdles.
Paige: Hey!!Despite having IBD I’ve still managed to accomplish my career dreams, move to London and fight everyday for my passions. I can love wholeheartedly and give my all on days when I’m well. It’s a part of who I am but I will not let it define me although on bad days I try and accept it and know tomorrow I can fight back.

Kirsty: Graduated with distinction and gained employment!
Linda: Despite having an ileostomy bag and TPN every night for 12 hours, and severe AS, I still manage to wake up every morning with a smile on my face and make the most of my day.
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