George is 15 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2013.
He recently spoke at the CICRA IBD Family Information Day in Exeter with his Mum Julie.
Hi, I’m George!
Ok, let’s face it, having Crohn’s really sucks!
It’s just NOT fair!
As Forrest Gump’s Ma would say “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get! I think of myself like a Bounty bar, looks good on the outside but is horrible on the inside!
I try not to let it get me down, but for obvious reasons, it does. I love to cook and make videos for my YouTube channel. I also love extreme sports like mountain biking and climbing. While I was ill I stopped doing all the things I love. The meds didn’t work and I was on a Modulen only diet, or as I call it ‘The Taste of Despair!’
Last November, even though I felt awful I organised a trip for me and 3 mates to go to London to the Radio One Teen Awards. It should have been the day that I came off my liquid diet, but I decided to stay on ‘The Taste of Despair’ for an extra day, as I knew that food would have a profound effect on my stomach and I didn’t want to miss the concert. It was an awesome day!
In Wales, after you come off the Modulen only diet they put you on an exclusion diet, which means you can only eat certain things at a time, still that didn’t work so they put me on steroids which enabled me to go on a long planned trip to Jordan and Israel. I can honestly say it was the best time of my life so far. Me and my 2 best mates had the time of our lives. Sadly, the one thing that I reacted to was onions. All the food served to us in Jordan and Israel had onions in, so for 10 days I survived on rice, naan bread and Oreos!
Steroids are great but horrible at the same time. They make you feel loads better, but they have side effects like bloating and you can only be on them for a limited time. The date of my operation was set for the 3rd July but the day before, the ward called us to say that they had an infection on the ward and my operation was cancelled. We had to wait another week before my doctor phoned to say the new date was the 17th July. That 2 week delay felt like to longest of my life.
My family usually has a strict ‘no pets in the bedrooms’ policy. My 10 year old Labrador Scampi knew I was Ill and kept trying to find me and cuddle up, so Mum said it was OK, as she knew she was comforting me. But I kicked her out at night as she snores so loudly!
After coming out of surgery I had no idea what was going on for days. My scar is still healing, but I am feeling much better Crohn’s-wise.
I am shorter than all my friends and a lot of people come up to me and say “So you’re in Year 7 then? And I am actually in Year 11. I am the shortest in my year and have been for several years. This provides me with many challenges including bullies and struggling to fit in at school. I missed most of Year 10 and was stressing like mad because I have so much work to catch up on. I was worried about not being able to pass any of my exams, get a decent job and make my way in life. Luckily, I have 2 really good school friends and 3 good CICRA Pen Pals that have supported me through the period of being off school. I am back at school and everything seems to be going OK.