This Morning: Amy Dowden on living with Crohn’s disease
When Victoria Danson, 33, who was working 60 hours a week as a hairdresser and leading a busy social life, started to experience terrible pain, she put it down to her busy lifestyle.
However, the mum, from Lancashire, eventually decided to go to a doctor, who diagnosed her with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Unfortunately, Victoria’s health journey didn’t end with the condition that is characterised by cramps, bloating and diarrhoea or constipation.
One year after being diagnosed with IBS, she was told she actually had Crohn’s disease, which describes an inflammatory bowel condition marked by unpredictable flare-ups.
Sadly, the woman’s health deteriorated even further when she was rushed to hospital in 2014, when doctors found an abdominal abscess.
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The infection triggered her body to produce an extreme response in the form of life-threatening sepsis, which can quickly lead to multiple organ failure.
Following this health ordeal, the young woman was given the most shocking prognosis – she was going to die within the next 24 hours.
Fortunately, Victoria defied the medical odds and went on to celebrate the birth of her son, who is now seven years old
She told NeedToKnow: “It was rapidly taking over my body, as the infection in the abscess was spreading fast.
“My consultant advised me that if he didn’t remove it there and then, I wouldn’t have survived another 24 hours.
“He told me the abscess was resting on my ovaries and there was a chance of it bursting, which would make me infertile.
“All I knew was that I was in agony and would do anything to get rid of the pain.”
The hairdresser then had to undergo a life-saving surgery and was fitted with an ileostomy bag, a small pouch that lies flat on the tummy and collects poo.
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Victoria said: “Initially, I didn’t think I could carry on living.
“And I couldn’t see how I was going to be able to continue with my active lifestyle.”
However, she said the surgery turned out to improve the quality of her life, even though her Crohn’s disease returned in her small bowel.
“I’m still a long way off recovery and will need further surgery again,” she said.
The mum now constantly works towards getting her “old” life back, including making dietary changes.
She also created a support group Crohn’s and Colitis in a bid to help others and inspire body confidence for those living with an ileostomy bag.
Fortunately, Victoria has now managed “a good eight years with no medication”. She added: “I’m living proof that, with the right mindset, you can still achieve your goals no matter what.
“But always get medical advice if you’re not sure – it could save your life.”
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