During my years in college in Visby, I was struck by ulcerous colitis and didn't manage to complete my studies properly. It started with diarrhoea once in a while, gradually it got worse. I soon learnt where all the toilets were in town! It slowly got worse, there was blood in the stools, I got more and more tired. During the summer holidays between the second and third year, 1972, I eventually had to go to the hospital in Visby and was admitted for investigation. My weight then was 35 kilos, I was dehydrated and under nourished and after some examinations I was diagnosed with ulcerous colitis. What could I expect for the future? They said - With time you will need an external bag! 18 years old - on the 19th it was not what you wanted to hear…..
I took medicines, cortison steroids and a special type of sulfa that had been developed especially for patients with ulcerous colitis, drip with nourishment and fats and other things necessary to rebuild your body. After 10 days I was discharged and could go back home. Due to the steroids I had a big appetite and ate like a horse and gained weight so quickly I got stretch marks on my thighs!
The years went, with the help of medicines I was doing quite well, but had relapses occasionally and had to be admitted to hospital for rebuilding again. In 1975 I had quite a good year, moved to Karlskrona, got pregnant and my stomach did quite well during the pregnancy and the birth went alright.
I worked part time as a home help in Karlskrona, my condition deteriorated by the year. My large bowel was more and more affected by the chronic inflammation and in 1987 the situation got too bad for me. My doctor in Karlskrona, Einar Johannesson, sent me to Sahlgrenska sjukhuset in Goteborg. There they had by now developed a method of operating on persons with bowel problems in a way that excludes the external bag. They create something called a "pelvic pouch". The large bowel and rectum is removed, they fold the bottom part of the small bowel and place it where the rectum was situated. This requires your muscles to still work fairly well. Thank heavens this was the case with me and in the month of September 1987 I went through the first stage of the operation. While the "pelvic pouch" was healing, I did have to have an external bag for two months and through this I lost my fear of the bag. Should I in the future need an ileostomy, it's nothing that scares me. I have never had such a flat tummy before! It worked ever so well. In November I went through the second stage of the operation, the bag was removed and I could do my business the normal way. Guess if it feels good to be the boss over my stomach - not the stomach controlling my life!
These days I hardly think about the days when I had ulcerous colitis, for me it has worked very well with the pelvic pouch during these fifteen years. But I bear in mind that I might one day get an inflammation in the pouch and then I will have to revert to the external bag.
Under active thyroid gland - Hypothyroidism
Some years back it was discovered that I had high blood pressure, for which I now take medicine. At the same time it was also revealed that I had very high cholesterol levels in my blood. I was put on medication, highest dosage, to reduce the levels, but to no avail.
For some time I had felt slow and listless. I could hardly move, it was a struggle every day to walk to school with Sven, not to mention how trying it felt getting to work. My memory started playing up. I had heavy, irregular periods. I have always had a problem with "white fingertips", but in the winter of 2000/2001 it was unbearable. As soon as I had been outside, hung the washing, just touching something cold my fingers stiffened and my fingertips went white. Every time I got to work I had to pour warm water in the hand basin to warm my hands in.
When the cholesterol levels didn't go down as they were supposed to I was referred to a specialist on endochrinology. After a 15 minute examination he said: "I know what your problem is, you have an underactive thyroid gland". I remember the great feeling of relief that came over me! I wasn't going crazy, old before my time - I new there was medicines for this! Further examinations showed that I also was anaemic due to the heavy periods.
Now - 1½ years later I feel a lot better. I can walk again! It's no effort any more to put one foot before the other, my fingers get white occasionally, but nothing like two years ago. The cholesterol levels are now down to normal. Sven calls my medicine "the tablets that makes you walk faster"! And I dare say that I think my memory and coordination has improved somewhat too! I have to go for regular checks to make sure the thyroxine levels are OK so that I am put on the right dosage. I have since found out that there are several people in the family suffering from the same problem, my oldest brother Lasse is one of them!
A page on Internet where I have found valuable information is Thyroid problems