A Basingstoke woman who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease five years ago has been sharing her story to raise awareness of the condition.
Brenda Meakin, 68, was told she had the condition when she was in her early 60s – most people normally receive a diagnosis before they turn 30.
After being frustrated by doctors, Brenda turned to charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK for help.
“I felt very confused on diagnosis, my GP told me it must be a mistake as I was too old for a new diagnosis and no-one really offered me any information,” said Brenda.
“For the first year I was under a locum consultant who refused to really do or tell me anything, so all my knowledge and understanding of my illness came from Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
“At present, I am in remission but at my worst times in 2014/15 I was so poorly and all medications made things worse.
“My days consisted of getting out of bed, moving to the settee and the toilet all day and then back to bed. I was too weak to get in and out of the bath or go out.”
Crohn’s is a form of inflammatory bowel disease, with a recent survey by Crohn’s and Colitis UK finding that 78 per cent of patients believe the public has a limited understanding of the condition.
Brenda had to retire from her job as a dental practice manager because of the disease, and said the illness had an impact on keeping in contact with friends.
But five years on from her diagnosis, Brenda has now set up a Facebook page where sufferers share photos of clothes that no longer fit them as a result of Crohn’s and send them out to other members.
She continued: “Now that I’m feeling well, I’ve created a Facebook page where IBD sufferers offer clothes to other members for just the cost of postage.
“It’s very successful at the moment and it’s lovely that people post photos of themselves in their new clothes.
“For my part, I finally feel useful and have some purpose again because of the group.”