Guest post: author Kathleen Nicholls on IBD and 'Go Your Crohn Way'

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Since my first book was published just over a year ago it’s been an incredibly exciting time in my life, a genuine whirlwind and I’ve cried a LOT of happy tears. The outpouring of love and support I’ve received from all over the globe since Go Your Crohn Way was released has been overwhelming and completely unexpected. The fact that my book is on my life with Crohn’s Disease only serves to amplify those feelings; its intimidating and daunting to put it mildly sharing your story with the world.

At the core of it all I wrote my book to attempt to raise awareness of an often unspoken condition, to help give an understanding of day to day life with chronic illness, and to help those suffering to feel they are not alone and capable of living an AMAZING life despite their disease. I suppose the subject matter of the book and the fact that it’s so personal has emphasised how people are reacting to it. It feels to me a very cathartic experience; I’ve also found myself in a privileged position of putting something out there that may help people feel less afraid, isolated and alone.

My motivation to get my book out into the world is because it’s something I would have loved when I was diagnosed. I wanted to know back then that I’d have a life beyond my illness – something I didn’t think possible when I was terrified, being pummelled into insignificance with descriptions of my unsightly bowel and medical terms I didn’t have to time to get a degree to understand.

I cannot describe how exciting it is now to see people with copies of my book. When my partner saw his name on the inside cover (it’s dedicated to him, my parents and wet wipes) it was so incredible I wished that I could see his face stay that way forever. It’s all such a surreal experience and one I never thought would actually come to fruition. Now that my book has been chosen as part of the Reading Well for long term conditions scheme it feels wonderful to know that people will be able to gain information and build their knowledge on IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and countless other conditions from the comfort of their local library. A safe place with no judgment, where they can experience books written by patients, for patients.

Above all as a new author, most of all I’m thankful for those people trusting in me, reading my book and (hopefully) enjoying it, and TALKING ABOUT IBD. I hope my writing helps to open up the conversation about IBD and reassures patients there is nothing to feel embarrassed about. Which really is the whole point. I’ve taken the opportunity to share my story with the world. I hope it helps you tell yours; even if it’s just to the doctor.

And if all else fails, it’ll make the most luxurious toilet paper.

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