Jewish Health

Riva - Interview 18

Female
Age at interview: 34
Age at diagnosis: 16

Brief outline: Riva was diagnosed with Crohn's disease aged 16 and since has experienced a constant low level of the condition with occasional more severe flare ups and several surgeries. About seven years ago she was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Background: Riva is married with two children.

Audio & video

Riva was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when she was sixteen, after a year of experiencing stomach pains. After a couple of resections of the bowel early on, she has since managed with a combination of watching her diet, changing to a liquid diet when necessary and medication. Her Crohn’s is constantly active but at a low level with occasional serious flare ups. Riva describes how getting Crohn’s turned her life “completely upside down”. It affected her education and future plans and has placed constraints on her everyday life. She is very aware of what she eats and how this affects her health and has tried a range of medication over the years.
 
Riva has a very good relationship with her consultant who she sees regularly, depending on the severity of the Crohn’s. She feels supported by her family, friends and healthcare professionals. About seven years ago she was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia and manages the pain with trigger point injections and painkillers.
 
Riva has found that Crohn’s disease is a very individual condition which affects people differently. She thinks that it should be recognised as a disability because the impact on the lives of people with Crohn’s is substantial and largely unacknowledged.

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