I was nine years old when my Crohn's disease first developed. I was experiencing abdominal pains, diarrhoea and vomiting along with stunted growth in both height and weight. My first doctor branded my symptoms as 'imaginary' and put them down as a product of an 'over anxious' mother. It was four years later after battling for a referral that I was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease through a colonoscopy. Since November 2007 I have undergone a number of treatments including medication like Pentasa® (mesalamine), steroids and azathioprine. I went on the Modulen® liquid diet for nine weeks and, in July 2010, had surgery to remove part of my inflamed small intestine. My most recent flare-up was in October 2013 which hospitalised me for about a week. I am currently in remission with the help of azathioprine and everyone supportive around me.
Dyspraxia was present throughout my childhood and has naturally continued right into my adulthood. I had and still have obstacles associated with coordination, planning and organisation - handwriting, playing sports and driving to name a few. Throughout my first three years at secondary school between 2005 and 2008 I was not allowed to study French but instead was encouraged to take up Learning Support lessons to help improve my English skills. I am very thankful for the Learning Support staff for believing in me through my secondary school education. It was not until I came to the University of Hertfordshire that I was diagnosed with dyspraxia at the age of eighteen by an educational psychologist. The university is extremely helpful, including providing me with a Study Skills Tutor as part of my ongoing Study Needs Agreement.
After living with Crohn's disease and dyspraxia for many years I have come to realise that I would not be here without the amazing encouragement from wonderful people. There have been dark times with both conditions, such as being bullied at school for being 'different' and then again when I cried in hospital during flare-ups. Still, without my compassionate friends and family, and the brilliance of organisations such as Crohn's and Colitis UK, Dyspraxia Foundation and Dyspraxia UK, I do not think I would have coped.
In February 2014 I set up 'Jake Borrett's Writing Blog' which aims to raise awareness for the two forms of inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and dyspraxia. I have learnt a lot from others going through similar situations and am truly thankful for everyone who has listened to my own story. Support really does soar higher than mountains. I hope to continue raising awareness long into the future so I can support you too.
Join Jake's Facebook page here or follow him on twitter here.