A Haverhill woman is calling for better public understanding of colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Michaela Spreckley, 24, has suffered with ulcerative colitis since she was 18 years old.
She said: “It’s a disease that attacks your immune system and intestines. It attacks your colon and the large intestine.
“It makes you very tired and you have to go to the toilet a lot of the time. It’s an invisible illness.
“People need to understand more about it. You look okay, but it takes a toll on everything you do.”
Michaela has set up a blog to explain her experiences and hopes it will help support other sufferers in the area. Since setting it up, it has had 3,200 views having been shared by Addenbrooke’s staff and patients, as well as cast members of The Only Way Is Essex.
“When I was diagnosed, it was scary,” said Michaela. “I didn’t know what was going to happen and when I got to the hospital, it was mainly old people.
“I know there are lots of younger people who suffer from this and I don’t want them to go through what I went through, I want them to know that there are other people going through similar things and that they’re not alone.
“If you know more about the condition, it helps you come to terms with it. It also helps if other people know what you’re going through. I look okay, but I feel horrible. I think some people in work just think I’m being lazy some days.”
Michaela also wants people to be able to talk about their health problems more openly so as to get help more easily when they need it.
“It’s also important for people to talk about it,” she said. “People think it’s about your bowel or about poo and they get embarrassed about it.
“It’s a barrier to getting a proper diagnosis and could stop someone getting help when they really need it.”
As well as the blog, Michaela says she intends to embark on a series of charity walks to raise money and awareness for colitis and Crohn’s sufferers once she is well enough to undertake them.
Michaela’s blog is available to read online at http://mjspreckley.simplesite.com/415216369