My name is Brenda Meakin
and I’m 69 years old. I have four grown up children, two sons 49 and 48 and two daughters 47 and 43 and five grandsons 27, 23, 20, 18 and 13. I live with my partner of twenty one years. I retired from my career as a dental nurse/practice manager in 2012 when Crohns began to interfere with my working life. I love knitting and reading and coffee. Lots of traveling around and testing the best places for a good cappuccino ha ha.
In December 2011 I began to get some blood when going to the toilet. No other symptoms at all but in January I saw my GP who acted very quickly, possibly due to my age and symptoms suggesting something nasty. Within three weeks I had a colonoscopy and was diagnosed with Crohns.
The first year after diagnosis wasn’t too bad to be honest but in September 2013 I was given Azathioprine which after just ten days caused me to be hospitalized, with pancreatitis which cost me ten days in hospital and had me injecting insulin daily until December and seemed to be the start of a dreadful couple of years during which time I was virtually housebound.
My family have been amazing and very understanding about the fact that I became very unreliable and was constantly forced to cancel at the last minute. We couldn’t really make any kind of plans and if I did actually have a decent day and get out of the house I would only go to familiar places where I knew the location of all the toilets. I also couldn’t visit anyone with just an upstairs toilet. Silly as that may seem I just physically couldn’t keep going up the stairs. My partner literally had to do everything for me because I was so ill and weak.