"On the days that I can see the positives, I can see how I have grown as a person." - Natalie's Story

It's been incredible to see all the fantastic efforts that you, our community have put into raising awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and raising money to support Crohn's & Colitis UK this World IBD Day.

With that in mind we wanted to spotlight Natalie's Story. Our campaign for World IBD Day 2024 is all centred around debunking the most common myths around Crohn's and Colitis, and Natalie has encountered her fair share of myths since being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2015. The one in particular that stands out to her is when she was told 'it's just IBS'. 

Read on to learn more about Natalie’s journey and how she has adapted her life to listen to her body, alongside what she's doing to show her support for World IBD Day. 

It's just IBS...

In 2015, my life changed forever. I was so sick. I was going to the bathroom up to 20 times a day - mostly during the night, interrupting my sleep. I was bleeding every time I went to the toilet and had the most horrendous pain.

My GP thought I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), so they prescribed over the counter medication, and referred me for a colonoscopy and blood tests. The tests returned with low inflammation markers, and images didn't show anything of concern. We did this dance many times over many, many months.

July 1st, 2015 was the worst day of pain I ever experienced. The bleeding was much worse, I felt like I was going to die.

So off we went to hospital. When I was seen and had my blood pressure taken - the doctors were visibly worried about me. Tests showed I had a really bad case of Ulcerative Colitis. They showed me images of angry, bloody, raging ulcers tightly packed into my colon.

They advised that I would be placed onto an infusion of medication to see if they could stop my body attacking my colon - the same medication that they administer to patients that have organ donations - as my body was rejecting my colon. After 3 days, if my condition remained the same - they would have to operate and remove my colon.

I was in a blur, I'd never heard of Ulcerative Colitis. I was told that this illness would kill me if they did not do something soon. And the final blow, I would have a stoma.

The recovery was horrendous. I lost 60lbs in weight, I couldn't walk, and I needed physio. Then the depression set in, and I didn't want to carry on.

I didn't feel like a woman anymore, the stoma was painful and sore. There began my Inflammatory Bowel Disease journey, and my life changed forever.

9 years later, I have had 8 major operations all triggered by having Ulcerative Colitis.

When diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, I didn't know of all the other diagnoses that were queuing up waiting for their turn. Fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, BAM, arthritis, chronic fatigue, anaemia. I had to leave my job. I felt like I'd lost my identity.

In 2021, whilst in hospital, I decided I needed to find a job that I could do at my own pace. My own business - doing something that I love, trying to restore my identity.

So JTK Candle Co was born.

JTK are the initials of my amazing children - Jada, Tianna & Kieran - and I hand pour Luxury Soy Candles.

Fast forward to 2024 - JTK is a 5 times award winning small business, and I am proud of how far I have come. There are still bad days and frustration when I am forced to rest. But I listen to my body.

I am still angry with my body, I still ask daily "why me?". But on the days that I can see the positives, I can see how I have grown as a person.


Living with Ulcerative Colitis

My mission has become about giving back - to my community, and to organisations that educate and raise awareness about IBDs, so individuals and health professionals can be more informed of any concerns/symptoms and how to support/care for patients after diagnosis.

This year for World IBD Day I have created a range of candles in 2 different vessels and scents. 100% of the profits from this range will be donated to Crohn's & Colitis UK - to say thank you for all they do for us.

World IBD Day 2024

Want to find out more about our plans for World IBD Day 2024?


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