As the coronavirus pandemic continues, more and more people are testing positive. We know this is scary and concerning for many people living with Crohn’s and Colitis, as well as their loved ones. We spoke to some of our supporters who received positive tests to find out more about their experiences.
My experience with coronavirus felt no different to when I have a bad flare up.
It started with abdominal pain, nausea, aching followed by a fever and high output from my stoma. I was also very fatigued throughout this and it continued for seven days. On day 6, I was admitted for to hospital and placed on IV antibiotics and fluids. In accident and emergency I had a routine coronavirus test and a positive result came back 24 hours later. This led to me being transferred to a COVID ward. I was in hospital for 5 days and had another 2 weeks of symptoms when I slept a lot until I fully recovered.
My experience of coronavirus was hard, and I was scared going into the coronavirus ward but a lot of the fear I think was generated from watching too much news of coronavirus. The reality of me having had severe flare ups is that it prepared me well to deal with what coronavirus threw at me. The IBD team and ward staff definitely gave me the best care and follow up they could.
On 23 March 2020, when coronavirus was rife, I was admitted to hospital due to Colitis symptoms which were not improving.
After developing symptoms, I was moved onto a ward with five other patients with coronavirus which made me super anxious about having to share a bathroom and worried about my treatment making me higher risk.
I am mentally, physically and emotionally drained, but my coronavirus symptoms are practically gone and my flare-up appears to be under control! The last nineteen days have been an experience, to say the least, but I am definitely stronger for it. Every single member of staff I encountered deserves a medal and I cannot praise them enough for the work they continue to do.
I kept a journal of my time as an inpatient during the pandemic, and you can read that here.
I had a test for coronavirus on 10 October, which came back positive two days later.
My Colitis is well controlled with azathioprine and mesalazine. When I tested positive, my symptoms were mild with some fatigue. I did have a chesty loose cough which is still lingering. After self-isolating I have returned to work as a teaching assistant in a school and am continuing to work throughout the current national restrictions.
I tested positive for coronavirus on 10 September.
I am on azathioprine and on the day that I tested positive I had just finished a course of prednisolone that was prescribed for a severe flare up but my experience was fairly mild. I had many of the symptoms, including a fever, cough and loss of taste and smell but it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I imagined it would be. I had some lingering fatigue for probably 2 or 3 weeks after I recovered, but then got back to full health.
Whilst unwell, I kept a full symptom journey which you may find helpful and you can read that here. I hope my experience can ease the anxiety of others living with Crohn's or Colitis at this time.
On 1 April I woke up with a temperature and a headache I have never experienced before.
I contacted my GP who advised me to stay home after I explained the symptoms, as it could be coronavirus. I contacted my IBD nurse and I was advised to stop my azathioprine straight away to give my body a chance to fight off the coronavirus. For 13 days I had the temperature and an unbearable headache. All I wanted to do is sleep until I started to feel better after two weeks.
Six months later, in October, my friend who I had recently seen a lot of messaged me saying that she had tested positive for coronavirus, so my daughter and I went into isolation and, on day 2, I completely lost my smell and taste and started to cough. The tiredness was also back, and my daughter was complaining of headache. We both got tested and on 21st October both our tests came back positive.
It has been such a rollercoaster especially emotionally. My family lives abroad so I was left to cope with this by myself with the help of my 10-year-old daughter. I am so grateful for the care provided by the NHS even if it was just over the phone.
Some people have reported symptoms of coronavirus that are similar to Crohn’s and Colitis, like diarrhoea. It can sometimes be hard to tell what is causing your symptoms, so check with your IBD Team. Always let your healthcare professional know if you start taking any over-the-counter treatments or supplements, as these may affect your Crohn’s or Colitis treatment.