Home For My DINNER
Naomi was out of hospital for the big day
The pain and vomiting came back and I lost weight
Naomi Toplis, 24, Gosport
Getting ready for a holiday to Cyprus with my friend in August 2012, I was so excited. I’d been vomiting in the fortnight before the trip, but my GP had cleared me to fly.
Once there, I got worse, though – unable to keep down water. Suffering from severe dehydration, I had to get an emergency flight home.
My dad took me to Queen Alexandra Hospital, where I was given IV fluids.
I was terrified that I was dying.
CT scans, ultrasounds and a colonoscopy all pointed to Crohn’s disease, a condition causing digestive inflammation.
Doctors didn’t know why I had developed it, but I was relieved to know what it was.
Then reality sank in. I had been a healthy 19-year-old and now I had an incurable disease.
‘How am I going to live with this?’ I wept to Dad.
But, with steroids and antiinflammatories, my symptoms began to improve. I could go out with friends, even got a job.
As the course ended, though, I slipped again.
The pain and vomiting crept back in and I began to lose weight, so Dad took me back to hospital on 14 December.
I spent 10 days on IV steroids and had immunosuppressants.
Would I be home for Christmas?
‘It’s unlikely,’ said the consultant.
I had daily blood tests and a drip with a biological drug to suppress my immune system.
Resigning myself to being in hospital on Christmas Day was so disheartening. But then, on Christmas Eve morning…
‘We’ll need to get you some medication to take home,’ a nurse said.
‘I’m coming home!’ I squealed down the phone.
‘Well, I’d better get some food in, then!’ Dad replied.
He’d planned to spend Christmas Day at the hospital.
I was discharged – and the next day our wonderful neighbour Nicky knocked on the door with turkey and veg.
Dad and I had a lovely day of games and festive telly.
In 2014, I had the diseased part of my bowel removed. But I have to be careful as, although milder, my symptoms remain.
Still, I don’t plan on being in hospital for any future Christmases!
Me in Cyprus and (left) in hospital with my now-hubby Ben in 2014