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More Than 6 Words: I Have Crohn’s Disease and Dyspraxia

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I have Crohn’s disease and dyspraxia. It is likely I have written that sentence over a thousand times. On a sheet of paper or on a computer screen, it is only a sentence made up of six words. However, like many others living with a disability, a sentence can take on a personal meaning. I want to raise awareness for the two incurable conditions so others are not made to feel isolated or embarrassed. I also want to thank everyone who has made a positive difference along the way. 

My Crohn’s Disease first developed when I was 9 years old. I was experiencing abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and vomiting along with stunted growth in both height and weight. My first doctor branded these symptoms as ‘imaginary’ and a product of an ‘over-anxious’ mother. It took four years to get a referral, and I was later diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease through a colonoscopy. The other form of inflammatory bowel disease is ulcerative colitis.

Since November 2007, I have undergone treatments including Pentasa and steroid medication. I went on the Modulen liquid diet for nine weeks and in July 2010 had surgery to remove part of my inflamed small intestine. I had a flare-up in October 2013 which hospitalised me for about a week. My Crohn’s disease is currently in remission with the help of Azathioprine. I want to thank my family, friends, and the inflammatory bowel disease community for all the hugs, laughs, and inspirational stories they have given me.

Dyspraxia was initially present throughout my childhood and has developed into adulthood. My dyspraxia manifests itself in areas associated with coordination, planning and organisation, and social skills to name a few. At secondary school, instead of studying French, I took triweekly hour learning support lessons to develop my literary, language, and speaking skills. I am grateful to the department for believing in me. I was officially diagnosed with dyspraxia at 18 by an educational psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire. The disability faculty at the University provided me with additional arrangements including hardware and software, adapted examination conditions and an excellent study skills tutor as part of my study needs agreement.

One of my recent successes is that I have graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a first-class honours degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. I am ecstatic with the results and have had the privilege of informing my University and secondary school of this. I hoped to have shown that, despite having specific learning conditions and diseases, people can still achieve their ambitions. 

I have Crohn’s disease and dyspraxia. These words have brought many tough and troubling times, but they have also given me the opportunity to meet some incredible individuals. In February 2014, I set up my blog to raise awareness for inflammatory bowel disease and dyspraxia. If by writing articles I am able to make a positive difference, I will keep on writing for many years to come.

Jake Borrett graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a first-class honours degree in English literature and Creative Writing. 

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