A Crohn’s Disease patient shares photos to prove that looks can be deceiving
Sometimes people only sympathise with patients if they have diseases that have external signs. Many times patients have internal signs of serious diseases, but externally they look totally fine.
This might give some prejudice to people when it comes to treating them with respect and care. People tend to give extra care to people who have had any accident or disease that leaves a visible mark. But if a disease is internal and there are no external marks, people tend to think differently of such patients.
But one patient of a very serious disease is out there to change this perception. You must read to how and why he is doing so.
1 The patient
24-year-old Ste Walker is a resident of Halifax, West Yorkshire. Recently he was diagnosed Crohn’s disease, which is a long lasting condition that causes swelling in the digestive tract of the body, making it difficult for the patient to properly digest and filter the waste efficiently.
He recently shared a Facebook post that has gone viral, thanks to him being constantly judged differently by people on the road and in public transport since he doesn’t have a disease which is externally visible.
2 Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease is a disease belonging to the inflammatory bowel syndrome group. It is a chronic disease that causes severe swelling in the digestive system. Crohn’s disease usually affects the end of the small bowel (the ileum) and along with that, the start of the colon. It may also affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract which starts from the mouth to the anus.
This disease also affects the walls of the gastrointestinal tract, specifically its thickness. The best signs to recognize Crohn’s are persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, stomach pains and cramps and constipation. The only ways to control this disease are medication, controlled diet and the last option is surgery to correct the damage done by the disease.
3 Why the need to share photos?
Walker has shared this post on his Facebook profile after he was treated rudely by other people in public places who assume he is a healthy person and doesn’t need to be given the same treatment as other patients who have visible signs of disease or injury.
Walker has undergone 3 lifesaving operations and has spent last 18 months in and out of the hospital. He said that he had been accused of faking his illness by many people, since he looks like a normal guy with his clothes on.
But he has been berated and called out for using disabled toilets and parking spots reserved for disabled people. “People are too quick to judge these days,” he wrote underneath one picture of him looking ‘normal’ and another showing his scars and tubes.
He further stressed in the Facebook post saying, “Just because I look normal and speak normal, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a major disability.” He further wrote, “To look at me I look like any normal guy my age, but that’s because I want you to view me like that…. look a bit closer tho, or ask me questions, and you will soon realize that I have a major illness.”
4 Complications faced by him
Walker also listed all the complications he has to face in order to live a somewhat normal and functioning life.
He has to wear a tube, which extends down his nose in order to drain his stomach at regular intervals. He also has to wear a stoma bag, which is worn by patients who have no control over their urine and stool. He also shared that he has not eaten a normal meal for two years.
He concludes by saying, “So the next time someone says to me “well you look perfectly fine, why are you using that disabled toilet, or parking in that disabled spot, you’re conning the system, you’re not disabled, you don’t need that walking stick” just stop and think maybe I just want TO BE FINE or to feel normal. You don’t know what I go through on a daily basis and you have no right to judge me just on your perception of me that you can see because you don’t know what goes on inside.”
5 Response on the Facebook post
The post has gathered massive response and has gone viral. It has been shared more than 10,000 times and has been liked by over 30,000 people. Even Walker was surprised at the response he got from people on his Facebook post. He said, “I never expected the post to receive the attention it did, but hopefully it can help educate people about invisible illnesses.”
His sentiments were echoed by a spokesperson from the Colostomy Association, who said that this was a fairly common practice amongst public. This post is helping public to know what it is like to live with a stoma bag, Crohn’s disease or any other gastrointestinal disease. Hence it is the right of such patients to use the facilities marked for disabled people.
Truly, one should not judge a book by it’s cover! This normal looking man faces so many complications on a daily basis, but just because he looks normal doesn’t mean he is not in pain. He just wants to live as normally as he can and the world should be supporting him, not ridiculing or mocking at him. Let his story be known to the world, so that humanity learns its new lesson!