When I was 25 I became ill, but they didn’t know what was wrong as all my tests came back clear. Eventually they took me to theatre to open me up to see what was going on. My colon ruptured on the table and I woke up with an Ileostomy, it was later discovered that I had Crohn’s Disease. It was hard to come to terms with having to wear a bag for the rest of my life. Over the next 13 years I was in and out of hospital for various procedures and operations.
In 2008 I was taken in so they could remove adhesions as they were pulling the stoma back inside me. The operation went well and I was recovering, until 10 days later, when I was in an awful lot of pain, it turned out my bowel had strangulated itself, so back to theatre where they removed even more of my bowel. I then contracted MRSA, septicaemia and internal bleeding. Back to HDU, then transferred to another hospital, my mother was told for a second time that they didn’t think I’d make it through the night. I did but I was in so much pain, it was put down to going through the operation, but it carried on for months and to this day I am still in constant pain, which has got worse and worse.
I’ve been diagnosed with Abdominal Cutaneous Nerve Entrapment Syndrome. I am on a very high doses of pain medications, I have had a couple of Nerve Blocks which have given me short periods of pain free but when they wear off the pain comes back. I have been told that they don’t want to operate on me because of what happened last time. So this is me for the rest of my life, in constant pain, I haven’t worked since 2008 and it is doubtful that I will ever again. That is why my crafting is so very important to me.
I have knitted since I was about 5 years old, mostly for my sisters children or for charity. A neighbour asked me to knit a hat for her son and she was so pleased with it she told me I should be selling them. It took a lot of persuasion but Knits by Karen was born, I sold by word of mouth. I managed to get someone to teach me crochet as I’d always wanted to learn and things really took off. I did a few Craft Fayres and I started getting lots of orders. To me knitting and crocheting is keeping my brain active, I’m also speaking to people, something I had almost stopped doing when I became ill. I’m not able to do it all the time, but I find if I can concentrate on making a hat or cowl, it gives me something else to think about other than my pain. I also got a Shih Tzi puppy 4 years ago and he has also helped me immensely. If I didn’t have my knitting and crochet I really don’t know what my life would be like, a lot worse than it is at the moment, that’s for sure!