In today’s episode, Bec Simpson shares her journey with Crohn’s Disease and how she balances life, competitive sports, work, and family. Her journey began almost a decade ago when she struggled with symptoms that she thought were due to IBS, which was common in her family. But in 2011, after running out from the class she was teaching with an urgent need for the restroom, she knew she needed to see a gastroenterologist.
Her initial colonoscopy, however, didn’t show anything and she continued to struggle and manage her symptoms for another five years. Finally in 2016, she had another colonoscopy and Crohn’s Disease was confirmed. After that, she quickly went through a number of medications, from Prednisone, Pentasa, Methotrexate, and Humira (from which she suffered side effects) to now, finally seeing results after just one infusion of Stelara. Bec shares what it was like to go through the different medications and how grateful she is to have a gastroenterologist who provided her with a lot of information, but ultimately left the decision up to her.
During all this time, Bec continued (and still does) to play competitive sports. She plays in the Touch Rugby League in Australia and has learned to balance her passion for fitness and rugby while managing IBD. Realizing that she was able to get away with pushing her body harder and past its limits when she was younger, she knows now that rest and listening to her body is key for staying healthy and managing symptoms. She’s also learned to change her mindset and rather than getting upset at the limitations Crohn’s may have placed on her, she focuses on doing the best she can and being grateful for that.
Outside of sports, Bec relies on her strong support network, made up of her family and partner, that allows her to balance life and continue with her passions. Recently, her gastroenterologist also sent her to see a psychologist who works with patients with chronic illnesses. While simply being able to talk and vent about the disease was beneficial, the psychologist also gave Bec a number of different strategies to help manage stress in her life, which is the main trigger for her symptoms and flare ups, including mindfulness and not being afraid to take a step back to rest.
Bec is now sharing her journey with Crohn’s on social media and raising awareness. She encourages others who are also fighting IBD to take it easy – still work hard to achieve your goals, she says, but listen to your body. You can follow her on Instagram at @becs_ibd_journey.