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iRadio host Michaela Hayes 'cried with joy' after Crohn's disease diagnosis

Michaela said the disease can be very “alienating” and at times, she wished the condition was visible so that people could see how sick she truly was
Radio presenter Michaela Hayes said it took ten years to get diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease

Radio presenter Michaela Hayes said it took ten years to get diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease

Seoirse Mulgrew

Radio presenter Michaela Hayes has spoken of her battle with Crohn's disease.

The 33-year-old suffered with symptoms including constant pain and bleeding for 10 years before being diagnosed with the chronic condition.

The iRadio host said the disease can be very "alienating" and at times, she wished the condition was visible so that people could see how sick she truly was.

"No one can see what's wrong with you - it's really tough. I used to wish that it was something visible that people could see because then they would know how sick you are but because they can't see it, they can't grasp it," she said.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term used to describe Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Both are lifelong conditions which are characterised by inflammation of the digestive system.

People with IBD experience flare-ups, during which symptoms temporarily worsen, as well as periods of remission.

"I was a teenager when my symptoms started, and they thought at first that it was endometriosis because of the pain.

"I think it was a case of every time I had a scope I was in remission - my body was like 'haha, I don't want anyone to know that you're not feeling well'.

"The timing was just really bad, and I just happened to be a difficult case unfortunately.

"I started crying with happiness when they gave me my diagnosis. It had been 10 years.

"I thought that I was actually making these things up or maybe that's just how the human body is meant to be and my body's normal so to finally have an answer, it was amazing.

"IBD is a very alienating disease, because you're so tired and you spend a lot of time on your own and having to cancel plans."

Following her diagnosis, the symptoms she was experiencing were taking their toll, and in 2020 Hayes began looking at surgical treatments.

She had a stoma bag inserted last year just before the country went into lockdown which she says was one of the "best experiences" of her life.

"I got the stoma the day the hospitals shut down in March last year. It was some time to have surgery, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

"We became a little family in that hospital. It was probably one of the best experiences of my life, which is such a bizarre thing to say but it really was.

"The day I went in was the day the hospital shut down for visitors.

"I was so upset but then all of us on the ward had just had the same surgery and we all just became a little family.

The operation transformed Hayes's life and she can socialise with her friends without the constant worry of needing to use the toilet.

"I just adapted really quickly because I was so ready for it. It's amazing - my stoma is reversible, but I actually don't think I want to get it reversed.

"The difference in my life is amazing. I'm very rarely sick these days, I have way more energy and I'm able to eat more things that I wasn't able to eat before which is great."

"I'm able to exercise, live my life and go out with my friends. The pain is so much less too. I would have always lived in fear of having to go to the toilet."

She has even nicknamed it 'Paloma the stoma' which she said makes it easier to refer to.

"When it acts up and you're giving out about it, you're not giving out about your own body.

"I can't tell it when to go and not go - it has a mind of its own. It's great if I'm having a bad day, I can text my friends and be like 'oh Paloma's being a b*tch' and it's a weird thing but mentally it just works."


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