When you’re 16, the last thing you want to talk about is having 20 bowel movements a day.
When you’re 25, you realize that your life depends on people caring enough to make blood donations, so you’d better talk about it.
That’s Rebecca Roth’s story.
Roth is a Lake Country girl who developed colitis (also called Crohn’s Disease) when she was still in school.
She is one of about 300,000 people in Canada who have colitis.
Signs of blood in the toilet bowl were the first sign for Roth that something was wrong.
Writing about her diagnosis on Facebook, Roth said, “After my mom forced my stubborn ass (literally) to the doctor’s office” she was instantly admitted to hospital.
A colonoscopy revealed bleeding ulcers in her intestines. There is no known cause, although Roth says she has spent thousands of hours doing research, trying different diets and treatments.
But none have cured her ailment.
As she learns more and finds others also suffering from colitis, she jokes that she’s thinking of “starting a bowel movement.”
Gallows humour helps when “you look healthy from the outside, but inside, your bowels are in agony,” she says.
On her Facebook page, Roth wrote: “I’ve tried to explain to people what it feels like. For me anyway (everyone is different) it feels like I have a meter-long open wound inside, with someone rubbing sandpaper or ground glass over it.”
She described how her last colitis outbreak came, as they usually do, without warning. “My hemoglobin dropped so significantly that I needed a blood transfusion. My resting heart rate was around 110, I was extremely dizzy, out of breath, and I felt like my body was running a marathon even just sitting down.
“So thank you, random blood donor who decided to give blood one day on your lunch break. I wish I could thank you personally.”
Because of what that donation meant to her, Roth is encouraging public support for the Canadian Blood Services blood donor clinic in Lake Country on Wednesday, Sept. 26, in the community gym in George Elliot Secondary School, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Walk-in donors are welcome, but you can pre-register online at https://blood.ca/en/ or call 1-888-2DONATE
Be well hydrated—at least one litre of water before donating—and bring photo ID.
It might be your blood that saves Rebecca Roth’s life next time.
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