Brighter Future Days

Brighter Future Days

We are coming to the end of ‘Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week’, which has taken place between Tuesday 1st and Monday 7th December 2015. As I sit in my bedroom typing away on a laptop with a bad stomach ache I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect.

Some of the memories with Crohn’s Disease which will stay with me include the following:-
          From age nine to thirteen ‘Doctor One’ branded my symptoms of Crohn’s Disease, including that of abdominal pain, diarrhoea and stunted growth,  as ‘imaginary’ and a product of an over-anxious mother. He was wrong though, my mother is not over-anxious she is brilliant. She fought for a second opinion where I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.
For further details on this memory please do have a read of the article called ‘More Than Just ‘Imaginary’’.
          After a number of tests including a colonoscopy and endoscopy I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the age of thirteen in November 2007. Unfortunately the way ‘Doctor Two’ delivered his diagnosis was unfortunately rather inappropriate.
Have a read of the articles ‘Next Stop: Colonoscopies and Endoscopies’ and ‘A Six Letter Diagnosis’ if you wish.
          Many with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis know that we are put on an assortment of medicine to help control our condition. Some of which I have been given include Pentasa, Prednisolone and Azathioprine. However the one which many will remember is that wonderful taste of laxative.
          Post-diagnosis I went on the ‘Modulen Liquid Diet’ for nine weeks hoping to settle my stomach. This is a challenging task as food is a big part of our lives, but it is additionally tricky over the Christmas period.
          On the 22nd July 2010 I had surgery to remove the inflamed section of my small intestine.
          Over the number of years with Crohn’s Disease I, like others, have experienced a number of flare-ups. One of which I was taken to hospital in an ambulance in the middle of the night. One of the most difficult however was in October 2013, which involved bleeding. I was admitted into hospital for nearly a week, but this led me to defer my second year at the University of Hertfordshire. I am in my final year now so I got there in the end.

Whilst some of the experiences of my Crohn’s Disease have been emotional I believe they have made me a stronger person. What I have come to realise though is that I would not have gotten through any of this without the incredible support of my family, friends and the community. I truly admire the determination of those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, but I also appreciate those who care about us, those we can reply on.

I came across this quote by Stephen R. Covey on the internet the other day:

That's the deepest scar of all...Copyright © 2015- The Pedowitz Group LLC. All rights reserved. 
I have been lucky that over the years I have met so many who listen with the intent to understand. I hope with this incredible support we can all have brighter future days. Stay strong everyone.

Wicken Woods

Wicken Woods

Imagine the fear hunting you through Wicken Woods. Each time your shoe crushes the wooden pathway something creaks below. You twist your head to the left and see hapless trees. You roll your head to the right and see depressing weeds.
Imagine the paranoia haunting you through Wicken Woods. Something casts a shadow on your eyelid. Perhaps something is hidden in the corners of the darkened forest, or perhaps it is your mind playing twisted games for fun.
Imagine the unknowing stalking you through Wicken Woods. The darkness surrounds you, stopping you seeing what lies ahead. Maybe the darkness is endless and the trees never cease.
Imagine if Wicken Woods is the place you go before your eyes permanently shut. Imagine finding yourself here, walking the route to your eternal sleep. The eternal sleep, it is never too far away.

The eternal sleep, it is never too far away...Copyright © 2015- Bonnybbx. All rights reserved.

Hope In Darkness

Hope In Darkness

We are coming to the end of ‘Dyspraxia Awareness Week 2015’ so I would like to take this chance to thank you for the amazing support you have all given me over the last few years. I would also like to take this opportunity to discuss some of my toughest times at an all-boy secondary school in connection to my Dyspraxia. I was not diagnosed until aged eighteen by an educational psychologist, but many areas associated with the condition were present throughout my childhood. ‘Hope In Darkness’ aims to show that even in our darkest times there is always light, always hope in the form of incredible people.

Dyspraxia in childhood and adulthood can affect our emotions, such as the tendency to get anxious and we often find it difficult adapting to changes in routine. Personally I do not like change, and found myself crying at the start of each term at primary school. I was petrified when joining secondary school, so I wanted to keep a routine of making sure I had my pencil case, textbooks and personal belongings on me at all times. I would find myself checking my bag on the school bus. Unfortunately some of the older boys noticed and used this as a way to antagonise me. Some would take my belongings, in particular my shoes, and then pretend to hide or throw them out of a window for a joke. I hated this, but hope came in the form of other pupils who tried to defuse the situation. For this I am grateful, but looking back I feel sorry for another boy who had his shoe thrown out the window. So when I reached sixth form I made sure those in the years below did not have go through similar situations as I did.

I have previously talked about my struggles with studying English, but another subject I found challenging was Music. This proved to be an issue in Years Eight and Nine with my music teacher, who also the deputy head of the school. Personally, he had a very strict approach to teaching. In one specific lesson we had to learn the ‘musical scale’ and we went around the room and everyone had to answer a question. If we got this wrong our name would be written on the whiteboard as a warning. I could not understand the theory behind the musical scale and so had my name written on the whiteboard. I felt humiliated and ran out of the class crying. The music teacher had a word with me during the lesson, but after I informed my wonderful family and the incredible Learning Support Staff, the next day he formally apologised to me. From this point onwards he adapted his lessons so we only had to answer questions if we felt comfortable in doing so.

One main area in which Dyspraxia affects is coordination, both in terms of large ‘gross motor’ movements and small ‘fine motor’ movements. The signals sent from our brain to our body get muddled, which can impact on everyday tasks such as writing, driving and sport but can also cause clumsiness. This coordination was a problem in Year Ten. I was walking out of the library whilst a younger boy was carrying a cup of pasta. He accused me of bumping into him and spilling his pasta on his shirt. I attempted to apologise but he threw the remaining pasta all over me, constantly pushed me around the playground whilst demanding I pay him two pounds. I was trying to find a teacher, but none appeared so in fear I gave him money so he would stop hurting me. It was not long before this incident was notified by the school and we had a long meeting. In this meeting the boy’s behaviour was deemed unacceptable and I was given my money back. Whilst I appreciated this, what meant more to me was the teacher holding this meeting was the same music teacher I have just talked about.  

One other area of Dyspraxia which is discussed least is the impact the condition has on social skills. Some find it challenging to talk in large groups of people, whilst others take all forms of speech literally. I find it hard making close bonds with friends and to an extent trusting others. This was tested during my Geography trip to Yorkshire in Year Ten. This was a week-long trip and therefore we had to share rooms with other students. I planned to be with four close friends of mine, but unfortunately due to limited spacing I was given a room with three others I did not know too well. This along with a change in routine left me devastated. I tried talking to my Geography teacher on the first night in Yorkshire but due to ‘safety regulations’ it was not possible for me to swap. A fellow student of mine, however, was a great comfort in this conversation and looked out for me during this trip. Even though I managed to get through the four nights away without my family I did feel like I had missed out an experience with my close friends.

These are some of my toughest experiences during secondary school where Dyspraxia has had an impact. I find them heart-breaking to reflect on, but even more so when I hear others going through similar situations. I am truly thankful to all those who helped me through the experiences and to everyone else who has supported me since. In many ways I like to think the experiences helped me become a stronger individual.

Since a very young age I have always admired sunsets. If I was having a bad day I would look up at the sky and look ahead to a brighter tomorrow. If, though, I was having a good day I would fully appreciate this moment. In darkness there is always light, there is always hope.

In darkness there is always light, there is always hope...Copyright © 2015Jake Borrett. All rights reserved.



In the darkly sky one star shines bright
For it is watched through eyes below.
But one day the glow will burn away
And with it the happiness shall fade too.

And with it happiness shall fade too...Copyright © 2013- Stas1995. All rights reserved.

Stunning YouTube Videos (9): Summer 2015 Edition

Warning: Some of the videos in this article may contain adult content

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of the YouTube videos embedded in this article. All rights are reserved to YouTube and the YouTube Artists mentioned on this page.
If I have breached any issues, copyright or otherwise, please do get in contact with me and I will be happy to remove your video on your request. Thank you for reading.

Hey everyone, Jake here once again.

‘Stunning YouTube Videos’ is back for ninth time.  For those who are unaware, this blog feature has been created to applaud the amazingly entertaining and deeply touching videos across the internet.

So without further ado are we ready for the ‘Summer 2015 Edition’? What videos have been selected this time?

Video 1: Post It – short film
‘Post It’ is a heartfelt short film written and directed by Michael Evans. On the surface the narrative looks about the importance of random acts of kindness such as giving compliments to another person, but there is also a deeper theme that runs throughout. This theme is the relationship between different individuals. Whilst there may only be stationary inside Elroy’s box it holds a personal value, that between himself and his recently deceased mother. It is through Clara that Elroy is able to open up to the world around him and see the best in everyone. Overall ‘Post It’ is a lovely short film which will make you reflect on your own life.

Copyright © 2014- by Michael Evans. All rights reserved.

Video 2: A Decade Of Doctor Who
Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman are returning to our television screens on Saturday 19th September 2015 for the ninth revived series of ‘Doctor Who’. Being a fan myself I thought it would be fitting to choose one video that encompasses the wonderful world of time travel. After going through some fantastic projects I have settled on John Smith’s simply flawless ‘A Decade Of Doctor Who’. The quality of the editing and production is sublime. Over the last year ‘John Smith’ has been known for producing outstanding Doctor Who videos, but his or her identity has remained hidden. They chose the name ‘John Smith’, the same name which The Doctor sometimes uses to hide his true identity. Hopefully John Smith’s identity will remain hidden too. If you are a big fan of Doctor Who I suggested having a look at their work.

Copyright © 2015- by John Smith. All rights reserved. 

Video 3: Blind Devotion | Jubilee Project Short Film
‘Blind Devotion’ is a moving short film by the Jubilee Project. In one word the video is ‘touching’. The narrative follows the characters Cecilia and Louie and listens to their voices as they tell from their perspective of how a serious medical condition leaves Cecilia blind. The main theme which surrounds ‘Blind Devotion’ is unconditional love in its purest form. The directing, the photography, the writing and the acting combined with the melody comes together to create eight minutes of beauty. Nothing in the video is forced and it all comes across honest because blindness is a very real, but so is unconditional love.

Copyright © 2015- by JubileeProject. All rights reserved. 


Thank you to everyone who was involved in the creation of such amazing videos for all of us to enjoy. If you liked the films, then why not subscribe to the YouTubers’ pages?

Until the tenth edition of ‘Stunning YouTube Videos’ have a wonderful week.

A Diary Note on Diet

A Diary Note on Diet

I have lived with Crohn’s Disease for over eleven years. During this time I have noticed there are a number of potentially sensitive issues when discussing Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. One of these sensitive issues is diet.
A number of internet websites, newspapers and other media sources discuss the connection between diet and health conditions. Some websites claim that ‘unhealthy diets’ are the main cause or sometimes the only cause for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Then there are others which list ‘safe food and drink’ which those impacted can consume, and further still comment on food that can ‘cure’ the disease. This information can be quite dangerous as at present there is no definitive cause of or cure for the serious and incurable autoimmune diseases, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

In this article ‘A Diary Note on Diet’ I want to make a plea to all you wonderful people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease to suggest that only you truly know your own body and therefore it is up to you to have the final choice of what kind of diet you have. Each case of Inflammatory Bowel Disease is different so part of your story with the condition is different too; this includes diet.

Reading your experiences on support pages I have learnt that each person is different. For some eating fish will be perfectly fine while for others eating raw vegetables due to their fibre content will set off symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Therefore ‘diet’ for those with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis should be treated on an individual case by case basis rather than all those individuals to be grouped together under one heading.

For me eating ‘plain foods’ such as chicken, rice and pasta are less likely to bring on symptoms closely associated with my Crohn’s Disease than those of spicy foods. In some cases chicken, rice and pasta form what is known as ‘the white diet’ which is often suggested by doctors for patients to have after a flare-up or when introducing food again after a liquid diet to rest the bowel. Nevertheless it is important to remember that you are the person living with your body each day so you will have firm knowledge of what food is right for you alone. 

I am sure many of you, like me, have been offered advice on your food intake. I remember last year at a party I wanted to have some bread and a lady there remarked ‘Do you think you should be eating that?’ I believe she had good intentions and often most people in cases like this do, so I politely thanked her before making my decision based on past experiences that bread does not usually impact my Crohn’s Disease. Comments like these can be frustrating but intentions are important. Looking back the lady could have phrased her question to say ‘What foods are right for you based on your experiences so we can provide them for you?’ Hopefully with more awareness of the connection between diet and Inflammatory Bowel Disease those few will be less judgemental and more understanding.

My aim for this diary note is not to bash those people who make generalisations about diet and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Instead I would like to think that those living with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis continue on eating and drinking whatever they feel comfortable with without feeling they are being judged by their diet. Thank you for reading and I hope you all have a brilliant week.

‘Diet’ for those with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis should be treated on an individual case by case basis...Copyright © 1998- National Cancer Institute. All rights reserved.

Focusing on Dyspraxia: Reading and Writing (Part 2)

Focusing on Dyspraxia: Reading and Writing (Part 2)

In this series of articles I will be focusing on certain areas in which Dyspraxia can cause problems with. The first of these is reading and writing. In the first part we looked at my childhood and how I found handwriting, spelling and comprehension challenging and how I would rarely spend time reading books. In this second part I will be focusing on secondary school and touching upon the start of my university degree programme in English Literature and Creative Writing.

When I first joined secondary school at the age of eleven I found many areas of reading and writing challenging. Reading aloud in class was scary and writing complete grammatical sentences was a nightmare. My teachers thankfully noticed my difficulties and so for the first three years I was given ‘Learning Support’ instead of studying French.

Learning Support was a department of excellent support staff whose role was to help students who needed that extra bit of help. As part of this myself and a small group of others in my year had fifty minute lessons, usually three times a week, were we spent time improving our English skills. Learning Support was fantastic. The encouragement the department gave us was overwhelming. During lessons we worked on our spellings, handwriting, reading, comprehension and even our presentation skills. This happened in a stress-free, judgemental-free and social-building environment. I would come out each day having learnt something new and more importantly having the self-confidence in myself to continue.

The self-esteem I gained through Learning Support shined through in my English lessons. I had the courage to put my hand up in class and even attempt to read aloud. The feedback I received in school reports was pleasing and even my grades rose from D/E to B/C level. There were occasional knocks in my confidence but the doors were always open at the Learning Support Department.

Please note that ‘Learning Support’ was marked on my school record so teachers were aware I was getting supervision but anything we discussed was confidential without agreement. After informing the Head of Year Nine of my Crohn’s Disease diagnosis in 2007 I was given a Study Needs Agreement. Study Needs Agreements are records for anyone who has a disability. The forms state the nature of your disability and any specialist arrangements you have because of this.

One of my arrangements concerned examinations. For my GCSEs I was given 25% Extra Time and Toilet Breaks, but I handwrote my responses. This was before I was officially diagnosed with Dyspraxia at the age of eighteen. Naturally though I used my Extra Time to finish my answers.

When it came to my Financial Studies examination at AS Level in Year Twelve I ran out of time answering the long essay question, even with my Extra Time. I was slightly disappointed with myself but after a detailed conversation and some tests with the Learning Support Department we agreed I would complete all my future examinations on a laptop. This was put on my Study Needs Agreement. This change was brilliant as it gave me the focus I needed during examinations without worrying about if my hand ached for writing for long durations or if my handwriting became illegible. So thank you to the Learning Support Department for all your support.

A very kind message I received from the Learning Support staff...Copyright © 2015Jake Borrett. All rights reserved.

The encouragement I received from them combined with enthusiastic English teachers got me interested in the world of literature. Yes, to the extent I studied English Language and Literature at A-Level and now study ‘English Literature and Creative Writing’ at University of Hertfordshire.

Even at degree level I struggle with some areas of reading and writing. During my first year I often found myself listening to audio books as there was so much reading to complete. Also the feedback I received from writing assignments was that my ideas were excellent but my ‘structure’ and ‘proofreading’ let me down.

As with my secondary school, I have a Study Needs Agreement in place at University of Hertfordshire although with a few changes. One of these changes is that I have a Study Skills Tutor. During my second year I spent weekly or fortnightly one-hour lessons improving my essay writing and examination planning. This will continue into my final year from September 2015 onwards. I cannot thank the Disability Services at University of Hertfordshire enough for their support. I am sure to go into more detail about them in future articles.

To conclude though, Dyspraxia can have an impact on various areas associated with reading and writing. Encouragement given from educational staff, friends and family can improve self-esteem to the point it gives us the confidence to try and overcome any difficulty we may be having because our disability. Do not be afraid to except this help. Excepting help does not mean you are weak but shows you have the strength to try and succeed. Thank you for reading this article and until next time I hope you have a brilliant week. 

Focusing on Dyspraxia: Reading and Writing (Part 1)

Focusing on Dyspraxia: Reading and Writing (Part 1)

Over the last year I have posted a number of blog articles about my journey from childhood to my official diagnosis of Dyspraxia at the age of eighteen. Over this year I will be focusing more closely on certain areas which Dyspraxia can cause difficulties; the first being reading and writing.

Children with Dyspraxia, and in some adult cases, may have problems with reading and writing including spelling, comprehension and handwriting. According to the Dyspraxia Foundation limited concentration and poor listening skills, and literal use of language may have an effect on reading and spelling ability. A child may be able to read well but not understand some of the concepts in the language. The child may also be reluctant to read aloud because of articulation difficulties or because they lack self-confidence.

It may be surprisingly to learn, because now I study English Literature and Creative Writing at University of Hertfordshire, but throughout my childhood I found reading and writing incredibly challenging. One of my nemeses was and still is handwriting, one of the many areas which Dyspraxia often presents itself in. My handwriting was relatively poor in the sense that my letters were often very big and I could not write in between the lines. During handwriting lessons I would often have to ask the teacher for help. When it came to comprehension tasks I found it hard to string sentences together aloud and on the page. Nevertheless as time progressed I was showing signs of having a good imagination and I occasionally wrote stories about ghosts and haunted houses, but these stories were rarely completed.

I will never forget the few weeks leading up to my Year Six SATs. My mum and I were in the kitchen trying to find words I could learn to put into my writing in order to impress my teachers. One word in particular I remember learning was ‘sumptuous’. Amazingly the writing exercise we had in our tests was about food, so I remember trying to put this word in my descriptive exercise. Naturally I spelt the sumptuous as ‘sumptous’, sorry Mum. In the end I achieved a Level Four in English. When looking back on this I am happy considering the challenges which Dyspraxia often presents with handwriting, comprehension and spelling.

This is actually one of my better pieces of handwriting in 2005 when I was eleven years old…Copyright © 2015- Jake Borrett. All rights reserved.

 Reading was another difficulty of mine throughout my childhood. Before the age of eight I had very little interest in reading. My parents would often read stories to me and I would not grasp the meaning behind the adventurers the characters were having. My mum asked a friend for book suggestions that would get me interested. Mum’s friend suggested Dav Pilkey’s ‘Captain Underpants’ and Francesca Simon’s ‘Horrid Henry’ as her son really enjoyed these books. Strangely enough I loved these books too. Although it was a big obstacle grasping the language I was enjoying spending time learning about the attack of the ‘Talking Toilets’ and why Horrid Henry hated his brother Perfect Peter.

I personally recommend Pilkey and Simon’s series of books as they were my first stepping stones into enjoying literature. This interest was shown in Year Three when we were asked to write to our favourite author. I wrote to Francesca Simon. No one got a response except me.  I am very grateful for the reply and if you ever come across this blog post, thank you.

Francesca Simon’s kind message:
‘Hi Jake!
I am glad to know I have a number one fan! The new one is called “Horrid Henry and The Bogey Babysitter” and it is coming out in July. Keep reading!
Francesca Simon’
Copyright © 2015- Jake Borrett and Francesca Simon. All rights reserved. 

Those with Dyspraxia often have an increased difficulty with areas connected to reading and writing. I still find reading and writing tough in areas despite studying English Literature and Creative at degree level. However every bit of encouragement you can give can help with self-confidence and make us more willing to learn. I will be looking at this encouragement in the second part of ‘Focusing on Dyspraxia: Reading and Writing’. Until then thank you for the great support you wonderful people.

Stunning YouTube Videos (8): Mid-2015 Edition

Warning: Some of the videos in this article may contain adult content

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of the YouTube videos embedded in this article. All rights are reserved to YouTube and the YouTube Artists mentioned on this page.
If I have breached any issues, copyright or otherwise, please do get in contact with me and I will be happy to remove your video on your request. Thank you for reading.

Hey everyone! Jake here!

There has been a long silence over ‘Stunning YouTube Videos’ but I can now confirm the blog feature is back and hopefully this time for good. If you are unaware this blog feature has been created to applaud the brilliantly entertaining and deeply emotive videos across the internet.

So are we ready for the Mid-2015 edition? What videos have been chosen this time around?

Video 1: Kittens Meet Puppies For The First Time
‘Kittens Meet Puppies For The First Time’ is one for all you animal lovers out there. The BuzzFeed video shows what happens when kittens are first introduced to puppies for the first time. One YouTuber made an interesting comment that ‘prejudice is not inherent, but taught’. Cats and dogs are stereotypically supposed to hate one another but here are shown to be rather playful. Whether or not you enjoy the deeper message or I hope you enjoy the cuteness and chaos that runs throughout as Edvard Grieg’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ is played in the background. Are you a kitten or a puppy person?

Copyright © 2015- by BuzzFeedVideo. All rights reserved.

Video 2: One-Minute Time Machine | Sploid Short Film Festival · Official Selection
‘One-Minute Time Machine’ is a brilliant short film created by a number of talented people including director Devon Avery. The plot states that each time Regina rejects his advances, James pushes a red button and tries again, all the while he is unaware of the reality and consequences of his action. The musical score, the directing, the writing and the acting should be applauded as it comes together to create a humorous but also a real meaningful pieces. There are many ways to read this short film but one is to suggest that we should live in the moment. Please note that ‘One-Minute Time Machine’ contains adult humour.

Copyright © 2015- by Sploid. All rights reserved. 

Video 3: My Shoes [MAPS Film School]
MAPS Film School have done an excellent job in creating their short film ‘My Shoes’. The plot description states ‘My Shoes’ is ‘a fable of life’s appearance’. There are many ways to interpret this story but one way is that we should try to appreciate that we have and not to be jealous of others because we do not know their circumstances. Overall this film is shot with precision and heart. The thought provoking piece will be on your mind hours after you have watched it.

Copyright © 2013- by MediaArtProduction. All rights reserved.


Thanks to everyone involved in the creation of such brilliant videos for all of us to enjoy. If you liked them, then why not subscribe to their pages?

See you again soon where a video of yours could be chosen.

Until then thanks for the great support and have a good week.

A Six Letter Diagnosis

A Six Letter Diagnosis

Previous article on Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis:
‘Next Stop: Colonoscopies and Endoscopies’:

I would say that ‘A Six Letter Diagnosis’ is one of hardest blog articles I have written so far and may go on to be one of the hardest I will ever have to write. For this reason I am going to try and keep my words brief. Before beginning I would like to thank you all for the support I have received, and please do not think the intention of this article is to insult doctors because many of them do a fantastic job.

Back in November 2007 I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy to find out why since the age of nine I was suffering with abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and stunted growth. I was about to be given the news that I had Crohn’s Disease. However, as I sat with my mum and dad in the waiting room I had no idea how this was going to be put to me.  

At the age of thirteen I had very little experience of how doctors were supposed to break the news. I was not present during my dad’s diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or when my mum was told she had Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME). I occasionally had watched dramas about hospitals but they were fictional. So admittedly I was scared. Saying that, I wanted some light to be shed on four years of dark times where ‘Doctor One’ branded my suffering as both ‘imaginary’ and a product of my mum’s anxiety.

‘Doctor Two’, as I will call him, sat on the opposite side to the three of us. The only words I remember from this meeting were the ones he used for my diagnosis. He used these words:

"You have something, with six letters, beginning with C…” Then a pause came. “It’s not Cancer."

Unfortunately the rest of our meeting is blurry in my mind. I cannot tell you how I or my parents reacted to his words. I cannot tell you if he then went on to explain Crohn’s Disease in more detail and then showed me photographs of my inflamed small intestine. Sadly all I remember was coming out of the hospital thinking why I had sat in silence. Maybe I did or maybe I did not. All I know, as I write this article, is that I was a scared thirteen year old boy. After going through four years of suffering I was scared.

I have to say this. I cannot imagine for one moment what is like to have Cancer. I cannot imagine the emotions or the journey that goes along with this dreadful disease. All I can hope is for a future where all doctors break the news sympathetically for every condition and patients get the support they deserve. Each case is different so everyone should be treated with dignity.

On reflection I have written ‘A Six Letter Diagnosis’ not to curse ‘Doctor Two’. That was not my intention. I wrote this article with the intention to tell you my story living with Crohn’s Disease through my own eyes. Every time I try to imagine that day in November I picture a scared young boy about to go on a journey. A journey where he will receive overwhelming support from a loving family, brilliant friends and wonderful people willing to listen. For this I am truly thankful.

I picture a scared young boy about to go on a journey...Copyright © 2015- Borrett family and Paul Kielty. All rights reserved.

The Ducks

The Ducks

On Monday I sat on the park bench pouring fistfuls of breadcrumbs into the lake. The breadcrumbs floated along the surface. No ducks wanted to eat my bread. I saw no ducks.

On Tuesday I came back to the park. I walked past the bench. A young girl and her father were dropping small pieces of bread into the water. Ten ducks rose from the lake, eager to eat. All my bread had gone.

All my bread had gone...Copyright © 2014- Jacob Harper and Rufus Lakin. All rights reserved.

To My Fellow IBDers (World IBD Day 2015)

To My Fellow IBDers (World IBD Day 2015)

Today, Tuesday 19th May 2015, is known as World IBD Day. It is a day for those impacted by Inflammatory Bowel Disease to stand together, to raise awareness and to support the 300,000 people in the United Kingdom and millions across the world affected by Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Both are invisible, lifelong and incurable diseases.

Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis can include:
          Diarrhoea, often with blood
          Severe pain
          Extreme fatigue
          Dramatic weight loss
          Swollen Joints
          Mouth Ulcers
          Eye, skin and liver problems
There can be a number of other possible symptoms too.

This infographic by the brilliant organisation Crohn’s and Colitis UK provides some very useful information on the two conditions.

Copyright © 2015- Crohn's and Colitis UK. All rights reserved.

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the age of thirteen. I lived in silence for four years prior to this and since then have gone through physical and emotional pain, colonoscopies and endoscopies, surgery and hospital visits. I would like to take this opportunity to thank every single one of you has made a positive differences during this time. I want to thank my family, my friends, those who cared for me and those who supported me, and lastly to all my blog followers.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say to every brave fighter out there that you are an inspiration. To each and every one of you who has either condition or cares for someone those does, keep on fighting. To turn something negative into a positive is definitely to be admired. Thank you my follower IBDers.

Today may be World IBD Day but let us continue the battle against the Inflammatory Bowel Disease for the days, the weeks, the months and the years to come. If we can continue to raise awareness more people will listen, more will understand and more will be compassionate.

Thanks for reading this message. I hope you personally have a happy week.

Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are invisible, lifelong and incurable diseases...Copyright © 2015- Jake Borrett. All rights reserved.

The Educational Psychologist’s Test

The Educational Psychologist’s Test

Previous article on Dyspraxia:
‘Dyspraxic, But Also Fantastic’:

How My Dyspraxia Came To Be
Dyspraxia is a form of Developmental Coordination Disorder which affects fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. It can also have an impact on speech. There is currently no cure. Concerns in areas showing immaturity in planning and organising, coordination, and speech may lead to those seeking support to help achieve their potential. Each case of Dyspraxia is isolated so each person may be diagnosed in a different way.  

Back in the summer of 2012 I attended a meeting, who is now my disability advisor at the University of Hertfordshire. The meeting’s aim was to discuss my Crohn’s Disease and the support which the university could offer. When it came to signing a form, my disability advisor noticed the way I was gripping the pen to write. She suggested that it could be a sign of Dyspraxia. This was the first time I heard of such a condition. My mum, who attended the meeting with me, told my disability advisor that I have always had coordination difficulties since a young age. Coordination is one area which could be affected by Dyspraxia.

Most of the feedback I was receiving on my university assignments during my first year was that the structure and proofreading of my essays was ‘weak’. It was not until March 2013, however, that I decided I wanted to find out if Dyspraxia was causing difficulties I had been displaying over the last eighteen years. So after further research and further discussions I had a meeting with an educational psychologist at university.

The Educational Psychologist’s Test
A few days prior to meeting I was given some forms to fill out. This included several pages of questionnaires asking about my lifestyle. One question for instance asked for me to rate the difficulty I found throwing and catching balls. All of these questions were designed to see whether I was showing signs of any possible learning condition.

During the meeting the educational psychologist ‘T’ and I spent some time discussing my day to day life, including any concerns I have had in the past. Amongst other areas I told ‘T’ that I have had coordination problems since a very young age and found studying English a real challenge to the point I was given extra support at secondary school.

‘T’ then moved the focus on carrying out a number of tests and games in order to determine whether I showed any signs of a learning condition. Some of the tests focused on general knowledge, spelling and words, image and building block games, and number challenges. Some tests were carried out against the clock whilst others were independent whilst ‘T’ looked over the forms I had completed.

In summary, the tests focused on different areas including:
          Verbal Comprehension
          Working Memory
          Perceptual Reasoning
          Processing Speed

After a good few hours in the afternoon ‘T’ concluded some of his findings. To do so he listed my results on a scale calculated by ‘Percentile Scores’. These scores, ranging from 1 to 100, compare students against others of their age group. A percentile score of 50 for example, means 50% of an age group would be performing at a higher level and 50% at the same or lower level. Taking one example a standard working memory index score for my age group at the time was 80 whilst my own percentile score came to a much lower score of 9.

Considering further factors ‘T’ told me that it was highly likely I was displaying strong signs of a learning condition, in this case treated as Dyspraxia. He suggested for me to get further support from the university, in addition to what I already received for my Crohn’s Disease. 

Concluding Thoughts
It was two weeks later that I had a meeting my disability advisor. I was given a full report of the findings which ‘T’ had written up. She offered some further support for my Dyspraxia including giving me a study skills tutor and also having further software and hardware equipment.

In all honesty I am glad I followed my disability advisor’s advice to find out what had been causing me concern and worry over the last eighteen years. A diagnosis of Dyspraxia has shed some light on the dark mystery in my life. The support which I have received has given me greater confidence and self-esteem in myself.

If you or anyone you know is thinking about talking to an educational psychologist or equivalent, then have the confidence to go for it. Everyone deserves to get the support when they need it, to have confidence in themselves and ultimately to be happy.

Thanks to everyone who has read this article. I hope you have a brilliant week.

Jake Borrett's Dyspraxia Report Copyright © 2015- Jake Borrett. All rights reserved.