Pregnant Kiwi woman slowly on the mend after fighting against Crohn’s disease

After a third stint in hospital, Keitha Young is now back at home with her husband Brett and their dog.

 After a third stint in hospital, Keitha Young is now back at home with her husband Brett and their dog.

A pregnant woman suffering from Crohn’s is getting on top of the disease which nearly killed her and her unborn child.

Originally from Muriwai, Keitha Young and her husband Brett found out she was four weeks pregnant in July. She is currently at 25 weeks and due on March 24.

Young’s first trimester was “blissful” and “smooth”but entering her second trimester, she became sick and was suddenly diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

New Zealander Keitha Young and her unborn baby have been fighting for their lives after Young was diagnosed with Crohn's ...

New Zealander Keitha Young and her unborn baby have been fighting for their lives after Young was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in September.

Within a week she was diagnosed with Clostridium difficile – also known as C.diff. – which is bacteria located in the gut, she said.

“I had suppressed immunity from pregnancy and that flared up the Crohn’s which had sort of been in remission and hadn’t really been diagnosed,” Young said.

Originally from Muriwai, expectant mum Keitha Young has been in and out of hospital after being diagnosed with Crohn's ...

Originally from Muriwai, expectant mum Keitha Young has been in and out of hospital after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

“The way you treat Crohn’s makes C.diff. worse and the way you treat C.diff. makes Crohn’s worse.

“Within one week, they went in to do a key hole surgery of my bowels and they said my colon was so bad and gangrenous and purple – it was about to disintegrate,” Young said.

Young quickly underwent a total colectomy and she now has an ileostomy bag.

“If they hadn’t of gotten it out that day I probably would have died.”

Young returned to hospital two more times for bowel obstructions.

Her third stint lasted 25 days, Young said.

It took 13 days for her second bowel obstruction to clear which meant she also had to fast for 13 days, she said.

For nine days, Young was only eating ice chips and for the last few days, she had total parenteral nutrition (TPN) where she received nutrition through an IV, Young said.

Now back at home, Young is still processing the experience and learning how to walk again, adjusting to a new diet, going to physio and resting.

“I’m just really grateful that despite the cards I was dealt, I managed to come through it and the baby has been fine the whole time – that’s a phenomenal thing.”

Bethells Beach resident Rose Worley has known Young for 18 years.

Worley decided to set up a Givealittle page for the Youngs after receiving their permission.

“I just wanted to help ease the pressure and stress for them and Brett’s family,” Worley said.

More than $21,000 has been raised so far which was “an amazing example of the human spirit”, Worley said.

Receiving support from her friends, family and strangers had been “overwhelming and so humbling,” Young said.

Hutt Valley District Health Board gastroenterologist and Crohn’s and Colitis New Zealand co-chairman Dr Richard Stein said anyone at any time of their lives could get diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis were prevalent in young children and peak incidences of diagnosis took place in young adulthood, he said.

There was no evidence that healthy diets had any bearing on whether someone developed Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, Stein said.

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