This guy is challenging how we think about invisible diseases in a really important way
Just because someone looks healthy doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering a lot on the inside. That’s what one man with Crohn’s disease is teaching us with a powerful Facebook post that’s going totally viral.
Ste Walker, a 24-year-old from Halifax, England, has been suffering from Crohn’s disease — a chronic, incurable inflammatory bowel disease that affects up to 1.6 million Americans, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America — for most of his life. He suffers from extreme pain and complications from his disease that can make day-to-day living excruciating sometimes. But because he looks “normal” on the outside, he is often questioned and harassed for doing things such as parking in handicapped accessible parking spots.
Recently, Ste decided to use all of the assumptions people having been making about him as an opportunity to educate. He posted two pictures of himself — one with his shirt on, where he looks “normal,” and one with his shirt off, displaying all of the medical equipment he must use daily. “People are too quick to judge these days, just because I look normal and speak normal, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a major disability,” he wrote. “. . . ask me questions, and soon you will realise that I have a major illness.”
Ste then went in depth about all of the ways Crohn’s has majorly impacted his life. He has a Hickman line, which comes out of his chest and is used to feed him, as his stomach doesn’t work correctly; he has a ileostomy (also known as a stoma) to collect excrement; he has a rhylls tube down his nose and into his stomach, which drains the stomach because it can’t empty, he explained. He also has a large scar down his chest, “which is where I’ve been opened up 3 times in the last 2 years for major life saving [sic] surgeries,” he wrote.