Netherlands, Hester

‘’My mission it to bring hope both as a doctor and a patient diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.’’

Hi everyone, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2009 when I was a medicine student. My world collapsed, suddenly I became the patient. This was not my plan, I was supposed to be the doctor! But life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans. And now, when I look back, this (painful part of) life was the best thing that could have happened to me.

As a medicine student I was trained to think and behave in a certain way, but when I became a patient I noticed that the doctor does not have all the solutions. That we have to keep looking from different perspectives. There are so many knowledge gaps about this disease. That is at the same time terrifying as it is hopeful! Because it means, that there might be ways to treat this disease! With a major lifestyle and diet change, releasing suppressed emotions and a lot of stress stored in my intestines, my life turned around.

I learned to find happiness through the pain, it gave me strength. People around me said I have gone through a personality change, as someone who was always rough on herself and others. I became more kind and more gentle. Not least important, I became healthy again, trusting and feeling my body again. For now I have been 10 years without pain and medication. I was able to finish medschool, and did years of research and got a PhD on my own disease.

During this research I met a lot of IBD patients. I noticed what an enormous pain they experience, not only physical but also mentally. It was my opinion that if I wanted to get a full perspective on the disease, I should become a psychiatrist to connect the body and mind. So that’s what I am training to be now. I plan to listen to understand. Listen to body and mind. I plan to bring hope. 

For the patients from the Netherlands/Belgium, I started a blog in Dutch to share my story. ( )