Crohn’s Disease – Diagnosis Journey

This blog is based on my experience, aiming to edu-kate people who are experiencing similar ongoing gut related issues to be tested for Crohn’s Disease. Early diagnosis may reduce the likelihood of surgery. 

April 2015 – New Job, New Town – Crohn’s Not Diagnosed

After a few days moving to Far North Queensland and starting my new job I experienced symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Sweats and Fevers

As I was living in the Single Person Village (mining town camp) until my housing was ready, I believed it was just food poisoning from the camp food. I didn’t go to the doctors, I thought it would just pass. It did, after 5 days.

July 2015 – Bramwell Rodeo Camping Trip – Crohn’s Not Diagnosed


Winning the Jelly Eating Competition at Bramwell Rodeo (that night I got very sick, thought it was just the jelly or the water)

During and after a 2 night camping trip to Bramwell Rodeo (in Far North Queensland), I experienced more symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Sweats and Fevers
  • Severe weightloss (6kg in 9 days).

I went to the doctors and was prescribed with antibiotics as it was thought that I had contracted Giardia. I provided a stool sample to get tested. The symptoms persisted after the first course of antibiotics and the stool sample returned negative. After returning to the doctors I was prescribed with another course of antibiotics. The GP was still convinced it was Giardia as it was going around town. After the second course of antibiotics my symptoms reduced so no further tests were undertaken.

July 2015 – September 2015 – Continual Gut Problems – Crohn’s Not Diagnosed

After my “giardia episode” I continually had cramps (severe enough to disrupt my sleep), my appetite disappeared as it hurt to eat, a number of diarrhoea episodes daily and fatigue. During these months I was training for the Sunshine Coast Half Ironman, in September. I returned to the doctors and it was believed that my body was just recovering from “giardia” and I may experience IBS symptoms for a few months.

With that knowledge I continued to push through and train for my half ironman despite struggling physically. I completed the half ironman (walking most of the run before heading to the medical tent). I was not well.

unnamed (2)

Day before I completed a half ironman with active flaring Crohn’s (unknown to me).

The next few days I was very sick and I thought it was a result of pushing myself too hard at the event.

October 2015 – Trip to the tip of Queensland, Cape York – Crohn’s Diagnosed

unnamed (1)

Last trip before diagnosis (a week after the half ironman)

After returning from a trip to the northern most point of Queensland I discovered blood in my stool and collapsed in my bathroom after excessive diarrhoea and vomiting. I immediately went to the doctors where bloods and a stool sample were taken.

My inflammation marker was extremely high (the highest the Weipa Hospital had seen). I was fortunate that a Gastroenterologist was coming to Weipa that week (a Gastro visits Weipa every 3months).

That week I had my first colonoscopy.


  • Inflammation in the caecum and at the ileocaecal valve.
  • Stricture at the ileocaecal valve (scope could not see my small intestines).

The biopsy confirmed I had Crohn’s Disease. I was prescribed with steroids in hope that it would reduce my inflammation and that it was localised.

However, symptoms persisted even on steroids and I was required to have an MRI so they could see my small intestines.

It was confirmed that the inflammation had been there too long and therefore had scarred (stricture) in my large and small intestines. I required urgent surgery to remove this section.

January 2016 – Right Hemi-Colectomy – Bowel Surgery

I required a Right Colectomy, removing approx. 40cm of my large/small intestine, including the ileocecal valve (along with my appendix).


Stay tuned for my next blog post on detailing my first time surgery and hospital experience.

Triathlon Newbie

You’ve just boarded the Triathlon Train (YAY!). You know you’ve got to swim, bike and run but not really sure about the specifics. Questions start running through your mind, you start googling and buying triathlon mags to try answer some of your questions:


“How often should I be training?” 
“What quantity of my week should be designated to each leg?” 
“What do I do in a training session?”
“How long do I need to train before competing in a triathlon?” 
To answer these questions you need to ask yourself more questions. It’s like the inception of questions…. questions inside questions.


Ask Yourself


How much time am I willing to spend training?
Think about all your other commitments, family, friends, work, and other hobbies. Break down your week and find out realistically how much time you are willing to put towards triathlon. It may only be a couple of hours a week, but I can guarantee once the bug bites you’ll be planning your social calendar around training.


What event do I want to train for?
This will give you a good idea of how much lead up time you have to train.  Everyone will have a different lead up time depending on fitness, the event (distance) you chose to do, the different races (distances) are detailed below. Try and do an event close to home, this will avoid the hassle of traveling, plus you may even practice the course before race day giving you less unknowns to work with.


300m Swim. 10km Cycle. 2.5km Run.
750m. 20km Cycle. 5km Run.
1.5km Swim. 40km Cycle. 10km Run.
Half Ironman (70.3):
1.9km Swim. 90km Cycle. 21.1km Run.
Ironman (140.6)*:
3.8km Swim. 180km Cycle. 42.2km Run.
*probably wouldn’t recommend doing an ironman as your first triathlon! 😛


What is my budget (for a coach, for a training plan, for equipment, for events)?
You need to ask yourself, how much realistically are you willing to spend. Triathlon can be as expensive as you want, with the latest TT Bike, wetsuit, running shoes, race entry, top notch coach etc. For your first triathlon make sure you stick to a budget as it can easily be blown out of the water. $$$


Which leg is your strength?
Train all legs, but focus on where you can improve the most. For instance, if you are already a relative good swimmer but new to cycling or running, spending hours in the pool to shave off a second of two off your 100m’s is not going to be as effective as focusing on cycling or running.
Approximate breakdown: Swim: 10%, Bike: 55%, Run: 35%


What gear do I need?
Check out our Ultimate Race Checklist to give you an idea of the equipment you may need.


Top 8 Tips for Triathlon Newbies


  1.  All the gear, no idea!  No you do not need a fancy triathlon bike. Yes, while they look amazing and eventually you may get one but your current bike or an entry level bike will suffice.
  2. Nutrition. Ensure you fuel right, pre, during and post training.
  3. Stay Consistent. With training, nutrition, recovery and don’t do anything new race day.
  4. Transition. Don’t forget transition time counts too. Ensure you know the transition area and have practiced dismounting etc. If  you haven’t practiced pre-clipping your shoes in training, don’t try it race day.
  5. Recovery. Ensure you don’t go overboard on training. Increase your training and appropriate increments and recover accordingly through rest, sleep nutrition, mobility and active recovery.
  6. Ask questions. This sport is full of so many supportive and encouraging people who have had years of experience in the sport. Reach out, the majority will be happy to assist you with questions. Otherwise research! Do your own research and find out what works best for you, nutrition, training, coaching, recovery.
  7. Support Crew. Remember to yell out to your support crew, because unless you are wearing high vis orange with bells on your support crew can miss you and remember they’ve been waiting for hours to watch you go past for 20seconds.
  8. Have fun. Triath-FUN! Smile, laugh, ENJOY the process and be proud of yourself! Remember don’t get all caught up with the specifics, your first triathlon is all about learning and having fun!

Top Tips to FIT in FITness!


Do you ever wonder how an earth that mum of three, or that young career driven person working long hours or the full-time uni student juggling four jobs all seem to have more time than you?

I am a full-time engineer, part-time swimming coach, part-time tutor, part-time blogger, a lover of endurance sports and a Crohns Warrior. There are days where I struggle to stay balanced but just like a gymnast on the balance beam, you’re going to fall off more than once but it’s up to you to either jump back on or throw in the towel. To reduce your chance of losing your balance and falling off I have collated my tips that have helped me.


Kate’s Top Tips to Fit in Fitness


Schedule and Prioritise

Have a yearly calendar and schedule all your important dates, social celebrations, fitness events, holidays etc. It’s important not to neglect a certain aspect of your life. One week your focus may be on training and fitness, the next week it may be family focused with your Mum’s Birthday celebrations. Keep balanced, for your mind, body and soul.



Do you work in a place that is accessible to run, cycle or walk to work? Fitting in fitness through commuting allows you to save money on petrol/public transport, help the environment while working out. Win. Win. Win.

Commuting to work requires organisation such as bringing in lunch and work clothes the day before, unless you want the extra weight in your backpack. Ensure you know the facilities available to you in your workplace (i.e shower located in the disabled toilet, safe place to store your bike).

Straight To It

After work, go straight to the gym, pool or workout place. This way you will have no temptation when you get home to plop on the couch or get distracted by doing chores. You will also save in travel time by skipping the home detour. Just remember to pack your gym bag the night before with workout clothes (and shoes, I always forget shoes).

Preparation is KEY

Prepare your workout clothes, pack your swimming bag or make snacks for on the go. Prepare whatever you can to ensure you don’t fall off that balance beam. For me, I like to write out a schedule of what my training will look like for the week and to plan accordingly. And remember colour coordination is a great motivator… Don’t just pink about it, just blue it!

Fit Friends

Nothing keeps you on track than having someone else with you on the journey. Having fit friends not only keeps you motivated, but accountable too. Whether it is having them as a training partner for a running event or joining the gym to tone up, working out is always better with company. Catching up with friends can also be a great way to fit in fitness. Instead of catching up over doughnuts and milkshakes, mix it up with an active catch up. Rock climbing, beach swims, yoga classes, dog walks, hiking or stand up paddle boarding are great fun ways to fit in fitness.


Fitness Motivation Tips

Let’s get fit?! Are you struggling to get started or maintain motivation? You may have started a fitness lifestyle change and within a week your excitement has subsided and you lack all motivation. The excuses may start with…

It’s too hot!

I don’t have time!

It’s too cold!

I don’t feel in the mood!  

I’m too tired!

I will start tomorrow!

Time to kick those excuses outta your head with my top tips to stay motivated.


Goal Setting

Ever wanted to run 10km, complete a triathlon, PB in your sport, squat twice your weight? Whatever your goal is, write it in your calendar, pay for the event, get a training plan in place to work towards it. Choose a goal that you are passionate about, that excites you and will make you want to get up in the morning and work for it. It is important to set realistic goals and set mini goals to keep you on track.

Training Buddy

A training buddy is someone who motivates you and who you can be accountable to. An accountabila-buddy! You know when you set that 5am alarm to fit in a nice morning workout you are more likely to get up out of bed if you know someone is counting on you to be there. Whereas, if you’re training alone and the alarm goes off, you are more susceptible to hit snooze as you’re just letting yourself down.

A buddy is also good to share your sporting goals with; for example a sporting event (half marathon, ironman) that you can train for together. It’s important to remember you are not competing against your partner, it’s you against your own goals (although a bit of healthy competition never hurt anyone ;P)


Similar to that of a training buddy a coach is someone who will keep you accountable and in turn motivate you. Coaches will encourage, assess your training and performance and overall enhance your self-motivation.

Rest Accordingly

I’m not saying be an energiser bunny ‘Go, Go, Go’, sometimes we have to stop and rest and recover to come back stronger. Ensure you fit rest days into your schedule. Unsure when to rest? Your coach should suggest rest days and make sure you listen to your body.

Fuel your Body

Ensure that your body is well fuelled. You can’t run a car with an empty tank, so don’t do it with your body. Eat whole, fresh and nutrient dense foods.

Shoe in

New running shoes! I love the feeling and look of a fresh pair of joggers. You’ve spent the money, they look great, just another push to get out the door. A new pair of shorts or a top  or a cycle kit also does the trick 😉

unnamed (39)

The biggest thing with motivation is turning the motivation into a habit. KEEP PUSHING THROUGH. It takes 21 days (3 weeks) to beat a habit or to create a habit. Just remember with dedication and patience the motivation will become a habit and similar to brushing your teeth, you’ll feel bad if you don’t do it.

One of the biggest reasons I hear is “I don’t have enough time”. I’ll be releasing my Top Tips to Fit in Fitness next week so stay tuned.

In the mean time, comment your top tips for motivation below.

Overview of Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease, like many other autoimmune diseases affect all aspects of your life including: working, eating, sleeping, socialising, travelling and exercising. I will be releasing a blog post each week highlighting different aspects of my life and experience with Crohn’s.

Before and after diagnosis I experienced the struggles, the embarrassment and the challenges that come with the disease. Being a “glass half full“ kind of girl I always try and find the positives in a less than desirable situation. The amazing support of my family, friends and medical team, and developing a strength that I never imagined existed are just two of positives.

unnamed (38)

When I first received my diagnosis one of the first things I did was Google “Crohn’s Disease”. I wanted to know what, why, how, who…. question after question I was searching.

My goal of FitnessandGuts is to provide a hub of information, experiences and tips for anyone who has been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, or an Autoimmune Disease. FitnessandGuts is not solely just for Crohn’s Warriors, it will provide fitness, nutrition, and motivation blog posts with a dash of Kate quirk and of course PUNS!

What is Crohn’s Disease?

The CCFA (Crohn’s Colitis Foundation America) have created this short video which gives you a run down on Crohn’s

Currently, approximately 75 000 Australians suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (either Crohn’s or Colitis).

Crohn’s Disease is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the intestinal tract. The intestinal tract includes your mouth, esophagus, stomach, small/large intestine, rectum and anus.


Crohn’s Disease symptoms can include:

  • Diarrhoea (or sometimes constipation)
  • Uncontrollable Bowel Movements
  • Bloody Stools
  • Vomiting
  • Cramping
  • Fevers
  • Weight Loss
  • Malabsorption causing Malnutrition
  • Anaemia
  • Skin Rashes
  • Mouth Sores
  • Eye Sores

What I had: all of the above symptoms, excluding for the last three.


There are complications you may experience with Crohn’s Disease resulting in surgery, the complications can include:

  • Strictures
  • Abscesses
  • Fistulae
  • Fissures
  • Severe malabsorption and malnutrition

What I had: stricture, which resulted in my urgent surgery. During surgery it was discovered I also had a fistulae (fusing onto my urinary tract).


  • Blood tests
  • Stool tests
  • Colonoscopy (and/or endoscopy)
  • Biopsy from scope procedure
  • X-rays of your abdomen
  • CT or MRI scan.

What I had: blood test, stool test, colonoscopy and MRI.

More Information

What’s Next

Take your future into your own hands. Don’t sit back and wait to be ‘spoonie’ fed, get out there, research, share experience, seek medical help and be open to try different things to see what works for YOU!

Stay tuned for more posts about my experiences and tips: health, nutrition and fitness!

If you have any questions or feedback for me, please visit my Contact Page and drop me a message, and I’ll be sure to catch it and throw one back.