When she learned that she had Crohn’s disease, Juliette Mercier was still only 15 years old. And she discovers both this chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive tract and how taboo it is! “This is where the love affair between my intestines and the public toilets was born,” she writes in her comic book Ma Crohn de vie (ed. Leduc). At the beginning, I did not necessarily realize . I told myself that I was going to have treatment and that I was going to be cured. ”
“In fact, I hadn’t really measured the extent of the disease. I didn’t know that the body got used to the treatments and that the symptoms were going to get worse,” says Juliette, who is now 32 years old. After a year and a half, the situation deteriorates: abdominal pain and uncontrollable morning diarrhea. And it is especially when she leaves the family cocoon to study that she discovers the incredible prejudices of those whom she quickly nicknames, with a nice derision, the “cardboard investigators”.
Juliette, suffering from Crohn’s disease: “I thought I was not over 30 years old”
“When you suffer from an invisible disease like mine, you also have to endure doubt and suspicion. It’s even more difficult to manage the constraints of everyday life with the eyes of people.” At the end of her studies, the young woman leaves everything to go to Asia. “It had been several months that I had been following experimental treatments that were not working and that the medical profession was no longer listening to me. I was fed up and I said to myself that being sick here or elsewhere was the same. I had in the idea that I was not going to be over 30 years old, so I wanted to make my dreams come true. ”
On his return, his state of health declined. At the end of April 2017, she was hospitalized urgently. “I was in a state of advanced weakness and weighed 37 kg. I slept all the time and had a hard time eating. My gut was in a catastrophic state and the treatments were ineffective. The only solution was there. ‘ileostomy. ” The operation consists in removing the damaged part of the diseased intestine, in sewing the healthy intestine on the outside and in sticking, on the outside of the body, a pocket which collects the stools.
“Julien does not care about the disease, because it does not change the love he has for me”
The operation lasts eight hours and is followed by serious complications. Juliette’s family and father – who has stopped working to be present by her side – provide her with invaluable help. Since then, the thirty-something has been doing better, much better. She met love in the person of Julien. “At first, I told him that I had had an operation, but without going into details. After three months, I unpacked everything for him. And he said: ‘OK, we eat what, this evening ?'”
“At first I thought it was a bit light, then I realized it was a healthy reaction. He doesn’t care about the disease because it doesn’t change my personality, what he thinks of. me or his love for me, ”explains the one who has gained 20 kilos. A new life that she is savoring. “I don’t feel like I’m sick and I’m in great shape. It takes me five minutes to change the bag in the morning. It’s part of the toilet the same way we wear makeup. have regained my freedom “, she concludes, endowed with unfailing energy.
Juliette Mercier © PERSONAL COLLECTION