Two of the most understated chronic medical conditions are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis unless of course you have them. The impact they can have on someone and their family is devastating. They affect peoples personal and professional lives in a way that only a person with the disease can truly comprehend. However, the levels of knowledge and understanding of these conditions by the people who have them, across the medical profession and in society in general are poor due to their complexity and, for some reason, lack of prominence. Living with them and managing them, like any chronic condition, is a real challenge and the purpose of Take the Trip is to help sufferers and their families do that.
The book in a very detailed but straightforward manner does examine the difficulties of living with any serious illness or condition but primarily focuses on Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It researches the highly complex issues that surround each disease and discusses and explains both of them in simple language that everyone can understand. The aim then is to help sufferers see that depending on what they have and its gravity that in certain forms while debilitating it can be managed and a normal life (and what that means to them) can be pursued.
The colour purple characterises the charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK. In their drive to raise awareness of the diseases the charity use the colour and such catch lines as “Go Purple For Crohn’s and Colitis UK”. The title TAKE THE TRIP therefor is based around the notion of the word TRIP being related to the beautiful purple lavender flower. The concept is simple. The TRIP mnemonic forms the strong roots of the flower and helps the plant to better health (the beautiful purple blossom) hence what we term the bloom. In other words the author believes that taking this TRIP will lead sufferers to better health and achieving their own ‘health bloom’. Once the bloom is achieved the focus then shifts as to how to manage and maintain this better health and wellbeing. To help achieve these goals the 4 aspects of TRIP mnemonic are explored. They stand for:
Think subtle (Root 1) This features a lot and a multitude of evidence is presented that shows how subtle or delicate changes in a persons life can and will make such a difference to them and the management of their condition.
Real knowledge (Root 2) A considerable amount of detailed information about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the symptoms, the importance of accurate diagnosis, the treatments, the drugs and the critical aspects of all of this is presented. In addition all of this complex medical jargon and what it means to individuals is analysed and explained in simple language that people without a medical degree can easily understand. Readers will then see that the purpose of having this knowledge is to help everyone with a chronic condition to manage themselves better. Tangible options for sufferers on how this can be achieved are presented.
Individual Management Plan (Root 3) The importance of an Individual Management Plan (IMP) and the benefits it can bring are discussed from as early as chapter 2. By the end of the book hopefully all readers who need one will have their own plan that will help them in the day to day management of their condition.
Practical guidance (Root 4) Every chapter will be filled with advice, guidance and anecdotes all based on experience and research. Readers will find something of use in every single chapter because everything that is proposed or suggested has happened, is created on the experiences of fellow sufferers and actually works. To achieve this the stories of real life experts are used and based on how they manage their conditions on a daily basis. The Panel of Experts in the book are not all the usual people readers may expect to see but they are there for the specific contribution they can make and ultimately the advice they can give that will help others.