Intern fashion shopper Crosby was about to move in with her boyfriend and start a new job, when she started noticing differences in her body.
Joy said, “It started around November 2017 and I started having symptoms like blood when I went to the bathroom.
“And I had to go to the bathroom more frequently, but obviously that was something I really didn’t want to go to the doctors.
“I put it back on and put it back on until I started to really hurt and lose weight. Then I thought ‘No, I really need to see a doctor about this’. ”
Joy said her condition worsened and she suffered from stomach cramps, diarrhea, fatigue and used the bathroom up to 25 times a day.
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Worried about her symptoms, Joy made an appointment with the GP to talk about her extreme fatigue and her weight loss totaling around a stone.
Speaking to her doctor however, Joy said that she was “chomping” and not being completely honest with the doctor and instead requested a routine prescription.
But she made an emergency appointment for the next day and returned.
She said: “I was really lucky and he was able to give me an idea that this was something really serious. I’ve heard stories before where people are told it’s just IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or they just eat it.
“But he sent me to see a specialist at the Royal and he said you looked really bad, I’ll bring you tomorrow.” I had an emergency colonoscopy and was diagnosed with colitis. “
Colitis refers to inflammation of the inner lining of the colon and can be caused by a number of factors.
Joy added, “I was 19 when I was diagnosed. I think because you think you’re young you think you’re perfectly healthy and it’s going to go away on its own.
“It was really scary. I think when you hear the word ‘chronic’ you just think it’s going to be you for the rest of your life. You automatically assume that you are going to be as bad as you are right now forever.
“I think it’s pretty hard to see beyond. ”
After being diagnosed, Joy was given a range of drugs, including steroids with severe side effects, to try and treat the condition.
Two weeks after the diagnosis, she also discovered that she was expecting her son, Frankie.
She said, “I think it was about two days where I had to wait to see if it was safe to take steroids while I was pregnant, and those two days felt like a year to me.
“It’s a really weird situation because if you are planning to have a baby you would say I have to plan to stop that drug or that drug.
“But because it was all happening at the same time, it was really overwhelming.
” It was scary. Even though the doctors said I was okay to take the medicine while I was pregnant, I was still at high risk. ”
Now 22 and the mother of a beautiful two-year-old son, Joy wants to be a voice and an inspiration to others facing the same challenges as her.
Using her social media platform to spread positive body messages, the mum-of-one also inspired an empowerment campaign for online fashion brand, Misguided.
Starring in a non-airbrushed photoshoot alongside other inspiring women, Joy said she is committed to spreading information about her condition so that “there is someone there for people to see. that looks like them ”.
Joy was given a year of maternity leave after welcoming baby Frankie, but said she was very ill.
She said, “I couldn’t leave the bathroom, I went to the bathroom 30 times a day and on top of that I was throwing up. I lost about three stones at that time. It was a difficult time. ”
After Frankie’s first birthday, Joy said she was “pretty bad” and felt like she had tried all the drugs she could, and made the decision to go for the surgery. .
She said, “I wanted to be able to go out and do things with him. I felt like I had been in my own little lockout for a year. I had to put my career on hold and be a real mom on hold. ”
Chronicle of her life as a new mom and a young woman living with an ileostomy bag, Joy has drawn thousands of followers with her outspoken and inspiring content.
She said: “When I was younger the first thing I did as a youngster was Google [my condition]. And when you go to Google, the first thing you see when you type “blood in your poo” is “cancer.”
“It’s so scary. So, in order to be able to access a platform like Instagram where most young people go looking for hashtags, there is someone there for them to see who is like them. Because that’s what I didn’t do when I was looking.
“It can be a place where someone can go and see that you can live a normal life with a disease like this, or with an ileostomy bag or with medication.
“Whether it’s medication or surgery, I’ve done both and I can talk about it. Whereas if you go to google you can only hear the horror stories. ”
Joy’s Instagram page can be found here.
Since being diagnosed with chronic autoimmune disease, Joy has also started her own clothing brand, with a portion of the proceeds going to Crohn’s & Colitis UK.
Joy recently took part in a misguided campaign celebrating diversity, which she admitted to be “terrifying.”
Their new collection of fitness clothes is modeled by diverse, empowering and inclusive models in partnership with the charity Models of Diversity.
Angel, Founder of Models of Diversity, said: “Many brands are talking about change, few are following it.
“Misguided absolutely blew us away with their commitment to inclusion and diversity in this campaign.
“We were delighted that among their beautiful and diverse cast they included seven very beautiful but very different MOD models – the results are incredible. It is a pleasure to be associated with a brand so determined to be on the right side of change ”
Nitin Passi, Founder and CEO of Missguided, said: “Empowerment is at the heart of what we stand for and while we are proud of it, it has to be for everyone.
“This campaign speaks forcefully who we are and also shows what we aspire to be, not only opening a window to the breadth of what we offer, but also now better covering skin tones that match the diversity of our clients. “