Review: Nigel Horwood: “Wrestling the Octopus”

Many first person accounts of IBD (Jim Lang’s for example) begin with a diagnosis, and end with the patient arranging themselves with their new normal. Nigel Horwood’s book on his life with Crohn’s Disease does so too, but it also tells us what happens, if the new normal changes. Diagnosed in 1977 in his early twenties, Nigel chronicles a life of ups and downs with Crohn’s disease and the many complications and symptoms the disease can have (for example back pain!).  More than just a personal account, Nigel’s story also chronicles how far treatment options for IBD have come from rounds and rounds of steroids (there is a funny story about that in the book too), to immunosuppressants, to surgical solutions. To people outside of the UK, learning about the NHS (National Health Service) in Great Britain (a much beloved institution as we’re seeing in post-Brexit and Coronavirus days). Written with dry wit and in an accessible style, Nigel’s memoir however also shows that living a full and meaningful life with IBD is possible, and as such provides hope for newly diagnosed patients, who may be struggling. The book is interspersed with photos Nigel has taken over the years, illustrating his message literally and metaphorically. His book, “Wrestling with the Octopus” came out in 2020 and is available here.

Nigel’s illustration of his life with Crohn’s and its complications

Nigel was kind enough to give me an interview,you can read it here. His book can be read and downloaded

Nigel’s twitter handle is @crohnoid

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