Last week I was admitted to hospital as a result of complications associated with Crohn’s disease, a disease I have been living with for 32 years. This condition is an auto-immune disease which I have successfully managed throughout my life.
Over the past few months I had been managing the most recent episode from home, however my condition progressively worsened and required hospitalisation last week. I remain in hospital currently.
Through the course of the past week in hospital the seriousness of these complications and the impact on my health has become more evident.
Following extensive treatment this week, and after consultation with health professionals who have formed the view I cannot return to work as planned, I will be taking a leave of absence for 3 months for further treatment and recovery.
Crohn’s is a chronic disease. Many people in the community live with this condition, and to date I have successfully managed the effects of it.
However the current episode is the worst I have been confronted with. The clear advice from my doctors is if I don’t take this period of rest and recovery I will be faced with major bowel surgery and risk long term consequences to the quality and length of my life.
I love my job and remain passionately committed to it. Across the portfolios of Water and Police and Emergency Services I have had the honour of working with dedicated individuals who serve and protect the interests of the Victorian community. My love for the community of the Bellarine Peninsula and working hard to deliver for all of my constituents remains as strong as it was when I was first elected.
I am working with my doctors on my recovery and will be guided by their advice on when my physical health can allow me to return to work, which at this stage they believe will be in 3 months time. I also ask for privacy during this time as I focus solely on my health and wellbeing.
I want to thank the health professionals who have provided such expert care and advice to me, and who will continue to guide my recovery and return to work.
I also want to acknowledge and thank my cabinet and caucus colleagues for supporting me to take the time I need to make a full recovery. Thank you also to the many friends who have wished me well during this time.