I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of 22. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the intestines that causes the person with it to have problems in the bowels including chronic diarrhea and bleeding in the stools. It is similar to crohns disease but is not usually as fatal as crohns disease can be. I am a second generation ulcerative colitis sufferer, although it is not supposed to be hereditary. Actually there is not a whole lot of facts about the disease such as how it gets started or how to actually cure one of it.
Like I said, I do not know how I got ulcerative colitis but it started at the time that I was trying to make changes to my lifestyle. It pretty much happened like this, I quit drinking and smoking cold turkey one day and I had blood in my stools the next. Maybe it was a couple or few days later but that was when it began. I have been told that colitis has something to do with the nerves but I still do not really know what is going on.
I was afraid to go to the doctor for two reasons. I did not have insurance and I did not want to find out that I had cancer. I hid it completely from friends and loved ones for a couple months. I went to see a doctor about it about eight months after my first symptoms because it was becoming very hard to carry on my daily life while going to the bathroom 20 plus times a day and always feeling like I had to use the bathroom although I had just gone. I got a job with insurance and decided to get it checked. I had to get a colonoscopy which ended up not being as bad as it sounds because they put you to sleep during it. I found out that I had ulcerative colitis. The doctor said that I had a mild form of it and was surprised at the extreme symptoms that I had. He gave me a packet about a diet and prescribed me with three different medicines to start with.
For about 4 years I tried many different diets and medicines to try and get my colitis under control. Nothing seemed to work or even give me any relief from the symptoms. During those four years I worked in construction for two and went to school for two. On the job I spent all of my breaks in the bathroom and at school I could just barely hold it through the length of a class. I had accidents every once in a while although I fought hard to not have them almost all day everyday for years. The most embarrassing accident was when I was a guest staying at someone’s house that I had barely known and had to reveal my problem to them so that I could get it cleaned up.
I finally decided to stop trying to keep it under control and I stopped taking medicine and starting eating whatever I wanted. It seemed like when I went back to eating more fatty foods and drinking lots of soda again I started to do better. But that’s just me. Maybe it had to do with stopping to care about it and therefore not being so nerved up about it. I also shared my health problems with others more openly. Whatever it was I have been in remission for a year and a half. I have slight bowel trouble during very stressful times still but nothing like the symptoms I used to have.
Living with ulcerative colitis has changed my outlook on life in a few different ways. I have learned to be more open, less reserved, and just enjoy life more. If I don’t do this I have health problems. I have also learned to accept people better. People deal with diseases like ulcerative colitis all the time and you wouldn’t even know. People in a bad mood might have a similar problem so things like that don’t bother me anymore. Living more carefree has really improved my health whether it is coincidence or not, I am still going to keep it up since it’s working now.