It helps to know more about the journey my colitis took me on.
What is Ulcerative Colitis?
UC is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers (sores) in your digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis affects the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum.
December 2006 Junior Year Highschool, Christmas Break – My family was over for Christmas Eve dinner. And in an Italian and Lebanese house, that means you have about 5 courses of food to eat if not more. However, I remember being in the bathroom most of the night. I remember the pain, the same pain I had from this night when I was 17 all the way until I was 27 when I decided to take back control of my own health. It’s a kind of pain that starts in your stomach and radiates to the top of your head to the tips of your toes in hot constant waves. (Does that sound like pure hell? Because that’s what it is.)
I don’t remember exactly what triggered it but I remember feeling so empty physically and starved, but petrified that if I tried to eat again I’d be back in the bathroom with searing pain. I decided on a piece of Italian bread and butter (harmless, right?) Wrong. A few minutes after eating I was right back in the bathroom, and this time not only was there pain, there was blood. And that was a terrifying moment in my life. That to me meant, this was not a stomach ache, I was more like ok, perhaps you’re dying. I MEAN, RIGHT?! BLOOD!?
I didn’t eat another morsel of food until I saw a doctor. A few days later I went to my pediatrician at the time and he ran some blood tests and did a cat-scan and determined I had Ulcerative Colitis. Ulsa Col – what?! Was it like a cold? A bug or virus? I could get rid of it right? Nope. “You need to see a specialist” my doctor told me. And in my head, I’m like fine, I’ll do anything to stop this pain. OH! And be able to eat again, that’d be great, thanks. The specialist was still a few days away as everyone was on Christmas break and it was a week or two before I could get an appointment.
I was so weak, I couldn’t eat, I was so drained and dehydrated. I got to the specialist and from the initial exam he confirmed I most likely had this Ulcerative Colitis thing. But to see what the severity of it was I needed to have a colonoscopy. Like, are you kidding me? I was so scared. Today if you told me that, I’d say eh, worst part is the prep drinks before, the procedure is nothing, you just sleep. But then, I was scared. Like I said before, the prep drink to clean you out (although there wasn’t much of anything left in me at this time.) was so gross. I got it done and had the procedure. The results showed that I had a milder form of it and if I took care of it, I could go years without a flare and stay in remission. Ok, so, let’s do this, what’s the plan?
Learn more about my long quest to be well while living with UC in a blog to come!