I was only 18 when I started feeling a change take place in my body. I would be just fine one day and then the next doubled over in pain. The cramping could last for a small period of time or for a full day and be back to normal the following day. Then there was these strong urges to use the restroom. I never dared go to far from the bathroom in fear of not being able to make it.
At first it didn’t happen very often and I chose to ignore what my body was telling me but then it started to get worse. These strange symptoms came more often and more violently than before and it began dictating my life. No longer could I go hang out with my friends or go on a date in fear of a sudden attack. I was embarrassed to mention these problems to anyone because they all seemed so personal.
Finally I told my parents what was happening and my mother said if I made a doctor’s appointment she would go with me. It took a couple of trips to the doctor to diagnose me with Ulcerative Colitis. First the doctor had to rule out other disorders that mirrored the same symptoms along with a complete physical examination. Blood tests had to be preformed and then when they had a good idea of what was wrong with me they sent me in for an x-ray to determine if all of their finds so far had been accurate.
When the doctor finally diagnosed me I was stunned. I had never heard of Ulcerative Colitis before and now I find out it is something that will be with me for the rest of my life. The doctor told me there was medication to help control the flare ups but that did little to console me. My whole life had just changed in that doctor’s office.
It has been eight years now since I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and though the medication does help I do occasionally have flare ups but have learned to live around them but at first it wasn’t that easy. For the longest time after receiving my diagnosis I wouldn’t go out with anyone. I would just stay home and read a book. I did continue college though not from a classroom but from online classes. I had become a recluse; a person who let my disease keep me from living my life but my life was far from over.
I started dating and began to realize that my UC wouldn’t flare up every time I stepped out of the door and when it did occasionally flare up I had my date take me home early. I had been dating my boyfriend for three months when finally I just came out and told him about my condition. Yes I was afraid he wouldn’t look at me the same any more but it seemed that when I told him and said it was manageable he seemed eager to learn more to help me through my rough times. In truth I think my disease has brought us closer together.
Now I have a husband and two wonderful children who all understand when I don’t feel well and they help me cope during these rough periods. Now UC doesn’t dictate my life though its still there it is in the background where it should be but if it wasn’t for my family and friends I would probably still be a recluse in my childhood bedroom.