My name is Brian. I am 22 years old and I suffer from ulcerative colitis disease. If you are reading this article you or a loved one are probably suffering with this debilitating disease and are looking for a cure or the best treatment. I am going to share with you my story and the struggle I went through to finding my cure. It is my hope that my story can lead you to the answers you are looking for.
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when I was only 17 years old. Like a typical teenager I did not mention to my parents that I was having severe stomach pain, blood in my stool, and severe urgency to void my bowels. I figured early on it was a virus and that it would pass. I let this condition go on for weeks. I finally had to tell my parents when I noticed there was a great deal of blood in my stool. I was ashamed and afraid.
(Note to parents) Kids and teenagers may feel embarrassed about mentioning these symptoms. If your child mentions these issues it is important to take their concerns seriously. Take them to a gastroenterologist and explain to them they have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about.
My parents took me to a gastroenterologist who told me I should have a colonoscopy just as a precaution. I woke up after my procedure with my parents by my side. The doctor told me I had something called ulcerative colitis. I had never heard that term before. He told me it wasn’t that big of a deal, I would need to take these pills for the rest of my life, but I would be fine.
(Note) This doctor was WRONG. Ulcerative colitis can be a serious disease. People have different degrees of severity and there is no cure.
Anyways I took the pills and my ulcerative colitis continued to worsen. I was in such bad shape that I was out of school for 2 weeks, I was running to the bathroom sometimes in excess of twenty times a day, and I was in constant pain. I had no energy to do anything and honesty I hoped for death at times.
Prednisone is the only thing that put my condition back into remission. The problem is this drug suppresses the immune system. It also causes facial puffiness, increased appetite, and can accelerate bone loss if taken for too long. This drug was heaven and hell for me, but it was my only choice. I suffered though most of the side effects (except bone loss, Thank God) but I was having normal bowel movements and no more urgency or pain.
I would then need to be tapered off the prednisone and I would usually be okay for a few weeks or a couple months and then the problems would arise again. Let me tell you with the help of my supportive family I tried everything under the sun to cure my colitis. (For those who don’t know there is no “cure” except surgery) I went to ayurvedic doctors, specialists, and naturopaths. I tried fish oil, turmeric, calcium, curcumin, suppositories (all kinds), and every medication out there with no relief.
It is important to note now that there will be times when you take a certain pill, drug, herb, etc and feel better. You may think you have found the cure. I pray that you have, but in most cases it is a short fix and within a few weeks to a month the symptoms return in what is called a flare.
The interesting thing about this disease is no one treatment works for everyone. After 5 years of living with these disease I found out that many people have beaten this disease, but all have different ideas of what works. Some people cut out gluten. Others follow very strict diets. Some swear by fish oil and other herbs. It is important to never give up and try every possibility out there.
I finally found my “cure” just this year. I take a prescription drug called Asacol HD. I take three pills in the morning and three at night. I also take Metamucil at night. I try to avoid ice cream, really fatty foods and thick cheese. This is what works for me.
The most important thing you can take away from this article is to never give up. This disease can run you down and make you lose hope. The key is to have a strong support system from friends, family and/or a support group and persevere until you find your cure. My hope is that when someone finds their cure they share their story.