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Living with UC

**WARNING: THE TELLING OF MY STORY MAY BE A LITTLE GRAPHIC, BUT WANTED TO BE HONEST WITH MY REAL LIFE STORY OF STRUGGLING WITH UC**

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in April 2008. This came after struggling with stomach issues for almost 10 years. I always had issues with bloating and switches between diarrhea and constipation most of my life. I had been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, IBS, and was told to keep a food diary from a very young age. I had calculated that dairy definitely bothered me as well as green apples, and pasta. But was never able to pinpoint any other specific foods until I start experimenting with vegan and gluten free diets about 3 years before my actual diagnosis. When I was in University, I met with the dietician at the school and she gave me a specific meal plan of cooked vegetables and plain chicken. That is all I ate for 1.5 years with a little cheating of eating bread and cereal when I was really hungry. When I moved back to NYC after school, I was vegan for awhile and gained a lot of weight so then I tried the South Beach diet. During the first two weeks of the diet I felt great and even lost a little weight. It wasn’t until the 3rd week when I started adding back in gluten that I started to feel a little off. I was really bloated and did not feel well at all. At that point, I decided to become gluten free but cheated until I started to get all sorts of symptoms. I had really bad urgency to go the bathroom. I was bleeding when I did go to the bathroom and got really horrible cramps in my abdomen. That is when I went to the doctor and they diagnosed me with UC. From that moment I was put on a Mesalamine suppository, told to eat GF and went on my way. I took the suppository on and off for a couple of months and then went symptom free for almost 5 years. In England, I stayed 100% GF as any reaction to gluten and I am sick for over a week. I get really bad nausea, will run a fever and really bad diarrhea. When I moved back to the states, my symptoms hit worse then they ever hit before. I was so sick. I had horrible urgency, was passing so much blood, felt weak and all my joints hurt. I lost about 15 pounds and was doing everything I could to heal myself naturally. I took all the herbs that I could find help with UC. I took taking Boswellia, Bromelain , drinking Aloe Vera Juice, and eating nothing but low fiber vegetables and quinoa. I was going religiously to the Acupuncturist and was taking her Chinese medicine also. Nothing helped and I was extremely sick. After suffering from March – November, I decided to give up the natural route and go and see a proper doctor. After half of a colonoscopy, which I almost aspirated, I was told that my UC was extremely severe and that it was contained to the left side of my colon. I was put on a very high dosage of prednisone, Mesalamine suppositories and Rowasa. I was also put on a low fiber, low residue, dairy free, gluten free diet. After 3 months of treatment and horrible side effects to the steriods I was finally better. I am now on maintenance medication taking 4 Lialda a day, but slipping in and out of flare-ups. I am just taking this thing one day at a time and hoping for an extraordinary miracle or development in research to get myself better.

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