I am a 31 year old Mother, Sister, Daughter, Grand-Daughter and Suffer from UC. I had a highly successful career before and am now a stay-at-home-Mom. Aside from my successful career, I am a smart, educated, caring, positive and very productive member of society that is involved in many different activities ranging from multiple sports, writing, art, volunteering, being an entrepreneur, animal lover/ advocate, role-model … you name it, and I am sure I have been involved in it at some point.
Having UC is not something you normally can just ‘share’ with family and friends, maybe some details, but certainly not all of them and especially the ones that bother you the most. I found being able to share my story and just simply put into writing was therapeutic for me.
My name is Erin and I was initially diagnosed as a suffer from Mild/ Moderate UC on my Lower Left Side…
I was first diagnosed when I was 26 (2006) and I went from being healthy, outgoing, active runner and soccer player to ‘Queen of the Throne’ … Ugh. I first started to notice that I was having some uncomfortable cramps that gradually increased in severity along with more frequent and urgent trips to the loo. I began to notice blood in my stools and eventually I went from maybe 1-2 Bowel Movement’s per day to 15+ with an increase in the amount of blood. Pretty soon I would have to urgently go to the bathroom and pass nothing but bright red blood blood and what looked like chunks of my insides…lovely, I know…My Soccer, Running and Social Life obviously suffered. I was finally diagnosed with UC after having an Endoscopy (nothing found but VERY uncomfortable experience as I remember gagging and puking as I wasn’t out yet when they started) and a Colonoscopy. I was immediately started on Metronidazole (Flagyl) and Asacol and cut ot Dairy from my diet as well as red wine (for the time being..). It took me a few months to get back on my feet and get my disease under control, but I managed and went on to continue with my sports and being a super active member of society in many ways. I was on a maintenance schedule of Asacol after my recovery for the first year, which I kept to religiously.
My speculation as to how my initial onset of UC arose was due to a conjunction of stress and an over-consumption of red wine. I had struggled with the bad lifestyle choices of one of my best childhood friends for the past two years leading up to my diagnosis and sadly, he passed away in mid 2005. This was absolutely the most devestating this I had ever encountered and it took me 3 years to be able to even speak about this without crying. *Absolute and utter devestation that broke the core of my soul – I grew up in that very moment*. In order to deal with the pain and be able to sleep without nightmares or endless nights of ‘what if’ thoughts, I started to drink a couple glasses of red wine to myself and this would help me sleep. Eventually as time passed I would fine myself drinking almost a bottle a night to myself, then a bottle and sometimes even more (very bad, I know…) but it was the only way to get some sleep and try and push through the next day and pr etend it was all going to be okay. During this time of drinking more than I had EVER in my life is when I began to exhibit symptoms of UC. I firmly believe that this inate amount of stress and sadness combined with a disgusting consumption of red wine is what triggered me.
With time, both the pain and the UC symptoms began to subside and I began to decrease my Asacol dosage to the point where I was not taking any medication at all by the time 2009 arrived. I was basically UC symptom free. I just stayed away from red meat (I found this hard to digest) and most dairy (I could handle some cheese or a bit of yogurt, but a glass of milk would kill me). I didn’t watch my diet much aside from these items and lived a totally normal life. I would still have a few glasses of wine with friends here and there, but nothing like before. I was medication free and life was normal and fun again! I would get the occasional canker sores in my mouth if I got worn down (ouch) but that was about it.
I became engaged in 2010 to a man I had been in love with for years, but had only been dating since 2009. We had worked together years before and he used to bring butterflies to my stomach with the mere sound of his voice…God I was happy when he came back to Canada and we ended up together. Life was great and I even had a colonoscopy (2nd) in November of 2010 and it confirmed I still had UC but was doing very well and seemed to be ‘healing nicely’. My relationship progressed and after becoming engaged we made the decision to have a baby before a wedding as we were going to be together forever anyways. I became pregnant with our Daughter in January 2011 and I gave birth to a beautiful healthy girl in August 2011. I was very healthy throughout the entire pregnancy…even daring to drink milk sometimes and it didn’t bother me anymore. No drugs, no flares, no symptoms…just a normal pregnant girl who loved life and was excited for what was right around the corner…but there was more waiting for me around the corner than just my amazing little family.
After having a C-Section (planned but not wanted – she was a breech baby) I was in alot of pain, but me being me, I wanted to be strong for everyone and do everything myself. A few days after being released from the hospital and being a trooper at home, I developed a DVT (serious blood clot in my leg) and had to go back to Emergency again…awesome. This was scary, but we got through it. Over the course of the next three weeks, I started to miss my career, feel resentful towards my Fiance for being able to go into the ‘real world’ and just feel very lonely and sad…long story short…I was diagnosed with Post-Partum Depression…awesome. I started taking just 10mg of Celexa to help and I started to get better with each passing day and declined to increase the dose as suggested after two weeks. Since this is not a PPD site I am not going to go into details about that battle, but it was sure a trying time to say the least.
During my battle with PPD and recovering from my C-Section, my spouse and I started to drift apart and I felt like he was quite insensitive to me, and he felt I was being too sensitive towards him. We began to bicker about the silliest things and since he is quick to anger and always tired after a day at his very demanding job, I began to not talk to him about ordinary things out of fear of his reaction in case he was in a bad mood. This made me feel further isolated from him, and I am sure vice versa. These changes in my relationship in conjunction with being a ‘stay at home mom’ started to effect me and boredom and loneliness set in. So what do I do? Start hanging out with my old friend, red wine. I would have a glass of wine before bed to try and relax and not succumb to ‘just lying in bed all night thinking about my relationship, money and how I need to make some changes to my life’. My wine consumption gradually increased to the point where I could easily drink a whole bottle and not even feel drunk before I want to sleep…I must clarify though, I would not drink when I was the only one looking after my Daughter, I need to emphasize this. I should have known better and not done this to myself again, but after years of being in remission you forget how bad it feels to be so sick and having a drink made me feel ‘happy’ for the time being…
Whilst in the midst of my current pity party and wine drinking to ‘feel better’, I found out my spouse was looking elsewhere as I had ‘changed’ and was ‘not the same person’…well duh, he barely even helps with the baby when he gets home, angers easily and we are just so disconnected now it seems. I went through hell with my C-Section…he went back to work after just a weekend…but in all fairness, I wanted to be ‘strong’ and didn’t want to ‘interfere’ in his busy career. Even though he did not physically cheat, he still betrayed me by talking explicitly to other local people online on this website oriented for affairs called ‘Ashley Madison’ and spent hundreds of dollars on this (even though I am struggling to make ends meet as I am on maternity leave)…This just broke my heart and this knowledge, along with the other issues in our relationship, plus the consumption nightly of red wine, sent me spiraling out of remission at a rapid pace.
Currently, as I write this I am visiting my ‘throne’ 15-25 times per day (I keep track on my Blackberry) and almost every ‘visit’ results only in lots of blood, what appears to be clots/ chunks of my insides and maybe the tiniest bit of fecal matter. The sense or urgency drives me insane and the cramps/ spasms when I am on the ‘throne’ are enough to make me cry out in pain. I have had a couple of days even where I am suddenly overcome by dizziness and my abdomen has cramped so bad I was reduced to tears and ended up just laying on the floor, exactly where I was just standing, bawling my face off. I have a very good GI and managed to get into see him on Monday March 1 (thank God) after a phone call with his nurse the day before. She was so concerned about me and urged me to go to Emergency ASAP…but I refuse. I would rather be in the comfort of my own home and go through this hell alone without being in the midst of others and their suffering and having to share a bathroom with them…yeck. My GI is very concerned for me and immediately gave me a round of medications to start ASAP…I went from no medication to 20 pills plus vitamins per day…I have been prescribed 40mg of Prednisone Steroids (8 pills x 5mg, once per day for 2 weeks, then reduce by 10mg per week to taper off – 6 week course). Steroids are being taken in conjunction with 1000mg of Metronidazole (1 pill x 500mg, twice per day for 11 Days) and 4000mg of Salofalk (4 pills x 500mg, twice per day). Next step for treatment is going to be Remicade Infusions with possible hospitalization if this course of medication does not improve…BUT I know it will improve, I am certain of it.
Today is day 3 on meds and approx two weeks with no wine…I am praying to feel better soon. I had a whack of blood tests along with fecal tests yesterday and I am assuming that I will be going in for another colonoscopy (#3) in the near future. In regards to Prednisone, I heard from another UC sufferer that it will work quickly IF it is going to…fingers crossed…I am just so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I am changing my diet to go Gluten-Free and am also very interested in the SCD Diet and have been doing alot of reading on it (great info on this site – thank you).
I will update this soon, but for now, thank you for taking the time to read my LONG story. It is therapeutic to be able to put it into words as this is not something you just ‘share’ with your family or friends.
Best wishes to all for Health and Healing,
submitted in the Colitis Venting Area