I am 22 years old. I was just diagnosed this past weekend after a colonoscopy on June 21st. I am currently on Prednisone for immediate healing, but am picking up a prescription for Mesalamine today.
Some more about me:
I’ve been working as a server/bartender in a restaurant for almost 2 years. I like to paint, draw, write, play video games and read.
I’ve been experiencing symptoms for about a year or so now, at first it just started with some extreme stomach pains and a little blood in my stool. Those went on for a few months, until eventually they started to go away. I went awhile without any symptoms and figured it must have just been something that I ate, until the symptoms came back, only much MUCH worse. As of about 3 months ago I started having chronic diarrhea, a lot of blood in my stool, frequent URGENT bowel movements (and painful ones), and extremely painful and irritating stomach pains. After my colonoscopy, I was diagnosed and am glad to say that even after a few days of being on treatment, a lot of my symptoms have not been as extreme!
Finding the Cause of my Colitis Finding Myself Again
I am not at all sure where to start (it seems like there is a lot to get out) so I suppose I will start simple- at the beginning.
I have never been one to take my problems head on… At first when I started experiencing symptoms, it was embarrassing and it took me awhile to admit that I needed to go to a doctor. I was a losing a lot of blood and I think that’s what scared me into taking the steps to figure it out. I brought up the diarrhea and the bloody stool to my doctor at a physical examination and I told her that I was scared. How could I not be? I didn’t sleep a wink the night after I saw my toilet bowl filled with blood after having a bowel movement. But, my doctor assured me that since it was bright red blood that she wouldn’t worry too much about it. You know, just drink more water and get some exercise. After about 2 weeks, I was back in the doctors office. I had increased my water intake as was instructed, but due to my stomach pains I found it very difficult to get up and exercise. Nothing had gotten better in fact, it had gotten worse.
I was still bleeding a lot and having diarrhea. My bowel movements had begun to become a lot more frequent (minimum of 5 times a day, sometimes 7) and urgent. I would wake up multiple times in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and have had a few accidents due to waiting for my significant other to finish on the toilet. I had stomach pains that would put me in tears. It was starting to become a huge annoyance more than anything. That’s when we starting testing. I had a lot of blood work done to test for food allergies, Celiac disease, etc… and a stool culture to test for any viruses that I might have picked up (e-coli, stuff like that) and surprise surprise… they all came back negative. So. More blood work had to be done.
After losing so much blood from passing bowel movements (especially so many a day) I was beginning to worry about losing even 3 tiny vials of blood for the tests that they had to do. I started getting comments from people that I worked with and people that I had seen outside of work that were scary to hear. “Are you feeling ok? You look really pale.”, “You should go outside and get some sun.”, “You look like you’ve lost a lot of weight.”, “You should eat more.”. My boyfriend even told me that some of his friends who had been over recently were starting to ask about me as well. It was tough hearing all of those things and not only did it have me worried for my health, but it didn’t have me feeling very good about myself.
I’ve always been a skinnier girl and especially in my high school years I’d have people (mostly other girls, of course) throwing comments at me such as…
“Eat a cheeseburger, girl!”
“You look like a skeleton!”
“I’ll never see why guys can find that attractive…”
And it started to get to me. I ate probably 3 times more than the other girls my age (probably still do, in fact), but I still looked somewhat unhealthy. More so now that I’m actually sick. There wasn’t anything I could do about it then and for awhile I had lost hope that there was anything I could do about it now. I didn’t have a name for my condition yet, I was still waiting on various test results and therefore- I could not be treated.
Being social went out the door for me, as well as my mood. I was extremely irritated and frustrated all of the time, anti-social, and I was beginning to worry most about my relationship with my boyfriend. We have been dating for almost 2 years now after being best friends for 8+ years, and we live together. He’s been my support throughout all of this, but I still haven’t been treating him right. Between the lack of sleep and frequent stomach pains, it caused me to become short and snappy with him about… well, EVERYTHING. Some might say “Well, you live together. Couples bicker, it just happens.” But it was more than that… My entire personality had changed. I was NEVER happy, never as bright and peppy as I used to be, and I just felt depressed. Still do, sometimes. But, we sat down and had a nice long talk about it. He missed seeing me happy. He understood that there’s something wrong with me and he told me that we just need to be more positive, and I realized that he’s right.
My condition does not define me and I need to take control. If anything small starts irritating me or angering me, I just tell myself- “Is this really worth it? Anger is a secondary emotion. There is something underneath that is making you feel angry. Find it… and control it.”. That method has been working well for me. It makes me feel great to hear my boyfriend finally say “Now THERE is the happy girl that I’ve missed and I want to see more of her.”.
My hardest time so far with this disease has been before the diagnosis (and diagnosis came after my colonoscopy this past weekend, along with immediate treatment! Thank GOD!)
But now that I have a name for my problem… I have a solution.
Over 900 words have been used to tell my story, so thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read this! Any advice/questions are more than welcome!
Stay positive,and hang in there!
After my colonoscopy, I am now on Prednisone. It has only been 4 days, but I am just worried about what side effects it might have on me. I haven’t been getting very good sleep and I’ve heard that the steroids can cause mood swings and well. I’ve worked hard on getting my good moods up the past week and I just don’t want all of that to be for nothing…
I am happy to say though that my symptoms have subsided, if not virtually disappeared altogether! For now, at least. But I’ve started having normal bowel movements (no more diarrhea!) but I’ve still noticed a tiny bit of blood in my stool.
written by Haley
submitted in the colitis venting area