In late July/early August of 2011 I was the happiest I had been in a long time. I was in a relationship with the most amazing man I have ever met and I was getting ready to move in with him. I had a plan to begin graduate school and felt that my life was moving in a positive direction. Then my health started to decline.
My Colitis Experience:
At first I just noticed some loose stool. Not a problem, it’ll go away. Then a couple weeks later I started to notice blood in my stool. I was a little worried, but figured it would go away. A week passed and I started to notice a lot of blood in the toilet and I was getting these awful stomach cramps. I went to and Urgent Care clinic and was told that I probably had an intestinal virus, so I was given something for the cramps and told it would clear up within a week. Another week passed and the cramps were gone, but I still had bloody, loose stooles. So I scheduled a visit with my family physician. She told me I probably had an intestinal parasite, took a stool sample, and put me on Flagyl. A few days passed and I began to bleed a lot without passing any stool.
The cramps put me down and made me want to cry,
vomit, and pass out at the same time.
I didn’t want to eat anything because it would just pass through me and make things worse. My boyfriend finally convinced me to go to the ER. They drew blood and took a stool sample. My blood count was normal so they gave me more meds for the cramps and told me to get a colonoscopy. Wonderful.
I had to jump through hoops to get an appointment the same week! I had to tell the receptionist that I was bleeding out of my rectum before she would get me an appointment that wasn’t weeks away! I’m 23, do you think I WANT to get a colonoscopy?! Anyways, I survived the prep and the colonoscopy and was diagnosed with UC. I was put on Dicyclomine, Prednisone, and Lialda.
My UC started to clear up the next day and I could finally eat solid food without it passing through me. I was also able to make it to the gym without having to run to the bathroom constantly. Life was getting better. A couple of weeks went by and I noticed I had intense back pain every night when I would lay down. I gave it week and then called my GI. He took me off the Lialda and put me on Apriso. The back pain went away almost instantly.
At this point in time I was ready to begin dieting to put on some muscle in preparation for a figure show in 2012. I began working with my personal trainer and I was so excited. Then I hit another wall. I woke up one day with pain in my hip flexor. No big deal, I probably pulled it working out. By the end of the day I was in so much pain I could barely walk. The pain went away within a couple of days, but then my other hip flexor started to hurt. I chalked it up to overcompensating for the other hip flexor. A couple of days went by and the pain went away. Then I woke up with a swollen and painful knee. Okay, something wasn’t right. I scheduled another visit with my family physician. That night, I was in so much pain that I couldn’t sleep. My doctor couldn’t figure out what was wrong but prescribed me some pain meds. Such wonderful drugs :) I went home and called my GI. He took me off the Apriso and put me on Sulfasalazine. Eventually I stopped the Dicyclomine a nd tapered off the Prednisone.
My pain started to go away, but not completely. After doing some research I figured out that I have arthritis.
Great, arthritis at 23.
Prior to all of this, my health was in excellent condition. No broken bones, only minor surgeries, I ate healthy, found a huge love for weight lifting and was the thinnest and most muscular I had ever been. Then BAM!! I was hit with a chronic disease. It took about a week for everything to sink in, but once it did I was hit hard. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? I ate healthy and worked hard to have a great body and this is what I get? I was so angry, upset, and confused. I became depressed and turned into a completely different person. I cried every day and couldn’t see the good in anything. It took every ounce of energy for me to get out of bed every morning. I was mean to the people that loved and cared about me. I felt like my life was over.
I thank God for my boyfriend. If he wasn’t by my side through all of this I don’t know how I would have made it through everything. He kept a positive attitude everyday and always found a way to make me smile.
At this point in time, my UC is still under control
but my arthritis is still keeping me down.
I’m trying to stay dairy free and somewhat gluten free. I haven’t been to the gym in well over a month and have to put the figure show on hold until next year. I’m still moving in and out of depression. Without exercise I have no outlet for stress and I know I’ve gained some weight. I feel so unattractive, powerless, and out of control. I just started taking Naproxen for my arthritis. It hasn’t helped yet, but maybe I need to give it time. My current GI sucks and I’m getting ready to move to Louisiana next weekend. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a doctor who knows what he/she is doing so I can live my life again.
If anyone has any advice or tips, please let me know. Especially ones relating to arthritis. How do I deal with it or what can I take? Will this ever go away or am I stuck with it forever?
written by Brittany
submitted in the Colitis Venting Area