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Sports and Colitis

Introduction:

I’m 18 years old just finished my last year of high school. I was diagnosed last year and had a colonoscopy done last month, wasn’t fun

Some more about me:

I’m from CT and have played hockey since i was a small child and can’t live without it. After winning a championship, I felt like I could do anything and get away with it. My last year of high school I started to have blood in my stool and left it alone. The stress from not knowing what was happening to me and school added to my stress at hockey. I started to be in pain playing my normal position as a goalie. I could no longer go down to stop a puck without being in too much pain to keep focus on the puck. I went through the season playing with the pain. I then went to the doctor to figure out what was going on with the blood in my stool and was told I have colitis. I was scared to death when I first heard because I had no idea what it was and what it would do to me.

Symptoms I’m dealing with:

The symptoms i have currently are bad cramps when I lay on my side or stomach in bed and when I need to go to the bathroom. On a good day I go to the bathroom about 2 to 3 times. On bad days It could be anywhere between 7 and 10. The morning are the worst I can’t leave the bathroom for an hour sometimes and hour and a half. On a full stomach or empty almost every night I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, but still feel like I have to. The stool for the most part soft sometimes with blood sometimes without.

Sports and Colitis

I grew up with a family who ate all natural and organic food. When I was about 7 I started going over friends houses and eating junk and drinking soda. I gained a ton of weight. weighing around 200 pounds. I started to lose the weight in middle school feeling and looking healthy. My second year of high school I started eating whatever I wanted again and drinking a lot of beer. Nothing seemed out of place, I was just gaining some weight. My second to last year of high school when i won the championship in hockey I was eating a ton of ice cream, candy, PopTarts and drinking milk. I figured it could only give me energy for hockey. The summer i started to see blood in my stool and didn’t let it bother me. When i found out what was the problem I was weirded out and didn’t want to talk about it with anyone.

UC made me stress over little things and feel like I had some strange problem that no one has. The illness makes me feel like staying home is my best bet. I feel like if i go out I will get bad cramps and end up being in so much pain I will have to run to the bathroom and people will see me as strange/gross. I’ve missed out on my favorite Country music concerts and many parties. I am also now not playing hockey because I have ankle issues keeping me away. My family thinks I should take one thing at a time, but it’s hard when hockey is your life. I’m not a fan of the doctor checking out my butt. Even though people see hockey players as the toughest athletes, they don’t like people messing around with their butts.

My family is very good about the whole thing. My Mom and Dad try to do anything to help and feel my pain when they can’t do anything about it. I am most concerned about never going back to normal. The illness has taken my confidence and has made the normal digestive feel so far. I also love to drink. I used to drink beer all the time, now i can’t touch it or I’ll be running to the bathroom in pain. I had a beer the other day as well as chocolate and am now feeling stomach pain. People say vodka doesn’t bother them so I’m going to try tonight and see what it does to me. I also am going to start the SCD and wanted to know how this has helped people?

Medications:

I am on Predisone now and also taking Lialda. The Predisone is bad. I get angry and get stressed over little things. Lialda has helped, but it goes both ways sometimes not helping at all. I was taking pre workouts and protein powder for a long time before and at the start of UC. I feel they made me more prone to this illness and I would tell anyone taking them to stop. The stomach upsets and other health problems with come with continues use.

written by Matt P




13 Responses to Sports and Colitis

  1. Adam
    Adam June 3, 2013 at 5:41 am #

    Matt,

    First off thanks so much for sharing your story and what’s happening in your life. You sound like you’ve got alot to be proud of, some awesome parents, and for sure you’ve got a great future ahead. So don’t lose sight of that for a moment.

    A couple of things you might want to think about:
    – Chocolate and beer…two things that are very high up on the “Hard to Tolerate” list for people with UC. WAY HIGH UP ON THAT LIST. It seems like you’ve figured this out on your own through self discovery, but despite a few rare exceptions, that stuff is great to steer clear of. And just so you know, I’m not some ultra conservative straight edge person who is anti-alcohol, not by any means. But beer in particular is often super hard for people with UC, especially active UC symptoms to handle.

    If you decide to get into the SCD diet (which is what I do) you’ll learn more about beer, and chocolate, and other things and it will make more sense for sure. And you’re right, for the most part with exceptions as there ALWAYS are, people with UC tend to tolerate Vodka better than some other alcoholic options, there’s less sugar in there for starters. And actually, I indulged just last night at dinner with some friends and had a vodka on the rocks. (Drank half, and haven’t had one in about two months to give you an idea).

    Something else you should for sure do is, try to get past the phobia of good old doc taking a peak up the old doodie hole. No its not normal, natural, or anything in between, but if you have UC, chances are you’re gonna have a doc poking around up there from time to time and if you can be relaxed about it to some degree, the stress of the “event” taking place will be much less and eventually it won’t be a big deal at all.

    Hang in there, and go give your folks a huge hug. You’re gonna need them! and they need you.

    best of luck with the hockey pucks not getting past you too,

    -Adam

    • mattp June 4, 2013 at 7:40 am #

      Thanks for the feedback Adam. You said you were on the SCD? how long till you started to feel results? And because of this illness is there any activities your limited to? I’ve noticed when I’m playing catch or running around it seems to put me in the bathroom. Also some days i feel like pressure from my pants or boxers make me have to go. is this common?

      • Adam
        Adam June 4, 2013 at 10:11 am #

        Hey MattP,

        what’s up man. You know, I started feeling (and seeing in the poop room) results within less than five days. Some people it takes longer, like several weeks or even a few months, but in my experience, most people do notice some sort of changes within a few weeks or less. But, you’ve also got to realize that some other people never notice any benefits for whatever reason and that’s unfortunate. As for activities I’m limited too… well, I have tried running in a few half marathons, and it appears that when I trained real hard after not doing any running for years, my symptoms started to creep back, actually that happened twice in two separate years, same time of year. But, again hard to say without much more trial and error if there is correlation or not. But aside from that, nope, I’m still able to do what I like which is bike riding with my wife, hiking (which I’ve been doing a ton of the last few months all over the US), walking like crazy, (like 5 plus miles a day the last week in New York City), and I even get out on the golf course once in a while..but that’s not too hardcore.

        One activity I’m limited with as I mentioned earlier is getting shit canned and drinking whiskey and beer like I used to. But enough on that.

        As for pressure from pants/boxers etc… I’m the same way, and especially when symptoms are present. I would definitely say though that when I’m symptom free, I don’t get irritated by things being too tight. Hard to say if common with the other UC’ers, but i’d guess you are probably on to something amigo. (Maybe that’s because I don’t crank out the nut-hugger blue jeans ever, and I pretty much always wear things that give me a tiny bit of wiggle room).

        -Adam

        • Matt P June 4, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

          Thanks Adam for all of that. I have been on the SCD for about two weeks now but cheated a bit. I felt it last weekend, couldnt go out for very long without cramping. I have been on the diet no cheating for three days and yesterday and today had great days. The mornings are the hardest part. I used to be about an hour, hour and a half and am now close to twenty minutes. Also during the day i dont have to use the bathroom, it’s nice. Things are looking up quickly with this diet. I will keep you posted with more good news.

  2. Sharon June 3, 2013 at 6:07 am #

    Matt, I was 19 when I was diagnosed 23 years ago. Once I got into remission, I have led an awesome semi-normal life. Although, I flare occasionally, I am able to eat whatever I want during remission. I played competitive volleyball, dated, graduated college in just over 3 years, married, and now have 4 healthy active athletes of my own. UC is not a death sentence. It is annoying, frustrating, and at times sucks the party right out of life but it is not a game changer on what you can accomplish. Although I highly recommend you start a food journal and learn about foods that heal the gut and foods that hurt the gut, I don’t know if I would have my own kid start on a really restrictive long term diet. Personally, I feel that if you are having a hard time giving up beer, you may also find it hard to give up bread and other foods that are illegal on SCD. I am guessing you know your way around a health food store given your background. Try going back and learning about L-glutemide and Astaxanthin. Ask your doctor about VSL#3DS probiotics.

    I know the Prednisone side effects suck but make sure you follow the step down doses exactly as the doctor prescribes. I once came off too quickly and learned that your own body can stop making natural steroids if it becomes dependent on the synthetic. Believe it or not the lower doses (10-15 mg) are the most important for weaning off.

    Good luck. We are all here for you.

    • mattp June 4, 2013 at 7:44 am #

      Thanks for all the information Sharon. I’m still learning about this illness and trying to understand as much as i can. I will be going into College this year and staying on campus, any advice that might help? Also how did you cope with alcohol and colitis?

      • Ross Spragg June 4, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

        Hi, my name is Ross.I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis back during 2007, when I was 15. During high school and middle I played football. I loved it. Then, that winter of my freshman I was diagnosed with it. I was contently tired,pale, running to the bathroom, and I lost a lot of weight. When I first found out I had it I was scared. During my sophomore year of high school there were times where I would have accidents at school. I was very scared and embarrassed, especially if anyone found out about it. That summer I decided to do something about it. I went on a detox diet and that helped a lot. Then my senior I felt well enough,so I played football again. Right now I am 21 and in college. I still have my problems from time to time but I don’t let that stop me from actives I like to do like, weight training, swimming, and biking. I try and watch what I eat and that helps too.

        • Matt P June 4, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

          Seems we have had similar experiences with colitis and sports. I’m glad to know everything is going well. Thanks for the comment as well. I’ve asked many people about alcohol and colitis. I am wondering as a 21 year old college student in school what you do about drinking and going out. Any advice?

          • Ross Spragg June 6, 2013 at 5:24 am #

            I don’t really drink as far as that goes. In 2009 I was diagnosed with Primary sclerosing cholangitis. It is a disease of the bile ducts that causes inflammation and subsequent obstruction of bile ducts inside and outside the liver,so it was advised that I shouldn’t drink. A lot of people who have Ulcerative Colitis have this as well.You’re welcome for the comment. I know you like to drink, but cutting back a bit would be a good thing. I’m sure if it’s stuff like whine occasionally, that won’t hurt you, but everyone is different. I hope this helps!

  3. Sharon June 4, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Matt, I was actually in my dorm when I got my first flare. My roommate
    drove me to the ER and my mom met me there (went to school in same town but
    lived on campus). After that, I was lucky that prednisone and Sulfasalizine
    put me in remission and I enjoyed college without much thought of UC. I
    think it was almost 2 years later that I flared again. As for alcohol, when
    I first get symptoms, I totally stop drinking alcohol and for that matter
    milk too. When I was in college, I drank heavily without any problems (at
    least UC related problems, believe me it can cause other problems!). These
    days, when I am in remission I drink white wine but usually only a glass or
    two. I do find that beer is harder on me than wine so I have really lost my
    taste for it.

    When you move out, I would make sure anyone you share a bathroom with knows
    what’s up. Also, I would talk to your doctor before you go and see if he
    recommends that you find a GI close to campus or if he is willing to work
    with you long distance if needed. Make sure you know what doses of what
    medicines you took to get you in remission so that if you flare and see a
    new doctor, you can give him that information.

    The good news is that once you get this flare under control, you won’t
    even think about it. You will be able to eat, drink, and be merry but you
    will also be responsible for your health. When you first start seeing
    symptoms, lay off of the things that hurt. It helped me that I saw a
    picture of my bloody ripped up colon. Once I saw that, the thought of
    alcohol going over that was enough to make me stop drinking for awhile. Of
    course, I also quit eating salad, red meat, and most everything in my diet.
    If you will listen to your body, you will make better choices that will get
    you in remission faster. Once in remission, you will make memories that
    don’t involve doctors and the color of your poop. I promise.

    • Matt P June 4, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

      Thanks for the reply it helps a lot. The diet is helping and results are showing fast. I’m also reading Breaking The Vicious Cycle and learning so much about health in general and how everything revolves around what you put into your body. I understand now the real meaning of You are what you eat.

      • Rob R June 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

        Matt

        Did you give up on hockey and training? I am avid body builder with UC. I am just wondering if you did end up stop taking preworkouts and protein. I am atarting to think that maybe something I must do.

        • Matt P June 29, 2013 at 5:36 am #

          Hey Rob yes i did take out all protein powders and pre workouts. The fact is even if you don’t have a condition like that after so much use there will be negative effects. I was not so much addicted but always took a pre because i felt the workout would be shitty if i didnt take it. The protein powders i also stopped, not because there is really anything terrible about them but because it bothered my uc. I was taking tons of these supplements and honestly just wasted money. I also was drinking these protien drinks that just had a ton of sugar and they just gave me a stomach not helping much. Regarding the hockey and training I didnt give it up im back at both of them even harder than i was before the uc. I also suggest stopping your normal diet right away and get on the scd it will do you wonders, also as a body builder you want max protein and this diet does that for you you can eat any meat and everything in the book will give you the amount of protein you need maybe even more. I have been on it for a little over a month and feel great, and i have a ton more energy for lifting and playing hockey more than before the uc. Try it out and let me know what you think.

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