My name is Allie. I am 19 years old and sophomore in college. I’ve had Ulcerative Colitis since I was 8 years old so more than half my life. I’ve always been a dancer and dream of being an elementary school teacher when I graduate from college.
Some more about me:
I am a good listener, but have a hard time opening up about myself. I love to dance, act, sing, read, shop, and spend time with my friends and family. I try to always be honest and consider myself to be a trustworthy person. I have my insecurities, but who doesn’t.
Luckily right now I’m in remission. *knock on wood*
Having A Normal Life in College with Colitis
Up until the age of 8 I lived a normal life. Amazing family and home, great friends, active life, goofy and playful. Then when March 2002 hit, everything in my life changed. I started to get really sick. I was back in forth from the bathroom every five minutes (or less) and it wasn’t fun. More blood than anything and more pain than I thought an 8 year old could experience. I would bang on the sink to try and relieve some of the pain. My pediatrician kept saying nothing was wrong and just kept pushing my mom and I away, but we were insistent until he finally sent us to the GI doctors office in the children’s hospital in my city. Finally someone believed the 52 pound little eight year old ho was in constant pain and I was admitted into the hospital where I went through all the regular tests: colonoscopy, scope, blood tests, the works. Finally it came back: I had Ulcerative Colitis. I had never even heard of it. I didn’t know what it was or what it meant. Did it mean something bad? Was I going to have this forever? I didn’t know anything. After it was all finally explained to me, I started to understand what was going on, but of course the question I still ask myself even today sometimes went through my head: Why me? I know everyone probably asked the same question to themselves and even their doctors, but I’m sure not many of us know the answer.
Unfortunately while all this was happening in my life, my family was going through something terrible. My grandfather who was also in the hospital and was getting very sick and unfortunately passed away 3 days before my 9th birthday (oh yeah I forgot to mention that all this happened a week before my 9th birthday. Happy Birthday to me!). It was really hard knowing I didn’t get to say goodbye to him and he never knew I was in the hospital, but knowing him, he knew without telling anyone.
Anyway, as time went on I was getting better. I gained a ton a weight due to the awful prednisone, but who hasn’t. My life was starting to get back to normal, but eating was a major challenge. I loved eating fried foods, nuts, and popcorn, but all that was gone. I couldn’t eat my favorite fruits anymore because they gave me problems and I hated it, but time went on and I got back to normal. As I grew up I changed meds (Pentasa to Asacol to some awful one that made me extremely sick, to Colazol, then back to Asacol which was a big mistake, now to Lialda which thank God is working), had flair ups (my original one in 3rd grade, one in 7th, one in 9th, and an on and off one from senior year to the beginning of freshmen year of college), and lived my life. I tried to do all the things I would of normally done even if I hadn’t gotten sick, but I always tried to keep a bathroom in close range because having accidents as a senior in high school is EXTREMELY embarrassing (and it happened multiple times unfortunately).
Now that I’m in college I feel as though I lived a pretty normal college life. Yeah I’ve had my problems and when I can’t eat certain things I have to explain what the hell I have because many people have no clue what it is, but after almost 11 years of having UC I’m used to it. At first it’s always embarrassing explaining it and people have very strange questions, but I’m getting better at being brave and just answering he questions as they come. I look as my UC as a life changer but not in all bad ways. It taught me about strength, courage, having a close bathroom is VERY important, and that nothing can change you unless you let it.
My family luckily has always been there for me from the minute I got sick till today, they are by my side and sometimes too much. They always like to point out that they made a dessert without nuts just for me because they were thinking about me, or that they used white pasta instead of wheat because my colon doesn’t like me too much when I have wheat pasta. I love my family to death and I know they will always be there for me.
Of course I have my worries. When will my next flair up be? If I get sick will I have to go on prednisone again? Will my future children get the disease? Can I even have kids? Unfortunately not all these question can be answered, but not many of life’s question can so for now I’m just working on being a typical college kid, having fun, not getting enough sleep, and making the best memories.
Right now I’m on Lialda and it seems to be working great. I did get extremely sick from Sulfasalazine (I think that’s how you spell it) so I don’t recommend that one, but all the rest I’ve been on have worked for about 2-4 year each. I also swear by a probiotic. I’ve been on them for about a year and think they have really helped. I take a maximum strength one by CVS that is 20 million cultures.
written by Allie M
submitted in the colitis venting area