Hi, I’m Andrew. I’m 33 years old, active duty military and live in Spokane, WA. My wife and I were married in 2003 and we have two children 10 and 4.
Some more background:
I don’t have many true hobbies these days. My free time is spent going to school, camping or attending sporting events that my kids are participating in. I used to be an avid bowler, golfer and gym rat. But, those days have been replaced with studying, football practice and relaxing by the campfire.
I’m from Oklahoma, but lived in Dallas, Texas for half my childhood. My family was very nomadic and I attended a different school every year from K-6 grade. I graduated from a little high school near Enid, OK.
Lately, I’ve been yo-yo’ing between feeling “okay” and feeling awful. My biggest symptoms are bleeding, joint pain, constipation and shortness of breath. Often, I have pain in my left hip area and feels like it radiates from the back to the front and vice versa.
Andrew’s Colitis Story:
I was diagnosed in April of 2014. My problems first started in January of 2011. One day that month, I had some dinner and felt like someone was punching me in the stomach. This continued for days anytime I ate a meal. I saw the military doctor and they gave me Nexium and sent me on my way. I was 185lbs, pretty active and other than the stomach pain, I felt “normal”.
My problems continued for months. Then, I started getting EXTREMELY constipated. I saw the doctor again and he freaked out when i told him I didn’t have a bowel movement for 7 days. Thats the point when the military started to believe me. I don’t remember all the tests the military ran, but eventually I ended seeing a Gastro off base.
The Gastro performed a few tests diagnosing me with Gastroparesis. They felt this was the cause of all my problems. I was prescribed Nexium, Myralax and some other meds I can’t remember. The Gastro ordered a colonoscopy which came back negative for anything.
Fast forward another year to the summer of 2012, I was still having the same problems: stomach pain, constipation, etc. I started feeling depressed and was diagnosed with depression/anxiety and placed on Wellbutrin. I was gaining weight without any significant diet changes. I was up to 200-205lbs.
In the fall of 2013, my Gastro recommended I go “Gluten Free”. So, I did from Nov to Feb. Initially, the problems went away but flooded back in Mid-Jan. This prompted another visit to the Gastro. She directed another colonoscopy in March of 2014. Thats when they found the UC. I gained even more weight on the GF diet.
I had an assignment overseas which was cancelled due to my UC. I did a one month dose of prednisone. It made a world of difference. I didn’t gain or lose any additional weight but I could workout and eat without feeling awful. In August, I was prescribed Lialda. I take that and myralax daily.
Currently, I’m waiting on a review of my condition to determine if I will be medically retired from the military. Today, I am 225 lbs and struggle to lose weight. Some days, even making it to the gym is difficult. The joint pain and shortness of breath just knock me to the ground.
I don’t totally understand what constitutes a “flare”?
– Is it different for everyone?
– Any way to tell when one is coming?
I read how most people with UC LOSE weight, but it appears that I’m not one of those. I think this is why it was initially ruled out by my Gastro. She said I don’t have the “classic” signs of someone with UC.
Am I alone? Any tips to help me lose weight?
Prior to UC, I lost 50 lbs in 2007-2008. So, I know what to do, but it isn’t working this time.
What foods should I avoid?
Diets Tried So Far:
Gluten Free diet
– didn’t work
– I don’t eat many raw fruits/veggies, skin on veggies, high fiber foods, granola, popcorn – God I miss popcorn
written by Andrew G
submitted in the colitis venting area