Back and Forth


Hello everyone, I am currently enlisted in the Air Force and had a flare start up about a month ago. So I contacted the military GI and he had me come in right away. once I got there he sat me down, asked about my symptoms and proceeded to change my medication, told me to give it a week. It has been almost a month, some days are better than most but today is terrible. I had to have my wife take our dog to the vet so I could stay home in case the mood strikes me to run to the toilet. I would hate to have to take the dog in with me or go outside and do my business in dog potty area, ha!

My Story:

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis back in July of 2010 by an off base GI that I had to pay out of pocket because the military wouldn’t refer me. I started to have the symptoms, puss and blood back in March of 2010. I thought maybe food poisoning, hemorrhoids from weight training. I was too embarrassed to say anything to my wife, family, or co-workers. Then I had the sensation to use the bathroom multiple times a day, which poses a huge problem for me causetraining in airforce with colitis I train Airman on filed combat operations, so we are out in the field all day, lucky to find a nasty, dirty porta-potty some days. So I started to use pepto and Imodium just to get through work and trips like plane rides and car rides. So I finally broke down and saw my primary care manager because he has to give me a referral to see a GI on base. He suggested that all I had was hemorrhoids, I argued the fact so he sent me to get lab work done and gave me what looked like a paint can to poop in to determine if there was any blood. I told him it was ridiculous, there is definitely going to be blood! About two weeks after my visit I got a referral to a general surgery doctor, not a GI. I had to see this doctor before I could get a referral, I was a little upset but what the heck, I thought this would be a step in the right direction. The general surgery doctor decided to examine me for hemorrhoids, which he determined I might have a small one, I thought to myself it must be all the visits to the toilet! So I tried to explain my symptoms and tell him it was more, all he did was brief me on a high fiber diet, etc. I left and immediately called my primary doctor, pleading for an appointment to a GI, which he denied, telling me to give it more time. At that moment I knew i had to act on my own and find a civilian doctor. I found one near the house and after having a consultation he scheduled me for a colonoscopy. He diagnosed me with UC and put me on Lialda which helped immediately. I then took the results back to my on base doctor showing him my results, in turn he tried to scold me for going over his head, behind the military’s back by seeing another doctor. Finally with results in hand, he scheduled me an appointment with a GI. I saw the on base GI and he immediately initiated a medical board and took my off world wide and deployment status. He also took me off Lialda because the military pharmacy doesn’t carry it and switched me to Apriso which seemed to help until this last month. So now my flare is back and medication switched with no results. I figure I’ll probably go back this week but I know he’ll put me on steroids. I’m thinking about going back to the off base GI since he is the one that originally examined my colon, the on base GI has only made assumptions from their report. Luckily I am on my wife’s health insurance so the copay isn’t too expensive. Does anyone have any suggestions? Good luck to everyone out there, take care!


Asacol 400MG (12 pills daily)
Canasa 1000MG (2 daily)

**the first story written by T-Bone34

T-Bone34’s story is now entered into the 2011 Ulcerative Colitis Writing Contest!!! You Can Join too, click here for details

12 thoughts on “Back and Forth”

  1. I personally would stay with the civilian doctor because they tend to be more experienced in the matter and will often times, be more thorough and explore various options and reasons for your illness. In my case, as a civilian myself, my doctor had an intern resident doctor treat my case and within several months and numerous tests,he was able to diagnose UC. With no disrespect to the military doctors, they are more the treat and go and wish not to become involved in medical cases that require more time and research. Also, they do not know the UC and its over 250 symptoms and flareups and how it different from person to person. To them, it may be said hemmoroids but to us, it is night and day.

    My advice would be to try and stay with the civilian doctor and then of course, an off base pharmacy. I am also taking Asacol (400 mg) and from time to time, Prednisone (20 mg); so far so good, but even these are not enough for the flareups either. Take it one day at a time and remember, you may not win the battle of UC but you are winning the war when you fight back with education, awareness, and most of all, seeking help and support as you are doing now.

  2. I agree that you should stick to the civilian dr as it seems as if your on base dr has no clue (which makes me so angry, you’re risking your life for your country for goodness sake, the least they could do is provide proper healthcare!) sorry vent over! As for being put on Steroids- it’s probably necessary to bring your inflammation under control. I personally hate taking them but 9 times out of 10 they do the trick. I am also on Asacol and have been for many years. I have sever UC and take 1600mg 3 times a day, maybe your dose needs to be increased? I really hope this flare ends soon and I pray for more education and support fro
    Youe military healthcare providers. I can’t imagine what it must be like having a flare when you’re trying to do such an important and stressful job. I salute you. I wish you all the best.

  3. Hi T-Bone,

    Like Katryna I’m disappointed that our military isn’t providing you with the care you need. I don’t have any advice, only empathy. I thought I had hemorrhoids once, but I found out it was worse–an anal fissure! There is a big difference. Hemorrhoid creams and stuff like that will not help an anal fissure. I hope you don’t have either. Good luck with whatever you decide to do and I hope you start feeling better!

  4. That’s crap! I can’t
    Believe they would do all that to you, luckily I’ve had excellent support. I’m in the air force too at sheppard and going through a med board for uc. My PCM and case manager have done all they could. I actually was sent to a bad gi off base and they have now referred me to one a couple hours a way.
    The gi’s in my town have an understanding that they won’t see each other’s patients so I now have to make long trips, which I’ve got another colonoscopy Wednesday, it kinda sucks.
    I feel for you. I had my first flare up at al udeid so it was kinda difficult but could be much worse! Luckily I’m a comm guy and sit at a computer all day.
    Update us and le us know how everything goes

    1. I an active duty in the air national guard and just got diagnosed with uc. please let me know how your board is going and if there is a chance that you could stay in. I have heard of people staying.


      1. How is everything going with your process ? I am currently in the same position. I was diagnosed with UC back in November. My symptoms aren’t bad at all and I’m not taking any medications because I am now in remission.

  5. Thanks for all the comments. Well the Asacol didn’t seem to be working so I called my on-base GI and they couldn’t get me until 26 March, can you believe that? I explained that my symptoms were worse and they told me to go to the emergency room. After that conversation I decided to see the off-base GI that originally diagnosed me. Had an appointment yesterday and he instructed me to stay on Asacol since it could take up to 2 months to work and also prescribed me a mild steroid, Entocort which has less side effects but takes longer to work. I think I have given up on the military doctors after this week, I am all about paying a $30 co-pay and the prescription was fully covered! Also the GI wanted to do blood work with the Asacol which I asked the military about and they told me not to worry. Hopefully I feel better in the next week or so, I got a vacation to Vegas at the end of the month. Right now I’m waiting on the SCD book and yogurt machine. Take care everyone!

  6. Hey T-Bone,
    Ask your doctor about Imuran or azathioprine the generic version, works to keep you in remission once asacol and prednisone get you there. I have had UC for 13 years, during a recent flair up my wife discovered Gelatin is a natural cure for diarrhea. You can get packets of Gelatin at the store, mix with water and put some juice. Really helped with the symptoms. Using that twice a day. Cod liver oil, Vitamin D also help.

  7. I am in a similar predicament. My father is in the military and I am on a ROTC scholarship. I was wondering if you had any advice for jobs that arent in the military, but still have a similar purpose, since I am about to be discharged.


  8. Hey T-Bone34 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis back in 2010 when I was 16. Now I am 17 and thinking of enlisting to the air force. My UC is under control as of right now but I flare every now and then. I am currently attending high school and will graduate next year 2012 and I really want to enlist in the air force. I have two questions: Did you get diagnosed while you were in the air force or before? And what did they do or tell you when they found out? Also I would like a word of advice.
    Thank you T-Bone34

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