College Student Athlete Living with UC

CJ playing baseball

CJ Playing some baseball

Introduction:

Hey! I am CJ. I am a freshman college where I play baseball while studying physical education. I am from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. I was diagnosed with left sided ulcerative colitis in 2009. Have had one major flare since diagnosed where I lost 20 pounds in two weeks.

Die hard Yankees and Giants fan.

Colitis Symptoms:

Minor flare currently:
Blood in stool
Gas
a little fatigue
Night sweats

The Baseball Player with Colitis:

UC has changed my life dramatically, from diet, exercise, and knowing where all bathrooms are at, at all times. After suffering my first major flare in the spring of 2012 I realized how serious this disease really is. I lost 20 pounds in two weeks, lost complete appetite, lost almost all of my physical shape. I could not run with out running/ waddling to the bathroom. This disease has caused me to stop at a seven eleven two minutes from home just to go so i didn’t leave my truck a mess if you know what I’m saying. Though I found a way to play the rest of my season and helped lead my team to states, even after many close calls about to pass out after long innings. My family has been very supportive and looked out for me. I also have had great friends who came and visited me when I couldn’t get out of bed on the weekends from such fatigue.

When it comes to my doctor I’m pretty comfortable with him but I would like to get out of the military system where i have to go through a hotline just to reach my doctor for questions regarding my illness. Which brings me to my concerns of what if its spread throughout my colon since my last colonoscopy was when I was diagnosed. Also how long it takes before my body becomes immune to the medicines I have been taking it since I was diagnosed. I am also very concerned about how well my UC is controlled or lack there of. Second flare this year prior i had two until this year.

pitching toilet paper rolls

I am a very picky eater and tend to cheat my diet by eating fast food and spicy food I know will tear me up. Its just too good! That’s one area I need to improve on. Anyone have good suggestions?

For any athletes what medicines have worked best for you?
Remicade users. What do you think about the medicine?
Has anyone had left sided go to pancolitis?
How have you used UC positively in your life?
How are other athletes dealing with this disease?

Where I’d like to be in 1 year:

In one year I would have my ulcerative colitis in remission. Along with a better immune system to fight of illnesses such as strep. I would like to increase awareness among my friends and community about UC and Crohn’s. I would also like to meet someone else on my campus with the same disease.

Ulcerative Colitis Medications:

know about you with regards to colitis…
For Example, which medications do you think have worked the best/least…why?
Colazal 3 pills 3 times a day maintenance (been on since diagnosed)
Enemma for flares
Predisone works but kills me emotionally
Oh and I hate cleanouts

written by CJ

submitted in the colitis venting area




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11 Responses to College Student Athlete Living with UC

  1. Austin O October 11, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    I am responding for my son since he still cannot get himself to the idea of using this blog. He is only 14 years old and was diagnosed July 5, 2012. He is a track runner (broke a 50 year record for his Middle School) and won the all citu track competition coming in first place in the 100 and 200 meter. He is actually 1.5 seconds away from Bolt. He is also an avid soccer players. Making it to the Chivas USA Academy and playing up with the 17 years old since he was 13. He is 5’8 and had a very promising High School sports future. Got a full scholarship to a pprivate school for track and soccer. Now he has not been able to play soccer in 4 months since he was diagnosed. Had a full-on nasty flare after the colonoscopy and was hopsitalized for 3 m onths. Was not able to attend the private school and has missed most of his freshman year. Now on REmicade but with an active C-diff infection that brought on the bleeding. Remicade is now in questio of whether its working or not. Nothin else worked for him. He is on 20mg on Prednisone and got his first does of Methrotrexate which probably also made him bleed. Did not go to school today and is feeling pretty weak. As a mother I do not know what to respond when he asks if he will ne able to play soccer or run track again. Just taking it day by day for now.

    • CJ
      C.J. Roth October 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

      Day by day is the only way I have learned to get the best of this disease especially because of sports. I beleive he will be able to play again flares gotta end at some point right? When I was at my worst I was on 30 mg of Pred. He just has to believe I was able to get a scholarship for college and playing right now with a flare so he can deffinetly do it. I lost alot of strength but when you feel good take advantage and get a light workout just to keep it going. Good luck to him!

  2. Jason October 11, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    CJ,

    I am writing this from my hospital bed where I have been since Monday due to a major UC flare. I started out having a very mild case of Proctitis back in January. It got bad really quick and by June it had developed into full blown pancolitis with severe disease throughout my entire colon. I was hospitalized then for four days and put on iv steroids and started Remicade. At first I felt great, but within a month the symptoms started coming back so I knew the Remicade wasn’t working. I am back in the hospital now getting more steroids and had another colonoscopy which showed just as bad inflammation as last time. So I am having j pouch surgery next month. Since I’ve been on the heaviest medication and it hasn’t worked, surgery is my only other option. And after dealing with this for almost a year, I’m ready to be done with it. I wish you luck brother, this is a horrible disease that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Just know that you will win your battle with it one way or another.

    • CJ
      C.J. Roth October 11, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

      Jason,
      Im worried about a colonoscopy I have to have over winter break because i think it may have spread through my colon. Everyone with this disease knows its punch and we just gotta get back up and punch right back whatever it is. I wish you louck with your surgery! Get well soon!

  3. Jessica October 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Hi CJ!
    I was diagnosed with UC in the fall of 2008 (same as Adam LOL). At that time I had just graduated with my bachelors and was just starting graduate school. After two weeks in the hospital I had to drop out for an entire year! Before I ended up in the hospital I had no idea what was going on with me…but I did map out every bathroom close to my classrooms so I understand what you are going through! For two very long and miserable years I played the medication game. 60mg prednisone….then the 6 MPs. OMG I was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! My moods were off the hook and I couldn’t explain how emotional I was. Somehow by the grace of God I was able to make it through my first year of graduate school (I returned in the fall of 2009) but not without having to medically withdrawl from courses due to the medication rollercoaster. Finally my doctor put me on Remicade. It was THE BEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO ME! Remicade not only saved my educational career but gave me ENERGY to do otherthings (e.g. swimming and bike riding). I am NOT an athlete by far and do not profess that Remicade can help you fufill the physical demands of one. HOWEVER, it has changed my life and I am extremely thankful for it. I say try it on for size and if it doesn’t fit…move on! By the way I graduated with my master’s degree this spring! UC will never control my life!

  4. Kyle
    Kyle October 13, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    I know the feeling of the emotional roller coaster of predisone but know that it does get better. Big thing is keeping positive people around you man and letting them know the situation. My wife and I have had moments where we have to step back and go this is the predisone not me, but it has helped me to understand her a lot better because of certain days in girls lives when there hormones are off balance : )

    UC is not who you are bro it’s something that you have to deal with! Always keep that in mind, you are not a disease, you have a disease. I got diagnosed this past summer and ended up spending 29 days in the hospital as a result, know the feeling of not being able to do the normal activities, like running and playing hoops. But it comes back! Just takes a lot of time and patience.

    I started Remicade yesterday, so I will be posting updates on how it is working for me, so far so good. I mean I have heard people having reactions the day after but I am feeling just fine! So hopefully it continues and we see this flare finally get under control.

    I am an active dude myself, so I have asked myself the same question of how will UC effect my activities and from conversations with my GI he feels that once things get back to normal in your body, flare under wraps, that you are the same person! You just are living in a “new normal” biggest thing is you just gotta listen to your body, there may be days when you are more tired than normal, and that’s perfectly normal, take a day of rest!

    Biggest thing is you are the same person and you just gotta learn how your body handles certain things. Food wise, I would try and stay away fried and greasy food. Mcdonalds is something I just had to drop as it had jacked me up too many times. Don’t over eat either, learn to eat smaller meals, when I go out I normally just chop whatever I order in half and take the half home to eat for lunch tomorrow.

    My brother played 4 years of college baseball, so I am a huge baseball fan! He also coached for a year at Jamestown College in North Dakota where he played his college ball. Not gonna lie Yankees are not my choice team, I am a Washington State guy so I love the mariners, and Ichiro and Arod in pin stripes just doesn’t work for me : )

    Anyways any questions you have always ask me, this is what this site is for, so that we can help each other and support one another. Hope your weekend goes well. Be Blessed

    Kyle

    • CJ
      C.J. Roth October 14, 2012 at 6:34 am #

      Yeah I have learned to play with flares its mostly prep with alot of water and going right before the game or practice. Yeah keep me up to date on the remicade because I have been on the same maintnence meds since I was diagnosed and it just isnt working anymore. I need something easier to deal with while being on the road alot!

  5. Sarah
    Sarah October 16, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    Hey C.J.

    Saw the title of this article and thought I would chime in. I was also a student-athlete at Miami University, I played women’s soccer. (Using the past-tense because I recently had to step away from the sport I love). I am currently a junior and UC has been running my life ever since my senior year of highschool, so around 3 years. I give you so much credit sticking with your sport- I know how demanding the life of a college athlete can be.

    When i first arrived at school back in 2010, I was too sick (lost a ton of weight, couldn’t control BM’s, loss of appetite, all that fun stuff) and so I was forced to red-shirt. Soon after I found a doctor near my school and he had me start up on prednisone (which I absolutely loathe) and then 6-MP. The 6-MP worked for awhile, probably until the beginning of my sophomore year. I still had issues coming back, fitness wise, but I also tore my ACL spring season of my freshman year- which hindered my getting back in shape.

    Though the 6-MP worked for a little, I do NOT recommend it. This past september I ended up in the hospital because of Pancreatitis, which is a side-effect from the drug. It also thinned out my hair a ton and it just was not worth it. I absolutely hate medicines so I apologize- the only way I was able to maintain athletics was taking these nasty drugs. After my latest stint in the hospital, I decided it was time for me to take control of the matter. I had to walk away from soccer and focus on my health, in a natural way. Though I am still dealing with the bitterness of the situation, I miss it so much (soccer), I do feel alot less stressed. Obviously I am not advising you to quit your sport, I give you props- keep playing if you are able! But I just thought i’d let you know that there are others out there like you- cause I remember feeling extremely lonely and lost with this disease.

    I recently started the SCD diet (about 2 weeks) and have seen tiny improvements, so I am hoping that this diet will work! I read that you were a picky eater…so i don’t know if it would be best, but I have heard there is a ton of success with it. It sucks because being at school, I still live in the dorms, so I have to go make my meals on the weekends at my friends houses…but it is worth it if I start to feel better. Also, I am currently on Remicade. I have had 3 infusions and my next one is on October 26th. Though I HATE being on prescribed medicines, I am hoping that this Remicade will give me some relief…at least to finish out my college career and then hopefully I can get off of it. Currently, I feel no affect from the medicine. Other people I have talked to have said that it is an amazing drug…I am still waiting for that “amazing” effect. Anyways, if you need to vent or whatever about your situation- I am here to listen. Student-athlete life is tough enough by itself and with the added stress of UC…almost impossible. Keep on plugging away though!

    Sarah

    • CJ
      C.J. Roth October 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

      Hey Sarah This is actually exactly the type of feedback I was looking for. I went to my doctor over fall break and what do you know more medicine. I have a hard time taking it cause it gets so old after a while. I am starting to feel a little better able practice and play a little harder. I have talked to my mom about remicade she is strongly opposed while me and my dad think its an option. I am with you on the predisone my senior year in high school my teammates hated me for being on it. Do you have any tips as a college student in general with all of this? Im trying to eat right, and stay healthy. I have already had a cold and pretty bad strep this year but battling through. Ultimately thats my fear of having to quit and I know my health is priority especially with the disease so I cant imagine what you went through. Thanks for your feedback!
      -C.J.

  6. JA
    Julie Anne October 22, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Hey C.J.
    I was diagnosed w/ left sided UC as well about my sophomore year of high school, I was an athlete as well, cross-country, soccer, and basketball. Originally I was able to control my symptoms relatively well with Asacol but as I got older the effectiveness went down. As I left for college my symptoms still continued to get worse and with each colonoscopy the ulcerations got worse. I ran every single day, but soon I had to stick to the gym because I needed access to a bathroom all the time. But similar to you I refused to stop doing what I loved and tried to find ways around the disease. I continued to run despite the struggles and just tried to run at the time of days I felt ok. But I felt constantly fatigued and like you many times the cramps and fatigue were so bad I could barely get out of bed.

    It became impossible for me to sit through a class and I struggled with even taking exams. I have tried all the diets and they have never worked for me. I don’t know if your college has a program like this but I signed up for Disability Access Services, this allowed for alternative testing in my own room or the teacher would dave a seat for me near the door. it doesnt seem like a big deal but I would look into it if you can because it really decreased my stress and anxiety about not being able to make it to the bathroom during a test.

    Now I am senior in college. I am on my second infusion of remicade and it really worked for me. Within 3 days I had almost no bleeding all my pain went away, I had more energy than I have had in years, and I am currently tapering off of the prednisone. It really was the magic cure for me. I would really recommend at least trying it, the three hour infusion time is a drag but compared with all the time I was spending in the bathroom it is a small sacrifice. But if you are athletic and generally healthy It is definitely worth a try. It gave me my life back. I can even swim again now and go on runs without worrying about my stomach!

    • CJ
      C.J. Roth October 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

      Julie,
      Its nice to hear someone that has gone and is giong through the same thing as me when it relates to sports and trying to work around it. Luckily for me I have gotten this current flare under control just not in remission. I have thought about going after the disability stuff but I dont think I need it quite yet (you never know when a flare is gonna strike) but it has definetly crossed my mind. Only two of my teachers know that I have UC. I have a colonscopy in December so I hope I can get some more answers.

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