My name is Jennie, most call me Jen. I’ll be 29 years old on April 20th. I’m a wife to a wonderful man. I’m the mother of two beautiful children. Currently my son is 4 ½ yrs. old and my daughter is 20 months old. I’ve been a medical assistant for over five years. I’ve had the great opportunity to work in a teaching hospital as a float medical assistant so I’m trained in over 40 outpatient clinics and 8 different electronic medical records. I’m trained in many clinical procedures, I’ve assisted with many surgeries, I’ve seen life leave someone and I’ve seen life begin. I’ve been a nursing student for two years now but due to my colitis I’ve had to change direction and take a break from nursing because you can’t care for patients from the toilet. I was diagnosed in December 2011. From the onset of symptoms until diagnosis it took 15 weeks to figure out what was wrong. Meanwhile I was nursing a newborn, caring for a 3yr old, trying to sell my house in Colorado and living on the toilet. Any food or drink would send me running to the bathroom.
Some more about me:
I love to read and I love to learn. Currently my hobbies include a mountain of college work and caring for my children. I’m originally from Jacksonville, North Carolina. I grew up in a military family where both parents were Marines. I’m the youngest of six children for my father and the youngest of three children for my mother. I love being near bodies of water, lakes, rivers and especially the ocean. I find it calming. I enjoy working out every day when my colitis allows.
My Colitis Symptoms:
Currently I have gas, bloating, horrible stomach cramps; upon defecation I have extreme pressure in my colon. I like to describe the cramps and the pressure like a “contraction” for my bowels. It feels like a baby is trying to come out of there but it’s usually just mucus, blood, diarrhea, and undigested foods. I have extreme fatigue. If I sit down for any period of time without doing something I start to doze off.
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in December 2011. I believe my symptoms started during my pregnancy with my daughter but there is no real way to know for sure. I was constipated near the end of my pregnancy and had blood with bowel movements. Within 4 weeks of having my daughter I started having diarrhea. After two weeks I went in to see my doctor and all tests came back normal. Ii went to visit my family in NC and ended up in the emergency room because I had gone fecal incontinent (I couldn’t hold or control my bowls). Stool samples showed an infection and I was treated with antibiotics. I started to feel relief almost immediately. After returning to CO and finishing antibiotics I ended up with c-diff so more antibiotics to get rid of that. Once finished with those my labs again came back normal. It was only a few days before I was back to living on the toilet and this time it was far worse. I found myself literally sleeping on the toilet because it would wake me up at night. Anything I put in my system sent me running to the toilet. Being a clinic health care professional I did a ton of research from my bathroom and I knew right away that I either had Crohn’s or Colitis. No one would order the colonoscopy so I called in some favors to my colleagues in GI, had the colonoscopy & finally a diagnosis. My parents are in denial, my brothers are supportive but unsure what to say or do to give me hope. My husband is my pillar of strength and a true friend to stick by me through the many humiliating accidents and many crying spells because physically and physiologically I’ve been broken.
Lialda (currently taking) & Entocort (Budesonide) together worked for a while but upon weaning off the steroid I was sent into a flare.
Asacol was the first medication and I was on it for over a year but still visiting to toilet 8 to 15 times a day.
Prednisone (currently taking) has awful side effects. I have horrible mood swings, paranoia, insomnia, joint pain, headaches, my patience level is nonexistent.
Many antibiotics helped tons but upon stopping symptoms would return.
written by Jennie
submitted in the colitis venting area