Just Diagnosed and Still Wanting To Play Basketball


My name is Keegan and I just turned 20 years old, I live in Canada and I am an athlete in training. I love to play sports and lift weights, also cardio (gasp!)

Colitis Symptoms:

I have had diarrhea for about two months, with no blood at all.

My Story:

I was diagnosed with Mild UC at the beginning of October after I had my colonoscopy. I feel like I am a lucky one because I only started having symptoms (diarrhea only) since mid August.
Before I knew what I was dealing with, I went so hard in the gym, I lifted weights, ran and played sports. I am a student athlete in a university in Canada.

Before I knew what I was dealing with, I ate all the foods that I wasn`t really supposed to eat, but I still ate super healthy, I just had lots of bread and milk. I also had Subway sandwiches a LOT. Also I drank a lot of protein shakes, but the whey protein was cheap. Those things above are the reason I think I ended up having Ulcerative Colitis.

Anyway, I started getting absolutely ridiculous cramps in the beginning of August, so bad I would have to sit down on the toilet and push like my life depended on it to relieve the pain. But after I finished, about 5 minutes later the cramping would come back and I would head back to the toilet just to poop out minuscule, soft stool. This went on for about a week and after that it seemed like I was back to myself, I was pooping again normally until… Chili night.

I had a lot of it, and the next day i started getting softer and softer poops, then diarrhea through September til my scope.

By the way through out all of my watery dukes I was still playing basketball and lifting weights a lot.

When I was diagnosed I started crying. Right when my GI doc said it I started to get so sad, I cried for about a week every night, worrying that I may not be able to play basketball or lift weights ever again, or to the extent of what I do. The only thing he said after was to stay away from processed meat and spicy stuff.

I was prescribed Pentasa 4 times daily (2 breakfast, 2 dinner).

When I went home again (my residence in university) I IMMEDIATELY started to do homework on how I could suppress my UC.

I started finding these scary and very sad stories about people with UC I started to freak out thinking I wouldn`t be normal anymore. I called my parents every night and I ended up calling my family doctor about the whole thing. They both told me to stay calm.

I eventually found this website and have been grateful because of it. I`m really starting to understand that I was lucky to be diagnosed as a mild sufferer and to only have mild symptoms.

Anyway, I changed my diet where I eat gluten, lactose, processed meat free. and I stay away from candies and foods with sharp edges. I also bought a probiotic which I have been testing out.

SO anyway, it had been a whole week (Thursday to next Thursday) of seeing improvements: less and less diarrhea, on Wednesday I started to have solid pieces! but it was mucousy, it felt like it was slipping out of my butt (lol) as opposed to slowly coming out like normal. they were small to medium sized solid pieces.

Then Thursday came along and my first movement was the best one yet, I was so excited! But two hours later, it all went to shit. (no pun intended) I had a diarrhea episode, literally out of no where. I FREAKED OUT, called my parents crying and then to my family doctor. They said that I should remember it has only been a week since I was on meds and a diet switch and that diarrhea is bound to happen once or twice. They were right… the next movement was pleasant… darker( like no mucous darker) pebbly-like movements followed that night, but it was back to recovery.

today (October 15th, 2012) I had a movement that was on the edge of being classified as diarrhea.

I think it may have been because I ate some gluten free sweets which might have been a trigger. Or maybe it was because I got into an argument with my friend? or both?

For the past week, I have eaten

boiled eggs( a lot), white rice ( a lot), cooked veggies, potatoes, chicken, turkey, gluten free bread( only once), and some fruit.

when I had my Thursday scare, the day before I ate some gluten free deserts before I ate almost a whole chicken (not in one sitting, but throughout the evening)
and yesterday, the 14th, I ate Turkey and eggs. some veggies and gluten free sweets throughout the day.

And today has been the worst, I am back to diarrhea again. after another week of recovery it just came again. I am feeling really sad, what the hell am I doing wrong?

The thing I am MOST concerned about is if I can play basketball daily again, I have tried to play consecutively and it was going well. But when I got diarrhea I got scared, but more importantly I have been swamped with school work so I had to study a lot. I guess the latter might be why I have’t been more active.

Is it too many eggs? too much rice? I live on campus so I don’t have good access to foods I need so I buy them. But still its tough.

I just don’t understand what I am doing wrong here, I do well for a week then the diarrhea comes back, then I do well again and then it comes back a week later… Is this going to continue to happen?

want to play basketball but colitis is scaring me


Why did it come back? could it have been the sweets? Maybe just the argument with my friend?

Also, how long do flares typically last? I don’t go to the bathroom as much as I used to, maybe like 3-4 times daily now a days and never any blood.

I do keep record of my movements along with what I eat.

I need some advice here, please help me…

Colitis Medications:

Pentasa 4 times daily
Webber’s probiotic

written by Keegan

13 thoughts on “Just Diagnosed and Still Wanting To Play Basketball”

  1. The first thing is try and relax and keep anxiety to a minimum; the stress will only exasperate your flare. All I can say is your life will change forever – this disease has no cure (except removal of your colon) so you need to approach this in a calm manner. I was diagnose with mild/moderate UC only a few months ago, and went from being a fit and healthy individual to an extremely sick and unhealthy one fighting to keep my colon after two weeks in hospitial. This is an insidious disease and it needs the upmost respect or it will mess you up! You want to keep eating sugar, grains and spicy foods – prepare to remain sick. The doctors will tell you diet has no relevance to treatment of this disease and will prescribe you myriad of drugs – good luck with that. Get on the SCD diet with a good probiotic, some high strength fish oil, and don’t kid yourself. This is a very serious illness, but can be beaten into remission – if you are disciplined with diet and lifestyle. Peace.

  2. Hi Keegan,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your current troubles!
    But congratulations on figuring out some of your food “triggers” so quickly!
    And yes, I personally think that flares are stress related. Stress and food related. So your set-back could be because of the disagreement with your friend or because of the sweets, or possibly both.

    My advice to you… be patient… don’t try adding too many new foods too quickly… and go easy on the fruit… and don’t eat anything with sugar (or any type of sweetener/fructose) for now. Bananas should be OK.
    For the first three weeks of my flare, I ate nothing other than sweet potatoes and almond butter. Literally. After that I slowly added hard-boiled eggs and cooked spinach. I ate that for almost 3 months. You don’t have to be so extreme, but I had the flaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare of all flares, and that’s all I could handle.

    And also, congrats on finding a GI that at least told you food and UC are related! Most GI’s will say that diet has nothing to do with UC.

    There are lots of ups and downs with UC. We all want to know why oh why when it seems that things are finally getting better that then there’s a set-back… please be patient and try to not let it frustrate you. I know how hard it is, though.

    Hang in there Keegan… it will get better!

  3. hey keegan. you could try doing a strict diet like GAPS, SCD, or paleo. those seem to be the big ones for helping ulcerative colitis symptoms. they all require a lot of dedication, but if you feel like crap, then it might be good to try one of them out.

    do you have access to a kitchen at school or is it just what’s in the cafeteria? i have never lived away from home so i don’t know what kind of meal plans are available.

  4. Keegen,

    You are fortunate to try changing your diet so soon after your diagnosis. My doctors assured me that diet has no effect on UC, and I took them at their word (they know what they are talking about, right?). After almost 10 years of suffering, I am going with the SCD diet and seeing remarkable results. If I had started sooner, I would be feeling so much better right now. Gluten free is not enough. You need to do something like GAPS, SCD, or Paleo. Personally, I recommend SCD. Join the BTVC-SCD yahoo group. They are extremely knowledgeable. Best of luck to you!

  5. Hang in there, Keegan. Sounds like you are on top of everything and your disease is manageable. I lost my colon before I had a chance to really try the diet/probiotic/holistic healing route. I would try everything everyone on here has mentioned. Doctors will NOT tell you about diet or probiotics. A good book to read for an explanation behind the science of how diet affects UC is ‘Breaking the Vicious Cycle’ by Elaine Gottshall. Good luck to you!!


  6. Hi guys,

    so guess what? I underestimated the power of probiotics… Right now I’m feeling fantastic, it hasn’t been quite a week yet since my last episode, but I’ve learned several new things about my UC.

    I need to eat with variety. My first episode since diagnosis coulda been triggered because I ate nothing but chicken all day. The second episode, I ate nothing but Turkey all day. SO that’s one thing I learned

    Lactose free milk is bad. I tried some today to test it out, but it made me bloated. My next movement was a bit more mucousy than before. SO any liquid from cows is strictly off limits. Almond milk is nice.

    The probiotics changed up everything, I’ve been taking Webber Naturals Acidophilus with Bifidus and FOS and its been great. All my stools are formed now with no diarrhea.

    Eating boiled eggs (only the whites) when I’m feeling a little mucousy somehow makes me feel better ( I don’t know how but it does)

    mental stress, NOT physical can trigger a symptoms of a flare. A couple days ago I played basketball for over 2 hours, hard, and nothing bad happened. Furthermore, after I pushed it in the gym, I feel fine after.. it relaxes me.

    I can say I am in remission now. ZERO symptoms of UC, going to see the doc this week for a check up.

    Sticking by Pentasa and the Probiotic.

    thanks everyone so much for the feedback! :)

    1. Hey Keegan,

      Way happy that the probiotics along with the Pentasa is helping you out!

      And good on you for doing some experimentation with diet stuff. Everyone’s a bit different right, and heck yeah sometimes it takes some trial and error to figure some things out, but way way cool no matter what that you’re figuring out what works and what doesn’t for you.

      Best of luck moving forward and getting back on the court,


  7. Hey Keegan, I am in my early 20s with UC too. I think that if you have a mild case and can suppress your symptoms with diet then by all means try that and good for you. My case was very severe. I was in the hospital having my colon removed less than a year after I was diagnosed. Although there are obviously certain foods that can cause your flare to be much worse, you can’t really blame yourself for the randomness of what your colon does. There were days where I would go without eating and only have water (and medication of course), and I would still have the urgency and bloody diarrhea. Point being, the SCD diet works great for some people, and hopefully you are one of them. I thought I had done something wrong with my diet or lifestyle but when I saw what my colon looked like post surgery, I realized there wasn’t much I could do about it. And mine was about to perforate so it had to come out or I would have been much more sick.

    I hope you are able to remain calm about the situation, but also realize this is life changing. It’s okay to be scared or worried or freaked out. I tried to downplay how horrible mine was for a long time and pretend like I could be normal but I couldn’t do anything. Walking to class got to be a huge ordeal.. what? Thats why I got the surgery (and also because the surgeons pretty much said I had no choice ;) ). No one ever wants to get surgery, but for me, I am already a lot happier. Again, my case was severe and I probably had bloody diarrhea 30-40 times a day when I was in a flare and 10-15 times when I was in “remission” (which I don’t think I ever achieved in the year b/w diagnosis and surgery). I guess what my point is is that if it ever comes down to you having to get the surgery, it is not the end of the world. I have spent countless hours researching the surgery and talking and emailing with people on this website and have heard nothing but positive things. Of course, recovery is a long process, and there are certainly ups and downs, but the end result is good. So hopefully you will be able to suppress your symptoms with medications and diet, and if not, if surgery is your last resort, then I want you to know that from my point of view, it is not the end of the world and you will be able to have a normal life.

    Good luck to you!

  8. Keegan, I am glad for the good news in your recent post. Hope that continuing to monitor what goes “in” solves the problem of what comes “out.” Reading your challenges makes me realize that I was fortunate that I was through college and into a job when uc hit.

  9. Hey Guys,

    I guess I was too optimistic about my short recovery.

    My soft poops are coming back again, and when I just went to the bathroom I had a little little bit of rectal bleeding. My mom bought gluten free cookies for me the other day and I ate some, I think that might have triggered something.

    I’m supposed to write a paper for one of my classes but I’m finding it so hard to concentrate when I experience these types of low-blows against UC.

    How am I supposed to know that I am in REMISSION? what are signs?

  10. ALSO, is this normal for this early in time?

    should I be expecting negative reactions with the new foods I introduce to my system?

    I’m starting to think that there’s a Trial and Error type thing to this…

    Do you guys agree?

  11. Keegan, Im C.J. I too am a Student Athlete at a University, I paly baseball. I am currently in a mild flare. I was diagnosed 2009 and have had one major flare since. The biggest thing I have learned with UC and sports is that its still very much possible. While when I was in a severe flare I couldnt lift or run much. I was still able to comptete not 100% but I was out there helping my team win.

    When It comes to lifting and playing just know where youre at in your flare. Its fine to go hard in the gym, just make sure there is bathroom near. MY doctor also told me to stay off the whey protein for now. Seems to help a little. So instead of drinking protein I just eat in the form of eggwhites, which taste really good for the bad rep they get

    You can keep playing is the main point I want to get across while being in college plus being an athlete blows but like sports you know you can beat an oppenent and in this case its UC. Take this day by day and dont do anything extremem like chili nights I have been in the same situation. Hope this helps.


  12. Hey, Keegan. I’m a freshman in college, and was diagnosed with mild UC the summer before my sophomore year of high school. I’ve only had one flare last year, which was quickly controlled. The beginning of UC is lots of trial and error, but you will definitely find your groove, and figure out triggers and what foods are best for you. It seems that a diet’s effects can vary between individuals. Prior to having UC, I played basketball, field hockey, a bit of softball, and was a frequent runner. UC made me feel so exhausted so I stopped almost everything, except basketball because it is my passion just as it is yours. I still play basketball, and always will. UC can not stop you from doing anything, only your fear can stop you. It’s a process to figure out what combination of factors works best for you. Sometimes, I still discover new things about my UC. I also take Pentasa daily since I was diagnosed, and it’s been great for me. The biggest factor for your overall health, in my opinion, is your attitude. In the beginning of your UC, of course it is difficult to keep a smile on your face. As soon as I made the decision to be a happier person, I overall health and my UC symptoms improved. Just be grateful for everything and everyone you have in your life, and even grateful for your UC, because there are always people in much worse situations than you. Think about all the little things in your daily life that you probably don’t even notice that make you happy instead of focusing on your UC. It’s all about what you make of it. Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out! Persevere! UC can’t keep me down. I even plan on running my first half marathon in the spring! I hope you find the best way to get you into remission, and keep you there as soon as possible! Peace&Love

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