I was diagnosed approx. 8 years ago with Ulcerative Colitis. I started out as only having proctitis and without the much needed help and listening ear of a caring Gastro Doctor my disease spread to my sigmoid and descending colon within a year. I was in bad shape to put it mildly…
It’s been a tough 8 years with lots of doctors’ visits, hospital stays, meds, new meds, & NEW GI doctor’s visits. All this and up until this year I WAS in denial that this was really happening to me…
Some more about Shelly:
I am a happy mom & wife enjoying life to its fullest that is until 8 years ago when my life took a hard turn. I work full time in risk management and during my free time… (Not often enough) I am an artist/crafter and loved the time I spent traveling the craft circuit and selling my creations. All this changed when some strange symptoms started to occur…
Diarrhea w/heavy bleeding
15 or more trips to the restroom daily
Extreme fatigue & weakness
The Ladies Room (Please Don’t Let there Be A Line)
I was under some stress with my job when I started to have my first UC symptoms. It started with frequent trips to the bathroom and really bad stomach pain just about every day out of the week. I kept thinking the stress was upsetting my stomach really bad. The bleeding started shortly after these first symptoms started and it scared me really bad, so much so that I did not seek treatment for several more months as I feared what I might be told… Not smart on my part!
I finally decided to seek treatment and went for my first colonoscopy which at the time showed I had a very mild disease of the rectum and NO BIG DEAL per the GI doctor. So… I did the treatment as prescribed Canasa suppository every night (for those that aren’t familiar, this is a rectally inserted medication = GOOD TIMES!!). Little did I know that schedule of treatment was basically going to be for the rest of my life. I was never told this was an auto immune disease and that the disease might spread and would not go away unless you stayed on a treatment plan or by chance went into remission.
Within the year my symptoms were progressing and the Canasa treatment was not even touching the issue at hand. I was having as much as 20 trips a day to the restroom, w/severe rectal bleeding, and extreme exhaustion. I returned to my GI doctor only to be told sorry… when I did your colonoscopy it was only mild disease this is just part of the processes and that I should be thankful it was only in my rectum and easy to treat!
I had no idea what to do. I hated leaving the house the symptoms were so bad. It was taking its toll on me and my family. Missed outings and vacations… due to the fact I could get far without having to stop at a restroom and always packing a second outfit just in case I didn’t make. So depressing…
Finally the symptoms got so bad I decided to seek treatment with a new gastro doctor that was recommended to me through a co-worker. My new GI doctor ran me through the medication gamut with little ease of my symptoms for two years. The Doctor refused to try a run of steroids just like my first GI Doctor and my symptoms finally landed me in a 6 day Hospital stay. The hospital started me on steroids, OH WHAT A GLORIOUS DAY! Finally relief!!
I went into remission for 10 months!! YAY!! Fast forward ahead five years, I continued to struggle with on & off symptoms while trying different medications. (Canasa, Lialda, Asacol, ProctoFoam HC, & Rowasa). I finally seemed to be doing okay with Rowasa enemas nightly with only mild symptoms. Again not a conventional treatment to administer, but hey you do what you got to do.
All seemed to be going okay until December 2015 when I suddenly came down with a bad bout of pancreatitis! Oh god was it bad!! I spent my Christmas in the hospital. I went through test after test trying to find out why this occurred and finally I was told NO MORE Mesalamine medications as they thought I was experiencing an intolerance to the medication.
I was left hanging without maintenance medication. My GI Doctor basically told me that Uceris or Prednisone was all I had left to take. What!!! That was so far from the truth, so I decided it was time to seek treatment with a new GI Doctor.
I have suffered for almost eight years with (2) GI Doctors not keeping a close eye on my progress, it’s a horrible place to be. Lack of GI doctors that accepted my insurance in my area, I had run out of options locally.
I found a new doctor that is a good distance from where I live, but I heard good things about the group and was hoping it would be worth my drive. I met with this new doctor and he was kind enough to hear my story. He immediately ordered at CAT scan and colonoscopy although I was already on my third week of Uceris from the other GI Doc and my symptoms were resolving.
My colonoscopy only showed mirco-disease, no surprise as I had been treating with steroids. He gave me the option of Imuran or Remicade, but told me if I wanted I could try an extended release mesalamine. After he had explained all the side effects of the biologic route I was ready to try mesalamine one more time. FINGERS CROSSED it would work with no adverse reaction.
I started Apriso as prescribed. I was on my last week of a 42 day cycle of Uceris when I started the Apriso. I completed my full prescribed regimen of Uceris and was completely UC symptom free and feeling good.
One week off of Uceris and first week on Apriso my UC symptoms were back. Heavy Bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, frequent trips to the bathroom and general feeling of not well. I called my new GI doctor and was given another script of Uceris and told to stay on the Apriso.
This time the Uceris was not stopping the symptoms so I decided to discontinued the Apriso on my own because the UC symptoms were getting worse everyday. Since I discontinued the Apriso my symptoms have resolved.
It looks like biologics are in my future as I seem to not be able to tolerate the mesalamine medication any longer. I can’t help, but be concerned… Have I found the right Doctor, do they really understand this disease & how hard it is to endure a flare, will I ever get back to normal?
Canasa – Mild relief until the disease progressed
Lialda – No relief & horrible abdominal pain
Asacol – No relief & horrible abdominal pain
ProctoFoam HC – Mild relief until the disease progressed
Prednisone – WORKED LIKE A CHARM!! just gained 18 pounds while taking it…
Rowasa – Mild relief until Pancreatitis
Uceris – Total relief, until I started Apriso
Apriso – The worst I have ever felt, total UC symptoms returned and Flu like symptoms as well.
written by Shelly V
submitted in the colitis venting area