My name is John and I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in May of 2011, I was 20 years old then. I had UC for about one year until my first flare which over the course of a few months ended me up in the hospital getting surgery. I’m almost 9 months out from my last of three surgeries.
Some more about me:
I’m from Connecticut and I’ve always been very active throughout high school and college. I love running for events, fun, stress relief. I consider myself an Elite Triathlete and while having UC I never had a problem with high intensity workouts while on daily medication.
Colitis and My Love of Running
About 2 weeks after being diagnosed I started my year long remission while taking Asacol twice daily. I had my first and only flare up in late March of 2012. I tried all of my Doctors suggestions (increasing the dosage, trying new medications, using steroids, and remicade IV) and none of them worked. I was in my Junior year of College and could barely get up out of bed to go to class. I ended up missing my finals spring semester since I was so anemic and loss about 30 pounds (normal weight 140lbs) over the course of a month and a half. I ended up in the hospital that week due to being extremely anemic and received multiple blood transfusions while in the hospital for a week. About 2 weeks after this incident I went into emergency surgery to get my whole large intestines removed. I ended up having three surgeries with 6-10 weeks recovery in between each to make up the J-pouch to be “normal” again.
I’ve always been an avid runner for the last eight years and have been doing triathlons for four years now. I had to take a year off from doing all high intensity exercising. In between all of my surgeries I did very very light lifting to try and gain some weight back since I was literally skin and bones.
Since I got out of my last surgery I’ve been having problems here and there. It is mostly pouchitis and I’ve been on Cipro 500mg twice daily for months now on and off. I’m usually fine to do intense workouts when I’m on Cipro twice daily. I recently had a colonoscopy with my surgeon (Dr. Cohen) to check out my J-pouch and see what’s going on. All he found was that I’m a little bit inflamed (normal pouchitis) and he suggested I go back on Cipro twice daily for two weeks then go down to once daily for 2 weeks, then once every other day for two weeks after that. I’m almost in the once every other day phase currently.
My last surgery was in mid-Octorber of 2012 and I gained most of my weight back. I’m back to weight training, swimming, biking, and running. I’m back to where I was in swimming and biking, however my running has been a difficult road. Whenever I run and am not on Cipro I get a very very sharp pain in the area of where my J-pouch is. I then have to stop and sit down for a few minutes for it to pass. It sometimes even happens when I’m just walking around at the mall or at work.
Now when I run and am on Cipro I don’t get those pains anymore however, I almost always have bloody stool right after I’m done. I don’t know what to do or what to take. I’ve been eating healthy and avoid foods that give me slight pains and gas. I take daily vitamins, VSL #3 probiotic, iron, B complex, and Imodium 2-4 times a day.
I’m asking for someone who has been in the same situation as me. I want to be able to run again at a high intensity level and 5 times a week instead of maybe once. I don’t want to be scared anymore that I’m going to be in pain after or have bloody stool. Please let me know if you have any advice or certain medications/foods that will help.
I appreciate all comments and thank you for listening to my story.
written by John
submitted in the colitis venting area