Well This Is Gonna Suck…

chris in military with UC

Chris onboard a ship


not sure what to say… I’m 33 and currently in the military. Have a very active lifestyle that’s appears to be coming to a screeching halt!! I was diagnosed about 4 years ago but never told what it was.. Basically ignored it until recently.. Now I’m lost and feel like my life’s about to change in a huge way. Im from Utah but have only spent 2 of the last 14 years in the states. Although Hawaii is a state it’s not the mainland. I collect baseball cards haha.. I have a felling that will be getting more popular for me in the coming years haha. I can see that my party life will be at a screeching halt……

My Symptoms:

Currently I have sever pain in my stomach and after eating can not be more than 2 minutes away from a restroom. Nothing solid comes out and there is often signs of blood.. yuck!!!

My Story:

I can’t really say how its changed my life. I’m just now coming to grips with it. But I know there are alot of changes in the future. I’m actually scared of this!! haha.. I went to medical the other day and for the first time i had a young kid tell me i had to drop pants and bend over. I just about punched him in the face!!! Lets just say he got the point that i was not about to do that so easily. Now I’m here without family and lost!!

What can i expect?

How can i make it better?

What can i do to make thigs feel more normal?

Are meds the way to go?

Shoudl I quit smoking as I planned to do? I need to know everything!!! haha. I hope to find someone or more people to talk to, to help come to grip with this and take the actions i should have taken a long time ago….. I have a very active social life, enjoy haveing a few drinks.. Sometimes more. And the foods.. I don’t know that i will be able to give alot of them up. I just went shopping! haha.

But i can say that i am scared now.

More scared than i have been about anything. Not ready to change my lifestyle due to something i know nothing about. Who can i turn to? How can i make people understand i don’t want to leave the house if i have eaten becuse i fear being away from the bathroom? I’m lost and not ready for this. haha.. why me? and its a silly question to ask but i feel my current lifestyle may be to blame. I guess the biggest fear is not having someone to talk to who understands…. I’m really concerned about being depressed. I feel that it has already set in and i don’t want to be negative at all!!!

Where I’d like to be in 1 year:

in one year.. i just want to be back the shapoe i was in when i thought things were normal and was goign on with my day. enjoying the occasional drink and not feelign this way.. though i know that wont be. but hoep to be better off and symptom free!!!

Colitis Medications:

all i know is asacol.. what else is there???? tell me!! haha

written by Chris

submitted in the colitis venting area

14 thoughts on “Well This Is Gonna Suck…”

  1. Hi. Me and my family kow your fears. We too are military. My son was diagnosed at TAMC, HI a couple yrs ago. It was a life changer. We are still working on getting a med to work. He was on asacol, 6MP, now Remicade and apriso. It’s been a month since Prednisone and 3 wks of flare. All I can say is we are blessed to have Tricare Prime. The army Peds GIs have even really great. I do a lot of research and Informtion sheets with me to Appts. Being aware and informed really helps. We are now back in the mainland, but still play the “3 things that could be worse” game…our first is always..super grateful for Tricare Prime. Blessings… Best of luck getting into remission.

    1. i have to say that i was at TAMC as well and was scoped when i first got there the doc was pretty cool to work with i just wish they woudl have told me more abotu what was wrong with me. they jsut said things looked on and nto to bad at the time. so i never went in for a follow up on it. i really think i shoudl have done then what i am doing now to no more.. but as they say better late then never right??

  2. Hi Chris,

    Well I just got diagnosed about two months ago with UC and it hasn’t been easy but it will as you learn what is UC. The visit to the bathroom is what we all have in common I have adjusted since I work if I have those days that I’m constantly going so I plan accordingly. I’m at the beginning stage of what I should be eating so I’m at trail and error for now; I asked the doctor about what I should be eating he really didn’t commented that much but as I purchased Adam’s books I’m going to learn I recommend the books since its really good to see what he experienced and you can relate to it once you read it.

    The only thing I’m taking for now almost done is Apriso .375 mg four tablets a day and VSL#3 probiotic that I’m done also Canasta as needed. Then I will follow up with another visit to the GI doctor plus a sigmoidoscopy to see how I’m doing. This will be the norm for now but the only thing I can say learn as much about it and ask questions.

    I know the feeling that you might be scared going out and having to go constantly to the bathroom or feeling uncomfortable in social event since you might have go. I plan accordingly and scout where is the bathroom, believe me it’s not easy. I had to adjust and eliminate someone of my drinking to a minimum, it sucks but you have to make changes to feel better and not worse. For now I’m in remission with meds. then I will see once I’m done how my body reacts with no meds if it will adjust and have normal bowel movements. By the way, stress can trigger it at times but it depends on the individual how you manage it.

    I hope this helps and do recommend Adam’s books especially Feeling Crappy to Feeling Happy you get to understand and relate some of the stuff he went through.

    Good luck and let me know your progress.

    Michael aka Arcangel

  3. Chris!
    Thank you for sharing your story! This will help you not becoming depressed and you will get the feeling that there are many here who listen and who understand. There is great advice on here too!
    One thing you will realize is that the same things will not work for every one of us. Some general things are probably true, but over time you will find what works best for you. You should do a lot of research and reading to understand better what you can do (I recommend “Living with crohn’s and colitis” and “the anti inflammation diet”).

    Let me just tell you: I was so sick exactly one year ago, went through an emergency admission to the hospital. I thought I would never get better, blamed my lifestyle, in part just like you.
    Now, one year later I do get to enjoy that occasional drink again, I’m producing solid results and have pretty much no symptoms. I don’t know what kind of food you are referring to that you will miss? I am now able to pretty much eat what I want, but what I want was always healthy food (not fried stuff, processed foods, greasy things, soda or pizza….)

    I thnk the first thing you have to come to terms with is that there has to be a lifestyle change. If you don’t change anything, you won’t get much better and you won’t stay well. If you can’t party, oh well! Let other people do what they do. If they don’t support you (I know this is cliche) they are not that good friends anyway. And something I decided was: I’d do anything not to crawl to the bathroom anymore, writhing in pain, bleeding out of the other end. You have to take care of yourself!

    Do something for your mind, many of us have symptoms related to stress. Change the foods you eat radically while you’re in a flare. Later, try to see what you can reintroduce slowly. It took me two months before I could handle any raw vegetable for example. Rightnow it would also be a good idea to start a probiotic! Look for a probiotic with different strands and a high number of live cultures.

    Once you feel well again, there is no reason you have to stay home and collect baseball cards :) You can do anything you set your mind to! Colitis people exercise, run marathons, live active healthy lifestyles. I teach PE! Exercise is crucial to stay well, and you’ll need it if you’re anything like me. I lost too much weight and all my strength during the last flare.

    If you want to talk more, you could email me: puncimokus666@yahoo.com

  4. Hi Chris-
    You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t scared. Obviously the militairy has made you pretty tough and one thing this disease takes is perseverence, determination and willpower. As bad as it is now it will definitely get better.
    Lifestyle change has got to happen but in hindsight it was the best thing for me. Stress and not taking good care of my body (which I now truly consider my temple!!) left me vulnerable to UC in the first place. Sometimes life knocks you down so you can build yourself back up into something better.
    Eat clean and simple if you are in a flare. The partying is probably out… alcohol and coffee make me feel real bad and honestly I realize I am so much happier without them. I can go out and have a club and cranberry with my friends and still have fun (and feel good in the morning).Do lots of research, read everyone’s experience on this site because there is tons of info. You are not alone either… there are lots of us out there living happy and relatively healthy lives. Meditate, breathe and don’t let go of hope. Find people to help you… friends or a support group.
    Best wishes!!

  5. Hi Chris, I retired from the military in 2010. I was diagnosed in 1992, so the majority of my 20 years of active duty was while I had UC. I went through bad periods, as well as remission a few time, so it can be done. I worked as a corpsman, and only in the last couple of years really impact me severely. I was treated with sulfasalazine, prednisone, Lialda, Remicade, and Imuran. The last two are the ones that helped the colitis the most, but they also were a big part of me deciding to retire. I was an IDC on a ship, and side effects of both of those medications were immune suppression. While I saw and treated patients, I also picked up anything that was infectious, like MRSA. I was moved from my position to one where I didn’t have to have direct patient care contact, then retired shortly afterwards.

    A big thing to keep in mind is to ensure that everything is well documented, I am still fighting for disability benefits from the VA because they said I had mild symptoms, yet I am probably within a few months of surgery, so go figure.

    Try some diet changes to see if it will help…turns out I may have a gluten intolerance and it is helping me a little.

    For meds, work with your doctor. Watch out for sudden changes in medications, in other words, don’t just stop taking something unless it is advised.

    Exercise is important, and sometimes you may not be able to get out to do it, but stay close to a place you are comfortable when you have to.

    Quitting smoking is tough, smoking has a somewhat helpful effect for UC, but the other negative health effects are really what should be considered.

  6. I’ve been in your shoes for six years now, well not in the military, but in the bathroom! haha! Dr’s never tell us what we should and shouldn’t be eating. When I was diagnosed, the Dr’s told me to “bulk up” on white bread, pasta and rice…not until later did I learn how horrible that stuff is for my raging, bleeding, intestines! So they had me pumped full of steroids, and immuno- suppressant drugs and I was bed ridden, unable to walk for about 6 months. It was crawling to the toilet days.
    I guess what I am saying is, meds can be helpful to get a flare under control, but in my experience, the side effects are not worth it. I’ve been able to control my UC (until recently) with diet and exercise. I’m not sure what did me in this time…never seems to be a method to the madness…but I’m out of the hospital at least.
    Try to stay positive. Quitting drinking was incredibly difficult for me. SO depressed, such an alcoholic, trying to numb everything, including my poor health….but that of course backfired. That lifestyle had to go. And soon, I started to feel better, not only physically, but mentally as well. Sobriety brings so much clarity for me, and I am grateful for it :)
    I wish you health and strength for the long, painful road ahead…I hope it gets easier really, really soon! And it will eventually. Keep your chin up :)

  7. I just thought I’d add a couple things I should have mentioned before.
    Healthy fats! Coconut oil, real butter, avocado, salmon, Omega 3’s, olive oil, aloe vera juice, nuts (if you can tolerate)…helps soothe and heal the intestines. No wheat of any kind. Might be helpful?

  8. haha.. everyone is using meds that i have never heard of till i came across this site!! but reading people stories on here and seeing that there are things that can be done to control it for the most part makes me feel alot better. and has given me things that i can talk to my doc about.

    jeff- i really wish you could have been a idc here when i was first diagnosed!! when i had my first ond actually only real bad flare up they put in cipiro (spelling) my body reacted very badly to it. his first though was that i just had a bactieria infection and woud not really look to much further into it. durign that time i was home in bed and not far from the bathroom at all!! me being stubborn i hate doctors. not alot just no a fan of being int he doctors office.. haha. i though it was just something i ate or whatever. but it would no go away. i went from 180 to 150 in just a couple months!! when he finally reffered me out in town the local doctor ran so many tests. celiac, crons and what not. a few days before her results came back i was in the bathroom and though i was about to bleed out!! needless to say i had to have soem friends take me in because i was weak and dissoriented from nausea that i coudl barely walk straight. they almost sent me to virgina to get ready to be processed out because my doctor on base swore it was crohns and dd nto want to look into it more let alone deal with it. i asked hat they let my doc out in town here finish what she had started before maign such a rash decision. plus i her and her equipment already intimately knew me inside and out!!! haha.. i was nto about to let another starnger go looking someplace after i had alreadt became comfortable with her. i think her being female made it easier to deal with since she wasnt scary looking… haha. when she told me what it was she said go back to base and talk to my doc, and have him explain everythign to me. and thats the problem. he didnt say anything to me about it. just that o was good to go and here are your pills. so me being the typical military guy though nothing of it and went abotu my day. never looked it up and forgot what i even had. back to work it was for me. while in hawaii for the last 3 years no issues, excpet goignt o bathroom around 10-15 times a day. i thought that was normal. now its acting up again and when i went to medical for it my doc here told me what i was diagnosed with back then and i looked it up. thats what scared me. i just wish they woudl have explained it to me so i could have taken it more serious!!!

    i amd learning a bit more eachday here and fnding ways to cope with it. the lifestyle thing for me is nto really a big concern that was just a scared reaction i think. cause i can do things without having to live the way i have been. im attempting to get back out running and in gym this week to get where i was a couple years ago, only with a better diet.. as for the foods im not wanting to give up its the spicy stuff. i knwo its tearing away at my insides!!!! but i do have a quesion. what does it mean when you havent eaten say lettuce but when you look down after goign and see what looks like like pieces of lettuce? is that possibly small pieces of yrou intestinal wall comout out? like dead tissue? that scares the crap out of me more than anything. as for this litle bout i have ben havign these last few weeks. i think its startin to die down a bit but i m not banking on it. i jsut know the asacol if helping me feel a bit better.. though i am curious of the other drugs that may wok better. and i have been takign noted to talk to my doc aout them the next time i see her. i just dont think she has much knowledge of it. thats another i can stand about military doc. they always switch up and dont realy read to much into yoru file before trying to make decisions on whats wrong with you.. but thank you all for advise and what not. its nice to knwo there are peopel to talk to that understand and have the same issue. ite helped me accept it a bit easier and know that that tehere are people to talk to!!!!!

  9. Chris,

    I’m with you man. I was diagnosed with UC about 10 years ago while I was in the Marines. I’m now 30. Like you I brushed it off for a few years until finally my stubborness started to fade and I realized that I didn’t have to live with the constant cramps and the rush to the bathroom after some delicious chinese food. I would start taking my medicine regularly (mesamaline) and it would start to get better so I’d stop until the next flare up. I guess I’m kind of an idiot but I’ve just learned to deal with it and tough it out. You just gotta know what sets it off for you. And if you want to get down with some food that gives you gut rot, just don’t plan on doing anything afterward.

    I’ve had 3 colonoscopies and I’ve told my case is still relatively mild in comparison to others. I was awarded 20% VA disability for it so I get a few hundred bucks a month. So I’m pretty lucky but sitll live in fear that someday it could get “poo bag bad.” I smoke and I drink. I’ve been told smoking is actually good for it by a doc although not for the rest of your body (something with your metabolism). Drinking I usually pay for the next day, all day.

    I’m getting better about taking my medicine even when I’m not having a flare up but there are still days when it hits me hard. The other day I got back to work from lunch and was incapacitated in my car. I had the worst cramps and there was no way I could amke it from the parking lot to a bathroom and I just did what always do……tell my UC to eat shit a few times and I’m golden.

    Hang in there man.

  10. It took 3 weeks to finally get diagnosis at TAMC. the key is to arm yourself with the info. I used to think the GI docs would think I’m a “know it all”. But no matter. They actually appreciated my awareness (well so tey said…lol). Take copies of your research. Ask questions. Stay in control of this beast called UC.. It’s hard changing eating habits. We used to love popcorn…that is no longer a big deal…but soda is the killer for us. And I say us because if my son cannot eat certain foods we also don’t indulge to be fair to him. Also get it documented to get as much percentage as possible whenever you decide to leave the military.

  11. Feel free to email me directly if you have any questions. I will be happy to answer what I can. Pat, the VA wasn’t so kind to me, mine came back as ratable, but at a 0% because they thought I had mild symptoms. I just got my ratings back this past week, so I am already working on the appeal. Like I mentioned earlier, I am probably rejecting Remicade, so my treatment options are running out and surgery is looming on the horizon. How that can be seen as mild symptoms I do not know, but we are talking about the VA. Another thing to consider, and don’t let it sway your treatment too much is if you have it rated as UC, then have surgery to remove your colon, the VA sees that as a cure, but you will be rerated based on not having a colon and it is not as high, so try not to get too reliant on that income just in case it goes away. My email is jeffgusa@gmail.com

  12. Probiotics and L-glutamine. A 50 billion strain probiotic…someone in a health and vitamin store should be able to recommend the one for UC. L-glutamine is an amino acid taht our bodies need. It aids in healing the mucosa of the colon.

    I am in remission and controlling my UC without meds!! I am a true believer in treating this disease med free. I am a walking talking example that it can be done.


  13. Hey everyone, my husband has uc and dont remember all the meds he has been on but hes had his uc for almost 4 years now and thankfully hasnt had any major flare ups since, just mini’s. I dont really have much of a story to tell, just a favor to ask from anyone who would know. My husband is abut to face the med board between January 8-11 and was wondering how many people got discharged by having uc and did you recieve benefits? my husband is in the Air Force with a cop career and is currently at a nuclear base in Montana. We are being told he may be discharged because his uc with absolutely no benifits and I dont understand why. If anyone knows anything or could help with research on how many people with uc is able to stay in the military or if you HAVE TO be world wide deployable, which is why they are still debating because of the world wide deployable thing. I’m just looking for some sort of help because we keep running into a dead end searching for anything of the sort. If anyone knows anything or finds anything, we would be so grateful and you can email me at Mustangspirit616@aol.com with -info about uc- as the subject

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