I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) when I was 18 years old. I had no idea what that even really meant. I had not had any significant issues before the diagnosis. I had my first bad flare up a couple months after my diagnosis. After checking web md and convincing myself I was going to die if I didn't go to the ER, I was admitted to the hospital where I stayed for a few days. Fast forward to many doctor visits and various prescription meds, my UC was pretty well in control for a long time. I quickly forgot how bad it had been for a brief time, and still didn't really "get it" that this was a pretty unfavorable illness to have. I only had about 1 or 2 flare ups per year, and they were brought under control fairly quickly. When I was 26, I even had a beautiful baby boy and had a wonderfully healthy pregnancy! About 3 weeks before my son was born, I started having a flare up. In my mind, this was still not a big deal. I figured they would just increase my prednisone dose, and it would clear up like so many times before. Unfortunately, the flare never got better. I continued to get increasingly more ill.
I changed doctors, and for the first time in years, I had a doctor who really listened to me. We changed up meds, and I continued to hope for some relief. Finally, I had to try the IV med, Remicade, and was told my symptoms should clear up right away - if anything will work, this is it. I was on that for 5 months before they finally said it didn't work. I continued to lose weight and the quality of my life. I couldn't stay hydrated; I couldn't sleep at night because I had to use the bathroom so frequently. For the first time, I finally "got it". I felt alone, hopeless, and so depressed. Nothing was making this disease better. I was exhausted and couldn't live my life the way I wanted to because I was so sick. My doctor referred me to my surgeon, and I was terrified. However, it got to the point that I NEEDED to schedule surgery because I knew I would die if I didn't. I called, and they said it would be two weeks before I could get in. TWO WEEKS! It seemed like a life sentence, but we muddled through. I actually had to be admitted to the hospital one week before my scheduled surgery because I was that ill. I had IV nutrition and fluids all that week. I finally had surgery, and it was AMAZING!!! I woke up feeling like MYSELF for the first time in years. I had energy again and felt fantastic. I had no idea that a bum colon could affect me in so many ways. I had to have 2 more surgeries after that one, and each one had some unusual complications to go along with them, but I SURVIVED!!!
I finally beat UC!! My journey to a healthy life was a long one, and one that was so worth it. After nearly a decade suffering with UC, I no longer had it. I now have a J-Pouch and my life!
So back to TC, I wanted to celebrate our first year of a healthy me by doing something I have never done nor could have done with UC. I found TC online and immediately knew it was something I had to do. My husband graciously accepted the challenge to join me, and we celebrated life together by raising money to find a cure to these awful diseases that affect so many. I would not wish the pain and agony UC caused me to anyone. The CCFA offers hope to those of us who are sometimes blinded by the symptoms of Crohn's and UC. Even on my darkest days, I just thought that it HAD to get better, and there has to be something that can help. With the generosity of all of our donors, there is hope that better treatments and a cure is not impossible and it will be found!