Patient Story: Andrea Inspiring Her Friends to Discuss Ulcerative Colitis

I am so thankful to my gastroenterologist for being proactive and changing my life. I have been in remission for a little over 5 months now. It's hard to believe that 7 months ago I was in the hospital, having my ulcerative colitis go from proctitis to pancolitis within a matter of months after being diagnosed, having to be on 8 saline IV bags and filling the toilet with blood. It was so scary, I never thought I'd ever see the day where there would be no blood.

Shortly after the hospital stay is when I met my gastroenterologist. I am so glad I asked my hospital-assigned GP to refer me to him because he has changed my life. He put me on an aggressive treatment and for this, I can proudly say I'm in remission because of it. Sure, I still go to the bathroom 4 times a day but hey, that's my new normal. And yes, from time to time I do have "questionable" BM's. I often wonder if and when symptoms will come back. I'm still trying to figure out my body, but I just have to take it one day at a time.

I still get some pain but he believes it may be unrelated to UC and set up an ultrasound to check my biliary. He's so proactive and I feel so blessed he's looking out for me. Even though my own GP gets my results from all the blood tests I've done (I was on Imuran but had to stop it) and my liver panel tests were elevated (not in the 1000's mind you) - she hasn't even called. I don't get near the same care from my GP like I do from my gastroenterologist. Anyhow, I hope it's nothing to be concerned about and I hope the ultrasound comes back fine, but I was floored when he set up a requisition to see what else might be happening.

My last appointment with my gastroenterologist, I was confused because my scope came back normal, and I was like "then why do I have to take all these pills?" He explained when they find something that works, it’s important to stay on it. I'm glad he found something that worked and hopefully it stays that way for a while. I still don't like having to take all the pills though, hehe, but of course I do.

Another thing that I am thankful for is that I have good insurance. If I didn't, I don't know if I'd be able to afford the medication. I often wonder if this is what happens to other people, that they can't afford the medication and so they just live with the symptoms. It makes me sad.

Since I opened up to friends about my condition, there have been so many who have sent me private messages that they too have suffered or are still suffering. It's a reminder that IBD is more common than we often think and that we're not alone. While I don't like hearing they are experiencing flares and such, it's great to have those people to talk to. The ones who get it, they get what you're going through or have gone through. Hugs to all you IBD warriors! There is light at the end of the tunnel.

- Next story: Eric from VeganOstomy

Andrea gets her energy from knowing she's helping others. Comment below about the great things she's doing. And of course we'd love to post your story. Share your story with us here.

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