Ulcerative Colitis Tips


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11 Years with UC and Going Strong Even as a College Student

college student with colitis

that’s me!

Meet Allie:

My name is Allie. I am 19 years old and sophomore in college. I’ve had Ulcerative Colitis since I was 8 years old so more than half my life. I’ve always been a dancer and dream of being an elementary school teacher when I graduate from college.

Some more about me:

I am a good listener, but have a hard time opening up about myself. I love to dance, act, sing, read, shop, and spend time with my friends and family. I try to always be honest and consider myself to be a trustworthy person. I have my insecurities, but who doesn’t.

Colitis Symptoms:

Luckily right now I’m in remission. *knock on wood*

Having A Normal Life in College with Colitis

Up until the age of 8 I lived a normal life. Amazing family and home, great friends, active life, goofy and playful. Then when March 2002 hit, everything in my life changed. I started to get really sick. I was back in forth from the bathroom every five minutes (or less) and it wasn’t fun. More blood than anything and more pain than I thought an 8 year old could experience. I would bang on the sink to try and relieve some of the pain. My pediatrician kept saying nothing was wrong and just kept pushing my mom and I away, but we were insistent until he finally sent us to the GI doctors office in the children’s hospital in my city. Finally someone believed the 52 pound little eight year old ho was in constant pain and I was admitted into the hospital where I went through all the regular tests: colonoscopy, scope, blood tests, the works. Finally it came back: I had Ulcerative Colitis. I had never even heard of it. I didn’t know what it was or what it meant. Did it mean something bad? Was I going to have this forever? I didn’t know anything. After it was all finally explained to me, I started to understand what was going on, but of course the question I still ask myself even today sometimes went through my head: Why me? I know everyone probably asked the same question to themselves and even their doctors, but I’m sure not many of us know the answer.

Unfortunately while all this was happening in my life, my family was going through something terrible. My grandfather who was also in the hospital and was getting very sick and unfortunately passed away 3 days before my 9th birthday (oh yeah I forgot to mention that all this happened a week before my 9th birthday. Happy Birthday to me!). It was really hard knowing I didn’t get to say goodbye to him and he never knew I was in the hospital, but knowing him, he knew without telling anyone.

Anyway, as time went on I was getting better. I gained a ton a weight due to the awful prednisone, but who hasn’t. My life was starting to get back to normal, but eating was a major challenge. I loved eating fried foods, nuts, and popcorn, but all that was gone. I couldn’t eat my favorite fruits anymore because they gave me problems and I hated it, but time went on and I got back to normal. As I grew up I changed meds (Pentasa to Asacol to some awful one that made me extremely sick, to Colazol, then back to Asacol which was a big mistake, now to Lialda which thank God is working), had flair ups (my original one in 3rd grade, one in 7th, one in 9th, and an on and off one from senior year to the beginning of freshmen year of college), and lived my life. I tried to do all the things I would of normally done even if I hadn’t gotten sick, but I always tried to keep a bathroom in close range because having accidents as a senior in high school is EXTREMELY embarrassing (and it happened multiple times unfortunately).

Now that I’m in college I feel as though I lived a pretty normal college life. Yeah I’ve had my problems and when I can’t eat certain things I have to explain what the hell I have because many people have no clue what it is, but after almost 11 years of having UC I’m used to it. At first it’s always embarrassing explaining it and people have very strange questions, but I’m getting better at being brave and just answering he questions as they come. I look as my UC as a life changer but not in all bad ways. It taught me about strength, courage, having a close bathroom is VERY important, and that nothing can change you unless you let it.

My family luckily has always been there for me from the minute I got sick till today, they are by my side and sometimes too much. They always like to point out that they made a dessert without nuts just for me because they were thinking about me, or that they used white pasta instead of wheat because my colon doesn’t like me too much when I have wheat pasta. I love my family to death and I know they will always be there for me.

Of course I have my worries. When will my next flair up be? If I get sick will I have to go on prednisone again? Will my future children get the disease? Can I even have kids? Unfortunately not all these question can be answered, but not many of life’s question can so for now I’m just working on being a typical college kid, having fun, not getting enough sleep, and making the best memories.

Colitis Medications:

Right now I’m on Lialda and it seems to be working great. I did get extremely sick from Sulfasalazine (I think that’s how you spell it) so I don’t recommend that one, but all the rest I’ve been on have worked for about 2-4 year each. I also swear by a probiotic. I’ve been on them for about a year and think they have really helped. I take a maximum strength one by CVS that is 20 million cultures.

written by Allie M

submitted in the colitis venting area




college

11 Responses to 11 Years with UC and Going Strong Even as a College Student

  1. Allison-3
    Allison January 9, 2013 at 5:38 am #

    Allie-
    What an uplifting story… Thank you!
    Bets of luck with school and staying in remission.
    Don’t worry about your future, I am sure with your positive attitude, you will be healthy and be able to handle whatever comes your way. I think 75% of this disease is just emanating good vibes.
    All the best!
    Allison (Ali)

  2. Emie
    Emie January 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Hi Allie,
    I always have such a heavy heart for those of you that get UC as a child, I cant even imagine what that must have been like. i didnt get UC until I was about 20 or 21 and that was hard enough. You are a very brave girl and I hope that you have a great college experiance. I was lucky enough to have a child while i had UC and many women do. I recently had the first surgery for the j-pouch and i feel so much better. It took a long time to decide that it was right for me, and if it ever comes to that for you just know that it is so worth it and it will be ok. I wrote my story on here back in October if you are interested, it is in the before surgery section, I havent yet updated to the after section. Anyway, good luck with everything, this site is amazing and I know it will help you!
    EMIE

  3. bev January 9, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    That’s great that you are taking a probioic…I think from everything I have read about them, is that those of us with UC, should take at least a 50 billion strain one.

    I am on probiotics and L-glutamine only…no meds…and am in remission for almost a year now. I have had UC for 15 years and all the drugs either did not work, or made me even sicker too.

    Cheers, and thank you for posting your story Allie!~

    :)

  4. uma January 9, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Allie you have the right attitude. My colitis is 22 years old. There were ups and downs. Two years back i started a Probiotic

    Garden of life Primal Defense ultra and since then i have no symptom. Thinking back i dont think it was big deal you just

    learn to live it and you feel normal. So many things have changed since my first flare in terms of medicines. And they will

    continue to . And the cure will be found. So good luck and enjoy life.

  5. Allie M
    Allie January 10, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    Thank you everyone for the comments. It means so much that you would take the time to read my story. I’m so glad I found this website!

  6. Colleen January 10, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Hi Allie,

    My daughter was diagnosed with UC at 6, went on all the meds plus prednisone, and a year later the symptoms stopped. We switched to anti-inflammatory foods and tapered off her meds for the next few years. She was in remission for 6 years without meds (9 years between flares), and started to forget she had the disease. After sneaking jars of Nutella and not eating as much salmon as before, she flared up a few months ago. She had a colonoscopy yesterday and has mild pancolitis and will start balsalazine (sp?) soon.

    The main point I want to make is even today, almost all the doctors will tell you diet doesn’t make a difference. Which is incredible because they want evidence about diets, but where is the evidence it doesn’t work? These studies aren’t done because there is no one to fund it. Dr. Wolfgang Lutz treated thousands with IBD by reducing the carbs to no more than 72 carbs a day. It works very well. I want say almost 100% if you can believe it. The problem is it can take several years. After years of researching, I think you can shorten the time to get to remission by eating anti-inflammatory foods, such as salmon (probably the highest in anti-inflammation) and green leafy veggies, etc. Studies prove omega 3 helps, but you need to get 2.7 grams of omega 3, not that quantity of fish oil. Since the max you can get in the USA is 900 mg per pill, you should take 3 triple strength pills a day. Make sure they are enteric coated. Almond milk is anti-inflamm with extra calcium. Green tea extracts and probiotics are important. But no white flour, pasta or sugar! Please check out “Life Without Bread” by Allen and Lutz.

    Thanks for sharing your story. You sound like an awesome woman!

    • Colleen January 10, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

      To follow-up I want to make sure it is clear that we started to eat anti-inflammatory foods when my daughter was 7. I believe that’s why she was in remission for so long, and her eating sugar and carbs recently contributed to the recent flare. She agrees and can see the symptoms getting better now, just after eating salmon.

  7. Allie M
    Allie January 10, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    Hi Colleen,

    Thank you so much for telling me about your daughter. I will definitely have to look into changing my diet and seeing what changes I can make. Thank you for reading!

  8. Rebecca May 24, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

    Allie, thank you for sharing your story! My daughter, Zoey, is 8 years old now and has been diagnosed with UC for 3 years now. She is currently in her 3rd flare and at times feels so disheartened. I was inspired by your story because you have been through everything she has and you have become a beautiful, inspirational young woman. Zoey is a dancer too and we keep teeling her keep dancing! Thank you for inspiring her and me!

    • Allie M
      Allie May 28, 2015 at 8:36 am #

      Thank you so much for the kind message. Always remind Zoey that she is not alone and is a very strong little girl!! Zoey always dance and smile because you are very special!

  9. Dexy May 7, 2017 at 7:43 pm #

    Horrible thing uc not knowing when flare ups will happen.had it for 12 years was diagnosed when I was 25 was terrified then you must have been petrified at 8 years old,i think children are so brave and seem to deal with things so much better than adults they seem to accept things so much quicker hope your feeling ok n there is some magic round the corner for all of us

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