Prior to summer 2015 ‘illness’ or in any case serious illness was not something I’d ever experienced, which in hindsight now makes me feel very lucky to have been that naive for so long.
After a chance case of food poisoning (a dodgy lobster and a LOT of alcohol) at the work summer party, combined with a few months of work-life imbalance and personal stress – I managed to get Ulcerative Colitis. Of course at the time I didn’t know what those words even meant, let alone that some permanent damage was being caused inside me.
After the initial ‘alcohol trots’ and two day hangover had passed, I presumed the symptoms remaining were a mild case of piles or a little bottom fissure which would right itself after a few weeks. This was also reiterated by my local GP…so no cause for concern I thought.
Sadly not the case, the mild symptoms I initially had soon turned into blood and mucus in the loo most days (gross I know), horrendous cramps, fatigue, depression and a general lack of interest in life – not my old self at all. Tests were finally done and by Christmas 2015 I finally had an answer, albeit one I didn’t understand.
I’m still coming to terms with having a life-long auto-immune disease and although I have gone through a rainbow of emotions from upset, mild depression, anger, confusion and overall helplessness – I am learning my way through the UC maze as it were.
This will be the first in a series of posts where I hope to talk openly about something which I feel is not fully understood in the medical field, let alone in general society – as was evident from the reaction of friends and family when I told them all about it over a mince pie at Christmas…”you’ve got what?”
So if you have UC, or think you might – I’d love to hear from you and share any stories or advice on how best to alter you life to live with it, rather than letting it rule over you like an unpredictable shadow. It doesn’t need to be, and I hope to be living proof of that – or at least do my damnedest.