When I tell people I have ulcerative colitis, I would say that half have never heard of it (but have maybe heard of Crohn’s Disease), and the other half know someone who has it. Some of the people that I found out have UC are people I’ve known my whole life and never knew they had a chronic disease. It’s the kind of disease that’s not really brought up in conversation…it’s kind of gross, and it’s not degenerative, or fatal, so why bother mentioning it? In fact, many people with UC only have flares occasionally, in which case the UC could almost be forgotten about, and that’s how I was during my first two years after being diagnosed.
I was diagnosed in May of 2007, when I was a junior in high school. At the beginning of that month, I saw my primary care doctor after having diarrhea several days in a row. That’s how it all began! She referred me to a doctor at Children’s Hospital, in Boston, who I still see. Children’s Hospital has one of the best gastrointestinal departments in the country, and my doctor is one of the most knowledgeable GI doctors in the country, so I’ve been in good hands. Near the end of that month, I got a colonoscopy, making it clear that I had UC, and I was put on prednisone (to be tapered off of eventually) and a maintenance drug. I felt better right away, and I practically forgot I had UC until March of 2009, when I had my first flare.
I won’t bore you with the timeline of my flares and medication changes since then – I’ll just say that they happened. For reference though: 6MP weakens the immune system, and I was in the hospital for two weeks with mono because of that, and also: prednisone is the devil.