Way back in 2005 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis.
Looking back I had no idea my symptoms would end up being so serious.
I recall I would randomly get bloated and have blood in my stools. I also had an unexplained rash, tiny little single spots that would itch, very similar to a mosquito bite and one spot in particular that would itch, scab over disappear and come back.
In all honesty the first time I saw blood I was scared but I totally blamed the city lifestyle. I often went for a very hot curry and bring your own beer type of lifestyle. Being young and working in the city of London, I was also too embarrassed to tell anyone and used to put it down to eating hot curry; we all know what chillies can do to your bowels!
The Route to Diagnosis.
The older I got the more I realised my symptoms were actually not normal and could no longer blame those chillies!
I lost count the times I did actually visit the doctor and was told it was just IBS. In fact in the end I stopped going as I was so disheartened. I knew there was more wrong with me, but no one was listening.
In June 2005 I move to a new area I had the fortunate luck to experience a GP who knew straight away what was wrong.
The D Day
I do not recall when, but it was not long after the birth of my son and the break down of my marriage. My body was going through hell.
For a good 3-4 months I was opening my bowels, over 20-30 times a day.
I would pass nothing but blood and mucus. I would go from chronic urgent diarrhoea to extreme constipation. The pain I was in was just unreal. Every muscle in my body ached.
I would often wake up at 2am and be sitting on the toilet in chronic pain, praying my little boy would not wake up.
I could not go out without the risk of pooping myself and needed to know if I was going to be near a toilet or I would not go out.
I could not eat out at any restaurants and would make excuses why I could not go out with my friends. I was to embarrassed to tell them the truth.
I was not sleeping at all. The food I was eating was not being digested and I lost so much weight. I looked ill and I lost a lot of confidence.
I couldn’t work and was feeling incredibly frustrated with no one telling me what was wrong.
My breaking point was on a Saturday , browsing in a book shop and having a urgent need to empty my bowels.
I was unable to use the toilet because there was a queue. I was too embarrassed to say I needed it urgently and had to literally squeeze my bowels with all my might as to not empty them there and then. Sadly I did. Not like your normal bowel movement, it was just blood and water , lets say a little leakage.
I was distraught, I was with a boyfriend at the time and literally broke down crying, my stomach was bloated, I looked like I was 9 months pregnant and I was exhausted, dehydrated and my body was on a shut down. I looked so pale and so skinny, in fact grey.
This lead me to visiting my new GP, and that day within minutes she told me she suspects I have Ulcerative Colitis and sent me to hospital.
Basically I was on a drip to rehydrate and to start absorbing nutrients again. It was a rough time, but I was also operated on and finally given my diagnosis. Unknown to me at , I was also suffering anaemia , my b vitamin levels where chronically low as was my vitamin D levels.
That same day I was commenced on steroids, the standard god awful treatment for UC.
Light After Diagnosis
The crazy thing is , when you are so ill for so long and haven’t a clue what is wrong with you , being told there is something wrong just seemed to bring a ray of sunshine to my life.
I finally knew it was a disease, it was lifelong and I had to deal with it as medication was not always enough to stop it , it is an autoimmune disease and there is no cure.
Sure I was gutted, In fact I was shit scared I would end up having my bowels removed, but this became the strength behind my fight.
I was determined to kick the arse out of my colitis!
Being a determined beast and the type of person who questions everything in life I went on a mission to learn all I could about the disease.
My next route was nutrition, how could it help manage my UC.
Following a consultation with a Nutritionist I decided to go 100% into changing my lifestyle.
I decided (with huge risk) to stop my steroids, so I could test out the power of food and exercise. I followed the nutrition plan and took the supplements (way too many). I started exercise (Thai Boxing).
I don’t recall any more how long it took, but my life changed. I started to heal and I started to re gain weight and feel my normal self. I was back to eating food and not a steroid in sight.
Totally blown away by the power of nutrition, I then went on to study Nutrition to qualify as a Nutritionist. Mainly with the idea I just wanted to impact someone’s life like mine had been. To go from feeling like I was an alien and unable to live life like a normal person, to feeling so good again is powerful stuff. I want to be the person who makes a difference to someone health and lifestyle.
I will never forget that nutritionist, yes she was a little supplement heavy, but she showed me I could help myself become well again.