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The New Year from Hell

In general, New Year’s is a time for people to make resolutions for themselves, start over with a clean slate and try to better themselves. People look forward to the next year’s adventures. Out with the old you and in with the new! Yes, New Year’s is a time of renewal… except for when it’s not.

The blood in my stool wouldn’t stop

New Year’s Eve 2010 was one of the best in my memory. I had my new love interest, Dave, whom I’d been dating for nearly a year. We were spending New Year’s Eve with his parents in Tennessee at their cabin. It was snowing and there were icicles taller than me, hanging off the roof of the cabin. It was beautiful. I just knew that 2011 was going to be one to remember. But I didn’t know that it was going to be one filled with chronic illness.

On New Year’s Day, I began having a little blood in my stool. Looking back, I am certain that this wasn’t the beginning of my first flare because I’d experienced this same thing before. This time was different though. A few days after I saw blood in my stool, I experienced diarrhea. The other times this happened, it only lasted a week or two and then went away. This time, it wouldn’t stop.

I knew it was time to see a doctor for these serious symptoms

After two weeks of frequent bathroom visits (upwards of 20), rapid weight loss, and pools of blood in the bottom of the toilet, I knew I needed to see a doctor. But first, I had my boyfriend’s best friend’s wedding to go to. I didn’t want to go, but I promised to be there, and so I sucked it up.

I had finally gotten brave enough to admit to my boyfriend that I was having digestive issues, but I didn’t mention the blood. He was annoyed with me and thought I was faking it to try to get out of being social (I’m shy and introverted, but I’m not going to try to get out of something because of it!).

A new battle with inflammatory bowel disease

My resolution for 2011 was to finally acquire my black belt in Shotokan karate. My colon, on the other hand, had different plans. I was finally diagnosed with ulcerative colitis the week of Valentine’s Day and from there I began an unexpected battle with inflammatory bowel disease. My new goal was to be healthy enough so that I could get back on track for my black belt training.

It took me quite some time to get to a point of what I would call “healthy” and have somewhat of a normal life after diagnosis. My disease journey involved medicinal changes, diet changes, steroids, the roller coaster that is IBD, and a few surgeries. While life isn’t what it used to be, I’m doing ok now.

2011 certainly proved to be one to remember. Not only was I diagnosed with an incurable disease, but my boyfriend married me! He proposed just 6 months after I was diagnosed.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.