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3 Things I Had to Give Up After Diagnosis

In 2011, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. If I knew then what I know now, I think it would not have been as difficult for me when I realized that getting into remission wouldn’t be so simple. But the truth is, nothing can prepare you for a diagnosis with a disease for which there is no cure. When you’re diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, you can pretty much expect it to change your life forever (unless you’re one of the very, very lucky ones to only flare once).

A diagnosis turns your life upside down. I had to give up several things after diagnosis and I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one.

Things I had to give up after my UC diagnosis

I gave up my black belt

I was very physically active in Shotokan karate when my symptoms hit. I was six months away from getting my black belt. I had plans to work hard and learn my forms and participate in several tournaments (my sensei even told me I was a shoe-in for state champion). And then the diarrhea began.

I kept going to class anyway… but it was difficult. I got winded easily and the thought of having to go to the bathroom was constantly on my mind. Then, I began having bloody bowel movements. I got dizzy several times during class and had to sit down. Finally, I went to the doctor and got my diagnosis. I was prescribed steroids and sadly, that’s what eventually led to me putting a halt on my classes. My joints swelled up and I was in excruciating pain. It was awful. I was devastated.

Sadly, about four months after diagnosis, I moved to another state to be closer to my boyfriend and didn’t find a suitable replacement dojo. I hope to one day get back into it… but until then, I’m still just a brown belt with a dream.

I lost my dignity

I can remember the whole diagnosis process. It was long and strenuous. It was frightening. At one point, when handing a stool sample to a nurse, I remember saying, “I feel like I’ve lost all my dignity…” She laughed and told me it was no big deal… but I had a previous experience at a different clinic where two nurses made it clear that it was a big deal and that my stool sample was so disgusting they complained about it very loudly. I was poked and prodded in very private places (my butt!). I was stabbed with multiple needles and asked very personal questions. Eventually, those sorts of things kind of became the norm… but for a while, I definitely felt like my dignity was gone…

I gave up my healthy lifestyle and sense of self

This one is kind of obvious, but it took a while for this one to sink in for me. I was in denial for a very long time after initial diagnosis. I thought I’d just take a few pills and get back to my normal everyday living. It was a major blow when I realized it wasn’t going to be so simple as that. It took months for me to even begin feeling “ok” again… and even then, my life has never been the same. I lost myself. Ulcerative colitis changed me. It was difficult, but it was a process that I had to go through. Eventually I learned to accept my new life… but I definitely had to learn how to mourn my old one.

A few positives that came out of my diagnosis

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness is hard. It’s frustrating. But if I take a look at the big picture, I can say that it isn’t necessarily all bad. Had I not been diagnosed, there are some things I would have never learned about myself or about life. Had I not been diagnosed, my relationship with my husband would not be as strong as it is today. And I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I now have. I wouldn’t have met the amazing and wonderful friends I have today. I believe that whenever you have to give up something, it’s to make room for something even better. And who can really complain about that?

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.


  • Moonsta
    11 months ago

    I had to stop working. The stress there was so high, I’d have accidents. No fun!!

  • Shawn Bethea moderator
    11 months ago

    Very relatable. IBD can take so much from you. I hope things have calmed down, at least stress wise, for you. – Shawn, Team Member

  • Eric Jensen
    1 year ago

    My name is Eric. I’ve currently had ibd .but haven’t been diagnosed. Because of money matters I begged my dr. to give me prednisone. I had to order it from out of the country just to control flares. I’m depressed. And at the end of my hope in our medical system. Please. If anyone has advice. thank u. still suffering. Eric

  • Pam.Kingsland moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Eric, I’m so sorry to hear how you’re suffering 🙁 I know many of our community members can relate to what you’re going through and I’m so glad you’ve found our community. We’re all here for you, to support you, answer any questions, and for you to lean on. While I hope some other community members will reach out, I’m also attaching some articles that I hope will be helpful. Please don’t give up hope! You’re stronger than you think. Thinking of you. – Pam (team member)

  • mjwright196944
    1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing your story. It’s definitely very relatable and has a lot of similarities as my own. Keep your head up and good luck with your future endeavors.

  • Shawn Bethea moderator
    11 months ago

    Thank you for all of your support! Our team certainly appreciates it! Wishing you well! – Shawn, Team Member

  • darci6646
    1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing and I can most definitely relate!

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    1 year ago

    I can relate to this in so many ways. I hope one day you will be able to continue pursuing your black belt. I had to give up my professional dance career because of my health but now that I have gotten symptoms under control, I am working towards getting back into shape to audition again. IBD can really strip you of the things you love, but with time things get better. I hope you are able to continue your love of the art! Rooting for you.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • tabowden
    3 years ago

    I am a practicing physician assistant and the only real reason I’m posting is because I’m absolutely livid at the behavior of those nurses who would be so rude and unprofessional as to make such comments about the stool sample. I believe most people inside the medical community would not act that way, although of course medicine is not immune from people who have bad manners or are unprofessional, to say the least.

    I am deeply sorry that there are people out there who would make you feel like you have any less dignity then you rightfully have. Personally, I can only do my part to make people feel better and provide them comfort in any way possible, and it is up to each one of my coworkers to have standards as well; standards that I believe should reflect the highest level of caring and empathy for all those we take care of.

    I wish you the best with this terrible affliction and hope you have only the best and most caring providers from here on out. Each person that approaches the healthcare system asking for help deserves every bit of empathy and caring that a provider can muster, including the preservation of the patient’s dignity in absolutely every way.

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