5 Things To Remember Once You've Been Diagnosed
So you've officially been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, now what? You may be scared, you may even be a little sad or confused. That's okay. It is 100% okay to not be okay. It is fine to take time to process, after all, you've (just) been told you not only have a disease but a disease with no cure. This is certainly not news that will make your day and unfortunately, you will likely remember this day for the rest of your life.
It's a lot to take in and you may feel overwhelmed with all of your new responsibilities: managing frequent doctor appointments and follow-ups, research, picking up and taking medications, scheduling tests, considering other consultations with dietitians and mental health professionals, the list goes on. I've drawn up a list of things I wish someone would have told me when I was diagnosed.
What I wish I knew when diagnosed with ulcerative colitis
Some things to think about, maybe even meditate on. I still think about (some of) these things to this day. Almost eight years post-diagnosis and I still find them relevant and helpful when I'm going through tough times. I hope they help you just as much!
1. You've been diagnosed, but you are not defeated
There will likely be days when everything feels impossible. IBD takes away so much, one major thing being control. There have been so many times that I just wanted to breakdown and cry. Frustrated with how little control I had over my life. Feeling as if IBD owned me. I didn't have control over my time: most was spent in hospitals and doctor's offices. I didn't have control over my mind: most thoughts pertained to the nearest bathroom, exit or a plan for the "what ifs." I didn't even have control over my own body. My mindset was so negative, and at times I was defeated, not realizing that it wasn't IBD that I'd been defeated by. I'd been defeated by my own negativity and outlook on life. Remember who you are. You are still the person you were pre-diagnosis. Don't allow IBD to take away your happiness.
2. It's better to know
After being diagnosed with any chronic condition you are likely to experience a whirlwind of emotions. That's okay. There's no "right way" to respond to being told you have a condition that (currently) has no cure. Although the news is not what anyone wants to hear, in a way it helps. It's an answer. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may have experienced some uncomfortable, even painful symptoms. Now you know why. Now you can move forward. No more "what could this be?" You can now move on to "how can I beat this?"
3. Colitis and Crohn's treatments are available
Don't let the term "chronic illness" fool you. There may not be a cure for Inflammatory Bowel Disease(s) just yet, but you do have options. Try to remember this when you're dealing with your new diagnosis or even after trying medications with no results.
4. Don't let fear prevent you from trying
While information is growing, and awareness is constantly being brought to these topics, there are still many people who fear things like clinical trials, biological drugs and other options that may be available. Don't let fear stop you from trying something that may very well benefit you.
5. Appreciate the little things
Between all of the doctor appointments, medications, colonoscopies and other testing, don't forget to appreciate the little things. Whether you're finishing your degree or your laundry, it's still something to celebrate.
How about you? What have you learned through your diagnosis journey?
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