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Fighting back

I was 29 when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. 10 years prior, I was standing proud on the parade deck at Parris Island, South Carolina having earned the title of United States Marine. Growing up and up until my late twenties, there was no indication of disease or symptom and I am so blessed that I was able to accomplish so much before my disease hit me like a freight train.

And now the pain. The awful, gut wrenching, bone crushing pain and fatigue. I thought it was just the stomach bug. But stomach bugs don’t last for 6 months. Fast forward two years into the present, I’m still not in remission. I’m soon to be tapering off steroids and have recently started dosing of Entyvio every four weeks as I lost response with eight week dosing intervals.

Ulcerative Colitis has indeed impacted every facet of my life. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve tried to tackle deadlines (and succeeded) at work while dealing with what seemed like a knife moving through my bowels. And the fatigue? OMG. Even with enough exercise and sleep, waking up (or laying in bed wide awake) and then heading to work, let alone putting my pants on one leg at a time, feels like a bridge too far most days. But I choose to fight back. I will not let this disease defeat me. I will not let this disease steal my career that I’ve worked years to build. Oh and those deadlines? I made the mistake of taking on way too much at work which led to me breaking down into tears in front of my boss (no, it wasn’t awkward) and asking for some wiggle room in my work load because I’m struggling with a debilitating disease that she had no idea about (insert #invisibledisease here).

Sometimes fighting back actually means asking for help. Getting more rest ( God knows IBD patients need it). Fighting back also means taking your health seriously and seeking the medical team for you if your current team isn’t managing your disease to your expectations. Fight back on your own terms. One day at a time.

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.