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Going to School and Secretly Suffering with UC

When I was 16 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC). I began exhibiting symptoms at the beginning of 2019 when I was 15 years old. It took the doctors a few months to figure out what was going on with me but eventually my GP asked me for a stool sample and sent me to have a colonoscopy with a specialist a week after my 16th birthday (6 months after the symptoms happened). Yes that’s right, everyone else was having a fantastic time on their 16th birthday and I was just hoping that the doctors would find an answer. The colonoscopy did show that my large bowel was partly inflamed which brought me some much needed closure.

Being unmediated for so long became a real struggle for me; I started to have dizzy spells as I was losing so much blood and lost a bit of weight. My stomach was in so much pain and I couldn’t help but endure it for so long. Furthermore, there was the struggle of completing Year 10. I went to school every day with the fear of pooping my pants, which surprisingly didn’t happen. However, I did experience urgency and terrible cramps (even through exams). Then I finally found a doctor who first prescribed me with Sulfasalazine and then added Azathioprine after another colonoscopy (which to this day I still cannot pronounce).

Life has been pretty good after I was medicated. I’m still borderline anaemic (I’m 112 and the normal is 115). Yes, I will never really have normal bathroom habits unless I had surgery; but, I have come to accept that I will be living with it all my life and you know what; that’s ok. I’m ok. And everything will be ok. We all have struggles in life. This one will be mine and I will continue to take it in my stride no matter what (seriously, if I had to have my colon and/or rectum removed I would be ok with that, for the most part).

If you suffer with UC or Crohn’s Disease (CD) please understand that you are not alone. There are so many people who suffer with it and are ashamed which shouldn’t be the case. Let your disease be known to the outside world tell your friends about your experiences with it. I’m way too open with my friends about it and I won’t change that (We have to suffer from it so if they feel uncomfortable then they don’t deserve to be your friends). Everything you experience is valid. Your pain is valid. You are valid.

My name is Samantha Richards and this is my story with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

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.


  • Pam.Kingsland moderator
    2 months ago

    @samantharich, thank you so much for sharing your story with our community, it’s is so powerful to read your words. Thank you for also sharing your words of encouragement. Keep on fighting and being so strong, you’re truly an inspiration! Warmly, Pam (team member)

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