I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at the age of 17, and it shook my world. Growing up, I thought my heartache was caused by anxiety or general teenage woes – never in a million years did I expect to be facing down such a serious chronic illness.
My initial reaction to the diagnosis was shock, closely followed by fear. I was scared of the unknown – of what Ulcerative Colitis meant for my future. I was scared of the medical world, of needles and pills and treatments, and I was scared of the pain and fatigue I was sure to experience.
But with support from my family and friends, I learned how to take the reins of my disease. I started to talk openly about it, and embraced preventative care. I become competent and confident in my own ability to manage my symptoms and show Ulcerative Colitis who was boss.
I eventually came to terms with my diagnosis and I started to feel more in control of my own health. I’m taking one day at a time, learning how to best cope with the stress and exhaustion. Of course, it’s a daily battle but I’m managing better each day. I no longer dread my future, but instead I look forward to it.
It has been a difficult journey, but it’s one I am proud of. The acceptance of my Ulcerative Colitis has helped me to live a more full and healthy life, and I’m so thankful for that.