Most of the time, I down play my UC and the symptoms I experience because frankly they are awful and I don't like to be miserable thinking about them, especially if I am experiencing them.
Here is the clinical definition of Ulcerative Colitis:
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the large intestine, also known as the colon, in which the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and develops tiny open sores, or ulcers, that produce pus and mucous. The combination of inflammation and ulceration can cause abdominal discomfort and frequent emptying of the colon.
Ulcerative colitis is the result of an abnormal response by your body's immune system. Normally, the cells and proteins that make up the immune system protect you from infection. In people with IBD, however, the immune system mistakes food, bacteria, and other materials in the intestine for foreign or invading substances. When this happens, the body sends white blood cells into the lining of the intestines, where they produce chronic inflammation and ulcerations.
Sounds pretty, doesn't it? It's not. Basically my body is attacking itself and they don't know why or how to cure it. The symptoms I experience when I am not in remission, which we uc'ers refer to 'flares', are the following:
Blood in the stools
Joint pain and swelling
Sounds like a day at Disneyland, doesn't it? Not so much. Take your worst day with the stomach flu and maximize that times ten and that's a normal day for me. I've been dealing with these symptoms on and off, daily for over two years.
Does this disease define me? Yes and no. It defines how I live my life in numberous ways. I have to think about things on a daily basis while in a flare that others probably cannot even fathom.
School for Kyle starts at 8:00 am. I should be awake by at least 6:30 am so that if I have a rough morning, I can do what I need to do while close to a bathroom. Mornings are a nightmare. Because the lining of my intestines are so inflammed I cannot hold a bowel movement like a normal person. If I am not near a bathroom, it's a very embarrassing experience. Thus, this makes me have to schedule late appointments and errands. I don't think I would be able to even commute to work unless I had a built in port a potty in my car. Am I getting way to personal for you now? Well you know what, I have come to the conclusion that this is my life and it's up to me to educate people on the disease. I hope that in turn I may help people understand what I go through and maybe even help people who may experience similar symptoms. Let's face it, nobody likes to talk about their colon, intestines or bowel movements. But, they are VERY important things to talk about.
My disease is like other auto immune diseases. It just happens to effect my digestive tract. Some days are better than others. Sometimes this disease is so unpredictable.