Girls-With-Guts: Bella’s Story

How I lost and found myself after being diagnosed with UC

Hi everyone! Let me introduce myself, my name is Bella, and I am 24 years old. I was diagnosed with UC in 2007 right on my 19th birthday.  I went from being a healthy, happy, bubbly, energetic, athlete college student, to being suddenly very ill basically over night.

At first the medications helped, and I thought ok great, I just have to take some medication and I will be fine.  But 6 months later after a trip to Russia I was sick again and the medications weren’t helping.  I went through a lot of trials and tribulations.  I would try something, it would help briefly, and then it wouldn’t.  It felt crazy to me, and I could not, and would not believe this was my life!  It felt as if I was on a continuous physical and emotional rollercoaster.  I was very thin, weak, ill, and scared.  I was depressed, and just wasn’t myself.  I hid from the world, I didn’t want anyone to see me, I didn’t even want to see myself!   So I pushed everyone I could away. I felt like my life, dreams, goals, and aspirations were slipping way, and my life was pulled out from under me.  I didn’t want to be in my own reality, so I would do anything to get out of it.  All I really wanted was to be healthy again but since I couldn’t have that, I wanted to sleep, watch TV, and read in peace, anything but to face the fact the my body turned on me and was deteriorating quickly.

Eight months later I took a turn for the worse and I was out of options.  The doctors offered me  J-pouch surgery, but the way that they explained it to me, it sounded awful and not any better.  There were so many possible complications, and chances that I would still be running to the bathroom 10 plus times.  Then they would say something like yes we are cutting out a vital organ, but 98% of people are happy with the surgery.  That sounded ludicrous to me, how would sitting in the bathroom all day be any different then what I was going through already?  After wallowing in self pity for awhile I decided I would refuse to give up!   There had to be a way I would be well again! Then I started looking into alternative medicine. I read hundreds of natural health books, and I tried numerous therapies. Finally a few months in, things were looking up.  I even moved to Florida, because I felt better in the warm weather climate. Alternative medicine became a passion, and healing myself became a mission.  I was up and down again, and off all medications.  Over the next 2 years there were times I was doing very well, and times when I was sick again, but never as bad as I was before. Unfortunately it didn’t help me as much as I hoped, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t heal a dead colon.  So after 4 plus years fighting, I realized no matter what I tried my colon was too far gone to begin with and nothing I did, not even my stubborn determination would rejuvenate it.  I finally gave in and decided that since I tried everything else, this had to be my way and that my surgery had to be a success.   There was no alternative, I was determined to be a healthy person and this just had to be the answer.  I found the best surgeon in NY and set a date for my surgery. My first surgery was set November 29, 2011 and my second was January 31st 2012.

Four months later, I am so happy and feel extremely lucky!  I am not one of those people that can say they are grateful that they went through all this pain, but I can admit that it was one hell of a character building experience!  It has made me so much more compassionate, understanding, caring, and an incredibly strong individual.  I have been humbled by my experiences and just feel very grateful that I live in a time with modern medicine/surgery and I was given the opportunity to live my life to the fullest!  I feel like I am back to my old self again, but even better!  I have been playing tennis, skiing, dancing, singing again, and doing everything that I love.  Now that I can concentrate on something besides trying to be healthy, I have been putting the pieces of my life back together. I am currently working as a health coach, studying nutrition, and opening up my own business. I hope to help others with IBD and give back in any way I can.

 

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