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 [...] continue the story

Girls-With-Guts: Lauren’s Story

When Giving Up a Dream Really is the Best Thing

I became a runner almost immediately after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. For some reason, despite the blood loss, the anemia, emaciated body and new diagnosis, my disease didn’t strike me as serious at first. It was no different than chicken pox or strep throat. Okay, sure, I’ll take my medication and feel better. The thought that I couldn’t do something because of my disease simply didn’t occur to me, and I’m grateful for that naiveté. Not knowing just how bad ulcerative colitis could get, or how much it could impact my running journey gave me the courage to start. It started with a 5k. Then an 8k. A few half marathons. Several marathons. Before I knew it, I was deeply engrossed in the running community and surrounded by a group of incredibly athletic friends. They’re the kind of people who think training for an Ironman, a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run, is a lot of fun. The more I became one of them, the more just running marathons seemed insignificant. I decided I wanted the challenge of triathlon, but swore up and down I would [...] continue the story

Girls-With-Guts: Megan’s Story

When the Little Things Make a Big Difference

My college campus wasn’t very big. It only took 10 minutes to walk across the entire thing, and less to go from class to class. But even so, I remember running out of one class to use the nearest bathroom, and walking, defeated, to the next building for my next class, just to have that dreaded feeling of urgency hit again.

Junior year of college was one of the hardest times I have had in dealing with my IBD. I had been diagnosed just two years prior, and I had had it for long enough to accept that I was never going to be healthy again. But since I was diagnosed at essentially the beginning of my college experience, I didn’t know enough about sharing it with other people, and I didn’t have any good friends to be supportive. Basically, every day of junior year was just dealing, trying to get through one day at a time, and hoping the next one would be better. This included many days spent missing class, staying near a bathroom, and visits to the doctor or ER.

Although I was unsure of how both my disease and my college career would turn [...] continue the story