Patient Blogs | Ulcerative Colitis
10 Things Having Ulcerative Colitis Has Taught Me
photo of man looking out over body of water
  1. If you notice pain or something unusual about your body, see a doctor right away. Don’t wait for the condition to resolve itself because that might not happen, and things could get worse. I could have saved myself time and suffering if I had seen a doctor sooner when I first noticed blood in my stools.
  2. Enjoy your good health while you have it. This applies to people with no health problems and people whose chronic conditions are currently being successfully managed by medication. Through no fault of your own, you could develop a chronic illness, or the medication that’s controlling your condition could suddenly stop working.
  3. Appreciate your normal bowel movements. Until you have a problem with them, you might not realize how you take normal bowel movements for granted. Before a biologic began to control my condition, I went several months without a normal-feeling, blood-free bowel movement. I remember how happy I was when I had my first normal bowel movement again.
  4. More people have irritable bowel diseases than I ever knew. Before being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, I knew two people with an irritable bowel disease. After I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and began to share that information with people, I discovered that several students, colleagues, and friends either had an irritable bowel disease themselves or had family members who did.
  5. Health insurance is complicated. Prior to my hospitalizations, my experience with the health care system and with health insurance was minimal. At times, dealing with insurance has been a part-time job. I have spent many hours on the phone and the internet dealing with insurance referrals and pre-authorizations.
  6. Medical care and biologics are expensive. Without health insurance, it would be impossible for me to afford my ulcerative colitis health care and medication.
  7. Talking with others who have ulcerative colitis helps. I have benefited immensely from talking to others who have ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Their understanding, tips, and support have made dealing with my condition a bit easier.
  8. I am not in control of my disease. I’ll probably never know why I developed ulcerative or why several medications stopped working for me. Instead of ruminating on why this happened, I focus on the things I can control: taking my medication as directed, eating right, exercising, and keeping my care team informed about any changes in my condition.
  9. I need to be my best advocate. My health care team has been a great help, especially with insurance, but they can’t do everything. And they can’t address issues they don’t know about. If I have a problem, I need to speak up.
  10. I can deal with this. Although living with ulcerative colitis has been a struggle at times, I’m doing my best to live life as I did before I was diagnosed. Because several medications have stopped working for me, I take life one day at a time.

 

 

Photo Credit: Carles Navarro Parcerisas / Moment via Getty Images

WebMD Patient Blog © 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Brett Gaul

Brett Gaul

Diagnosed since 2016

Brett Gaul has lived with ulcerative colitis since 2016. A philosophy professor, Gaul enjoys sharing his passion for philosophy and helping students live more meaningful and successful lives. When he’s not having interesting dinner conversations with his history professor wife and three children, he likes reading, running, and rooting for Minnesota sports teams. 

Latest Blog Posts From Brett Gaul

How Connecting With Other Patients Helps With My Ulcerative Colitis

How Connecting With Other Patients Helps With My Ulcerative Colitis

Living with ulcerative colitis has been difficult at times, but I have been helped, strengthened, and comforted by connecting with other patients ....

Read more
Coming to Terms With Ulcerative Colitis

Coming to Terms With Ulcerative Colitis

Prior to being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis 5 years ago, I considered myself a very healthy person. I ate well, got enough sleep, and ran regularly ....

Read more