I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis on September 2nd, 2014. Because I am a stubborn soul (though my friends like to use the word 'resilient' because it sounds more positive than 'stubborn'), I struggled with my symptoms alone and in silence for more than 7 years before finally seeking medical help.
Before receiving my diagnosis, my symptoms made some things in life very hard for me; and since I began getting treatment my life has been hard in other ways. It is safe to say that I think about my colitis, and things that can go wrong because of it, every single day. And yet, I know how fortunate I am to be in my situation.
I work as a nurse at a children's hospital, and I have seen and cared for many patients whose conditions and complications from Crohn's and ulcerative colitis are much worse than mine. I feel very blessed that I was able to be diagnosed so soon after going to see my doctor and that my condition has improved since I started taking medications. And I am incredibly grateful to have not needed surgery to fix my gut issues yet. From time to time I am able to sympathize with some of the patients I care for by sharing my story with them, and I am glad when this connection helps my patients feel better.
One of the things that has been the most helpful to me in dealing with this illness is the great support I have felt from my friends and family members. It is a great comfort to me to know that I have people to lean on, and I am so grateful for all the support I have received. In an effort to share with others the support that I have benefited from, I started a team for the 'Take Steps' walk in 2016; and I hope I am able to continue that tradition for many years to come. When I come here, my focus here is not on my own condition - it is on everyone else who has struggled with these diseases. I want my patients from the past, present, and future to know that I understand much of what they are going through and that I want to do all I can to help them.