The symptoms of ulcerative colitis, before and after diagnosis
16 Jan 2020
Discover the story of Carenity member GraziadiLuna who's been living with ulcerative colitis for the past 25 years. Here she talks about her life with the illness, the symptoms before and after her diagnosis and the impact of ulcerative colitis on her daily life.
Hello and thank you for agreeing to talk with us. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Grazia, I have two grown-up daughters and a gorgeous granddaughter. I think it's pretty easy to see I'm no spring chicken!
How did you find out about Carenity?
I stumbled on it by chance, I was looking for a forum where it'd be possible to interact with other people who were living with the same problem as me.
When did you first find out you were ill? What were the symptoms?
I found out I had ulcerative colitis 25 years ago after I started experiencing classic symptoms: blood and mucus in my stool, strange stomach pains and sudden bouts of diarrhoea. My GP sent me to see a gastroenterologist right away who conducted several tests on me before doing a colonoscopy that confirmed that I had ulcerative colitis.
How did you react to the diagnosis?
At first, I was shocked, and just the words "chronic illness" made me feel anxious, mostly because I had no idea what I was in for. Fortunately, the treatment I'm on has worked well and I feel better. After that, I decided that I wasn't going to allow myself to be defeated by this illness, I was going to live a normal life and fight it with all my might.
What was the reaction of those closest to you?
My husband has always supported me and he's always been a big help even on those days when my morale was through the floor. I've always worked, never missed a day, and I've never stopped travelling.
What are the impacts of this illness on your daily life?
In my daily life, the most difficult thing for me to deal with is the unpredictable nature of the illness and the urge to run to the toilet especially if I'm out and about.
What advice would you give to the loved ones of someone living with this condition?
The advice I'd give to relatives is to try to be understanding and kind. If you're trying to get a diagnosis, the most sensible thing would be to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist that you can really trust.
Any final advice?
We need to feel like we have others support at all times.
A big thank you to Grazia for sharing her story. What about you? How has ulcerative colitis impacted your daily life? Don't hesitate to leave your experiences in the comments!