I've been feeling the initial signs for a couple of weeks now. At first I tried to ignore them, thought, nah, it's something else, something that will just run its course. After 25 years, one would think that I would recognize the beginning for exactly what it is. Still, I hate the path, so denial is usually the first step for me.
But then on Monday the pain really kicked in and demanded to be heard. Yesterday, a mild fever joined the pain. This morning, I woke up with a mind full of hope that things would be different but a body that hurt in every joint.
What in the world am I talking about? Ulcerative Colitis. UC is a chronic autoimmune disease that I was diagnosed with in college. It results in inflammation of the colon’s innermost layer, where small tears or ulcers develop along the interior, oftentimes bringing on a lot of pain, and blood.
I will spare you of the key symptom, but lets just say that I spend a lot of time in the bathroom.
Doctors and scientists still do not know what causes ulcerative colitis. In the past 25 years, I've read a lot of reasearch, all inconclusive. Many think the disease is inherited while some think it is environment. At one time, it was thought to be nutrition or stress, but both of these theories have been debunked. Although the exact causes are not known, one thing is for certain: UC is a result of the body’s immune system responding incorrectly. Your immune systems understands the difference between good and bad bacteria and so does mine, usually. Sometimes, however, my body cannot differentiate and so it attacks itself in my colon. And, oh wow, is there ever a war brewing in there right now.
Even though I know what is going on and I have an appointment with my Gastrointerologist this afternoon, I'm still really really really hoping that I'm wrong. Seriously, I'm probably the only person that goes to her doctor hoping to hear food poisoning.