Diagnosed later in life

“Aged about 45, with two young kids, and after a stressful period in my life, I had a dose of diarrhea that didn’t resolve. Eventually, I took a trip to the GP and was surprised that she sent me straight to a gastroenterologist. The gastroenterologist told me I had ‘earned’ a colonoscopy.  In the recovery room he told me that I had something called Ulcerative Colitis, gave me a bottle of pills and told me to ring his rooms for a follow-up appointment.

Even though I am a health professional, it took time to understand that – unlike every other prescription I had ever had – this wasn’t going to be just one bottle of pills but treatment that I would be taking for the rest of my life.

Since then, I’ve been relatively well, heeding my specialist’s advice to stay the course and not be in the percentage that need a colostomy.  I’ve had some ups and downs where I needed cortisone to settle a flare up, but I’ve also had a few years where I was medication-free.

In the first COVID year I had a major relapse, more disabling than anything I had experienced before. If I hadn’t been working from home, I would have had to resign, as easy access to the toilet was essential.  A year and a half later, I’m really well (on maintenance therapies) again, though trying to get on top of some of the comorbidities that come with UC.  

All things considered, I think I’ve been lucky, as onset later in life means I was able to travel freely for a couple of years and have children without having to worry about medication. I’ve just ticked over 40 years as an occupational therapist. My story is much ‘lighter’ than many publicised.

Hopefully it might give hope to new members that they might not be highly disabled or have to endure invasive procedures.”