Michelle’s story: finding calm in the chaos

Hello, I’m Michelle, a 30-year-old mum of three beautiful kids. My journey with ulcerative colitis has been a rollercoaster of pain, confusion, and ultimately, a fight for my health that I never anticipated.

It all began after the birth of my second daughter in 2016. I noticed a change in my body that was impossible to ignore. The doctors attributed my symptoms to hormone changes and diet, a seemingly reasonable explanation at the time. But as months turned into years, my condition only worsened. By 2018, my life was disrupted by extreme urgency, blood, and mucus in my stool, leading me to undergo my first-ever colonoscopy. The results were baffling – I was told everything appeared normal, and my issues were put down to gluten intolerance. Following the advice, I transitioned to a low FODMAP diet, hoping for relief. Despite my best efforts to manage my diet, the flare-ups persisted, each more debilitating than the last. I found myself bedridden, missing work, and sinking into misery. Family holidays, once a source of joy, became a source of anxiety, as I needed to ensure I was always near a bathroom.

In 2022, following the birth of my third child, my condition deteriorated rapidly. The bleeding intensified, and by August 2023, eating—and even drinking water—became agonising. The loss of blood left me so weak that an ambulance had to rush me to the hospital, only to be sent home with a misdiagnosis of a urinary tract infection. That very night, I collapsed, necessitating another, more desperate, call for an ambulance. This time, I was admitted to the hospital, where I spent two weeks on IV steroids. It was there, amid the fear and uncertainty, that I finally received my diagnosis: severe ulcerative colitis.

Now, in March 2024, my battle continues. The initial medications failed to settle the storm inside me, and I’ve since moved on to biologics in hopes of finding some relief. This journey has been one of the hardest challenges of my life, but it has also been a profound source of inspiration. Hearing the stories of others who have navigated similar paths has given me strength, and it is in that spirit of community and resilience that I choose to share my own story.

Ulcerative colitis is more than a disease; it’s a daily battle that tests the limits of our endurance, our courage, and our hope. But in sharing our experiences, we can help raise awareness, understanding, and offer support to those who are still searching for answers.

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