March 2011. For a little over a week I had been having extreme abdominal and rectal pain, especially during bowel movements. It was excruciating. I was also passing blood. A lot of blood. The first time I looked in the toilet and saw that, I swear to you my heart skipped a few beats. I thought the worst, which I’m sure a lot of people do. I went to my GP and told her my symptoms. She then gave me a cream as she suspected I had a fissure (tear) and sent me on my way.

Another week went by, I had gotten worse. I went to see the same GP who told me to continue with my cream for another week.
I didn’t wait another week. I was in agony, going the toilet 20+ times a day and passing blood every time. Instead I asked to see a different GP. Dr Ashton. I will never forget her name. I went in to her office, sat down and told her everything I told the first GP. By this time I had lost a lot of weight. She checked my eyelids which were pale and took my blood pressure which was sky high. She instantly called an ambulance. She sat me in a private room with one of the receptionists while I waited for the paramedics. Dr Ashton came in with the paramedics not long after and told them “I think she may have Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, she’s lost a lot of blood”.
I had heard of Crohn’s as my cousin has it, but I didn’t know what it was and I’d never heard of Ulcerative Colitis. What’s running through my head right now…. “Fuck”.

Now on the way to the hospital, the paramedic puts in an IV needle in case I needed a blood transfusion. I really did look like a zombie.
At the hospital, I was on my own and I couldn’t hold back the tears. My dad was on his way, but I didn’t know how long he was going to be. I was shitting bricks. You know what I mean! Anyway, a lovely lady who was in with her daughter came to comfort me. She offered to look for my dad for me. “What does he look like?” I replied through my tears in hysterics, “Santa.”. Seriously, he’s the spit. She returned within minutes with my dad. Priceless.
I was taken into another private room and fitted with an oxygen mask and was told the surgical team would be there shortly. Again…. “Fuck”.

About 6 or 7 doctors came in to the room with clipboards and assessed me and suspected the same as Dr Ashton. Thankfully I wasn’t taken into surgery. The head surgeon didn’t think I needed it just yet and wanted to avoid it if we could. I was taken to an available bed, to my surprise I had a room to myself and my own toilet. This was a small win in the long road ahead. I was fitted with 2 more IV’s, one for fluids and the other for meds, steroids and pain relief. I felt like a human pin cushion.

Two days later, I was taken for a colonoscopy (I will do a separate post about this delightful experience). Where I was officially diagnosed with what Dr Ashton suspected almost instantly, “You have Ulcerative Colitis.”

Published by Elle Quinn