I realized recently that I've never actually posted the story of how colitis entered our lives! So here it is, nearly 3 years later :)
Our second child was born in March 2009. Right smack dab in the middle of "busy season" for TR. Usually the winter months are much busier for him and this year wasn't too bad but by March it had picked up for sure! I remember thinking that a planned induction would be nice just so I could guarantee that he would be there :)
What I didn't notice was that TR was not doing well. Not at all.
I was complaining of pregnancy problems not even realizing what was happening to him. And it still fills me with grief that I didn't really notice. All I saw was that my back hurt, my sciatic nerve was making my life miserable and the baby never let me sleep. I didn't notice that TR was losing weight, he was in pain and the bathroom was becoming all too familiar with him.
When Ben was born TR was there, thankfully, but not for long. We came home from the hospital less than 24 hours after he was born and TR stayed long enough to help me get him in the house and then he was gone again.
It was easy for me to think that all this working was the reason TR wasn't feeling well, the reason he was losing weight. But then summer came and things didn't change. I thought maybe he just wasn't eating well (if you know us you know the things he liked to take with him to work :) I tried to convince him to stop eating so many sweets and so much pop - but mostly I was just concerned about getting some more sleep and wishing he'd have more energy to help out with the kids. He would come home and crash. He was always tired. I wondered why he couldn't help out more.
Thankfully TR knew something wasn't right and went in to find out what was going on in his body. I think that maybe it was in June or so that he initially went it. I think it might have even been several appointments - my memory of this is a little fuzzy (I was getting up for 2 kids okay :) When the doctor took a bunch of blood and ordered stool samples I started to take notice. Was he really sick? Could it be that something was really going wrong here? When they ordered the colonoscopy I stopped being blind. Thankfully I still wasn't super worried here (I say thankfully because if I had been it wouldn't have helped and I probably would have been doing a ton of research which honestly until you have a diagnosis can be very scary). After all I'd never even heard of colitis and we were still young. Whatever it was had to be minor and easy to fix.
In November 2009 we headed to our nearest city for the test, taking 9 month old Ben with us. TR had to do a fast and drink some nasty stuff to clean out his system. I remember thinking how thankful I was that TR was so capable, so easygoing about it. It hardly seemed to phase him. And he said that once the initial hunger wore off he felt better than he had in a long time. After he was diagnosed it actually made sense why the fast helped.
I hated that feeling of watching him walk away for the procedure. It felt a little scary and out of control. Ben was so cute and did so well, even though I refused to let him crawl around on the hospital floor :) He charmed another patient who was waiting for her turn and really made her day. She just couldn't get enough of him and I remember feeling thankful that I had brought him with, if only to brighten this unwell woman's day.
After TR was done he was really out of it. I asked him questions and he answered them, but later he couldn't remember talking to me or even what he had said! It was so weird but the doctor said that was normal. The paper the doctor gave me said "no cancer" scribbled beneath a bunch of other words and that's when it hit me.
This could have been serious.
In fact, when he was talking to us later he said it was most likely Ulcerative Colitis and I actually felt relief. I knew what cancer was and that was bad. I'd never heard of UC before so how bad could it be?
After we came home and did some research I realized just how bad it could be. And according to the doctor TR had it bad. His whole colon was inflamed. From the rectum to the entire large intestine.
So that was how he was diagnosed. They sent us home with prescriptions and a lifelong sentence to be tied to them. It was heartbreaking watching the man I love try to take pills when the smallest pill can choke him (due to his narrow throat). It was heartbreaking to know that his body was fighting against him and we knew of nothing that could stop it or slow it down.
But the story doesn't end there! We have an amazing Father who gave us a great gift and for that I am thankful beyond words. Less than a year later we had changed our diet and TR has now been prescription drug free for 2 years!!!!! He still has ups and downs and the downs are hard, but we are learning how to care for his body and I have great hope that one day his energy levels will be soaring again!