On June second 2008 at the age of 35 I was informed by my physician that my Ulcerative Colitis had progressed beyond the capability of medical control, the tests had shown that that my colon was lined with numerous polyps from one end to the other, and that dysplasia had developed in one particular spot. I was faced with two choices that inevitably would lead to the same conclusion; On the one side I could continue to suffer with the colitis until the pre-cancerous tissue developed into cancer, and then have a colectomy and whatever treatment would be necessary to ensure any missed cells do not spread, or have the colectomy immediately and avoid the pending colon cancer. In some ways I think I could relate to some of what Mr. O’Connor went through.
It started in 2000 when I began to experience severe digestive problems, and like most I hoped it would go away; that is until one bad day that ended with going to the emergency room where the tests indicated the problem was worst than I hoped and wasn’t going away. My physician ordered up the tests to discover that the problem was colitis. It was difficult at first, needing medications for an incurable disease that I knew nothing about. Like Mr. O’Connor, I decided that I wasn’t going to let this disease stop me from living my life to the fullest. With the aid of the internet and my physician I was able to learn about Crohn’s and Colitis; with information from such places as the Mayo Clinic, Marshfield, and different groups and foundations concerned with these disease. I was able to see that my physician was following a recognized treatment for Colitis, and also that there were lifestyle changes I could do to aid in controlling my flare-ups; however, I also learned from my research that the risk of colon cancer increases for everyone afflicted with this disease; that information did prepare me for the inevitable diagnosis in June 2008, and made my decision to go ahead with the colectomy to prevent the development of cancer much easier.
While my physician is a competent healthcare provider, without the access to the information I was able to gather about the disease, my experience would have been a much more frightening and uncertain experience.