Living with Moderate Ulcerative Colitis – My Story

If you’re reading this you’re either curious, effected by UC (the short way of saying Ulcerative Colitis), or know someone that’s effected by UC. Any of these reasons are ok. Not everyone wants to hear about it. Not a lot of people even know what it is. The truth is, talking about Ulcerative Colitis is not a glamorous topic. It involves talk about managing not curing which is not always appealing to the sufferer or a loved one. It involves bathroom talk which ….let’s face it, not a lot of people want to hear. It involves having to plan every outing, just-in-case. It involves figuring out how to deal with people when the ask “what’s wrong?” but don’t actually want to hear about what’s wrong.

When I First Started Realizing Something Wasn’t Right

I started my path to my ulcerative colitis diagnosis roughly 10 years go. This is where I talk about things that people don’t want to hear. After the birth of my youngest son I started noticing I was getting “gassy” a lot. I constantly felt bloated. I started taking things like Gas-X , Pepto-Bismal and trying to change my diet a bit, but it didn’t help. I noticed I was having more need to excuse myself to the restroom. Even when I did, the relief was only temporary. I started to become uncomfortable in a lot of situations not knowing about what would happen. I was afraid of putting myself in embarrassing situations so I’d shy away from things. After about a year or so of dealing with it, I finally decided to see a GI doctor.

My First GI Doctor Visit

The doctor was nice. He seemed to listen to me. He decided to do a colonoscopy. Honestly the prep was the worst part. I did a follow up visit after the test. Basically he said that he didn’t see anything unusual except maybe some mild inflammation. He gave me some pills that I don’t even remember the name of anymore. I took them for a couple months but they didn’t help. If anything, they made me feel more bloated. I told him this and he told me I didn’t have to take them anymore. It was disheartening to hear that he really didn’t have an answer.

I felt like the pills were just thrown at me because there was no other answer. I wasn’t real confident in going back to see this particular GI doctor so I just didn’t. I tried to manage my symptoms myself. Cutting back on carbonated drinks. Virtually eliminating spicy foods. Staying away from greasy foods. Continuing to take things for bloating and indigestion. Eventually my symptoms got worse.

My Symptoms Started Escalating

I was not having diarrhea along with the bloating, and gas. I was also starting to get abdominal cramps and discomfort in my left side. Still I tried to manage it myself. Trying calming teas meant for digestive health. Drinking more water. Now taking anti-diarrheal medications as a daily med just to make it through my work days and other obligations. So I started asking around about GI doctors. I finally got a recommendation that seemed trust-worthy. I called and made an appointment.

About a week or two before this appointment with the new GI doctor though something happened. I was standing at my sink doing dishes when I got terrible abdominal cramps. They hurt to the point that I couldn’t stand up straight. I sat down in my computer chair in the dining room. I had a strong urge to use the bathroom. I ran upstairs as quickly as I could. But I didn’t make it. I was horrified, how could I have not made it. Until I actually got into the bathroom. I realized I didn’t “have an accident” I was bleeding. It was a lot of blood in my pants and still more in the toilet. I called my dad to come watch my kids so I could go to the emergency room. My husband was at work.

They did a test and confirmed I was bleeding “from that area” and they told me to make sure i keep my appointment with my GI doctor.

THE Diagnosis

So I meet with the doctor. I seem to have a lot more confidence in him. He also schedules a colonoscopy along with a couple other tests. When I woke from the colonoscopy I was still back in the testing room. The nurse told me “Yea there’s definitely something there. You’re fire engine red” So they wheel me back out to a cubicle area where my husband is waiting and the doctor tells us I have ulcerative colitis. It was evident in the colonoscopy. I honestly felt some relief. At least I knew what was wrong with me and we could start treating it. I had high hopes of feeling better soon.

My Disease Progression

I started taking a pill. It began with an “A” I can’t even remember anymore. It helped for a while. After about a year though, it seemed like it wasn’t helping as much. I was having flair-ups. Bleeding, cramps, pain, frequent bathroom visits, etc. So he doubles my dosage. Again, I feel pretty good for a few months, ok for several more months, then eventually it felt like it wasn’t working again. So my doctor moves me up to the next “tier” of drugs. A stronger drug. It requires me to get my blood drawn every so many months. Again worked great for a year, stopped working doubled dosage, yada yada yada. Until now where I was again moved up to the next tier of drugs. I need to give myself a shot every other week. Routine blood work is required again. This one has a risk of causing liver cirrhosis which is why the blood work is necessary. After using that for so long….you guessed it, it seemed like it wasn’t working as well so increased it to weekly shots. When that didn’t work infusions were suggested. I’ve yet to jump on that train though.

Daily Life

I have 4 kids, I work part-time in a hospital. I’m only 39 years old. I’m not stopping. I can’t stop, I won’t stop. Anti-diarrheal is a daily medication for me. Humira shots weekly. Gas-X or something similar occasionally. Always mapping out and planning for restroom visits or the day that “I just don’t make it”. I keep a change of pants, underwear, and a pad in my car. I’m always reading about the newest treatments and progress with Ulcerative Colitis treatment. I’m always considering looking at a new doctor or even alternative treatments. I’m hoping for something to help to avoid surgery or ostomies in the future.

Standing in line at the pharmacy is almost impossible. I’m grateful for mail delivered shots. I’m thankful for public restrooms along my commute to work. I’m thankful for generic anti-diarrheal meds at Walmart. I’m thankful I have an understanding husband. A deciding factor upon going somewhere is if I’ll have access to a bathroom.

My Hopes and My Helps

I’ve realized over the years that, people that aren’t effected by UC in some way really don’t want to hear about it. So it can be hard. People don’t understand why you seem flaky about going out or need to cancel because of a flare up or a bad day. There are several resources and communities out there though.

The Crohns and Colitis Foundation has both support groups and an online community. I’ve found the online community helpful in talking and asking questions to other people dealing with the same issues.

It’s hopeful to see some of the new treatments, new research, and new break through with the treatment of Crohn’s and Colitis.

Educating yourself is half the battle. Preparation is the other half. It’s possible to keep on living your life the way you want to. Maybe you just have to make some adjustments.

If you’re just figuring all this out yourself here’s some things that helped me.

  • Stick to trustworthy sites like Crohn’s and Colitis foundation, Mayo clinic, and other trustworthy medical sites. It helps to seek out other sufferers online via blogs, social media, and online forums like the one on the Crohns and Colitis foundation site.
  • Keep a food log. There are some foods you’ll find you just can’t eat anymore if you don’t want to suffer the consequences. As much as I love popcorn and corn on the cob I know I have to abstain from it lest I pay for it the next day.
  • Talk to your GI doctor, dieticians, other dealing with Ulcerative Colitis, and your pharmacist.
  • It’s ok to try other things in addition to your regular treatment. You may find that a certain diet may help you. Maybe a certain tea seems to help. If you want to try some alternative thing like accupressure, massage, etc most time it won’t hurt. I’ve personally been reading about research with CBD.

This is a journey. What may work wonders for one person may not work for the next. It’s easy to get frustrated but keep educating yourself . Eventually you’ll learn what helps and what doesn’t help for your body.


Effected By the Equifax Breach? Read This

In September 2017 the Equifax breach effected 147 million people. It’s hard not to considering Equifax it’s hard not to be considering Equifax is one of the major credit reporting agencies. You may have seen the recent post about settlements for people effected by the Equifax breach. They’re offering free credit monitoring for up to 10 years and identity theft protection or $125 cash payment if you already have credit monitoring in place.

To find out if your information was exposed you can check here

If you are effected, you can file a claim here

The claims process has begun but settlements will not be made until January 23, 2020, at the earliest. Claims must be filed by January 22, 2020.

Click here for more information from the FTC.

I also know I’ve talked about it several times on my blog before but Credit Sesame is a free service that keeps giving more and more free benefits. I highly recommend anyone and everyone create a free account with them. I have had an account with Credit Sesame for many years and have never paid them a dime. It’s a great finance tool to check your credit score, monitor your credit, keep track of your debt, and so much more. But maybe the best feature with the Equifax breach is the FREE credit monitoring and up to $50k in identity theft protection. If you would like you can pay a monthly fee for up to $1m in id theft protection but you do not have to. the $50K in protection is a free service with a Credit Sesame account. They also offer assistance and information if you discover you are the victim of Identity theft. While $50k in coverage is awesome for free it could take more than that if you become a victim of identity theft.

Credit Sesame is free and you have nothing to lose with it. It has become a valuable free financial tool for me in repairing my credit since my divorce 11 years ago that obliterated my credit. I’m happy to say I’ve made leaps and bounds in repairing it and it’s because of resources like this.

This post does contain affiliate links. I will get a small commission when actions are take on the Credit Sesame links only. I do NOT receive compensation from the Equifax links.


Why Every College Student NEEDS Amazon Prime

My oldest son will be a senior in high school this year. We are getting ready to book our first college visit. All of this just seems too real. Two years after that it will be my middle son. I feel so lost when trying to wade through all the new experiences with SATs, ACTs, driving, college applications, etc. So I really appreciate it when there is a one stop shop to make some things easier.

Amazon launches their Off To College Store for 2019. It will have everything you need to make the transition to college a little easier. This includes discounts like 50% off select Levi’s styles, 30% off Tommy Hilfiger adaptive clothing, save on dorm furniture, and more. There’s even a whole, college deals section so you can get the best prices on pencils, pens, dorm decor, water bottles, post-its, and much more.

Don’t forget as a college student you qualify for Amazon Prime Student where you can get 6 months of Amazon Prime for 50% off!

Did you know that Amazon also offers a way to rent, buy, and sell textbooks? It’s true. With your Amazon Prime Student membership that can be big savings on those way-to-expensive textbooks in the student bookstore!

With Alexa Skills Blueprint you can create and share personalized Alexa skills in minutes including custom flash cards, create and access personalized list of facts on any subject, listening quizzes to listen and recall, all perfect for study for test, quizzes, and reminders.

From needing last minute materials for a project to helping college students study, Amazon Prime has become a college essential.

This post does contain affiliate links. I will get a small commission from sales made through my links.


Free Summer Reading Program With Prizes for Kids + a Great Deal Offer

Club Eimmie is offering a free summer reading program for kids called Club Eimmie’s Imagination Vacation. They can win some amazing prizes if they do! Some of the prizes include a water slide, 1 year club Eimmie subscription, doll accessories, and more. Just log your child’s reading time each day that they read, like Club Eimmie on facebook, and watch for the live drawings on facebook each Wednesday at 12 pm EST to see that weeks winners!

My kids love to read and rewarding them for reading is ok in my book.

Club Eimmie is an affordable way to get clothes and other accessories or your child’s or grandchild’s 18 inch dolls. I discovered it after buying an 18 inch doll for my daughter and realizing just how expensive the clothes and accessories were for the dolls. Club Eimmie let’s your child get new clothes and accessories for their doll each month for only $20 and you can cancel any time.

They still have the deal going that I took advantage of. Get your first month of Club Eimmie for FREE just pay $5. That’s $5 for 2 doll outfits and accessories. This is what we got! You just can’t beat that price on new 18 inch doll clothes!

Club Eimmie is still an awesome deal even after your free month. For just $20 a month you’ll get packages like this for your child’s 18 inch doll. If you want to know the truth I got the 18 inch doll to put away for my daughter for Christmas. I plan on giving her all the outfits we get the club for Christmas too.

Plus Club Eimmie members have access to the Club Members only section with activity sheets, coloring pages and other activities.

This post does contain affiliate links. I will get a small commission from sales made through my links.


Free Resources To Help Keep Your Finances On Track with August Funding

During my first marriage, my financial life was falling apart. There were times when I honestly didn’t know how we were going to buy groceries or put gas in the car. When we got divorced I had a new set of challenges. Paying off debts from that marriage and getting my finances back on track. With the help of August Funding, I’m sharing my experience with you.

It’s no secret that I had creditors calling. If my parents hadn’t let my boys and I stay with them I don’t know what i would have done. I was determined to work on getting myself financially independent and into a place of our own. It felt hopeless to me and I honestly looked into things like being a surrogate and donating plasma just to keep my head above water. But I didn’t end up having to do any of that. Here’s some free resources that helped me along the way.

Turn To The Money Gurus

It was obvious that I needed help so I started looking at the finance and debt gurus like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman. I liked what they had to say. I remember one of Dave Ramsey’s books. It started off with, something along the lines of, him pulling up to a gas station in his vehicle and not knowing if his credit card was going to be decline to put gas in his card. That really resonated with me. Like, he knows what I’m going through. While you can buy the books you don’t have to. Dave Ramsey has free resources on his website, you can check out his books at local libraries, or ask to borrow from a friend.

You Can Get a Free Credit Report

I did pull a credit report when trying to get my finances in order. You are allowed to get 1 free credit report every 12 months. This helped me see exactly where I was at with creditors, amount owed, what might be coming down the pipes, and fix errors that might have showed up. Seriously check it. My husband’s parents had declared bankruptcy at one point. My husband’s name is very similar to his dad’s he ended up having to call because his dad’s bankruptcy info was showing up on his credit report! Obviously that would effect his credit if he hadn’t gotten it fixed! Sites like annual credit report help you to get your free credit report you’re entitled to.

Keep Tabs On Your Credit Score and More in One Place

I discovered Credit Sesame all those years ago. At first I ignored it thinking there was a catch but it’s still one of my favorite tools to use to keep me on track even after repairing a lot of damage. Here are just some of the FREE benefits of Credit Sesame:

  • free credit score
  • tips to increase your credit score
  • Up to $50K in aggregate identity theft insurance
  • credit monitoring
  • payment history
  • credit usage grade

Read Financial Blogs and Sites Like August Funding

I’ve found that there are a lot of helpful financial blogs, websites, and debt sites that have very helpful information on repairing your credit after a divorce, consolidating debt, and avoiding bankruptcy. AARP has great info for retirement finances as well.

Believe it or not, the debt collectors themselves can even be good sources. One recommended a debt consolidator to me. Another one called me and I basically poured my heart out to them. The “Hey I’m a single mom paying off all the joint debt from my failed marriage. I’m not getting any child support, I’m trying” I really didn’t expect much feedback. I honestly expected nothing but I was caught on a stressful day. But this debt collector actually told me just to keep paying what I could afford to pay like I was doing. Tell other debt collectors what I told her and most of them would work with me. You know what?! Most of them did. I might have paid $10 a month a first but once I started paying those off I started snowballing as Dave Ramsey might suggest paying $20 a month, then $50 a month. So on. I paid off $30K in joint marriage debt.

If you feel the need to you can even consult with financial professionals like August Funding to see how hey can help you. Or speak with a local financial consultant.

What I want you to understand is that it didn’t happen overnight. It it didn’t even happen over a year. It took me a number of years to do it but I did it. My credit still isn’t perfect but it’s a heck of a lot better than it was after my divorce. You can do this!

This post is sponsored by Diamond Links