My name is Leela, I’m in high school. My diagnosis with ulcerative colitis was a little chaotic. I didn't tell anyone that I was bleeding for about six months, so by the time the issue was brought up, I was severely anemic. I was officially diagnosed with UC the fall of my sophomore year (a little over a year ago). After having no success with medications, I went through surgery for an ostomy April 8, 2019, with the plan of ultimately getting a j-pouch. I lived with an ostomy bag for seven months, and have since undergone two more surgeries, my final one in November 2019, to have my ostomy reversed.

My greatest struggle is definitely my relationship with food. Food has always played a big role in my household, so this disease has been very hard on me. I get really sad when I can't eat something because it'll make me sick. But my family has been amazing. They get rid of food that isn't good for me and cook meals that won't make me sick. My dad even stopped eating desserts at night since I can't either! They've all been very supportive throughout this.

Until recently, I never had the experience of talking to people who have been through what I have. It makes me feel more confident knowing that I'm not the only one struggling and there are other people like me. I originally contacted ImproveCareNow for a research project I was doing, but I'm so glad I've gotten more involved in this community.


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