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New UC Diagnosis, waiting for Colonoscopy- feeling anxious.

Hey all,

I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 2008, and again in 2011, at which point it had progressed to Bell’s Palsy as well and I had 28 days of IV treatment at an infectious disease doctor. Shortly after that, I was diagnosed with Stage 0 Cervical Cancer. Obviously, because it was Stage 0, I got very lucky catching it quickly and was able to have a LEEP procedure, which was successful in removing the cancerous cells.

Unfortunately, with the word “cancer” in my head, the lyme and bell’s palsy took a backseat and, shortly after being in remission, I turned 25 and aged off of my mother’s very good insurance plan and continuing care with my same doctors was no longer an option. I’m ashamed to say that, since this time, I have been super negligent in following up on anything.

This period of negligence has also been accompanied by an overwhelming and ever growing anxiety and depression that has made living a normal life nearly impossible, but also has prevented me from really seeking any form of help. I had been diagnosed with depression and panic attacks before any of the medical problems, but I personally feel that the lyme/bell’s palsy time period was the proverbial nail in the emotional coffin.

That was then. Fastforward to now: I’m 29 years old (almost 30) and have recently started a new job. Full-time hours are something that has been incredibly difficult for me to do, so I had been doing project-based employment as a work around, but have recently tried to find something more long term. As soon as I started working, I felt like something was wrong. the job was fine, the people were fine, but I was having severe panic attacks every morning coupled with uncontrollable vomiting. I tried to write it off as stress, but last friday, about 3 months into the position, I woke up with explosive gas pains and diarrhea, which quickly changed to nothing but blood... so much blood. I went to urgent care where I was immediately sent to the ER and admitted into the hospital. They have diagnosed me with Ulcerative Colitis and discharged me to get an outpatient colonoscopy (at my insistence that I didn’t need to be in the hospital), but said that they haven’t ruled out Crohn’s yet.

With my new job breathing down my neck to come back, my symptoms still flaring, and all of the regular stressors of a pretty stressful life never abating (money/family issues), I feel like I’m losing it a bit. i was hoping there was someone out there with a similar experience who can offer advice to finding a path to stayig calm, or how to cope when you just feel like you can’t, or anything... My support system means well, but they can have a hard time being truly supportive; maybe there’s some help here?

(I am sorry this is so long-winded, I just am so used to being rushed through my recap of issues that it’s nice to lay it all out there.)

Best wishes for you all,
Hi saminspace,

I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It’s an awful thing, isn’t it? I can let you know, the anxiety about the condition is so real! I am a newly diagnosed IBD sufferer, and I am undergoing tests for a Crohn’s diagnosis. I am replying to you because I am hoping I can help your anxiety about your new job. I too started a new job this year, in May ‘18. Since I have started, I have missed a lot of work due to my condition, and it has caused me a lot of stress. When I got my most recent flare up, I went to my GI, and while I am doing all the labs and colonoscopy, etc., I asked him to write me a letter in support of ADA accommodation. You can imagine my stress level when I’ve not even been at this job 6 mos yet, and I have hardly any PTO built up because I use it the minute I earn it. Fortunately, my HR dept., and my supervisors, support me working from home while I am flared up, and awaiting diagnosis. My stress has gone down a little in the past week, and I feel very blessed. However, imagine my anxiety when I had to explain to a nice lady in HR whom I have never met before, that I need to be home, close to bathroom/shower facilities when I am having occasional incontinence issues... that was not fun conversation. Sam, go see your doctor, and ask them to support you for ADA at your work. If you can’t work from home, at least ask them if you can just get a letter asking them for you to flex your hours if you happen to come in late due to bathroom issues in the mornings, or you need to be close to the bathroom...anything might help. Talk to doc first, then to HR office, you might be pleasantly surprised in how they can help accommodate you while you are sick. I am wishing you a speedy journey into some sort of remission very soon! Take care.

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