Brendan Herold

First post: 4/25/2017 Latest post: 4/30/2017
I'm sure many of you know that I was in the hospital but I think few actually know the reason. To be completely honest I have been embarrassed to talk about it, but it shouldn't be that way. So, I am going to use my story as a way to shed light on a seemingly invisible disease that affects nearly a million Americans each year. This past August I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in the large intestine. There are no cures for UC but treatment can help put the disease into remission and so I was prescribed oral steroids. However, each person's body responds differently to medication and unfortunately the steroids had no effect on my condition and on September 6th, 2016 I found myself in the ER. I don't remember too much of my first 10 days in the hospital, but I remember getting multiple IVs placed in my body to deliver the steroids intravenously instead of orally. I also had a picc line placed in my arm to deliver the calories and nutrients my body needed because the UC was preventing my body from absorbing nutrients and as a result I was extremely malnourished and had been dropping weight daily. Steroids did not help anything nor did the immunosuppressant drug I was prescribed. On September 16th I had surgery to remove my large intestine. My colon was so badly damaged that it crumbled as my surgeon was removing it from my body and spilled nastiness into my abdominal cavity. And because my immune system was already weakened due to medication this sent me into a crazy, life-threatening ride to try and fight off the infections manifesting in my body. I had to go under the knife once more to try and clean out as much of the infection as possible. After 20 crazy days in the hospital, my journey wasn't even half over. All in all, I spent 55 days in the hospital. During which, I had 2 surgeries, I had my both my lungs tapped and over a liter of fluid drained. I had over 6 blood transfusions and roughly the same number of CT scans. I had numerous fevers, numerous IVs, and many days of difficult respiratory and physical therapy. All of this equates to the worst time of my life. Now, my case with UC is on the extreme side and most patients do not have such severe conditions. UC affects hundreds of thousands of people each day and each to a different extent. It is an invisible disease because on the outside you can't tell people with or without UC apart but that doesn't lessen the effects the disease has on the person. And although I have largely recovered from my experience and am no longer in the hospital, I still suffer from UC and it affects many aspects of my daily life. And since there is no known cure for the disease, we with UC can only shed light on this disease in hopes to one day find a cure, but until that day we are all forced to gut it out.

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