“Mommy…” ❤️

It was when I started to call my husband “Mommy..”  that he broke down and called his mother.  Explaining to her, he was unsure if he’d ever be able to have a normal conversation with me again.  I can’t imagine how scared everyone was, but I can tell you that when my mom became aware of this she booked her flight along with my mother in law and they flew across the country immediately.  It was the bits and pieces of information my husband provided to each my mother and my mother in law and together they knew they had to be here- not only for me, but for my husband as well. 

 The first time I remember seeing my mom was when my left hand began to swell up.  Later I was told that I had a blood clot in my hand-and that no IV’s or blood pressure were to be taken/used with that arm.  In fact, there was a sign above my bed that said this-and I remember asking the Nurse, “Why is my left arm not to be used for anything?”  Her response, “I’m not sure let me look into it.”  Awesome right? But this was much later on…when I started to come back to reality.  The first time I truly remember seeing my mom and mother in law was when the doctor said, “We may have to cut her rings off.”  It is the only clear memory I have-because it was at this point that I thought there is absolutely no way you’re cutting any of my rings off.  I worked so hard to obain each and every one of them.  So, it was at this point that we began trying everything to get my rings off…we soaked my hand in ice water..and I still remember the pain of it.  Then my mom ran down to the gift shop to get windex as my husband continued to pull on my rings to get them off.  Lesson learned: NEVER go into a hospital with Jewelry on…and I haven’t since.  It was a hard and painful lesson learned.  

Thinking back now, I think I can recall different specs of time where I would see my mom and mother in law there…but at the time my brain didn’t correlate it all.  It wasn’t reality because it didn’t make sense in my web of scenarios.  I remember repeatedly saying to them all, through tears, I’m so glad your all here and I meant it.  Without the help of my husband, who undoubtedly had to make some of the hardest decisions of our lives, my mother who endured the pain of seeing me on the respirator and not knowing if I would live or die, and my mother in law who was the support we all needed and still do today-I’m not sure what would have been.  

One of the best memories I have with my mom and mother in law was the day we all sat outside and talked and listened to the rain.  The air was crisp and cool and it was truly a breath of fresh air for me.  It was a day of serenity and peace.  I was wheeled outside the front of the hosital, and we sat for hours.  I asked questions I didn’t  have the answers to-and we discussed what happened over the weeks I couldn’t recall.  This was also the day I learned my mom and mother in law can make friends anywhere.  As we sat there, I remember them chatting with different people.  One family, who’s baby was in the hospital and couldn’t leave yet.  Another woman who told us her granddaughter also had Ulcerative Colitis and died very young-about 22 years old.  The older woman, who’s grandaughter had passed, said her daughter only believed in the hoalistic way and that if her gradaughter had recieved treatment sooner things could have been different.  It was this woman, who spoke to us, using gods voice, that changed how I would forever look at my treatment going forward.

I felt at peace just sitting outside, and after hearing the old woman’s story we all agreed that for me to live with this pain was unacceptable and too dangerous.  To be outside of those white walls where I had been trapped for nearly a month with sickness after sickness and complications beyond anyone’s comprehension-including my own-it felt great to escape that day and just sit outside listen to the rain and talk.  I want both my mother and mother in law to know that today…on Mother’s Day…I truly appreciate both of them and all they have done for Josh and I.  It means the world to me to know I have such a great support system-thank you both from the bottom of my heart.  I love you both so much!

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My 1st Hospital stay- Pomerado 🏥

As I checked into Pomerado Hospital on June 28, 2014 I had no idea what I was in for (and neither did my family for that matter).  I checked into the Emergency Room after an entire day of running to the bathroom.  I believe when I checked in I had gone to the bathroom approximately 12-15 times that day…and by that time all that was coming out was blood with immense pain.  After the normal ER questions, blood pressure and blood draw I was admitted into the Hospital.  Admittedly, I can’t recall every detail of my nearly two month Hospital stay-but I can recall most of it in bits and pieces.

After I was admitted we tried every drug possible (and by we I mean my GI doctor-Dr. Lee and I).  One of the last drugs I tried was called 6-MP or Mercaptopurine which is used to treat leukemia and is known as a chemo pill.  Ingesting this drug scared me more than anything, little did I know that taking Remicade would be what almost killed me.

I had my first Remicade infusion on July 7th and with little to no relief, my doctor assured me that after the second Remicade infusion is when most people start to feel better.  So, slightly earlier than two weeks from the first Remicade infusion, on July 18th, I had my second Remicade Infusion.  It was at this point that I think I started to blank out quite a bit.  I do know that my Doctor’s colleague came in for morning rounds, as Dr. Lee was on Vacation that week, and when he yelled into the bathroom all I spoke was jiberish.  He then looked at my husband and said, “What did she say…” and my husband responded with “I have no idea.”  I have no recollection of this…but it was then that my husband knew something was wrong.  At first, my husband was suspicious of a drug overdose…as I wasn’t making any sense and speaking in what he would refer to as “chipmunk” talk.  I was speaking fast but making no sense.  I would know where I was born, but not my birthdate.  It was as if my mind was battling for reality.  I remember my friend Kelsey visiting me, but only later on when I was conscious and talking would I ask my family, “Did she dye her hair blonde?”  Everyone was impressed that even in my state of anaphylactic shock I could recall such events.  I also recalled things that were untrue…I could have sworn I had something taken from me and put on a plane.  Later I would realize that my peace of mind about the future was what would be taken.

I was diagnosed with TTP (Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura) by a kidney specialist approximately four days into the darkest time in my life-up to this point.  For those of you who have no idea what TTP is-it’s an extremely rare blood disorder where the platelets form like spider webs and when red blood cells pass through it cuts them in half which caused small blood clots all throughout my body.  As a result it looked as if I was having mini strokes (or so my mother would tell me later on).  It took my bone marrow being affected, my liver and kidneys almost shutting down for someone to figure what was wrong.  I almost died because TTP was not a listed side effect of the drug remicade.

It took a pic line in my neck and ten plateletpheresis treatments where everyday for three hours through the pic line all the blood was drained from my body spun in a machine to take out all the bad platelets and replaced with donor platelets.  So the next time you donate blood, plasma, or platelets think of me-it takes a lot of people to help one person.  And if you’ve ever donated…maybe you saved my life!

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Pretty and PiNk 💓

In the weeks leading up to my first hospital visit, I had tried everything. I was drinking liquid chlorophyll mixed with aloe vera juice (which was a disgusting combo, tolerable, but not ideal).  I had also tried VSL#3, which I still have in my refrigerator and refuse to throw out because they were so damn expensive-not to mention it was hassle trying to get my insurance company to cover it.  Apparently, insurance will only cover the powder packets of VSL#3 and not the pill form.  I had a prescription from Dr. Lee for the VSL#3 (pills)…but somehow this was an over the counter medication-go figure?  So, needless to say, after calling several people trying to get it straightened around I was switched to the powder packets of VSL#3…and a 30 day supply was somewhere around $50.  However, for the pill form it would have been around $100.  All this for a probiotic that “might” work.  I wasn’t really sold on the idea that this probiotic could be my key to remission, but I thought I needed to make an attempt and a probiotic couldn’t hurt.

By mid June, it was getting to the point where I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my house anymore.  I would get the urge to go to the bathroom and sometimes I couldn’t wait.  Ulcerative Colitis was running my life one day at a time, one hour at a time and I lived each minute with worry and in distress over when I would need to run to the bathroom next. I soon realized that if I needed to leave the house, I couldn’t eat anything prior to leaving or it would become an uncomfortable nightmare.  Going to lunch with friends and grabbing a casual drink were no longer options-I stuck closely to the people who knew my situation and knew it well.  The only thing worse than having Ulcerative Colitis is having to explain to new people what it is and what it entails- 98% of the time no one has heard of this let alone understands what it is.  It was depressing and uncomfortable to talk about, I was sad at what my life had become.  I used to go to the gym all the time, that was my release. As I started to lose weight, which was a direct result of not being able to eat healthy and everything going right through my system, even eating became depressing.  I could eat burgers without a huge problem, anything else was a risk I wasn’t willing to take.  All fruits and veggies were to abrasive for my colon, it seemed that almost anything I ate was irritating the lining of my large intestines.  

I have always been a girl who could eat anything, even if I didn’t like it-I’d eat it.  I was never a fussy eater and I considered myself to have a well rounded diet. Sure, I loved my fast food and still do-however, even after a few fries on my 30 second drive home from the drive through would send my colon into spasms.  Eating simply wasn’t worth the pain and embarrassment anymore. I even thought to myself, I wonder if I just stop eating completely what would happen.  When you’re in so much pain, things cross your mind that normally wouldn’t.  Soup was irritating to eat, even broth…I wasn’t sure how much longer I could handle the pain.  The worst part was, and still is today, that people look at you like you’re fine.  I didn’t look sick, but my insides were screaming at all times.  I was in a constant state of panic-wondering where the bathroom was and if the urge hit…would I even be able to make it.  I was a prisoner inside my body.  Even today at my doctors appointment, I was weighed in at 96 pounds…and the girl said to me “oh your tiny, I want to be tiny like you” and my response was “I don’t recommend this diet, it’s not worth it.”  Do I think she meant to hurt my feelings, no, I do not. However, it sickens me to look at myself this skinny-I itch my side and all I feel is ribs, I look in the mirror and all I see are bones.  Body image issues are also a huge part of having this disease, either your blown up on prednisone or your losing weight and nutrients because you can’t keep anything inside long enough to absorb the nutrients.

One day last June, I thought, I’m going to try medical marijuana-and in the state of CA it’s relatively easy to obtain.  I was hesitant, as growing up in NY I was always told drugs are bad, don’t do drugs, avoid the crowd of people who do drugs.  Here in California, it’s somewhat the norm.  So, I looked up the local dispensaries in the area and called one.  I told them I had UC and I was looking to buy some medical marijuana-the man who answered the phone was very nice (I found this company called Raw on yelp)…he told me where I could go to get a Medical Marijuana Card.  So I drove to the facility paid my $40 dollars and went into a private room with a computer screen.  The receptionist told me that a doctor would come on the screen momentarily and that I would talk face to face with him (like facetime). So I waited nervously, and the doctor came onto the computer screen and asked me what my symptoms were.  I told him I was diagnosed with UC and I have a lot of pain.  Which, was all I needed to say apparently because his response went something like this, “Absolutely, you should be taking medical marijuana-it has been proven to help patients with UC and it is especially helpful if ingested.”  AKA…pot brownies.  After, obtaining my MM card I asked my friend Kelsey if she would go with me to pick out some pretty smoke pieces.  She agreed and we made plans to go to Pacific Beach, CA (otherwise known as the mecca for smoke pieces in SoCal). There were probably half a dozen smoke shops within a two block radius.  So we went into two different shops before I found the perfect pretty in pink smoke pieces that I had to have.  They screamed my name-as anyone who knows me knows my kitchen is pink themed and cupcakes.  I loved the concept “cook for the cure” that KitchenAid does in support of breast cancer awareness, now if only I could get someone to endorse “cook for colitis”-we’d be in business!

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The Medicine Mix 💊💉💊

The days following my first colonoscopy, I remember having very mixed emotions.  I was almost immediately put on the drugs Aprisio, Prednisone (Pred), and Mesamaline enema’s.  The Aprisio didn’t seem to have any side effects on me, however the Pred absolutely did.  Most people say that Pred makes people very hungry, I didn’t experience this side effect at all.  Almost the opposite, although I could contribute the lack of appetite to the fact that every time I ate, I had to run to the bathroom in immense pain.  However, Pred did make me extremely irritable.  I can look back with certainty and say, for sure, that Pred made me a miserable person in an even more miserable situation.

Right after I received the confirmation call from Dr. Lee on April 8, 2014 confirming his suspicions for Ulcerative Colitis, he had me start with 40mg of Prednisone.   He told me during this phone call that he thought I should attend a seminar that upcoming Saturday at UCSD.  This seminar was hosted by the CCFA (Crohns & Colitis Foundation of America) and he thought it could be helpful to learn about this disease and gather more information from other professionals.

Well, has anyone ever heard that too much information is a bad thing?  I’m here to tell you it is! I walked out of there that Saturday in a complete panic.  I remember seeing a girl with a mask on, she said she was on 6MP (a chemo drug for leukemia) that is also known to help with ulcerate colitis.  Needless to say, both my husband and I walked out of that seminar after approximately five hours of listening to everything that can and might go wrong later on in life-from colon cancer to death.  The only thing I took from that seminar was that I was as good as dead-no joke.  This was precisely what I told my husband when I got into the car that afternoon.  My head hurt from absorbing so much negative information that afternoon.  I mean, not a word spoken in that classroom setting was positive-nothing.  So my advice, if you are offered by your doctor to attend one of these “informational seminars”- Politely decline.  Nothing good can come of panic and stress–except more side effects of ulcerative colitis.  In fact, I remember at one point during the seminar having to run out to go to the bathroom because whatever information they were describing was sending me into crampsville and panic mode-big time.  I guess I should also mention, that when I would get the urge to go to the bathroom…there wasn’t always stool coming out with the blood.  It was as if I was passing blood clots, and all the while, in excruciating pain.

I think it is extremely important that I talk about the Mesamaline enema’s I was given, because I do feel in my heart, that this only escalated my symptoms.  An enema, for anyone who may not be familiar, is inserted into a person rectally-approximately 60ml of liquid that has to be held in for an extended period of time.  Just to give you a comparison, a shot glass holds about 43ml.  With that being said, I’m sure you can sympathize with me and how uncomfortable doing the enemas were. Prior to starting the enema’s I was having slight discomfort when passing a bowl movement (BM)…but it wasn’t until after I started the enema’s, that I feel things got increasingly worse.  I would do the enema at night, and as instructed by my doctor I would have to try and hold it in as long as possible.  So not only was the process of doing the enema uncomfortable (as the tip of an enema bottle is about two inches long), but the pain following-once the enema was in-was excruciating.  I remember thinking if I can just get through one episode of Sex and the City I can go push this liquid out immediately after. I will admit, after about ten minutes of torture my body would acclimate to the pain and it became tolerable for the remaining twenty minutes of the episode.

The side effects listed for the Mesamaline Rectal Suspension Enema are as follows: mild nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and gas.  Where as the more serious side effects are the following: severe stomach pain, cramping, fever, headache, and bloody diarrhea.  Although I did not have all of the side effects, I did have a few.  I had severe stomach pain, cramping, and bloody diarrhea.  I mentioned this to my Doctor, and he didn’t seem highly concerned, as I’m sure no one had reported to him that enema’s are fun.  Again, it was as if we were pouring gasoline onto hot embers-and the enema was the match.  I think it was hard for my Doctor to comprehend that nothing was working for me.  None of the medicines seemed to be doing any good.  By the end of April, I had been on Prednisone for several weeks and my doctor thought it might be a good idea to weaken the dose.  As everyone knows you can’t stop taking prednisone cold turkey-you have to decrease by 5mg each week.  In fact, I remember a four day stint in late April where I had no bleeding and no issues and I thought-things are finally getting better.  Until that fifth day when the symptoms came back at full force.

As April turned into May, and my symptoms were worsening I quickly became discouraged.  I thought by now, something would have started to work for me.  It was in May that the urge to run to the bathroom became more frequent-and at times it was hard for me to make it.  This disease had begun to take its toll on me.  I remember in May thinking-ok as long as I’m off Prednisone for my birthday I will be happy.  I held onto this hope for most of May.  That is, until I was down to about 20mg of Pred and Dr. Lee upped my dosage. 

By the end of May, I lost hope that I would be able to have a drink to celebrate my birthday.  I gave up the idea that I would be ok by June 12th.  It was at this point, that I began setting short term goals for myself.  I knew by the end of May I wouldn’t be celebrating my birthday as I traditionally had, but I was determined to be ok by July because I was the Matron of Honor in my best friend’s wedding in Chicago.  I had looked forward to being in her wedding for years, and the thought that I wouldn’t be able to attend never entered my mind.  Even when I entered the hospital for the first time on June 28, 2014-the thought that I wouldn’t be able to attend her wedding still didn’t enter my mind.  I was in denial, obviously.  However, not only would I not be able to attend her wedding but I wouldn’t even know my own name by the time her wedding day would arrive.

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…The result was Ulcerative Colitis 💩💩💩

I remember arriving to the surgery center in Escondido and feeling anxious, not nervous, but anxious.  I was ready to get some answers-something concrete.  At this point I knew something was wrong, but I wasn’t ready to think the worst.  I thought he would find something simple-something that could easily be handled with a medication.  I arrived with my husband, and sat down to fill out the necessary paperwork.  They had The View on the television in the waiting room, so I watched and waited for my name to be called back to be prepped.  Finally, it was my turn.  The nurse called me back, and as she was putting the IV into my fresh, practically virgin veins, I remember her asking me why I was in today.  When she asked me this, there was almost a judgmental tone to her question.  As if, I was way too young to be having a colonoscopy.  Which, in retrospect, I can understand because as I recall the waiting room was full of much older individuals-at least in their 50’s.  But here I am-no makeup, pale and looking about 15 years old to this woman…and I’m getting prepped for what many people won’t experience until they are in their 50’s.  Speaking of experiences, let me back up to the night before.

The day before anyone does a colonoscopy they have to do this terrible, awful, disgusting prep for the bowels.  That’s right, a bowel prep, or as I’ve also heard it called-colon blow.  Not only does this stuff taste bad, and as I’m writing this I can feel my throat start to recall the horrible taste, but it also makes you have explosive diarrhea.  So here I am, home alone…it’s the day before my colonoscopy, and it was about 2PM and all I’ve been able to have that day is clear liquids.  So I start the prep, trying to go into this situation with an open mind-despite all the negative things I’ve heard over the years, when I literally start to gage.  (I guess this is where having a stoma later on would be considered a blessing.)  No colon=no colon blow!  So anyways, I’m sitting there gagging trying my best to be strong, when I start vomiting.  So I call Dr. Lee, and he allows me to have some saltine’s if I can get this colon blow down.  I must admit this did help a lot, although still extremely unpleasant.  I also remember facetiming with my mom in order to choke this down, as I mentioned I am home alone and my husband is still at work.  I was crying, in pain from the cramping and gagging- the whole bit.  Finally, after several hours of choking that crap down and having to run to the bathroom every four minutes, I am done for the night.  That is, until the next morning when I had to attempt to choke down another 8 ounces of the colon blow.  Which, by this time I was basically peeing clear out of my bum. So I only drank half of the dose recommended.  I figured, that was good enough!  I remember telling myself, you will only have to do this once.  A little naïve, I admit, but I never expected that I would have to take colon blow twice more before September.

So, I’m sitting in this mini prep room, when the nurse had asked me what brought me in today.  I told her I was there to have a colonoscopy and she asked what my symptoms were.  I explained about the bloody stools and I remember her response being, “Your too young to be sick, what do you do-is your job stressful?”   I thought for a moment and replied, “Yes, I have high sales goals and it is a stressful environment.”  I remember feeling stupid, because anyone who knows where I worked would think it was a dream job.  I, at the time, was employed by a luxury jewelry retailer.  So retail alone is hard, standing all day, constantly crouching down to get into small spaces-it’s hard on you mentally and physically.  Keep in mind when I first started having symptoms it was just after the hardest, and busiest sales Holiday of my career.  I was extremely stressed out, working six days a week and my husband had just returned from a 9 month deployment that had been exended twice.  So needless to say, yes, I had gone through a very hard and stressful December and sales Holiday.  However, did I ever think to blame either my job or my husband for the strss-absolutely not.  I chose both my job and my husband.  To this day, I sill wish I was working-and I wish that I was able to be at work instead of home and sick-however…we’ll save this topic for another blog day.  After I responded to the nurse she explained the procedure going forward.  I kissed my husband goodbye as he went into the waiting room.  I remember walking back into the surgery room and laying down on the bed that they had so nicely laid out for me.  It wasn’t long now until I was under local sedation and I remember, in a dazed state, seeing the screen to the side of me and seeing my insides on the TV.  Shortly after that I woke up.   As I was groggy and attempting to wake up, without having my glasses on everything was a blur, I could not see faces but I knew their voices.  My husband was next to me and so wasn’t Dr. Lee.  Dr. Lee explained that he had done biopsies, but he suspected it was Ulcerative Colitis.  I will never forget the tone of his voice, it was very kind, very soft and very empathetic.  It was as if he was giving me a life sentence he didn’t think I deserved, and later I would realize he was.  He said, I’m so sorry Jerica.”  Again, without my glasses I couldn’t see their faces but I heard my husband start to cry.  For the first time, I knew it was serious and I also knew that no test result would have to confirm Dr. Lee’s suspicion.  I had bleeding ulcers on my colon and the result was Ulcerative Colitis.

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The Sooner the Better! 👍👍

As I returned to my job at the end of February, it became increasingly difficult to be at work and continually bleed.  However, at this time I was waiting for yet another Doctor’s appointment at the end of March.  I received a referral from my primary doctor who said this doctor was the only one she trusted and that I should really look into seeing him.  When I called to make the appointment, I had lost hope that this Doctor would be anymore helpful than the previous handful of Doctors that I had already seen.  Much to my surprise, I arrived at Dr. Lee’s office at Pomerado Hospital where I was taken seriously for the first time.  He listened to what I had to say, and could see the look of panic and pain in my eyes.  His response to my symptoms,”When is the soonest you can do a colonoscopy?”  My reply was “The soonest you can schedule one.”  As I recall, my first appointment was on a Thursday and just a few short days later on April 2, 2014 I would have my first colonoscopy where I would find out some answers.  Finally, I thought, my mind would be put at ease after months of not knowing what was wrong.

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The search for answers…🛀

As I anxiously awaited my appointment, the thought that anything could be seriously wrong never entered my mind.  I thought it would just be something that would go away-boy was I wrong.  When my primary doctor came into the room I told her my symptoms, which at the time only consisted of slight discomfort during bowl movements and blood.  She examined me rectally-which was less than comfortable and said she thought it could be an internal hemorrhoid that was bleeding.  But to be sure she referred me to a specialist in La Jolla.  So I left that day not feeling any sense of urgency to the situation.  When I received the referral to go to the specialist in La Jolla, I made the appointment as quickly as I could (no more than a few days after seeing my primary doctor).  I walked into the appointment hoping to find answers, and boy was I wrong.  This doctor’s “office” looked more like an at home office, with a plethora of ebay auction items, than an actual doctors office.  There were vintage guitars and what looked to be like a 1970’s old brown examination chair (which clearly was only there for looks).  After I explained my symptoms he suggested we do a sigmoidoscopy-and in the same breath he said, “But I’m going to Germany for 10 days so we’ll have to wait until I get back.”  I walked out of that office thinking what a total idiot this guy must be if he thinks I’m going to wait 10+ days for him to get back from his vacation (all the while bleeding rectally).  I couldn’t believe the nerve of this guy, needless to say I left that office and never went back to him again. 

As we all know by now, stress can certainly affect Ulcerative Colitis-and after leaving Dr. Idiots office I was beyond stressed out.  It was as if no one in my life was taking me or symptoms seriously.  So the next day I went to the Emergency Room at Balboa hospital, I thought that quite possibly I may be able to get some assistance-NOPE!  Only to get a scope shoved up my bum and be told to come see a “specialist” on Monday. I was also told that the following day I would receive a phone call to schedule the appointment for Monday-all day Friday I waited for a call that would never come.  So as the weekend passed, I called the specialist early Monday morning. At which time she explained that it must have been an oversight.  I made the appointment for the very next day. And when I sat down with the third doctor of the week, the remedy they gave me (which still to this day blows my mind) was beyond ludacris.  After telling them I have been bleeding rectally for about half a month consistently-their remedy was to do sitz baths three times a day!  Looking back now, I can’t believe I allowed them to provide me with this solution. If I could give anyone advise, it’s if your bleeding demand a colonoscopy-that’s it.  Simple.  Might I mention that after 2 weeks of sitz baths their next idea was to increase my fiber intake.  Now we’re in the beginning of March, and my little amounts of blood went from slight to moderate and adding fiber to my diet was like pouring gasoline onto hot embers.  Which at this point had sent me into a full blown flare.

The beginning of a long year 🚽🚽🚽

I was at the gym when after my normal 45 minutes on the elliptical I felt the urge to go to the bathroom, little did I know that this would be the beginning of the end of normalcy.  I went in the bathroom to pee when I realized I was bleeding rectally.  I thought this was a one time thing, in fact I didn’t even mention it to anyone including my husband until several weeks had passed.  I wiped and went back out into the gym area where my husband was also working out. We finished our workouts and went home for the evening.  I remember the vision in the toilet like it was yesterday, probably because the lights in the girls locker room are so bright and the blood was so red that it was hard to miss let alone forget.

Keep in mind, I started bleeding at the end of January and it wasn’t until a few weeks of inconsistent bloody bowl movements that I finally sent a picture to my mother one morning before work.  It was a Monday, I was waiting to go into work (as usual I’m always early) when I texted a picture to my mom asking if this was normal.  She responded with “Jerica, you need to go to the ER or get to a doctor.”  Being the responsible person that I am, I went into work in a panic but told my manager what was going on.  I called my primary Doctor first and they got me in the same day.  And this is when the real circus of my life began.

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