I had UC for 7 years before I had the j-pouch surgery a few months ago. I was just like you, tried a bunch of meds and nothing helped, not even prednisone. Pred would help me a little by reducing the frequency of my bathroom visits, but never completely controlled my symptoms. As soon as I got to a low dose all my symptoms would come back with a vengence. I was never in remission and I got weaker and sicker every year.
Looking back on all of it now, I wish I had opted for surgery years ago. It would've saved me so much time and pain. My GI had been suggesting surgery for a few years prior, but my family was extremely against it so I waited. And then one ER visit I decided that I was done waiting.
Surgery is something you have to decide for yourself, but if prednisone isn't helping you need to look into your other options. Speak to a surgeon if you can, it'll give you a better idea of the whole process and whether or not it's something you're willing to do. A consult doesn't bind you to anything, you can always change your mind.
Ulcerative Colitis since December 2001 (age 15)
in remission for 6 months in 2002 followed by severely active disease
Meds taken with no result: 5asa, imuran/6mp, remicade, and of course prednisone, both oral and enemas. Also, many many herbal remadies.
1st j-pouch surgery done on July 30, 2008
2nd j-pouch surgery (ileostomy reversal) on November 14, 2008
Med and pain free :)