I also got pretty good at managing my UC over time, in particular knowing when and what to eat in order to minimize discomfort, and thinking ahead about bathroom stops. I am dumbstruck now at things I didn't do right, or stupid health advice I tried to that is not meant for UC sufferers (like eat several small meals throughout they day, or eat lots of fiber, or take a walk after dinner...).
But if you are not able to stop the suffering, surgery must sound pretty good. I bet if I had surgery I might regret not having done it a long time ago. One reason I haven't considered surgery is because I don't want people to know about my disease, and it would be hard to go through surgery and recovery without some explanation! Isn't that dumb?
As I've said before, I have always kept my disease secret from my employer (as well as most everyone). I can't imagine any employer who would not favor a healthy person over a sickly person in hiring, promotion, etc. Especially in small business, with health care costs affecting the premiums everyone has to pay. Do you need to go to the doctor so often, or is it the doctor making that demand? You have some control over that. I only see my doctor once every year or two. She knows better than to do a colonoscopy when I'm flaring anyway, so the only thing she can do for me is prescribe stuff.
49 year old female, diagnosed UC/pancolitis 1985, no surgery but much suffering.
Asacol/5ASA maintenance for 20+ years, usually 3 pills 2x day.
Currently tapering off presnisone from lingering flare;
August 2008 sought care of naturopathic doctor. Tested gluten intolerant and started gluten-free, soy-free, etc. diet which resolved flare. Also Replete probiotic, DGL (licorice root, slippery elm), Permeability Factors. Slow-release iron and B-12 shots for severe anemia.