Being 19 and having UC must seem like a life-time sentence to misery, embarassment, and pain. It doesn't have to be that horrible though. It takes some playing around, but many people are able to find the right combo of meds, supplements, and diet that gets them feeling better. It does get really annoying always having to take my UC into consideration when going to do something, but eventually you'll come to cope with it...
All that being said, the majority of the people who have had surgery said the one regret they had was they didn't do it earlier. Many of them went through years of hell before surgery, and they now have their lives back. The j-pouch isn't the only way you know. There are new methods of doing the procedure, and you will have the pouch for a few months, but after your body does some healing, they go in and form an internal pouch out of the remaining intestine, thus enabling a life without the j-pouch. I am not an expert by any means, so please do a little research on the web to find out the accurate details.
I'm not advising you to have surgery either though. It is a big decision to have someone poking around inside of you and removing things. It is not something to be taken lightly, and you should look at all the pros and cons and talk with your doctor. Personally, if I had the option at this time, I'd go for it. That is me though. I'm willing to take whatever risks that go with surgery just to be rid of my UC. No, UC isn't life threatening, but it is really good at making a person miserable, and if I could get rid of it, I would.
36 y.o. male
Diagnosed w/ UC in May '06, had symptoms since '99
Meds & supplements: VSL#3, Lialda, Allegra, multi-vitamin, Wellbutrin XL, Prednisone, fluoxetine, flaxseed oil, magnesium, and vit B-12.