I'm certainly no veteran, but my advice is to learn as much as you can about
UC. For me, it really helped me cope with my diagnosis, because I understand it and the treatment options. For me, knowledge is power.
Editing to add a bit more about Sherry's second question:
The onset of my UC and diagnosis came at a pretty horrible time, given that I'd just had a baby. I was so sick, I could barely take care of myself, let alone a newborn. I was pretty bitter at first...being so sick caused me to loose my milk supply (I was really enjoying breastfeeding, after having a rough start with it) and I felt UC had robbed me of precious time with my son. However, I gained a new perspective, in that having my son to focus on kept me from dwelling on my diagnosis and feeling sorry for myself. And, there's nothing that cheers you up more than cuddling a sweet baby.