Posted 4/5/2012 2:27 PM (GMT -7)
I am a college student and I have never felt alone when dealing with my UC.
My UC started during my junior year of high school, but it was relatively mild then - easily controlled by 5ASAs. I told my friends that I was having some intestinal issues, which satisfied their curiosity and concern on days that the pain showed on my face.
My senior year was uneventful, and I entered college hoping that my UC would stay away for good. But it wasn't so. During the last few weeks of the fall semester, I entered what would become a very severe flare. Over winter break I found out that I had contracted c diff and that I was becoming pretty anemic. Every day I became more fatigued and ridden with pain. The 5ASAs didn't work. But I still tried to attend the spring semester.
I made it through two and a half weeks of class. I doubt I would have made it past the first week if I didn't have a friend in every class who was patient enough to walk beside me, step-by-painful-step. In fact, the one class that I didn't have someone to walk with me, which was also coincidentally my farthest walk across campus), I only managed to get to twice. Those two times caused me to drop the class. Soon, my dormroom bed and the communal bathroom became my best friends. I was in so much pain during this time that I didn't care to be social. I couldn't feel "alone" because I could only feel pain.
Finally, my condition worsened to the point that I could no longer keep down food. I went to the hospital where I was put on a liquid diet and IV steroids... and when those didn't work, TPN and cyclosporine... and when those didnt work and even dilaudid barely managed to breach my pain and I started needing infusions, I opted for surgery.
Needless to say, I had to withdraw from this semester. But I have found many other college students who have UC or who have family members who have UC. And I have also found this forum. Our shared experiences keep me from feeling "alone" in dealing with the sort of mechanics of UC, and even though my friends without UC will never understand what I and you and we all have been through with this disease, their willingness to listen and learn and in general just their constant companionship has been extremely important to me.
My advice - if you feel alone because you have UC, take steps to feel less alone!! Be very open to your best friends about yourself and your disease... people will surprise you with their support and understanding. And if they don't understand, perhaps you'd best re evaluate whether or not they were ever true friends with you to begin with.
And as for less close friends, just offer simple explanations for why you sometimes can't hang out, etc, and reassure them that you'll see them again as soon as you are healthy enough to.