Yes, I dealt with a long flareup. I hesitate to tell you but I was in a flare for nine months. That's long, but others have dealt with longer.
First of all, regarding the work situation -- you might be eligible for FMLA or short term disability leave. Look into that. You should not be using vacation days for this... this ain't no vacation!
Dealing with the life change is something that you just have to do day to day. I can't tell you to snap your fingers and get used to it. I've been getting used to it for over a year now. I didn't really "accept" what was going on until the end of my flare (ended with surgery, not remission). Life is a journey... you don't need to flip a lightswitch right this minute from "Doesn't have UC, feels great" to "Has UC, feels like crap". Just know that you're in the middle of something really big and difficult. It won't always be this way. It might get worse. It might get better. Take it one day at a time, as the alcoholics say.
I see you're in Oakland -- you need to be treated by a GI who *specializes* in treating UC and Crohn's (also called IBD - Inflammatory Bowel Disease). I know there are amazing surgeons at UCSF but I don't know any specific GIs... hopefully someone more familiar with the area will come along. You need a doctor on your side who knows UC and Crohn's inside and out. Most GIs simply haven't treated enough IBD patients in their careers to be able to competently handle difficult cases. They might get lucky and treat you well, or they might through lack of experience botch the job (this happened to me with my first GI -- obviously I lived to tell the tale, but I suffered more than necessary).
I would start with finding the right GI before you do anything else. You can discuss your treatment options, including surgical options, with him or her. I am always a proponent of getting a surgical consult, even if you don't think you need it yet, because the time when you NEED surgery NOW is not a good time to start shopping for surgeons. If you've already had a consult and found a surgeon you like and trust, in an urgent situation you can get scheduled much faster, and feel safer knowing you'll be in the hands of someone you trust (instead of just whoever is available fastest for a patient they've never met).
On a personal note, I just want you to know that there is hope. I lost 40 lb during my flare. I was out of work for four months, hospitalized, completely incontinent (wore adult diapers 100% of the time), rarely left the house, and had to move out of my apartment and into my parents' house because I couldn't take care of myself. I ate a strict diet of boiled chicken, white rice, toast, and pasta because everything else worsened my pain and symptoms. I had an appointment with my GI every single week. I never slept for more than two hours at a time. Today I'm back at work, living independently, eating as I please, dating a great guy, freed from worrying about
finding a bathroom, active, and social.
surgery was what I needed to do to get there. For you it might be Humira, or a different drug, or something else entirely. But the point is, there is hope -- you are NOT too far gone to ever get back to a great life. Do I wish I never had UC? Ummm OF COURSE, but am I a stronger person now because of it? Yes, absolutely. Going through what I did
opened my eyes and made me more caring and loving to my friends and family, and inspired me to re-evaluate my career and make sure I was spending my life doing what's most important to me. There is a way for good to come out of this, and you will find it.
dx'ed UC pancolitis 5/12
past meds: asacol hd, VSL#3, apriso, rowasa, xifaxan, 6mp, cortifoam, pentasa, cimzia, canasa, butyrate, flagyl, cipro, prednisone, remicade, methotrexate, cholestyramine, cortenema
current meds: none!
step one: colectomy, end ileo 1/16/13
step two: j-pouch construction, loop ileo 5/1/13
step three: takedown 7/31/13