Have you ever used Dr. Google to diagnose your own illness? I have and trust me it doesn't work.
How about taking it a step further and researching your own treatment for that same self-diagnosed illness? I have done that too and it doesn't work either. The problem is that sometimes when you need help and nobody seems to know the answers it's the only logical thing left to do. Well, after years of self-diagnosis and multiple doctors visits, I was finally and officially diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Having never heard those words before, never mind understanding what it was, I was left a little bit clueless.
My problem was that every piece of information I was given was medical-based and I couldn't find a single thing that was personally relatable, nor anything to prepare me for the psychological stress, social awkwardness or unforeseen accidents that were about to change my life forever.
So I have decided to share my story, in the hope that someone who is suffering from Ulcerative Colitis can find some comfort that what they are going through is normal, can be overcome and that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Liam Robertson's book, More Than Meets The Eye discusses practical, day-to-day issues encountered by people suffering from Ulcerative Colitis (UC), a painful autoimmune condition affecting the colon (the last part of the digestive system).
UC is one of the group of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) that includes Crohn's Disease. It is characterized by repeated attacks of sudden painful stomach cramps. One feels the urge to visit the toilet immediately to empty the bowels. A lot of blood, and sometimes air too, is passed out with the stool.
In this book, the author recounts his experiences with UC since age 21. He seeks to help others by spreading awareness about it. 'Auto-immune' implies an abnormal condition in which the body's immune system attacks itself. There is no permanent cure for UC, which falls under this category. Immunosuppressant drugs and lifestyle changes, particularly restricted diet and exercise keep it in check. Managed well, one experiences remission for long periods but there is no guarantee that flare-ups will not recur.
Living with UC is a big challenge indeed. While it need not necessarily ruin your career and quality of life, it forces you into a life of silent suffering and stress. You have to be continually alert to the recurrence of its symptoms. Then comes the need to learn to handle socially difficult situations. For example, if you are talking to someone when an attack occurs and you want to rush to the toilet, you have to force yourself to wait patiently until you can politely excuse yourself. You may also have to prepare yourself to cope with emotionally dark periods when nothing seems to work well for you.
Public awareness of UC is low presently. Being a serious health condition, making people everywhere aware of it ASAP, is extremely important. Among other benefits, spreading awareness will prepare us not to be overwhelmed if confronted with symptoms of the disease at any time. New sufferers would also be able to find comfort in knowing that medical treatment exists and there are fellow-sufferers in the world who are already coping very well with UC. Another thing, enlightened employers would be enabled to treat affected employees fairly. Due to its relevance, I recommend this book to all readers in general. I also recommend this book as a vital read for policy/decision-makers in Government and/or industry/private organizations, NGOs, HR managers, and the like.
An engineer and part-time IT Consultant based in Bangalore, India. Part-time copy editor/reviewer. An IEEE Senior Member. Deep thinker and innovator. Highly analytical, clear, accurate, and thorough. Nearly 35 book reviews published to date-15 on Reedsy and 20 on Online BookClub.