Sunday, October 9, 2016

Ulcerative Colitis - Ulcer in the Colon - An invisible disease

Around 6 months to 1 year ago, my father, age 55 started loosing weight. Noticeably thin and weak looking, everyone thought it's because of his diabetes and small appetite. And my grandfather also around the same age-bracket had started loosing weight and from healthy is now very lean, so we thought it is all the process of ageing and heredity.

My father is one of those who is always peaceful, polite and doesn't ever express his anger and frustration or disagreement unless it's really needed. He had been silently suffering indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea, stomach ache and even blood in the stools; without as much as even letting his own daughter who is married know.

He tried a lot of OTC treatments, visited the general physician and tried different home remedies but nothing seemed to help him. His discomfort just kept getting worse, and he was no longer able to concentrate in work either. Then after talking to a few relatives, a doctor in Ghatkopar was suggested and he finally after trying to get an appointment, visited.

Blood tests and colonoscopy was done and the real cause of all this pain and trauma was diagnosed - ulcerative colitis. Which basically is ulcer on the colon. If you remember the digestive system from the biology class, you will recall the intestines and the colon. And ulcer is something most of us have experienced in the mouth.

The most interesting and horrifying finds were that why this condition happens is still not known, some say it's because of heredity some day it's caused due to stress. And the other fact, it has no treatment and is a chronic illness.

The inflammation and discomfort can be suppressed with the help of medication and a very strict diet. And different combinations of treatments work for different people, my dad is still figuring his best treatment out. The diet is so strict that it not only restricts you from alcohol and caffeine, but also milk and dairy products, raw fruits and vegetables, maida and much more. So you are left thinking, so what do I eat?

Diet is even more complicated for my father because he even has diabetes. This recent situation was even a mental-alarm for me, because if this is hereditary I should be careful. And I thought how bad stress is for ourself, all the meaningless stress we take behind commute, work, deadlines etc. Earn earn earn and then one day the money is of no use if you cannot enjoy life.

I wanted to just reach out to all my readers and all my friends and relatives to tell them how there are secret illnesses like this one that will eat you up from within. So please live a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, keep stress at bay, do at-least one thing daily that you enjoy - be it reading, cycling, playing tennis, watching a sitcom or simply talking to your friend. And have some healthy ways of venting out stress - listening to music, writing a diary, going for zumba always work for me.

If you or someone you know suffers from the same illness, I would be very grateful to know how you overcame and got help. I really hope my dad's situation gets better soon.