Today, May 19, is World IBD Day. For the first 20 years of my life, I lived blissfully unaware of the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis (UC). Sure, I’d heard of stomach upset, suffered through childhood digestive woes and stomach viruses, but I didn’t know there was anything more than the ever-fleeting “nervous stomach” term I’d been assigned as a kid. Those first days of school tummy jitters, the clamminess before big tests or speaking in front of the class, the waves of nausea after making an ass of myself in front of my crush, etc.
I took an acid-reducing medicine while in 11th grade and the occasional half-tablet of Imodium-AD to settle my digestive system, but it wasn’t until college that I started having severe problems.
The changes were subtle at first, so subtle that I only recognize them now as I reflect on that time in my life.