So in the beginning, at my first colonoscopy (for this), not only did they find the ulcerative proctitis that would eventually become full-blown UC, but they found a pre-cancerous polyp. And not a good (aka mild) kind. One of those if-we-hadn’t-found-this-now-you’d-have-full-blown-cancer-in-10-years kinds. Read: way before the required screening age of 50. The doc was so alarmed, she asked if I had any siblings. I said yes, a younger sister. She said for her to get in for a colonoscopy as well, because these tend to run in families. Well, long story short, her results came back and she has the same type. The both of us now need yearly screenings for life. So where is the good in this, you ask? Just ask my sister. In her words: “As much as it’s not fun to admit, your UC might be a life saver, for both of us.”
I’ve been so caught up in managing this flare, I’d forgotten all about the polyp. Her email to me was a splash of cold water. And you know what? As rough a road as it’s been, I’ll gladly take this bullet if it means she and I both dodged a worse one. So, thanks UC. You just saved two lives.
The next time you’re down in the dumps, take a moment to reflect on how your IBD might have a silver lining. (But go ahead and laugh at me now, I understand). Seriously, though – is it keeping you from something (grad program, new job, relationship) that might not have been good for you? If you’re single, will the drastic changes in your life put you on a vastly different path where you’ll meet The One? (Hell, maybe you’ll fall for the cute doctor, stranger things have happened). Will it get you some additional medical attention that reveals an entirely different problem which ends up saving/prolonging your life, as in my case? Likely your silver lining isn’t obvious, and likely it won’t reveal itself for some time. But keep an eye out for it. It’ll hit you like a cooler of ice water.