Lucia, Spain

My name is Lucía. I’m 27 years old and I have been living with Ulcerative Colitis for 9 years.  When the symptoms appeared: diarrhoea, weight loss, fatigue and bleeding, I was confused and I had no idea of what was happening to me. After a few months, I had the diagnosis, it was a relief because I was so confused but the relief lasted only a short time.

If I had to choose a feeling which represents my relationship with IBD, it´s frustration.

It´s terribly difficult to accept that the disease is chronic and even more so when you are young. You have a whole life ahead of you in which you will have to accept limitations, pain, treatments, surgeries, tests, doctor visits and fatigue ... Despite my diagnosis, I never wanted to stop my life but I didn´t know how to manage it. I did a degree in medicine pretending that everything was fine. I exposed myself to harsh and stressful situations without paying enough attention to my health, hiding my symptoms.

During these years, I have felt alone, despite the unconditional support of all my relatives. Luckily, in the middle of this process, I have found colleagues in the patient association ACCU Youth who walk and share with me this path.

The perspective changes when you meet people in the same situation and the same age. Pain is less painful when shared. For many years of ´my IBD´ I have felt that I was not valid like other people. I felt that I was limited and I couldn´t achieve my goals. I thought that I could never have the life that I wanted for myself. However, my self-demand and perseverance have shown me that although it´s more difficult for me than for other people, I have enough strength to achieve it. I have shown to myself that I´m brave, a fighter and that weakness can become strength.

In these years of IBD, I have thought that I didn’t deserve to receive love from others, although I know it sounds horrible. I believed that people wouldn’t want to be next to me because my situation could make them suffer. For that reason, insecurities grew up inside myself regarding my friendships, and also love and sex.

Over time and working on myself, also thanks to my family, friends and the psychological support that I received, I have achieved to maintain a healthy and peaceful coexistence with my ulcerative colitis. I have managed to enjoy the quiet between storms, using humour as an engine to continue fighting, making visible and providing support to colleagues.

Lucia, Spain