I am proud to introduce you to Lisa Polley today, who is my gutsiest UC girl yet. Hope you enjoy her story!
I have always been bold – always been outspoken. People have always told me I was tough, had ‘balls’ and for such a small girl, wasn’t intimidated by anything that came my way. Little in my life has ever taken the wind from my sails.
For the most part, I face things head on, process them and move on with what needs to be done. I’ve always been that way. Little did I know that two little letters would become my biggest battle, and define the idea of being a gutsy girl.
UC -> Ulcerative Colitis.
My UC got bad, fast. Only a few short months from being diagnosed with a few minor symptoms, I was hospitalized and needed 4 units of blood. The days leading up to that I could barely stand up. I was blacking out. I couldn’t eat. I was losing blood about 20 times a day. The pain was indescribable. I thought I was dying. Truly. Oddly enough, I was still pushing myself and working full time. Looking back, I’m not sure how, but I did it. I was a single mom and had to take care of my daughter.
I pushed it until my body gave out on me. I went to the ER. I couldn’t stand up long enough to sign in. In triage, they only took my blood pressure before urgently running me to a bed where they double IV’ed my arms for fluids. I don’t remember the BP number, but it was so low they said I was in shock. I was days away from dying if I hadn’t come in. That stay was the beginning of the battle. It tested me physically, emotionally, and mentally. Tears were shed. The decision to fight and win was made. No disease was going to beat me. I was going to win. That was January 2010.
Surgery was suggested and I said no- I was going to find a way without it. Another hospitalization later, many failed medications, months of Prednisone and Remicade infusions; I gave up trying to live with my rotting colon. I owed it nothing. I owed myself EVERYTHING. There was no fear in that decision.
Many people are afraid of being opened up, of having a major body part removed. I welcomed it. It couldn’t have been soon enough. I wasn’t going to continue at the mercy of my colon. I couldn’t keep subjecting my family to this shadow of myself. I couldn’t bear telling my daughter ‘no,’ one more time. I couldn’t bear just being alive. I wanted to really live – for my kids and my husband.
Why am I gutsy? I never let the ‘what if’s’ daunt me. I never settled for being sick as my reality. I’m gutsy because I controlled my life, not my colon. I fought for myself – for the best me. I wanted more. I never settled for a treatment that ‘sort of’ worked.
My scars are the story I love telling.
Love your guts,