Kelly -- Pursue Your Dream

Kelly here! I'm in my 20s, and live in the Guelph area. I have a brother, who doesn't have IBD. I have a husband, who also happens to have IBD, and we have a young family.

When I was 15 years old, in Grade 10, I developed horrible stomach pain, bloody stools, and perpetual diarrhea. I went to see my doctor, and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

Once the diagnosis was made, I felt happy to finally know what was causing my symptoms, and was hopeful that medications would help. But I hoped that nobody would find out about the diagnosis, because I felt very embarrassed.

I'm much more comfortable talking about my condition now, but bowel disease can still be annoying and awkward to talk about, depending upon the context of the conversation. I talk openly about it if I think that it can help others understand me or the disease.

Photo: Young woman taking a photo at the lake

I lead an active life and don't let my condition slow me down much. I like to go out to the movies and to eat in restaurants. I enjoy going to the beach, swimming, water skiing, playing baseball, and horseback riding.

I have my BScN, and worked as a Registered Nurse at Mac Kids until I moved away from Hamilton.

I see my doctor for follow-up every six months or so.

If you're new to the IBD "club" and not very comfortable discussing your condition, you might simply tell people that you have a headache when they see that you're not feeling well. Headaches are something that most people don't get too interested or concerned about.

And, get ready for a big lesson in patience. One medication or treatment may not work, so you may have to try something else until you find something that's right for you.