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You are not alone with ulcerative colitis (UC). Hear what people just like you have to say about their personal experiences with this disease and how they are managing now.

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Leslie’s full video (5:21)

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(Leslie R): My name is Leslie Rhodenhizer, I'm 35 years old, and I'm a stay-at-home mom.

I have three beautiful children, 6, 8, and 2. I'm from Philadelphia. I went to Temple University and got a degree in education.

I'm a student at the moment, going to graduate school, and I'm the president of our homeowner's association, so along with swimming lessons and soccer games and concerts and things like that, I keep myself pretty busy.

When I first started experiencing UC symptoms, I wasn't too concerned. I just assumed that it was some sort of infection or something that would be easily taken care of with antibiotics. I never dreamed that it would be something that I would live with forever.

Some of the first symptoms that I experienced were blood in the stool, frequent trips to the bathroom, urgency.

I was experiencing symptoms for several months before I went to the doctor. By the time I finally decided to go, I was running to the bathroom several times a day and trying to do my work in college and having to leave the classroom multiple times. It was getting difficult. It was getting worrisome. It was getting worse. So I decided it was time to do something about it.

Before I started receiving treatment, it was difficult. I was in school living in a dorm. Bathrooms were way at the end of the hallway. I was spending a lot of time in class, and it was hard. I was often rushing to get out of where I was to find the closest bathroom and that was difficult to concentrate and get my work done and sit through class, and I couldn't go anywhere without worrying that there was going to be a bathroom close by. I couldn't go out to eat because as soon as I did, I knew I would have to leave the table, or I would go out to eat but I wouldn't eat anything, so it was a very quick onset of symptoms.

I was diagnosed with UC when I was 22 years old. I was in my senior year of college, about to start student teaching, and I needed to get it under control so that I could finish up with my teaching and go on.

Since I was diagnosed with UC, I've come to learn a lot. I had never heard of it at the time, but I was diagnosed. My mom was joking with me just last night saying that after that first colonoscopy, I took a nap and woke up and asked her, "What did the doctor say that I had again?" I had never heard of it, but since that time I've come to learn a lot.

After I was diagnosed, I definitely had a lot of questions.

The word chronic was something I never expected to hear. I didn't know what my life was going to be like. I was very anxious to know if I would still be able to go forward with my teaching career, or just so many things were going through my mind, that I just wasn't sure what my life was going to be like, knowing that I would have to manage a disease at a – starting at a young age.

My family and friends were very supportive after my diagnosis. I am fortunate enough to have a whole family full of nurses, my mom, my grandmother, aunts, so most of them were familiar with UC.

My family, they were a huge support group. I think being in the medical field is a blessing and sometimes not so much. I think they were cautious to overstep and you know, let me do my own research and you know, come to terms with the disease and speak with my doctor. I think they wanted to not try and diagnose anything, but they were super supportive and understanding.

Being a mom with UC is difficult, especially when my children were young. I've had times when I have had all three of them out somewhere with me, and I just have to say quickly it's time to go. It's challenging. It's easier now that my children are getting a little bit older and can help me. Being a wife with UC has its challenges as well. When I'm flaring up I tend to get exhausted very easily, and as soon as my children are in bed I'm in bed right behind them.

Leslie

LESLIE

Ruben

RUBEN

Watch: Meet Leslie (:36)

Watch: Meet Leslie (:36)

Leslie is a parent and a wife with plenty to keep her busy and on the go.

Watch: First Experience with UC (:20)

Watch: First Experience with UC (:20)

Learn how Leslie felt when she first started experiencing UC symptoms.

Watch: Dealing with UC Symptoms (:41)

Watch: Dealing with UC Symptoms (:41)

Find out how Leslie handled her UC symptoms before being diagnosed.

Watch: Before Diagnosis (:46)

Watch: Before Diagnosis (:46)

Hear how Leslie managed her UC symptoms before being offered a treatment plan.

Watch: Diagnosed with UC (:48)

Watch: Diagnosed with UC (:48)

Find out when Leslie was finally diagnosed with UC.

Watch: After Diagnosis (:40)

Watch: After Diagnosis (:40)

Learn how Leslie felt when she was diagnosed with UC.

Watch: Support (:52)

Watch: Support (:52)

Listen to Leslie's description of how her friends and family reacted to her UC diagnosis.

Watch: Managing UC (:37)

Watch: Managing UC (:37)

Hear Leslie describe life as a mom and wife with UC.

Watch: Meet Ruben (:58)

Watch: Meet Ruben (:58)

Meet Ruben, a socially active police officer, and learn about his first experiences with UC symptoms.

Watch: Before UC Treatment (:24)

Watch: Before UC Treatment (:24)

Find out how Ruben managed his symptoms before being diagnosed with UC.

Watch: Managing UC Symptoms Before Diagnosis (:30)

Watch: Managing UC Symptoms Before Diagnosis (:30)

Hear Ruben describe how he felt as he managed his symptoms before he was diagnosed.

Watch: After Diagnosis (:46)

Watch: After Diagnosis (:46)

Learn how Ruben, his friends and family, felt once he was diagnosed with UC.

Watch: Managing UC on a Treatment Plan (:45)

Watch: Managing UC on a Treatment Plan (:45)

Find out how life changed for Ruben once he was given a treatment plan.

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