In today’s episode, Allie Koplan shares her Ulcerative Colitis story and dives deep into her ostomy and take-down surgeries, recovery, and mindset.
Allie’s IBD journey began when she was 17 and experienced her first flare up while overseas in England. After coming back home to Chicago, it took another 10 months before she was finally diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Over the years, she struggled with body image, depression, medication side effects, and the mental stress caused by IBD.
Though she’d been on progressively stronger prescriptions since diagnosis–from oral medications and steroids to biologics–her symptoms continued to get worse. In 2016 her doctors recommended an ostomy. After the surgery, she thrived for the next couple of years, taking back control of her life and living again.
But in 2018 her doctors recommended she have her take-down surgery if she ever wanted the chance at being able to live life without a permanent ostomy. Recovery this time was much harder. She shares what helped her get through it and her mantra of “this is temporary.” She also shares how her mindset has evolved over the years and, although she’s experienced some dark and tough times, how she’s always been an optimist and used humor to help her through. Now, when she faces challenges, she has a strength that comes from within, knowing that she’s made it through worse.
Over the years, Allie has learned to listen to her body and incorporated journaling and social media detoxes to help her battle stress and avoid her triggers. She encourages everyone to be their own advocate and to look out for themselves. Only you can make the right decision for yourself, she says, so weigh the options and seek to obtain the best quality of life that you can. But above all, respect yourself and don’t be so hard on yourself.
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