Invisible illness and joint pain
By Jenna Ziegler - Gali Community Member
IBD is an invisible disease. There’s so much more that goes on than some sassy bowels. In my ulcerative colitis journey, there have been five major ways that the disease has stealthily infiltrated my life.
The first one is joint pain. This is called an extraintestinal manifestation because it’s an IBD-related symptom that doesn’t occur in my intestines.
Two years ago, I noticed that my right index finger was swollen, discolored, and a little bit tender. Naturally, I went to my general doctor because, at the time, I had NO IDEA it would be related to my IBD.
The doctor took a brief look at it, and said, “Yup, you hit it on the wall when you were sleeping.”
I was shocked! 😯 I know I’m not a doctor, but I understand enough about my body to know that hitting it on something wouldn’t cause it to look or feel like this! However, I let it go because I figured it was nothing too serious, and it wasn’t preventing me from doing anything.
Fast forward to today, two years later; it’s gotten worse and has spread to my pinky finger. I also feel random aches in other joints now, too, including my elbows, shoulders, and knees. I’m working with a new doctor and we’re doing everything we can to get to the bottom of this. The doctor prescribed me a medicated ointment to hold me over until we have an official diagnosis and set up a long-term treatment plan.
The point is: be your own advocate. ✊ You know your body better than anyone. If you feel like something is wrong, bring it up to your medical provider, and if you don’t get the answers or the care you deserve, kindly move on to a different medical expert and keep fighting.
IBD is much more than an intestinal disease. It’s an invisible illness with sneaky, stealthy symptoms that no one would notice unless we decide to share them.
And I choose to share my story because AWARENESS → FUNDING → RESEARCH → CURES!