Dating and Relationships With Ulcerative Colitis
Broaching the Topic of UC: Just Do It continued...
But Nardini usually doesn’t wait too long to talk about her UC. "Once I start getting comfortable with somebody, it's hard for me not to mention it," she says. "Because it's a big part of who I am -- it's a big part of my life. Usually after a few weeks or months, I'll be like, 'Oh, by the way, guess who doesn't have a colon? It's me.'"
It's always kind of a shocker to people, she says, but it's never been so uncomfortable that it's ruined a friendship or romantic relationship.
Kim encourages young women to be straightforward about it, like you would any other part of yourself. "People are not going to be uncomfortable talking about it as long as you're matter-of-fact,” she says.
Talking about your UC can also make you relax about it. "I try to teach my patients to get to a comfort level of sharing their UC with others because when we do that, it takes away the shame and embarrassment,” says Sileo, who has Crohn’s disease. ”People will see we're OK with it, that we can talk about it."
Talking About UC: A Sense of Humor Can Help
Nardini is very involved with her local chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). Last year, she was selected to be the local hero for her chapter’s Take Steps Walk to raise money for research and increased awareness of the diseases.
At around the time of the walk, she was sitting with a boyfriend when she decided to reveal she has UC by starting a conversation about the walk.
"You need to join my team, Team Megan-Poops-a-Lot," she told him.
That broke the ice and she explained everything to him. "When you mention you have to go to the bathroom, like, every two hours, it can definitely ruin your image," she says. "You want to give off that you're a smooth, graceful, whimsical, wonderful person. But it just adds another side to who you are."
Nardini also told him about being in and out of the hospital for two years, and he was very supportive. She says he was taken aback at first because she doesn't "give off the vibe" that she's been through something like that.
"I just try and stay positive," she says. "I used to be a really big ‘negative Nancy.’ But I've tried to turn that around and really focus on the positive things."