Hi there this is me Aaron Art Bato, I live in the Philippines. I have Ulcerative Colitis a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease similar to Crohn's Disease.
I look normal, but my illness isn't really visible on the outside. Ulcerative colitis is a long term condition where the colon and rectum become inflamed. These inflammation causes the colon and rectum to develop ulcers and once the ulcers become worse they will become scars and once those scars heal they will become fibrosis which is thicker than the original lining, those will become thicker and thicker until eventually it will block the way out of human waste. That's the ending but while it gets worse the illness has so many symptoms. Some of what I experience everyday are abdominal pain, cramping, fatigue, GERD, bloating, indigestion, vomiting, nausea and bloody diarrhea. Not to mention that when I need to go to the restroom I can't delay it since it's excruciatingly painful.
I have had the illness since I was a kid, but it first time got unbearable was at the year 2010. Then I was diagnosed with it on 2015 when I got rushed to the E.R. for severe abdominal pain which got me admitted for almost a month. Ever since back then even with my job and the support of my family. We could not afford the medication that I needed to keep the illness in check. These are called Biologics, just for perspective in the Philippines (1) One dose of that kind of medication is around 25000 PHP or around $500 USD. I as a call center agent make even lower than that per month around 20000 PHP or $400 USD. What would I choose, my daily fare, food, and other expenses or medication that does not work 100% of the time.
Fast forward now on year 2021 after 6 years and 3 near death experiences because of this illness. I only relied on Prednisone and over the counter pain killers to numb the pain just so I could function daily. Most days even with the pain killers the pain was still so much that I could not get out of bed and barely even stand. Because of this work required me to get checked out because it was becoming more frequent, then I found out that my illness has gotten way worse that even if we could afford the Biologics it would no longer reverse the damage since there was already fibrosis and strictures inside my colon. The farthest the colonoscopy could get was just a mere 30 CM and it took around 34 minutes which means she really tried to get it past that point but couldn't.
And because of all the symptoms of if even if it was only supposed to cause damage to my colon and rectum. The frequent acid reflux episodes damaged different parts too.
By the way I did not show the actually pictures they took since some of you might not like to see the mucus and the scars.
Now I am left with no other choice but to get a surgery to get rid of the damaged parts in my colon. The surgeons we spoke with said mostly the same thing that they will need to cut the colon from the rectum and attach the small intestine to the rectum. Since the damage was already severe that they can no longer save any of the colon.
We were only able to afford all these test because of my health insurance at work. But it's already maxed out too. Even with all the support of my family we are unable to afford the price of the surgery. From what they have informed us about the surgery they informed me that even with my Philhealth insurance which is the Philippines health insurance, and my PWD discount of 20%, yes I am a registered disabled person. The costs would still be around 450000+ PHP or around $9000 dollars. Even if I can work right now, my salary is around 25000 PHP or $500 per month. I want to keep fighting for my family so that I don't disappoint them. But it's mission impossible for me and my family.
Thank you very much for reading my long story. I tried to summarize it as best as I can. In no way is a donation required. I'm already happy to spread awareness of this disease. Because there's also a lot of people like me who suffer like I do but cannot do anything about it since they are unable to afford the procedures and the medications that they need to keep surviving. I hope something in the system changes so that people like me could have a fair chance at healthcare.