Jesse St Jean was diagnosed with the autoimmune, inflammatory bowl disease, Ulcerative Colitis at just 19 years old while still a sophomore in college. This came after years of unexplained digestive symptoms and autoimmune issues.
As a young woman living a very active social life and with so much ahead of her, getting the diagnosis hit Jesse like a ton of bricks. Though her sister Samantha also has Ulcerative Colitis and it was great having her support and understanding, their symptoms presented very differently and Jesse had to learn her own way to manage.
Ulcerative colitis’s primary symptom is diarrhoea which can occur up to 12 times a day, which makes it incredibly difficult to leave the house because you have to always be near a toilet. Other symptoms of UC include rectal bleeding, abdominal cramping, joint pain and fatigue.
Jesse shifted between grief and denial for the first 4 years post diagnosis but as her symptoms got progressively worse and the medication she was taking was no longer helping, she had to make a big decision to go on a more serious drug and to really start taking responsibility for making her life work for her.
Jesse is one of the bloggers behind AIP Sisterhood, where she shares recipes and lifestyle tips for living with IBD together with her sister, Sam. With the help of medication, lifestyle changes, and the Autoimmune Protocol Diet, 5 years later Jesse is now able live about 80% symptom free.
Jesse likes to say that it takes courage to live with an autoimmune disease. It’s a life filled with ups and downs and uncertainty and it takes guts to live that way! It can also be a life filled with joy, love, and empowerment and living with autoimmunity has empowered Jesse to live her best life.
Jesse is a trained musician and board certified hospice music therapist who is currently studying to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and lives with her wonderful husband of two years.
I really loved Jesse’s honesty in this interview about her struggles, how she finally overcame her denial and grief and began to take back control of her life. You can find out more about Jesse over at AIP Sisterhood, which she shares with her sister Sam. http://aipsisterhood.com/
Have a listen to our interview now. I do hope you enjoy it and if you do, please share it around. You can listen here or subscribe to Apple podcasts/iTunes, find it on Spotify or Ask Alexa to play Emotional Autoimmunity podcast!