While most people don't like to talk about inflammatory bowel disease — it's not exactly coffee chatter — Jennifer Martin is happy discussing how her surgery to treat it saved her life.
In April 2009, the 27-year-old Costa Mesa resident was finishing up her doctorate in psychology when she had a painful flare of ulcerative colitis, which caused extreme pain and the loss of 30 pounds. Already a petite woman, Martin shriveled to 82 pounds.
She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2007 after her bowel movements started to frighten her. She would go to the restroom up to 20 times a day, and often found blood in her stool.
"I didn't know what was going on and was freaking out," she said.
Because colitis causes the lining of the intestinal tract to deteriorate, Martin compared the act of eating to the sensation of "a knife slicing through my insides."