Kristine Fulco's Story

10 Years Ever After

My much healthier half, James, has been a part of my life for most of my 12-year battle with ulcerative colitis. He was around for the tears, the pain, and all my different treatments and diets to try to keep me in remission. By the time we were dating for eight years, my running non-joke bad been, "If we do not get married on the 10 year anniversary of meeting each other, we failed as a couple."

Despite frequent flares ruining lots of events in my life and my participation in some of my best friends' weddings, I was determined to have the best night of my life on the day I married the man who celebrates how strong I am for my continued efforts to carry on despite so much suffering. It was going to be exactly how I imagined it all those sleepless nights vomiting, running to the bathroom, and massively sweating with constant fevers, while being underweight and anemic.

In June 2016, four months before our wedding, I exhausted all medical options available for my disease, became steroid dependant, and was too sick to even get off the couch. It came down to getting j-pouch surgery just in time so I could recover and make it to my wedding. In lieu of a honeymoon, I would have my second surgery shortly after the wedding.

With a couple of mini meltdowns, trying to portray the calmest bride I could possibly be, my new ostomy bag compliments of an amazing surgical team, and support of my friends and family, we did have that dream wedding that was 10 years in the making. We stayed out all night and showed the world how to rock an ostomy bag on your wedding day.

It took a little courage, a lot of determination, constant visualization, positive thinking, problem solving, and my special endless can-do/never give up attitude. Now we are looking forward to finally going on our honeymoon after I recover from my third surgery. This is our story; this is our 10 years ever after.