Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge- Days 1 & 2

April 2, 2013 at 7:58 pm Leave a comment

I’m a little late to the game (by one day) but I am going to try to participate in WEGO Health‘s challenge this month. April is Health Activist Writer’s Month and brings the official Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge. Every day, health bloggers and other online writers will get a prompt and I will explore the different topics on here as often as I can. That being said, here are my posts for Day 1 and 2!

Why do you write – tell a little bit about why you write about your health online and what got you started.

I should preface this by saying that I am not sick. I may have my own issues (anxiety and IBS) but I started writing about health online after my husband had a rough few years with his Crohn’s disease.

There are a plethora of resources online available to patients with all sorts of diseases- cancer, diabetes, IBD and many others. But there aren’t that many resources available to help those who are taking care of a sick one who isn’t terminally ill or a senior citizen. That is why I started writing.

In 2010, Dan was hospitalized with an E. coli infection following a colonoscopy. It was my first real experience being his sole caregiver, having to make decisions for him and be mentally present for his care. I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect. So I turned to the Internet to try and find information that could explain to me, in plain English, what was going on and what to expect. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much available to me that was of any help.

What I found helped me the most were the online discussion boards about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. People shared their personal stories about things that happened to them, different treatments they tried, surgeries, etc. I posted about what was going on with Dan and I was floored by the response I got. People were offering me advice about what to do and how to care for him.

Not everyone is as willing to publicly air their personal matters online like I was. That’s why I started writing – to give people who are going through what we went through an outlet to go to where they can find information about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis that is clear and concise. I hope that those who read my blog find it informational and helpful in taking on their battle with IBD head on.

Introduce your condition(s) to other Health Activists. What are 5 things you want them to know about your condition/your activism?

Simply put, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) is a debilitating chronic illness that causes the inflammation of your colon and intestines. IBD causes painful cramping, urgency, diarrhea, rectal bleeding and weight loss among many other symptoms. Here are five things that I hope people know about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis:

  1. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are invisible diseases in the sense that you can’t really see them. Except for rare cases, these diseases to not present externally, so its hard for people to really grasp the pain and angst that those with IBD go through on a daily basis.
  2. IBD is an autoimmune disease. Normally there is bacteria in our gut that is considered to be good and maintains the balance in our digestive system. However, when you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, your body sees that bacteria and thinks it is a foreign invader, causing the body to attack itself.
  3. There is no cure for Crohn’s disease. People with Crohn’s, like Dan, don’t become “cured;” instead they can go into periods of remission where the disease is dormant. However, people who are diagnosed with Crohn’s will have it all their life.
  4. IBD is not something you can “just suck up.” Not having the disease, I don’t really know but I’ve heard that the pain you experience with IBD is some of the worst pain you will ever feel. It feels like your insides is twisting around into giant knots. It drives me crazy when people say to me- can’t Dan just suck it up? No he can’t just suck it up- he is in excruciating pain and can’t leave the toilet let alone the apartment.
  5. IBD and IBS are not the same. IBS is not a disease, IBD is. IBS does not cause inflammation. IBD does. There are many differences between the two. Saying that IBD and IBS are the same is misinformed.

Below are a few of the posts that I think are the most informative for those just diagnosed, living with IBD, or caring for someone with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis:

IBD Medical Terms in Plain Language

IBS v. IBD: the great intestinal debate

Debunking 10 IBD Myths

IBD Glossary

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Entry filed under: Advocates, Caregiving, General Disease. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Attention Tri-State IBD-ers: Great Education Program in CT This Weekend! Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge Day 3

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