Posts filed under ‘CCFA Awareness Week’

#ThisIsIBD: Craig

Today is the last day of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week and, as I look back over all the stories that have been shared over the past seven days, I am in awe of how strong the Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis patients in my life are. Each story is unique but what they all have in common is that they refuse to let their disease run their life, no matter how difficult living with the diseases can be.

On the last day of this important awareness week, #ThisIsIBD story comes from Craig. Craig’s story is pretty incredible- diagnosed with both Crohn’s disease and Celiac Disease and overcame odds to become a professional arena football kicker and a two-time Guinness World Record holder.

Make sure to check out his full story after the jump!

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December 7, 2014 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

#ThisIsIBD: Rosanne & Sean

Today’s #ThisIsIBD stories come from two incredible people- Rosanne and Sean. Rosanne and I met through our volunteer work with the Greater NYC Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. She’s a great advocate and a Disney blogger in her spare time.

Sean is the founder of Crohnology, a social network for patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Through Crohnology, a newly diagnosed patient can find others with the same condition in his/her city, learn about the treatments are working for patients, and record his/her progress as he/she tries new treatments, ultimately to get better and help others.

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December 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm Leave a comment

#ThisIsIBD: Ben

Today, my friend Ben shares his #ThisIsIBD story. Ben married my good college friend several years ago and this past summer, ran the Jamestown Half Marathon with us, his first race ever. Way to go!

Ben, 29, Crohn’s disease

During the fall semester of my senior year of college, I was studying abroad in South America. After about a month, I started having severe stomach pain and diarrhea. I thought that my body was just getting used to the Chilean food and water. In addition, one of my brothers had been in a severe car accident that caused me to fly home to Maryland for a week, so I thought that stress was a factor as well. However, the symptoms did not abate, and I lost close to 50 pounds. Stubbornly, I did not see a doctor until I returned home for good in the winter, and when I did I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

At first my symptoms were debilitating and I felt very unlike my usual self. However, after several months, I was able to get back to a normal weight and get my symptoms under control. Nevertheless, several of my other friends have not been so lucky. Having friends who have gone through surgery and have to endure monthly infusions of medication shows me how lucky I am compared to others.

For me, my Crohn’s disease has been a great motivator. I take several pills each day to keep my symptoms in check and get a bi-monthly blood test, but as long as I eat healthy foods and exercise regularly, Crohn’s remains a small part of my life. This past summer, I trained for and completed the Jamestown Half Marathon in Rhode Island as part of Team Challenge New England, and raised several thousand dollars for IBD research. This was the culmination of months of training and accomplishing something that I never thought I’d be able to do.

I still have bad days symptom-wise occasionally, but my Crohn’s disease does not define who I am. Crohn’s/IBD means a commitment to staying healthy and showing that life’s challenges can be overcome.

December 5, 2014 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

#ThisIsIBD: Laura

Today’s #ThisIsIBD story is from Laura. Laura is one of my good friends from Team Challenge who, despite having Crohn’s disease, is a speed demon half-marathoner many times over (she ran the Jamestown Half Marathon last year in 1:41).

Laura, 30, Crohn’s disease

I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease via a colonoscopy in November of 2006 at the age of 22. Just three months after starting my first teaching job. I first started to have symptoms of lower, left side abdominal pain in April of 2006 during my student teaching.  Since my first colonoscopy I have had two more, along with a CAT scan to diagnose a partial blockage of where my small and large intestines meet, back in April of 2012.
This past summer, after a few months of pain and failed steroid treatments. I I had another colonoscopy and a barium x-ray with a small bowel follow through.   At the same time I was following a strict low residue diet and decided to try Lialda again.  To my surprise, my colonoscopy was normal and my x-ray was “surprisingly normal”.   This was great news, as the pain had also subsided.   I will be most likely be on Lialda for life, but that is something I can live with.  I also take Turmeric and Peppermint leave capsules daily to combat spams and bloating.
I refuse to let Crohn’s disease run my life, I will run it!  Granted I can no longer eat pineapple or popcorn, along with many other high fiber fruits, but if that is what it takes to stay healthy, then that is what I am going to do.   I rather run, play soccer and rock climb.

December 4, 2014 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

#ThisIsIBD: Jeffrey

Today’s #ThisIsIBD story comes from Jeffrey . Jeffrey is another IBD blogger and sits on the board of the Intense Intestines Foundation.

Jeffrey, 41, Crohn’s disease

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in the 1980’s and went through years of being sick but just wanting to feel better and live my life. I didn’t know much about the disease, and, due to a lack of resources and motivation, I didn’t see any point in learning more about my disease. I spent years ignorant of what I had.

In 2011, my life with Crohn’s disease changed, and so did my goals. My father-in-law, who lived with ulcerative colitis and had an ostomy, passed away due to complications from his disease. I looked up to him in my battle with IBD and he was an inspiration in how he lived his life. I also went into my worst Crohn’s disease flare that same year. I started going through depression and felt like my life was going downhill real fast.

Three years later, my life has completely changed. Having IBD has built up my character and confidence. Thirty years ago, I didn’t fully understand Crohn’s disease and wouldn’t talk to anyone about it. Now I am well educated about my disease, research and the new treatments that are being developed. I run a support group that helps other find their voice to speak up. I feel like I have been quiet with my disease for way to long and now that it has helped define who I am, I will never keep quiet about it again.

December 3, 2014 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

#ThisIsIBD: Andrea

When I sought out stories for my recent Huffington Post piece to illustrate life with IBD, I received an incredible amount of personal stories from people living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, too many to fit into the 1,000 word limit I had for my piece. In observance of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week, I am going to share the additional stories on my blog throughout the week.

10807_10101299192115462_2027024958629790806_nFirst up, my friend Andrea from The Great Bowel Movement.

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December 2, 2014 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

#ThisIsIBD

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post; however the stories included below are the full versions and not the ones that appear externally.

December 1 marks the start of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week, an important week within the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) community to bring attention to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC), two debilitating digestive diseases that cause crippling abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and weight loss.

More than 1.4 million Americans live with these diseases, yet most people are unfamiliar with them, thinking that IBD and irritable bowel syndrome are synonymous, or downplaying the symptoms.

“One of the most challenging things is that every patient’s disease is different,” says Rick Geswell, president and CEO of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. “We know that what works for one patient, may not work for another. And it’s so unpredictable. Some patients are so sick that they can’t even leave their homes. Others may have mild disease for most of their life and then all of sudden they flare and land in the hospital. That’s why it’s so important for all patients to rally together — especially during awareness week.”

As Geswell says, it’s hard to grasp the reality of living with these diseases. So in order to explain what it’s like have an inflammatory bowel disease, I asked several patients to share their experiences.

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December 1, 2014 at 4:03 pm Leave a comment

Not Just a Pooping Disease: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Inflammatory Bowel Disease

I recently had the privilege of working on a piece for the Huffington Post with Stephanie from The Stolen Colon for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis Awareness Week. The piece posted today and I wanted to share a snippet from it with you:

These diseases have been known primarily as “pooping diseases” because many patients frequent the bathroom as a result of the cramping and abdominal pain caused by IBD. However, there are many aspects of the disease that are far worse than spending time in the bathroom.

Here are 10 things you didn’t know about IBD:

IBD patients often take many medications with powerful side effects.
Patients with IBD often depend on medication to control the inflammation and pain caused by their disease. Medications commonly used include antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, steroids and immunosuppressants.

While beneficial, these medications can cause side effects including nausea, vomiting, heartburn, night sweats, insomnia, hyperactivity, high blood pressure and stunted growth in children. Patients on immunosuppressants are at risk of developing lymphoma, tuberculosis, kidney and liver damage, anaphylaxis, seizures, and serious or fatal infections.

IBD causes extraintestinal issues.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can cause issues in other parts of the body, including inflammation of the inner part of the eye, mouth sores, arthritis, osteoporosis, gallstones, kidney stones, skin rashes and ulcerations, blood clots, anemia and several neurological conditions, including seizures, stroke, myopathy, headaches and depression.

IBD can have significant impact on the mental health of patients.
According to Oak Park Behavioral Medicine, about 25 percent of people with IBD will experience depression even when in remission, and that number rises to 60 percent during a flare. Outside of depression, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America reports that patients with IBD often experience anxiety, denial, dependence, stress and poor self-image.

Having IBD is exorbitantly expensive.
The annual direct cost of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in the United States is estimated to be $6.1 billion. A recent study showed that the mean annual cost for a patient with Crohn’s was $8,265 and for ulcerative colitis was $5,066. Each patient’s situation differs, but the most common costs of IBD include diagnostic tests, hospitalizations, surgery and medications, some of which can cost as much as $10,000 per dose.

You can view the full piece here.

December 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm 3 comments

Raising Awareness One Day at a Time

Happy Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week everyone!

Today marks the beginning of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week 2013 and more than ever, I can’t stress the importance of this week for raising awareness and educating others about inflammatory bowel diseases.

Before Dan was diagnosed, I didn’t know much about IBD. In fact I was one of those people who thought IBD and IBS were one in the same (I now know that they are most definitely not).

In the almost seven years since Dan was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, I have learned more about these debilitating diseases than I ever imagined I would. I have witnessed the good and the bad- colonoscopies, hospitalizations, surgeries, medications, tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills- you name it, Dan and I have been through it.

I have also been able to raise awareness and educate others who knew nothing about the disease learn about why Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are not just pooping diseases. Through Team Challenge and Take Steps, over the past three years Dan and I raised over $21,000 for research and education of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

But I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting incredible people who are battling these diseases and have become my second inspiration for raising awareness.

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December 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm Leave a comment

Huffington Post: Why I Celebrated Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week

In the excitement of Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week and the #PurpleChallenge, I completely forgot to share with you my exciting news- I wrote another piece on Crohn’s for HuffingtonPost.com!

In case you missed it, in August, I wrote a piece for the Huffington Post on what it’s like to be a caretaker for someone with Crohn’s Disease. After writing that and the great feedback I got from those who read it, I knew I wanted to write another piece sometime soon. After racking my brain I realized my next topic was right in front of me- why I celebrate Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week.

Here’s an excerpt of my post:

Six years ago, I had not heard of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. I lived in a world where I was blissfully unaware of inflammatory bowel diseases, where the debilitating symptoms didn’t impact my life. Then I met my now-husband Dan, and everything changed.

Dan was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease just two weeks after we started dating in 2007. Now, six years later, we have been through the gamut with the disease. He’s been on three different medications, with one of them making it nearly impossible for him to function because of severe fatigue. Now, instead of taking oral medication, Dan receives an IV infusion every six weeks at the doctor’s office. He’s had three different gastroenterologists. He’s been hospitalized for a post-colonoscopy infection and an intestinal blockage. Most recently, he had part of his small intestines removed in order to treat the disease.

Check out the full post here.

December 12, 2012 at 10:27 am 3 comments

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