Posts tagged ‘inflammatory bowel disease’

#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: 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

CCFA CEO Addresses Hot Button IBD Issues

There are many hot button issues related to inflammatory bowel disease and when I met with Rick Geswell, president and CEO of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, I took the opportunity to address two of them- the use of the word “cure” related to ulcerative colitis patients, and mortality associated with these diseases.

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October 28, 2014 at 3:30 pm 1 comment

Reblog: Ileostomy, colostomy, urostomy: What’s the difference?

My fabulous friend Stephanie at the Stolen Colon is one smart cookie. Her most recent post about the different types of ostomies is so informative that I needed to share it with you all. You can view the original post here or by reading below.

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September 30, 2014 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

Meet Rick Geswell, CCFA President & CEO

As many of you know, I am a big supporter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). I am an alumnus of its Take Steps and Team Challenge programs, sat on the board of its Connecticut Chapter, and I am currently helping its New York City and Fairfield/Westchester Chapters develop communications strategies. I believe that they are the organization that has the most amount of clout in the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) field and has the ability to create the most change and bring us closer to finding a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

I recognize that there is some discontent in the IBD community over how CCFA engages with them. There have definitely been times when I have been unhappy with how they have responded to a certain article, their use of levity about a serious topic (clown shoes in the Escape the Stall campaign), and how slow they are, at times, to jump on the bandwagon with social media campaigns. That being said, with a $70 million budget, they remain the biggest player in the IBD world. Therefore, I believe that, regardless of your personal experiences with CCFA, it is an organization that we all should rely on for the well-being of those with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

I was recently given the opportunity to sit down with Rick Geswell, president and chief executive officer of CCFA, to learn more about him, about CCFA and its initiatives, the future of the organization, and the future of IBD treatment. I will be relaying my interview with him over several blog posts in the near future and to start, here is the first in the series- Meet Rick Geswell.

Disclaimer: The details I am reporting below are directly from Rick Geswell of CCFA and do not represent my personal beliefs (although many are aligned). If you want to know if I agree with something, please feel free to ask me in the comments or email me at caringforcrohns@gmail.com.

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September 11, 2014 at 12:06 pm Leave a comment

A conversation about pooping

I know that I have been radio silent on the blog for several months now, and I am sorry for that. Life has gotten very busy and the blog has taken a backseat to everything else. But I am still looking at the comments and am involved with the online IBD community- just to a lesser extent.

Two quick things before I get into this post-

Now onto tonight’s post.

I have an incredible group of friends who all have IBD that I met through Team Challenge last year- Kelly (Crohn’s disease), Laura (Crohn’s disease), and Katie (ulcerative colitis). They all live in Connecticut and I was so sad to leave them last year when Dan and I moved for my job. It’s nights like tonight when I am reminded how much I truly love having them in my life.

Tonight I have been part of a group text message about things that these ladies have done while pooping (at one point, I had 43 unread messages). Summarizing it won’t do it justice, so I am just going to write it out verbatim for your enjoyment.

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June 5, 2014 at 10:21 pm 2 comments

Cure vs. Remission: Thoughts from a Crohn’s Caregiver

Recently, I was engaged in a Facebook argument (mature I know) with someone about whether or not Crohn’s disease could be cured. She (who doesn’t have the disease) was claiming that it could be cured by eliminating trigger foods from the patient’s died. I was trying to explain to her, with little success, that yes, if you eliminate trigger foods, some patients will experience a decrease in symptoms and subsequently may enter into a period of remission; however, that does not mean they are cured.

This argument really made me angry and I started to do a little digging online and was astounded to see how much misinformation there is out there. That is why I wrote this piece for the Huffington Post:

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two main diseases that make up the broad inflammatory bowel disease diagnosis. In patients with these diseases, the body’s immune system attacks parts of the digestive tract and causes inflammation, cramping, diarrhea, bleeding and all sorts of other issues.

According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, “To date, there is no known cause of or cure for IBD, but fortunately there are many effective treatments to help control these diseases.”

Medications, surgery, and diet modifications can help patients with inflammatory bowel diseases live regular lives. In patients with Crohn’s disease, neither of these treatments induces a cure; the best they do is bring a patient into a symptom-free state (remission, see below). Patients with ulcerative colitis can be treated with the surgical removal of the colon; however, surgery will not cure the underlying inflammatory disorder that the patients have, leaving them susceptible to pouchitis, arthritis, skin ulcers and other autoimmune diseases. The bottom line: When you have an inflammatory bowel disease, you have it for life.

Please take a look at the full piece here!

January 31, 2014 at 1:13 pm 5 comments

Shop Vintage & Raise Money for CCFA!

It’s that time of the year again.

Dan and I are back at it, raising money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of American through its Team Challenge program. We will be training to run/walk in the Jamestown Half Marathon this July and we couldn’t be more excited!

Last year we raised $7,500 for CCFA and this year we are upping our goal and hoping to raise $10,000 in the name of research and education about these debilitating diseases.

Shop vintage, benefit CCFA!

From now until February 10, The Vintage Twin, an AWESOME vintage goods company specializing in one-of-a-kind vintage finds, is donating 10% of its online sales to our fundraising efforts for CCFA. Check out their awesome clothing, accessories and other goods and shop early & often!

ccfaFACEBOOK

January 30, 2014 at 9:39 pm Leave a comment

2013: Year in Review

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!

This past year has been an exciting one for Dan and I, both online and offline. In the past year, Caring for Crohn’s & UC expanded incredibly- while I wrote far fewer posts than last year, the blog received over 19,000 views and gained This year, Caring for Crohn’s & UC exploded beyond my wildest dreams, having over 19,000 views by over 10,000 visitors, and gained 45 WordPress followers, 9 Tumblr followers, 131 Facebook fans and 213 Twitter followers. (Disclaimer: I am a huge analytics nerd, so please forgive me for being so excited over these numbers :-)) Thank you all SO much for your continued readership and support- while I haven’t kept up with posting as frequently as I want to, I am so happy that the content I wrote over the past two years has reached so many of you. It’s all in the name of raising awareness and educating others about inflammatory bowel diseases.

Enough about the numbers- here are some of my 2013 highlights.

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December 31, 2013 at 11:24 am Leave a comment

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

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The Caged Bird Still Sings

Striving to be content with the life I have been given, instead of the life I had imagined

Brian Greenberg

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