advocacy,  Crohn's,  Fistulizing Disease,  living with IBD,  Mental Health,  Ostomy,  stigma,  Ulcerative Colitis

My Perianal Disease Feature at Crohn’s & Colitis Congress 2019

As many of you may have seen on my social media accounts this last month, Crohn’s & Colitis Congress is a premier conference that discusses all the latest breakthroughs in inflammatory bowel disease. I had the honor of taking part in one of the breakout sessions called Management of Complicated IBD: Perianal Disease. During this panel discussion, I shared my experiences with perianal fistulizing Crohn’s Disease and the psychosocial toll it wreaked on my entire being as a woman, as a professional and as a wife.

As terrifying as sharing my horrific experience with perianal disease was, it was absolutely validating and felt like a huge weight off my shoulders. These last two months have been nothing short of a physical and emotional roller coaster ride. From the scare of perianal fistulizing disease rearing its ugly head again in January to speaking about it at Congress in February to now receiving nerve blocks and trigger point injections to alleviate chronic pelvic pain while playing the endless waiting game to rule out potential diagnoses of endometriosis and a hernia, I’ve barely been staying afloat.

Nevertheless, I am so thankful for having you all as support, so grateful to the Foundation, AGA and IBD healthcare providers from all over the country for welcoming my story at Congress. While many of us can manage to look “good” even on our bad days, the real exposure comes when we peel off that bandage and show our scars to the world to help heal each other. And as hard as it is do, that authenticity is something I strive for every single day…for you, for me, for all of us with chronic illnesses who deserve a voice and deserve to be seen as human beings of our own right. ♥️

During Congress, we weren’t allowed to take videos so I have shared some top tweets below that came out of the Perianal Disease panel discussion:

To the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA): Thank you for the honor of sharing my story and helping to normalize the rhetoric around perianal fistulizing disease.


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Tina is a health advocate for patients living with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Via her writing, social media and public speaking engagements, she spearheads public health causes, including those creating awareness for inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's & Colitis), life-saving ostomy surgery and initiatives supporting global women's and minorities' health. The intent of this blog is to give those suffering in silence and in shame a voice that creates greater awareness and acceptance. She owns her chronic illnesses and disabilities and her goal is for you to as well!