• advocacy,  awareness,  colorectal cancer,  Colorectal Surgery,  Crohn's,  Fistulizing Disease,  living with IBD,  Mental Health,  Ostomy,  stigma,  Ulcerative Colitis

    The Top 10 IBD Blogs to Follow in 2019

    Discussing bowel movements is undoubtedly a taboo subject for many people, which has helped a stigma form around Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). For people living with IBD, most commonly in the form of Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, ‘embarrassment’, ‘shame’, and ‘isolation’ are regularly used words to describe the emotional strain that accompanies the physical symptoms of their condition. These bloggers, each excelling in particular areas, write openly and honestly about the realities of life with IBD. In doing so, they are helping create a community that offers support, raise awareness that helps tackle the stigma, and provide practical tips for various walks of life. Top IBD Blogs for Real…

  • advocacy,  awareness,  coping with flares,  Crohn's,  Holiday Season,  living with IBD,  Traveling with IBD,  Ulcerative Colitis

    The Value of Awareness & Advocacy During the Holidays

    The holiday season is a wonderful time to celebrate all the blessings in our lives. It is a time to reflect on a year that has passed and our resolutions for the upcoming new year. But it is also a time that can be difficult for many of us with chronic illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). And this is where the importance of awareness and advocacy of our conditions come into the picture. As joyous of a time that the holidays are, many of us struggle to keep up with the shopping, the eating, the drinking, the travel and all the social merriment of the holiday season. Oftentimes,…

  • advocacy,  awareness,  coping with flares,  Crohn's,  living with IBD,  Ostomy,  stigma,  Ulcerative Colitis

    6 Myths About IBD in Minority Patients, Busted

    Here are the most common misconceptions surrounding Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis in minority populations. By Brianna Majsiak Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis (UC) are not easy conditions to talk about. But an even rarer topic of conversation is how minority patients are affected by these chronic and debilitating diseases. Although IBD has predominantly affected whites in the past, a study published in August 2016 in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Disease found an increase in the rate of IBD in minority groups in the United States over the past two decades. “Patients may be reluctant to identify as having ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, so our current numbers may really underrepresent these minority groups,”…

  • awareness,  caregivers,  Crohn's,  living with IBD,  Ulcerative Colitis

    Caregivers: The Greatest Blessing of All

    As we wrap up Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week, I reflect on the greatest blessing of all in my IBD journey: my caregivers, my dear mother and husband. From the constant rides into the city for doctors’ visits to packing wounds and changing PICC line dressings while helping me walk and shower after surgery, Mom, you picked me up when I was at my lowest points in life. From driving me to Cleveland Clinic and flying me to Mayo Clinic for surgery while spending countless sleepless nights in the hospital, Anand, you stood by my side when society told you you could have done better. Many of our IBD journeys…

  • acceptance,  advocacy,  awareness,  coping with flares,  Crohn's,  living with IBD,  Ostomy,  patient rights,  Ulcerative Colitis

    Allowing Acceptance In

    Thanksgiving season is upon us, dearests! As we prepare to celebrate life, love and laughter with our families and friends, it may be tough to avoid the elephant in the room: our chronic illnesses and disabilities. As hard as this may be, we can get through the holidays together by advocating for better quality of life and allowing acceptance of our conditions in! Our bodies may not be in perfect condition but let’s be thankful today and always for the moments of health, peace and joy that shine their way into our lives. ‘Tis the season to allow acceptance to pervade our lives to cultivate more love and better self-care!…

  • acceptance,  advocacy,  Appendicitis,  awareness,  Ostomy,  patient rights,  stigma

    Edgar Flores opens up about surviving near-death and the challenges of living with an ostomy in Mexico

    Ayatka Wuikot Tlatuan is the Native American name given to Edgar Flores, a 48-year-old Mexico City native who was born into two tribes. His mother Aztec and father Apache Indian. Just over two years ago, Edgar developed appendicitis and underwent an emergency operation to remove his appendix. What happened next truly shocked him. “I thought the operation had gone smoothly, but within a few days I began to experience severe stomach pain and felt very weak,” he said. As the situation went from bad to worse, Edgar was rushed to the hospital where an ER surgeon discovered that his abdomen was filling with blood. He was hemorrhaging from the inside. Read…

  • acceptance,  advocacy,  awareness,  colorectal cancer,  Colorectal Surgery,  Crohn's,  living with IBD,  Ostomy,  patient rights,  stigma,  Ulcerative Colitis

    Real Talk about Ostomies

    On the eve of World Ostomy Day, I write this blog post in hopes of debunking many of the myths surrounding living with an ostomy. So here goes nothing… I always get super excited when friends and family muster up the courage to ask about my ostomy. It makes me feel so connected to them and like I’m being recognized for all of me and not just the healthy-looking parts of me. I feel their concern, their love and most of all, their interest in how I live my life, chronic illness and disabilities abound. See, the thing is, living with an ostomy is often the proverbial elephant in the…

  • acceptance,  advocacy,  awareness,  colorectal cancer,  Colorectal Surgery,  Crohn's,  Ostomy,  stigma

    No More Secrets: An enlightening film that reveals the stigma of having an ostomy in India

    In a world that’s still struggling with the concept of life-saving ostomy surgery, India comes chock full of psychosocial taboos. In addition to the challenge of costly medical supplies, ostomies are widely viewed as unacceptable in this country and can even become barriers to pursuing careers and relationships. Filmmaker Anisha Vijayan recognized the need to educate the masses about living with an ostomy in India. After months of interviews and countless hours of research and production, her documentary No More Secrets was released earlier this year. She shared with OC the inspiration behind creating the film and how it’s offering encouragement to ostomates in South Asia. Read the full story on…

  • advocacy,  awareness,  Colorectal Surgery,  coping with flares,  Crohn's,  living with IBD,  patient rights,  Ulcerative Colitis

    Sepsis Is a Severe, Life-threatening Complication for IBD Patients

    It’s Sepsis Awareness Month, so I’m discussing what sepsis is and how it is often a complication of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal surgery. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “sepsis arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs, potentially leading to death or significant morbidity.” WHO statistics show that more than 30 million people contract sepsis each year, and 6 million die from it. But aside from all these scientific terms and statistics, what is sepsis? To me, sepsis looked and felt like the following: It all started with a 103-degree fever, a high pulse well into the 130s, low blood pressure hovering around…

  • acceptance,  awareness,  coping with flares,  Crohn's,  living with IBD,  Ostomy,  Ulcerative Colitis

    Throwback to La Caverna 2006!

    Throwback to the summer of 2006 at La Caverna in New York City, just a few months after my IBD diagnosis when I was 22 (you can literally see how pale and anemic I was). My buddy, Sunil, and I were always the ultimate dance partners wil’in out on the dance floor. Some really fun times that I’m glad I had the chance to enjoy back then. Fast forward 12 years along with countless medications and surgeries, here Sunil and I are again at La Caverna. This time with our amazing husbands recreating dance moves from our college days. As friends for many years, we have come a long way…