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

    IBD Awareness Week Line-Up: Diversity, Mental Health & More!

    Today kicks off Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week! The lead-up to this week has included my (very exciting!) feature on the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s website for general IBD awareness and for racial and ethnic minorities. I also had the honor of sharing my IBD story with reporters from various media outlets who attended the Foundation’s briefing this past week. In discussing my story, I talked about the cultural impact of being a minority woman with Crohn’s Disease and a permanent ostomy. Being a different race, gender, sexuality and/or ethnicity adds a whole other layer of complexity to the IBD experience. I really wanted to bring to light how complicated our…

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

    My Feature During Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week

    Pleased to announce that this year I have the honor of representing my fellow IBD warriors for Awareness Week (12/1-12/7) nationally on the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s website! REPRESENT!! Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, genders and sexual orientations. IBD affects 1.6 million people and counting in the U.S. alone and over 5 million worldwide. This chronic, autoimmune and often invisible condition is growing by leaps and bounds unfortunately every single year. It wreaks havoc on our guts, bodies and mental health. It behooves us to recognize and de-stigmatize IBD and chronic illness in general so that folks like us can live fuller, happier lives. I…

  • 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…

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

    The Value of Support Groups

    In a world where medical professionals have only a few minutes to go over a whole slew of symptoms, medication interactions, and surgical complications, it is impossible to cover the psychosocial aspects of one’s condition(s). These aspects include methods of coping with the emotional roller coaster of living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).This is where support groups come into the picture. They fill that gap between doctor-patient interactions and provide real-time support and understanding to patients caught in the rigmarole of hospital visits, health insurance, and invasive testing. But more than this, the true value of support groups lies in empowering patients by fostering lifelong friendships through a deep understanding of…

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

    Being Brown and Coming Out of the IBD Closet: The Chronic Illness Experience

    Being Brown and Coming Out of the IBD Closet: The Chronic Illness Experience [All photos courtesy of Tina Aswani Omprakash]   Just as soon as he landed from India, a good friend called me, half laughing: “Tina, I know exactly what it feels like to be you now! I’ve had diarrhea for the last three weeks after eating at Elco Market in Mumbai! What do I do?” Another time when I was deathly ill, languishing from anemia, malnutrition and weight loss due to 20-30 bloody bowel movements a day, I remember the aunties ridiculing me. They would cackle behind my back as they proclaimed that I did this to myself.…

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

    My Very Own Independence Day

               Today, Independence Day 2018, marks 10 years since my colon and rectum were removed in emergency. I was 24 years old, 85 lbs, being fed by a PICC line and the hair on my head was greying from malnutrition. I was dying from IBD my doctors warned me as they urged me to have surgery. I remember that day so clearly when my then boyfriend/now husband, Anand, along with my close friend, Radhika, drove me into the city to have emergency surgery. And when my surgeon came up to me in the emergency room, he expressed that I may be too far-gone, that he was…

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

    The Waiting Game

    Does nail-biting anxiety wash over you as you await results after a colonoscopy, MRI, or CT scan? Or restlessness while waiting for your latest round of biologics to start kicking in? Yeah, me too. I sit here today twiddling my thumbs endlessly as I await my ileoscopy and upper endoscopy biopsies from last week. This form of anxiety is all part of the waiting game. We patients live in constant agony while test results are pending, especially when a definitive diagnosis depends on those results. We worry as we take dose after dose of the latest round of immunosuppressants, earnestly hoping that this medication will be “it” — remission, finally. These feelings…

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

    MC Capital T Reppin’ from the BK Walk!

    Thanks to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation for the opportunity to serve my fellow IBDers by sharing my experiences as well as introducing past and present Honored Heroes at the Brooklyn Take Steps Walk. Hats off to all of you for being brave enough to share how miserable these diseases are and how you are working to transcend #IBD. And a special thank you to all the doctors/surgeons and Lyfebulb for coming out to support us patients in our struggle! Even though I look well in the above photo, after the walk, I quickly deteriorated. I was dehydrated, had trouble breathing and had a partial bowel obstruction. Luckily, the Foundation…