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

    Metamorphosis

    This past weekend marked 3 years since my series of surgeries at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. That trial was my greatest test to date. 3 surgeries back to back to clean out remnants of j-pouch, rectum and anal sphincter that left behind a wound the size of a small football. From daunting saltwater whirlpools, Jackson-Pratt drains, Hydrogen Peroxide flushes into my pelvis, a wound VAC and procedures under sedation every other day to clean out the wound. I was on 6 different painkillers and I was barely hanging on for life. In the months prior, I had drains galore, one from my back down my leg with a bag…

  • 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…

  • coping with flare,  Crohn's,  living with IBD,  patient rights,  stigma,  Ulcerative Colitis

    Coming Out of My IBD Closet as a Desi Woman

    Every single year the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation chooses a local Adult Honored Hero who shares his/her story and is honored at the Take Steps Walk in the spring. And every single year I attend the New York City walk, raise awareness and funds to help find treatments and someday a cure for these awful diseases. I bring my friends and my family together along with the Foundation’s Women’s Support Group so they can see that we patients don’t suffer alone, that many folks from all walks of life have been through hell and back at a young age. And every single year, one of my closest girlfriends has tears…