Have you ever seen a person who lives with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in a movie or TV show? If so: was the depiction positive or negative?
My guest is actor, writer, and filmmaker Derek Mari. Derek lives with Crohn’s disease and his IBD journey inspired him to create a story that explores the way people cope with living with a chronic illness. He has already filmed a short film, entitled “Crohnie,” which was positively received at several film festivals (before the pandemic shut everything down).
Derek’s next project is a full-length feature film with a main character who lives with Crohn’s disease. Loosely autobiographical, it will examine the journey to acceptance of life with a chronic illness, and show how that life can be full and filled with success. Learn more about Derek and his Crohn’s story, as well as how you can get involved in the crowdfunding program to get this film made.
Telling your Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis story is powerful. It can be freeing but it can also come with some unexpected side effects.
Welcome back Rosanne Mottola, who originally intended to talk over receiving her second dose of the Pfizer BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine. She told her ulcerative colitis story and about receiving her first dose on Episode 87, “COVID-19 Vaccination With UC Patient Rosanne Mottola.” She gives her experience on her second dose, how it affected her, and what her family’s plans are now that she’s vaccinated.
Additionally, Rosanne had another part of her journey that she wanted to share. She listened to her first About IBD episode (something a lot of guests don’t actually do), as did her family. Reflecting on her ulcerative colitis journey brought things back in a fresh way. She tells me how revisiting some parts of her life in this way was both troubling and healing. It’s an important part of the disease journey, especially for those who tell their story publicly, that doesn’t often get discussed.
Living with one disease is bad enough, but living with two adds more than two times the complexity. As a young man, Aaron Blocker was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease after years of coping with strange and seemingly disconnected signs and symptoms. He continued to have problems which resulted in two hip replacements that were blamed on prednisone. However, after one of those hip replacements became dislocated, Aaron went looking for more answers and wound up suspecting that he also had an ultra-rare condition called hypophosphatasia.
During times of stress, our personal relationships may suffer. In the pandemic, we are finding ourselves spending a lot of time with those in our households, and for couples, that can start to take a toll. Certified sex educator Kait Scalisi, founder of Passion By Kait, shares her knowledge and experience as a neuroscientist, public health professional, and couples’ counselor to help us understand how to better manage our relationships during the pandemic and beyond.
People with IBD and other chronic conditions have questions about receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. Rosanne Mottola works at a hospital and was therefore eligible to receive a vaccination through her employer. Rosanne gives her experiences and takeaways as a “mild to moderate” ulcerative colitis patient and how she made the decision to receive the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. She gives some great advice about how the internet may skew our perception of what IBD life is like, and because of her experiences and background, she’s a wonderful resource for people living with IBD.
Did an IBD diagnosis change the direction of your life? For Danielle Golden and Joe Teeters, being diagnosed as a young adult had a profound influence on their lives. The plans they had for their lives were derailed, but they only met, formed a strong friendship, and founded Double Baggin’ It because of their IBD. Learn more about their disease journeys, how they met, and how they use humor to raise awareness of IBD and ostomy life both inside and outside the IBD community.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have had many questions. Now that vaccines against the virus are becoming available, people living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis need even more information in order to make decisions. I asked Dr David Rubin, Chief of the Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition and the Co-Director of the Digestive Diseases Center at The University of Chicago Medicine to answer some of these initial questions about the first COVID-19 vaccines (manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna). Topics discussed on this episode include:
How vaccines work
How mRNA works
How IBD medications affect the immune system
IBD medications and their potential effect on COVID-19 vaccination
When we’ll have more information about COVID-19 vaccines and IBD
Why side effects with vaccines are expected and what they mean
For many of us who live with a form of IBD, being a performer seems like it would be impossible. Some of the problems include needing a job that provides health insurance, the stress of auditions, and being healthy enough to perform onstage. Justin Baker, however, has found a way to make it work for him as he lives with Crohn’s disease and ankylosing spondylitis (a form of degenerative arthritis that’s associated with IBD). Justin is an actor, a photographer, and a clown. He tells me how he manages stress, how empathy informs his work and his life, and how not having health insurance led to emergency surgery for his Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week is full of events that aim to raise funds and understanding of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). One of these is Gaming4Guts, a gaming marathon to raise funds for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Participants stream over Twitch during the 72-hour event but they have also formed a community, keeping in contact year-round on the Gaming4Guts Discord server. Kenzie, John, and Mark from Gaming4Guts sat down with me to talk about their personal connections to IBD, the evolution of Gaming4Guts, and what their goals are this year.
After hearing from my 10-year-old daughter, it’s now time to hear from my 13-year-old son. My kids are in hybrid school, and for my 8th grader, this means he goes to school in person two full days a week, with 3 days of distance learning at home. We are managing it as well as I think we can expect. However, my son brings up a small wrinkle in regards to the “return to normal” to which we are all looking forward. It is going to be challenging for us to go back to our prior pace and there will be new struggles along the way. Be sure to listen to the end to hear my son’s tips for parents on how to talk to their kids.