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.
I remember looking down at my abdomen shortly after having the first of two surgeries to complete the j-pouch procedure for treating ulcerative colitis. It was open surgery, so I had a line of staples closing the surgical site that was about 8 inches long. I spent most of those first weeks with a pillow clutched against my abdomen because it felt like my guts were going to fall out. I couldn’t imagine how I would ever complete a simple sit-up again.
Yet, I did recover. I can do the things that seemed beyond reach in those first days and weeks, but it didn’t happen right away or without effort. As the country becomes vaccinated against COVID-19 and we consider next steps, I am reminded of that feeling of having no idea how I would ever be whole again. Restarting a face-to-face life is off in the distance: hazy to the point of being unrecognizable. I’m struck by the similarities between resuming life after surgery and resuming life after a pandemic. They happen slowly, with the individual steps being so small they are almost imperceptible.
Crohn’s & Colitis Congress is a meeting focused on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that’s organized by the American Gastroenterological Association and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. The meeting is geared towards healthcare providers who want to learn more about treating patients who live with IBD.
Ryan Ungaro, MS, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology) at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, gave a presentation at Crohn’s & Colitis Congress entitled “Understanding IBD-Related Care in the Era of COVID-19.”
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.
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
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.
How often do you check in with your friends and family about how they’re doing during the pandemic? Families have had to make difficult choices regarding school, playdates, and extracurricular activities. We are all concerned about how our kids are faring during the pandemic. But are we asking them about their worries and concerns as often as we should? Amber sits down with her 10-year-old daughter to talk about hybrid school, concerns about getting sick with COVID, what kids are missing right now, and what they want to do when the pandemic is over.