Living with a permanent ileostomy as a result of Crohn’s disease hasn’t stopped Ryan Stevens from participating in the sport he loves. He worked his way back from crushing IBD flare-ups and multiple surgeries in order to train for the ultimate triathlon: the IRONMAN. In this second part of Ryan’s story, hear what happened to him while on the bike route, why the ostomy may actually provide an advantage, and Amber’s unfiltered thoughts on the competitiveness of the triathlon community.Continue reading
A diagnosis of Crohn’s disease and an ileostomy hasn’t stopped Ryan Stevens from competing in triathlon races. He swam competitively through high school and college and was sidelined by Crohn’s just after falling in love with triathlon. He’s worked his way back twice from devastating flare-ups to get back to swim, bike, run, and now to the ultimate race: the IRONMAN. Come with us as we relive the IRONMAN Triathlon in Madison, Wisconsin and discuss how Ryan prepared and competed while living with IBD and a permanent ostomy.Continue reading
People with IBD are often faced with unexpected challenges that are outside of those being experienced by their peer group. Jen McGregor of Crohnie Clothing found herself grappling with questions about her fertility while still in her early 20s. She had to act quickly in order to preserve her ability to have a biological child. Jen tells her personal story of working through the emotional, physical, financial, and even legal aspects of planning for her future fertility.Continue reading
The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) can make people feel powerless and isolated. Participating in day on the Hill events in Washington DC with patient advocacy groups are one way to take back control and have your voice heard by those who can help affect change. Hear from Jaime Holland of Pretty Rotten Guts, who describes her experiences in lobbying on Capital Hill including why it’s important to her, how she navigates the day with mobility issues, and why the experience is empowering.
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Improving the quality of life for people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) takes commitment and focus to understanding the issues affecting patients and caregivers. Real change means engaging with all stakeholders, including physicians, industry, and government, as well as patients and caregivers. A future that includes more effective treatments and compassionate care for those touched by IBD will only happen when those who have the best interests of patients at heart take their seat at the table. There are many activists in the IBD community that are doing this hard work and you can strengthen their achievements by amplifying their voices.Continue reading
What’s new in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) treatments and what’s next on the horizon? Dr Peter Higgins, a gastroenterologist, IBD specialist, and researcher at the University of Michigan discusses what’s new in IBD from the Crohn’s and Colitis Congress meeting in 2019. We talk fecal transplants, healing strictures in the intestines, and the feasibility of custom ostomy products. It’s a conversation about cutting edge research on Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis mixed with the practicality of using these treatments in the real world.
Many young people who are undergoing ileostomy surgery to treat Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis have never met another younger person with an ostomy. Gaylyn Henderson, founder of Gutless and Glamorous, wants to make sure that people living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) don’t experience the uncertainty and stigma that she encountered before her ostomy surgery. In between running a successful foundation and a support group for people with chronic illness, Gaylyn has also become a spokeswoman for people with an ostomy, proving that her ileostomy is not a barrier to success.
I was fortunate to see The Matrix on its first run in theaters when it came out on March 31, 1999. We knew little about the movie at the time, just that it was science fiction and it looked amazing and that we would want to see it on the big screen and not later on VHS (DVD was not yet mainstream). The movie came out only a few weeks after my first of two surgeries to create my j-pouch (or IPAA, ileal pouch-anal anastomosis) to treat ulcerative colitis (which is one form of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD).
I love The Matrix, and how could I not? It contains so many narrative aspects I enjoy, including science fiction, robots taking over the world, an unconventionally beautiful and lethal female character, and a kick-ass soundtrack. To be honest, there are a lot of things about the plot that don’t hold up to serious scrutiny. But that’s fine, it is still amazing and undeniably groundbreaking in both storytelling and technical aspects.
When The Matrix opens, the watcher has no idea what is going on. This is my favorite way to be pulled into a story: absolutely cold, with no frame of reference. There’s no exposition and the narrative plunks you right into this universe that works differently than the one you know. You have to make a decision right then and there, if you are all in and if you’re ready for the filmmakers to take you on the ride and teach you about their world. For me, it was my first time being out of the house and enjoying myself after having surgery, and I was so ready.
(Mild spoilers for The Matrix are contained in this article, so if you haven’t seen it, or haven’t seen it lately, go watch it now. I mean, how can you exist in the world and understand what other people talk about without having seen it?)
How can we help new ostomates better adjust to their stoma? Megan Johnson, who you might better know as The Front Butt YouTuber, had a unique journey on the way to becoming a permanent ileostomate due to Crohn’s disease. Her experiences with the abysmal patient education material in the hospital after ostomy surgery sparked her desire to make accessible content that helps people adjust after surgery and “be comfortable in their own skin.”
What are your goals? Are you taking steps each day to move towards those goals? Brian Greenberg, endurance athlete and president of Chronically Better You, tells us how he moved from goals after surgery—getting out of bed and making his own lunch—to training for an Ironman in 2018. People with IBD know the value of structure and Brian explains how he has learned to manage his life with Crohn’s disease and an ostomy through careful planning and setting goals.