ImproveCareNow Ibd


A few symptoms to surgery...in three days

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I read online somewhere that the best way to describe Crohn’s disease is that it feels like slashing open your intestines with a chainsaw. I can really relate to that post. You see, I’ve had refractory Crohn’s for eight years, which means my disease doesn’t respond to anti-TNF medications, and that significantly limits my treatment options. And that leads me to my most recent Crohn’s adventure. It all started on a Thursday in late February. After trying and failing Entyvio, my doctor was running out of ideas. He recommended I go to another IBD clinic with more experience treating complex cases like mine - to see if they had any ideas about what I could try next.


Turning Ulcerative Colitis Into A Positive

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Hi, I’m Luke. I'm 16 years old and attend Providence Day in Charlotte, NC. I have ulcerative colitis. This year, I’m looking forward to traveling to China to play basketball with my school team. Dealing with chronic illness has presented me with two main obstacles: managing stress and being aware of what my body needs (like how much sleep I’m getting and how much I can eat).


Not Letting Crohn’s Take Control

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Hi, my name is Natalie and I’m a high school sophomore from Columbia, MD. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 10 years old. I’m passionate about music – I play the trumpet in my school’s marching band, as well as the piano and ukulele.


If You Can’t Be First

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When I first started running in elementary school, I ran a bit like an ostrich: neck out, arms flailing. My legs were incredibly adept at kicking my butt; let's call that a sign of things to come? I laugh now, but I really took it in stride then. I had a mantra: If you can't be first, be last.

My friend is sick. She has been for a few months now, though we've only recently started talking about it. She has pain that leaves her crunched over her legs, nausea that sours her food, and a troubling relationship with toilets. Familiar, right? But here's the catch: she doesn't have IBD.


A Letter to My Younger Self

Dear Younger Me,

I know you're scared and this past week in the hospital has not been all that great. All the tests and doctors are so new to you. The doctors said you have Crohn’s disease. It’s going to be okay, I promise.

I wish I could tell you these next few years will be easy, but they won't. You're going to go through some pretty tough stuff that many kids your age will have a hard time relating to. Most won't even understand it and that's okay.


PAC Welcomes Six New Members

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Let's give a warm welcome to - and get to know - six new members of the Patient Advisory Council (PAC). Grady, Nick, Natalie, Shawntel, Emily and Laci are ready to #imPACt the lives of kids with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, by raising awareness about the realities of life with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and building connections and tools to support each other and all young patients with IBD. They're also using their voices and experiences to actively represent over 27,400 patients with IBD across the ImproveCareNow Network and are committed to collaborating and continuously improving outcomes as part of our Learning Health System. Let's meet them.


Implementing Transition & Transfer of Care Systems in Pediatric IBD

Studies of transition readiness in young adults with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (also known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD) suggest that patients often lack disease-specific knowledge and are not confident in their ability to manage their disease. This can lead to worsening disease activity and increased healthcare utilization.

Preparing young patients with IBD to transition from pediatric to adult care, and actively transferring care to the adult care team, is crucial to ensuring the continued effective management of IBD. Within ImproveCareNow, the Transition Task Force is focusing on transition and transfer of care across the network.


What's the buzz on Buzzy?

Liz is a mom of three whose youngest son was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) at age five. To manage his UC he takes Humira injections, which are known to be painful. Liz remembers vividly how stressful and difficult it was to get past the pain and anxiety on injection day. The process of negotiating would take nearly an hour, and when the shot was finally given everyone was totally drained. Not willing to accept that this was just the way it had to be, Liz started researching and discovered Buzzy - a device that distracts from injection pain by confusing nerves with both temperature and vibration.

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Project WOW (Wear an Ostomy for the Weekend)

Wear an Ostomy for the Weekend Supplies at ImproveCareNow Community ConferenceProject WOW (Wear an Ostomy for the Weekend) was created to help the ImproveCareNow Community learn more about what patients wearing ostomies go through on a daily basis. The Parent Working Group (PWG) and Patient Advisory Council (PAC) wanted to create a learning opportunity where we could work together. We knew this project would only give a snapshot of what patients go through because participants wouldn't have had surgery and the ostomy wouldn't be functional. But we still believed it would be powerful because participants would be learning from perspective, spending some time "walking in patients' shoes", which is something often times difficult to accomplish and not easily seen.


What now?

I am just over three months into my first year of medical school. I love it, really, I do. Every day is different and a new kind of challenge, causing me to both embrace and restrict change as I become and remember who I am.

Of course, one contributing factor to who I am is my ulcerative colitis. It rarely feels like a Disease, with a capital D. It is less of a dinosaur than a dandelion these days. Usually barely noticeable but ubiquitous in my fields of thought. But then, the slightest trigger of an associated idea or memory creates a flurry of emotion I can’t help but acknowledge.


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