ImproveCareNow Ibd


Hi, I'm Randa and this is my story.

Randa Samaha was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 5I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) at the age of 5. Or at least that’s when my doctors were finally able to figure out what had been going on for years. As a 5 year old I learned, in simple terms, that my body was “overreacting and attacking itself.”

 

 For the majority of my young life, I did not know what it was like to not be in pain. I lived with continuous pain and symptoms. I lived with urgencies and emergencies. I learned how to deal with accidents and embarrassments. I learned how to speak honestly and openly about my UC. And most importantly, I learned how to advocate for myself.

 

I believe living with UC has made me a stronger person, and for that, I am grateful. I am grateful for what it has taught me and for where it has taken me in life. Today, I am a nurse because I looked up to my health care team and I am a patient advocate because I want to empower others to recognize their strengths.

 

My wish is to help other children living with inflammatory bowel disease recognize how strong and unique they are. I wish to empower them with the tools they need to learn how to listen to their bodies and nurture their souls, allowing for healing to take place. I know from personal experience that even when everything seems chaotic and out of control, we as patients still have the power to make decisions and must resolve to hold our head high, remain positive, and live life to the fullest.


Hi, I'm Isabelle

When I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 15, I had absolutely no idea what that meant. For the first three months after my diagnosis I thought the medicine I was taking would just make it go away. I can still remember the day I asked how much longer I would have to take the medicine. My doctor looked surprised and then told me most likely for the rest of my life. After that I still lived in ignorance, thinking that taking the medicine forever would keep me totally healthy. It took months of intense illness to rid me of that notion. That’s when I fell into a deep depression. Everything seemed out of control and scary, and all I knew was that the rest of my life was going to be filled with this pain.Isabelle Linguiti

 

Of course I was incredibly angry about having the disease, but what made me even angrier was that nobody ever explained to me how IBD is not curable but it can be manageable. Nobody ever told me that while I will have it for the rest of my life I wouldn’t necessarily be in this much pain or this debilitated for all of it. Nobody ever invited me to give input into my own care.

 

I am not someone who takes well to being left in the dark so I starting spending all of my time stuck in bed researching and learning everything there was to know about IBD and its treatments. I read every study I could find and started bringing my ideas to my doctors. It was so frustrating because at every turn it felt like we were in uncharted territory and they didn’t know what to do but they still weren’t turning to me for help figuring it out. My opinions about what course of treatment I should take continued to form and in time I became more assertive.

 

I pressed my doctors to allow me to get a g-tube placed, something they don’t generally use in Crohn’s patients. It was the right choice for me. Despite resistance or at least hesitance on the part of my doctors, it ended up preserving my health during many periods of acute illness. There are other examples but I just share the g-tube as an example of why the knowledge and feelings of a patient are so important to consider in the decision-making process. I knew what my body needed and I was right.

 

Obviously I’m not a doctor and I should not be unilaterally deciding on the care plan, but I know that if I had not been advocating for what I felt was right for me in my unique situation, I would not be anywhere near as healthy as I am now. Now I feel like I have a really great team-based approach with my doctors. I want everyone to have that and I don’t want anyone to have to fight as hard as I had to in order to make that happen. I don’t blame my doctors for their resistance. I think they’re great and I believe they really respect me but including a patient’s perspective in decision-making is simply not the way things are done - especially in pediatrics. In my opinion having informed patients and a collaborative relationship between patient and doctor is the best, and frankly the only road, to optimum health.


The Moment, Continued

I've spent two weeks now at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, partnering with ImproveCareNow colleagues here in developing opportunities for patient engagement. Yesterday, fellow PAC member Alex invited me to be present at an orientation for newly diagnosed IBD patients and their families. As I sat at the "staff" table, I was hit by a quiet wave of shock. It's been over six years since my diagnosis. Over six years.One moment, I looked at a girl of about fourteen in the audience and saw my younger self in her. At the same time, I know I've changed in meaningful and (then) unimaginable ways since my diagnosis.


Hello Andrew

Andrew Kornfeld surfing at ocean beach in San FranciscoIt was the spring of 2007, and I was finishing up my junior year of high school. It had been the hardest year of my life with classes becoming increasingly more difficult and a mysterious illness plaguing my body.  With daily diarrhea, debilitating stomach cramping, anemia, and other severe problems (which I will spare you from) it became clear that something was seriously wrong –– it was more than just the gluten sensitivity and irritable bowel syndrome I was previously diagnosed with.  My illness was at a tipping point and my quality of life had decreased dramatically.

 

I was finally given a colonoscopy and subsequently my mystery was solved: I had moderate to severe Crohn’s colitis.  While I remember feeling relieved to finally have a diagnosis, I was also extremely disappointed that it had taken nearly a year. How much needless suffering had I endured?  Soon after my diagnosis and one failed surgery later, I made the transition to the UCSF pediatric IBD clinic with Dr. Mel Heyman. This may have been the most important decision of my life. Dr. Heyman, along with Laura, the nurse practitioner and a team of other medical professionals, identified the right medications for me, referred me to an exemplary surgeon at UCSF and ordered additional tests. Over the following months, the substantial decrease in my symptoms was nothing short of miraculous. To me it felt like being released from a confining and painful space, into one that was warm and safe.

 

Over the years, I have felt truly empowered by the team at UCSF to take an active role in the treatment of my illness. Some of the modifications I’ve introduced into my care plan have involved: a gluten and dairy free diet, the intake of potent probiotics, and getting plenty of exercise. I am an avid surfer, and feel really energized by the rough waves at Ocean Beach here in San Francisco. I have also recently become interested in how psychological stress may negatively impact patients with IBD, and would like to investigate this further. I am grateful beyond words to have had Dr. Heyman as my pediatrician and to be currently volunteering my time as part of the UCSF IBD team.

 

Andrew Kornfeld Andrew graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with majors in Neuroscience and Psychology. He is currently volunteering with the UCSF IBD clinic, and plans to attend medical school starting in the fall of 2015.


Before I Was Diagnosed

On behalf of the Patient Advisory Council, we would like to introduce you to Josh. Josh is going to be sharing some comics/animation as his schedule allows, and we are very excited that he has forwarded us his first comic (and a link to an amazing video he created). Enjoy!

Sami + Jennie


 

Hi! I'm Josh Weisbrod, an animator and comic artist. Currently I'm an MFA candidate in USC's animation program.


Last year I made an animated film about my diagnosis with Crohn's disease (available to view at https://vimeo.com/81004804). But there were an arduous several years leading up to my colonoscopy in Medical Adventure Power!! Here is the story of the horrible Hamburger Helper meals and frequent trips to the bathroom that led me to the first of my (now 7) colonoscopies:

Josh Weisbrod is an animator and comic artist. This is his comic illustrating the time before he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease.


A Healthy Meal Plan for IBD

In 2014, a question came to the ImproveCareNow Registered Dietitian (RD) group about how to choose foods that can promote healthy weight loss and control hunger without causing a flare of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. By answering questions from our community, the RD group aims to provide valuable tools and information for patients and families to better understand the role of nutrition in managing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The RD group encourages partnerships between patients and their care teams, including dietitians, so together they can design a dietary plan to avoid food-related complications from IBD and promote healthy weight maintenance.


Vitamin D and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

[Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in CIRCLE January 2012]

Kids with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis often have low levels of vitamin D. How does that happen? When you are not feeling well, you don't eat as well. If you don't eat foods supplemented with vitamin D, it could lead to a vitamin D deficiency. You put sun screen on to prevent skin cancer (a good thing to do), but sun screen also blocks the ultraviolet rays that stimulate your body to make vitamin D. Some patients with Crohn's disease have inflammation in the part of the intestine that absorbs vitamin D into the body, so some of the vitamin D eaten goes right through without being absorbed.

Vitamin D is important for bone growth, bone density and bone strength, and for growth itself. So getting enough vitamin D is especially important for growing kids.   Vitamin D also appears to have other health benefits.

How much is enough vitamin D? Recently recommendations have changed-more vitamin D is recommended now than before: 600 units a day (instead of 400) for kids 1 to 18 years old. For patients with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, sometimes more may be necessary, such as 800 or 1,000 or more units per day. (Caution: excessive intake of vitamin D can be harmful.) Ask your clinician or dietician what the right amount is for you.

How do you get enough vitamin D? A daily multivitamin supplement usually has 400 units per tablet so that's a good place to start. Vitamin D tablets are also available. Milk and yogurt are fortified with vitamin D, usually about 100 units per serving. Some orange juice is fortified with vitamin D.

To absorb vitamin D into your body, it has to be bound to some fat. So when you take your vitamin D supplement (including skim milk or non-fat yogurt) be sure to eat food with fat at the same time, for example, at least 2 or 3 teaspoons of peanut butter, or margarine or oil.

No bones about it! Get your daily vitamin D. For more information click here.

Richard Colletti, MD
Network Director, ImproveCareNow


Enteral Therapy as a treatment for Crohn's disease


[Editor's note: This article was originally published in CIRCLE May-June 2013]


Enteral therapy refers to providing nutrition as a formula rather than by eating a regular diet. Enteral therapy has been shown to be effective in inducing, and perhaps maintaining, remission for pediatric patients with Crohn's disease. Enteral therapy does not have the side effects seen with drug treatment, and can improve growth, unlike corticosteroids, which have many known side effects. Although used very little in the United States, enteral therapy is commonly used abroad, including many European countries and Japan.


Over the years, several methods of administering enteral therapy have been evaluated, leading to variation in treatment. In 2012, the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) formed the Enteral Nutrition Working Group to review the use of enteral nutrition therapy in pediatric Crohn's disease, which summarized previous research and offered recommendations for physicians.


Drinking FormulaHistorically, enteral therapy was given through a feeding tube, and this is still done at many centers. However, drinking the formula is also an effective option. Studies have used both specialized nutrition formulas (in which the protein has been broken down to into smaller pieces) and non-prescription over-the-counter formulas (in which protein is not broken down). Both approaches appear to be equally effective, an important finding since over-the-counter formulas taste better and are less expensive.


The majority of the research has shown that enteral therapy is effective when taken as the sole source of nutrition (that means the patient can't eat any food), and this approach was recommended by the NASPGHAN Enteral Nutrition Working Group. However, recently a study published by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia showed that enteral therapy protocol is still effective when a small amount of food (less than 20% of the calories) is taken at the same time.


The way enteral therapy works is unclear. Theories include that it may help to provide the body with important nutrients and better overall nutrition, eliminate an unknown dietary substance that causes an immune response, or alter the bacteria found in the intestines.


A perceived barrier to enteral therapy is that the treatment may be demanding for physicians, families, and patients. For example it may be difficult to start, expensive, create a need for a feeding tube, or be displeasing to patients. Nationwide Children's Hospital is developing and testing a simple enteral therapy protocol which could be started very quickly and could be used at other GI centers. They plan to work with families and patients to reduce the perceived barriers via education on cost issues and payment options, and by developing a mentoring program. If successful, the protocol could significantly decrease the number of newly diagnosed patients with Crohn's disease who are initially treated with corticosteroids. Stay tuned.


Jen Smith, MS, RD, LD, LMT, Clinical Dietitian
Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio




Sitting In It

Or "The Crystal Ball Method of Informed Consent"

Why didn’t I know how hard this was going to be?  When is it going to get better? Will it? Is it even worth continuing?’  I don’t know how much longer I can keep going, especially when I hear there isn’t an answer to this yet; my pain isn’t going away!’  As a child I felt that myself sometimes, and I think my patients feel that way sometimes, too.

 


Transitioning at Children's Mercy Hospital

When I was little, I had a lilac-purple colored bicycle. There were shiny streamers at the ends of the white handlebars, which would often catch the wind as I rode through a field near our house, my parents cheering and running behind me holding tight to the lip of the seat. Having gotten used to the stable comfort of riding my tricycle around our quiet suburban cul-de-sac, I remember feeling both terrified and thrilled at the expanse of the field and my ‘big girl’ two-wheeler. Learning to ride my bike – like most things in life – was a skill that required a lot of technical and emotional support from others, and a belief that I could do it.

 

A few months before I graduated high school at 17, I went to the hospital with my Mom for the so-called “transition appointment.” We had been sheltered and insulated in the pediatric world, full of pastel-colored murals, teddy bears, and bandages that were cut into heart shapes. The adult medical world was cryptic and distant – a new building, new doctors, new nurses, new everything. While everyone was perfectly polite, the transition appointment consisted of being told which adult doctor I was going to see and when/where I had to show up; there were no choices, no decisions, no questions. And there was no road-map for how to get from point A (pediatric care) to point B (adult care).

 

There are two important concepts that often get conflated: transition is the careful, premeditated, and inclusive process of educating and empowering an individual to be responsible for one’s health, while transfer is the physical change of moving to a new medical facility (e.g., pediatric to adult hospital). Transition is the meaningful process of gaining and growing skills like medical literacy, advocacy, adherence strategies, and so on. It requires a team of people (patient, parent, pediatric and adult doctors, nurses, etc.) working together to empower the patient. It’s the difference between learning to ride that little purple bike in a big field with lots of support versus just being given the bike with no guidance about how to use it.

 

According to Dr. Michele Maddux, a clinical psychologist at Children’s Mercy Hospital, who helped develop their transition program, Mercy’s efforts had previously involved transferring medical records and, “finding an adult provider, with significantly less focus on equipping adolescent patients with the tools and skills needed to successfully manage their health care needs.” Seeing this gap, Dr. Maddux and a dedicated transition task-force set out to create a holistic transition program that managed the clinical issues while taking lifestyle matters and family perspectives into account. They started by interviewing each of the pediatric gastroenterologists (GIs) on service to ensure physician engagement in the project and to capture their unique perspectives. They also created a GI roundtable and invited pediatric and adult GIs to have transparent conversations about transition. This resulted in a provider database and helped to dispel some of the myths that pediatric and adult GIs had about each other. The success of the roundtable and the transition task-force’s efforts culminated in the hiring of a transition coordinator and the development of a transition readiness screener for patients as well as educational materials for patients and families undergoing transition. The educational materials were vetted by Mercy’s general parent and teen advisory boards (i.e., not IBD specific) and by parents of children living with IBD.

 

Cue Jamie Hicks – a perfect fit into the role given her nursing background and a busy mom of three, including 10-year-old Colson who lives with Crohn’s. Prior to reviewing the transition materials, Jamie said, “[i]t simply wasn’t on my radar… I think of him growing up and how the disease will impact his future. But I never linked that to him taking over my ‘job’ as the manager of his health care.” Jamie praised the educational materials as “fantastic”, underscoring the importance of a defined direction and plan over guessing and uncertainty. Jamie’s main contributions were adjusting the material’s language, which she believes can have a large impact on how the information is received and understood by kids and families. According to Dr. Maddux, “Jamie brought a much needed patient/family voice to our materials that gave us a unique opportunity to craft our educational materials to meet the needs of families.”

 

Both Dr. Maddux and Jamie reiterate the vital importance of creating space for parents in research projects. Dr. Maddux pointed to the language and format changes as key edits that would have gone unaddressed without parent and patient engagement. Jamie addressed the critical role parents play as the people who most intimately understand their children beyond the clinic by helping to appropriately tailor educational materials and provide ‘behind the scenes’ information about children's motivations and worries. Similarly, they are both passionate about transition being relationship-based and starting as early as possible so the changes in medical responsibility are empowering and fitting for each child and familial situation.

 

We may not have a cure for IBD, but thanks to the insight and persistence of Dr. Maddux’s team and parents like Jamie, it is possible to implement a comprehensive, team-based transition program that prepares young patients with IBD to manage their own care. We can give our patients the encouragement, support, and information they need to ‘ride their bikes’ with strength and confidence.

 

After dozens of tries back in that field on my purple bicycle, I finally pushed off the ground, my feet finding the pedals and my eyes trained on the horizon, newly sturdy and sure of myself, and off I went pedaling across the field as my parents clapped and whistled. It hadn’t been easy, but I did it.

 

And together, we can make sure all of our kids can do it too.

 


← Previous  1  2    14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  Next →

Built by Veracity Media on NationBuilder