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There really is strength in numbers.

Hello! My name is Mahalakshmi (Maha for short!), and I am 18 years old. I have Crohn's disease, which was diagnosed two and a half years ago, but I've definitely had it way longer than that. I am attending college in California in the fall as a biology major and I'm excited for what the future holds! My hobbies include singing, acting, spending time with friends and family, and playing board games. One interesting thing about me is that I love languages. I've been bilingual since I was a child and started learning another language in high school that I hope to stick with in the future!

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Crohn's has shaped my career path

My name is Rohit and I am 20 years old. Right now, I am a rising junior majoring in Genetics with a Certificate Program in Computational Genetics at an Honors College in New Jersey. I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 2016. One interesting thing about me is that I'm the only one above 6 feet (actual height: 6' 2") in my entire immediate family!

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Science is the Voice of Reason

Hi, my name is Rishi, and I’m a 19-year-old Medical Sciences undergrad as well as a Student Researcher at a Children’s hospital. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in August of 2016, but most people outside of the IBD community have no idea I have IBD. In addition, many people do not know I lived in the National Radio Quiet Zone for a month last summer: no internet, no cell phone service…nothing!

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Packing for College or Moving Out: Some Extra Items for the U-Haul

My patients sometimes like to discuss the “hassles” of preparing to enter the adult world and manage their own health. I run a transition education and co-management program through my center’s IBD clinic, where I try to help parents and patients begin to shift the daily regimen of medical behaviors from parent, to parent-patient, eventually to patient management with support. Part of our time together just includes talking out loud about the best and worst of growing up and launching into the world as young adults.

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My own art of talking about IBD

The way I have felt about making time to explain (or to not explain) my IBD has changed since I was diagnosed seven years ago. Early on I felt like no one understood, and therefore I didn’t put any energy into talking about it. Unhelpful comments and ignorance were hard for me to get past. It took me a long time to realize people can’t understand what they don’t know about.

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What should I do first?

The first question new parent partners often ask is: What should I do first? One of the first projects I worked on with my team was to create “CHOC’s Guide for your IBD Road to Wellness” – a handbook for newly diagnosed families.

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Coping - I can do this!

Dealing with IBD comes with a lot of appointments, tests, medications, and procedures. Going through all that, especially when many things happen at once, can and does take a toll on my mental health. I realized that it’s extremely important to have not just one, but a whole system of coping mechanisms to help me get through difficult situations with respect to my health.

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Athletes and IBD

Despite being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) in 2016, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t still be playing competitive basketball. In 2017 and 2018, my high school team traveled nationally and internationally to play, and it was an unforgettable experience. Basketball is a part of who I am. For someone who is just learning how to best manage IBD - I wanted to share my learning tools and hindsight as a competitive athlete. Do not give up who you are because of IBD - you will need to adjust and pay attention to your body, but you can continue to compete. There will be good days and bad days and that holds true for anything and everyone.

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It was a journey of the senses...

My name is Heidi. I’m thrilled to share a bit of our journey…

When my husband & I traveled to India to adopt our kids, 15 plus years ago, it was a journey of senses: taste, smell, touch, sound, and sight. I have learned that parenting a child with a chronic illness is also a journey of the senses. When our 19-year-old son, Stephen, was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis the summer before his junior year of high school, we had no way of knowing where that journey would take us.

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I value my quality of life over my fear of an imperfect body

Hi! My name is Becca, and I’m a junior in the School of Nursing at UNC Chapel Hill. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age fifteen, and my life has been tremendously impacted by it. I hope to use all that I have learned from my own journey to change the lives of pediatric patients in my dream job as a nurse in an IBD center.

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