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Top Five Stories About Life with Crohn’s

LOOP is a place for ICN Community members to share their stories – experiences, perspectives, wisdom. Since the blog was created in 2012, hundreds of stories have been shared by patients, parents, clinicians, researchers, collaborators and friends. We've recapped our top five, most read stories from patients about life with Crohn’s disease.


IGNITE - This community has shaped me deeply.

From her home office, Catalina spoke clearly and with great conviction, delivering her narrative directly to…her computer screen. Many of us have become accustomed to hearing Ignite Talks delivered to a packed plenary room at our in-person Community Conferences – and the effect these personal stories have is often palpable. Though it was not the original plan, Cat’s words flowed from her location in North Carolina across hundreds and even thousands of miles, reaching ImproveCareNow community members as they joined our first-ever Live Online Community Conference from their homes and offices. While the distance between was indeed great – Cat’s words drew us in close and (as Ignite Talks tend to do) reignited the passion we all feel for the work of ImproveCareNow - of improving health and care for kids with IBD. And from across the miles, the effect of Cat's words were still palpable:

“Incredible Cat!! Words do not do justice to what you are conveying to all of us - the village of ICN!”

“Inspiring for us all! Makes you want to try even harder!”

“You are incredible Cat!!! Your strength and advocacy is inspiring!!! THANK YOU!!!”

“I'M CRYING”

“You remind us why it is so worth it to keep fighting and working. Thank you!”

“Cat gives me chills.”

*stands up and claps*

“Really beautiful. As a caregiver, I feel your passion and share your sense of purpose. Very well done.”

Experience Cat’s Ignite Talk:


Navigating Empathy and Emotional Labor with Patient Advocates

My name is Catalina - I’m a current co-chair of the ICN Patient Advisory Council, a social/clinical research assistant at the University of North Carolina and will be starting medical school soon. I recently gave a presentation at the Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence about emotional labor, empathy and how to navigate these concepts when working with patient advocates. I wanted to share some of my talking points with you here.


PAC 2018 Year in Review

It’s been a busy year for the Patient Advisory Council (PAC). Twenty-eighteen has seen the PAC evolve to be more dynamic and engaged than ever before. The progress and developments made in our group of 50+ patient members include substantial leadership changes and more toolkits than I can even remember. 


Personal experience with nutritional interventions

On June 5, 2017, my single, overweight suitcase and I boarded a plane flying from Miami to London Heathrow. Over the course of the next six months, I shadowed and worked with the IBD Team at Great Ormond Street Hospital, a tertiary children’s hospital in the center of London. As a Political Science major who intends to go into medicine, the opportunity to study how IBD patients were being cared for under the UK’s health system was too enticing.


Being involved is empowering!

When I joined ImproveCareNow about 1.5 years ago, research was one of the primary ways I wanted to be involved. I’ve lived with Crohn’s disease for almost 11 years, and for much of that time research felt like something that happened behind the scenes and was entirely out of my realm of influence. Often research is done to or about patients and families, but very rarely is it done with them. Engaging patients and families in research can not only enhance the research itself, but it can also help patients and families feel as though they have a stake in the discovery of new knowledge about IBD.


I have a Disability, and I’m okay with that

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Oh, the dreaded d-word. Typically, I can't say I depend on US Government documents for my definitions, but I feel like this is one of those situations where I can. Per various acts, written over many, many decades, a "disability" is frequently referred to as something that is a physical and mental impairment that substantially limits one or more 'major life activities’. So, with that definition in mind, as offices on college campuses around the country change their names from "disability office" to "accessibility office," I'm left wondering what it is they're trying to achieve, and why so many people are scared of being classified as having a "disability."


What makes a good public restroom from an IBD patient’s perspective

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As a patient with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, visiting public restrooms is an incredibly regular activity. Such a regular activity, in fact, that I have — on more than one occasion — considered making a photo-series of all of the restrooms I’ve visited (check this one out though, it’s pretty cool - https://tinyurl.com/ya6mbj7k). Over the course of my many excursions to public restrooms, however, I’ve managed to compile a list of characteristics that make them an absolute pleasure to visit. Here's the list:


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