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Top 4 Things to Know When You're Diagnosed with IBD

When I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at 14 years old, I was shocked. I was lucky enough to already have some familiarity with the disease, but I never thought it would happen to me. I had every single textbook symptom, but I still felt so numb and so distant from the new reality I had to face. This isn’t an uncommon feeling, and it can be really hard to know where to start. IBD is a complex disease, so here are some things I found helpful while learning to navigate those first few months after my diagnosis.


With IBD, I’ve gained a lot of empathy and perspective and learned a lot about privilege

My name is Seth. I am 17 years old and a rising high school senior.  I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in sixth grade. I had a relatively typical path to my diagnosis. After a few years of worsening symptoms (stomach pain, constipation, and vomiting), I went into the hospital, where I had a gastric emptying scan and upper endoscopy, and then labs, a CT Enterography, and finally a colonoscopy. After a few weeks on Prednisone, I started IV Remicade, which I have been on ever since. Outside of Crohn’s, I play trombone and tennis. I’m also very involved in politics, and I was recently an intern for two congressional candidates in Ohio.


Crohn’s swept life as I knew it out from under me

Hi! My name is Mary and I am 19 years old. I am currently in nursing school. I was diagnosed with Crohn's in 2018. One interesting thing about me is that I have 3 nephews and a niece!



My diagnosis experience taught me it’s OK to seek help from others

My name is Jake and I’m a senior in high school. I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in the fall of my junior year. One interesting thing about me is that one day I decided to take up running, so I signed up for the Atlanta marathon. After only a month of training I completed the marathon - this made me really fall in love with the sport!


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.


My name is Quint

My name is Quint. I am 20 years old and attend college in Massachusetts. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when I was 17, but had symptoms the year leading up to my diagnosis. A fun fact about me is that I love driving. In fact, I drove with my dad around the U.S. the summer before my first year of college. The trip was about 9000 miles and took three weeks. 


What I would have told my newly-diagnosed self

After suffering for months (including losing 20 pounds, requiring blood transfusions, missing junior prom because I was in the hospital…) I was told I have ulcerative colitis, a disease with no cure, and that I would need medication for life. Hearing this traumatizing news, I knew my life would be changed forever. I thought I would never recover, and the sickness would continue. I did not know anyone else that had IBD, and I felt alone.

Looking back on my sickest times, I can see very clearly that the one thing I wished I had was someone else with IBD who I could talk to...someone I could relate to and who could understand what it’s like.


A thief in the night

Our IBD journey began over five years ago with our oldest daughter. It presented itself more like a thief in the night rather than a bold, coming out. For three years prior to diagnosis, there was a sense that something was not right, but the clues left were random and independent of each other. Add in a misdiagnosis and it would take someone highly skilled to assemble the clues and uncover the mystery.


Moving Mountains

Prior to this year, I really didn’t understand what Crohn’s disease or IBD was. For about a month, I had been telling friends and family that my daughter was having stomach issues, and they would usually reply: “oh it’s probably just a virus; I’m sure it’s nothing serious.” Then on January 16, everything changed. My daughter, who is 13 and in 8th grade, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.


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