ImproveCareNow Parents


Finding Hope

My name is Maria and I live in Orlando, FL. In 2004, our family received the devastating news that our oldest daughter had Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes. I would have never imagined that a few years later in 2013, we would find ourselves confronted with yet another life altering diagnosis. 


What are Engagement trainings?

ImproveCareNow Community Engagement Learning Series (CELS) trainings were designed by patients, parents, clinicians, and ImproveCareNow staff to share best practices and new skills. Whether you are just getting started or have an established team, you will get something out of these trainings. Each session presents new skills, and provides a chance to work with others to plan how to implement what you learned at your center. Each CELS training is designed to empower you to connect more patients and parents to your team, to build relationships, develop leaders, and share information that improves lives.


A Journey to Sustain Remission

My son was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2014, at the age of 13. Fast forward to 2018, and I am thrilled that he is in remission and a thriving 11th grader juggling AP classes, SATs, extra-curricular activities, college tours, and yes, medication adherence. However, I’m also here to tell you, it has been a journey to achieve and sustain remission. Like so many of you, my mind raced with a litany of questions for days, weeks, and months after his diagnosis…IBD? Ulcerative colitis? What? No cure? How did my son get this? Next, guilt set in and then more questions…Why had I not heard about IBD before his diagnosis? Is this genetic? Was it the foods I prepared? Could I have prevented it? I was so distraught. I could not fix this, not this time.


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.


Parent and Caregiver Self-Care Tips

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I am a parent of three children, and all three have Crohn’s disease. My oldest was diagnosed in 2010 and my younger two were both diagnosed at the same time, in 2013. As a parent of one child, let alone three children with IBD, I found life overwhelming, stressful, and mentally and physically draining. Personally, I have found self-care to be a critical piece in coping with the initial diagnosis and the on-going treatment and care of my children. I will be the first to admit I struggle with self-care at times, but at least I have a list:


As the holidays come and go

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Holidays are a special time for all. The hustle-and-bustle is paid back in spades as you watch a child’s joy when they unwrap a special gift or when you spend time with extended family. A few years ago, I was given a very special gift at Christmas – one which I will never forget.


NO Public Restroom – A Parent Advocacy Story

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A few years ago, I was in a retail chain store and the person in front of me at the cashier asked to use the bathroom. The cashier said, "We do not have a bathroom." So, when it was my turn to cash out I said, “You have a bathroom...you just don't let the public use it?" She answered me, “Yes.” I thought to myself that this would be a great teaching moment.


Putting Data to Work to Answer Questions: Evaluation of Adalimumab Effectiveness in Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor-Naïve Pediatric Patients with Crohn’s Disease in Clinical Practice

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The ImproveCareNow Registry is a treasure trove of information about patients living with IBD. But, data, like Amazon gift cards, are worthless unless used. And it takes some intrepid, or at least good-with-numbers, Indiana Jones-type researchers to plunge into the depths of the jumble of figures – to put the data to work to answer questions.


The Virtual Community Conference Helped Me Help My Son

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My four-year-old son had recently been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and the worst part about the whole thing was the needles! IVs, blood draws, shots, Humira injections, etc. Around the same time as his diagnosis, I attended an ICN Virtual Community Conference and that’s where I heard about Buzzy.


To Scarlet

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This summer marks the six-year anniversary of the beginning of my role as a caregiver for a child with a chronic illness. At times, my daughter’s diagnosis seems so close – and yet so far away. In those six years, she has blossomed from a child into a beautiful young woman. Today she can speak with authority about her care, her medications and her routines. Six years ago, she couldn’t pronounce her medications - let alone tell you the dosing.


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