ImproveCareNow School


A Thank You Letter

During a recent consultation with a colorectal surgeon, I found myself being heard. My feelings and my goals were shared and validated. It had been so long since I felt this way after meeting with a new provider. After the visit, I sat in my car for a moment, completely taken aback by how well the encounter had gone (especially when I have also experienced having both myself and my concerns written off without even so much as an examination). After this visit, I found myself reflecting on all the healthcare providers who have treated me over the past 13 years. And I just have to say…thank you.


Episode 16 of the imPACt Podcast - Infusions, Injections, School & Life

Hi, it's Vanessa from the PAC! School is busy right now, but fellow-PAC-member, Fionna and I made time to sit down and record a podcast episode where we chat about personal experiences we've each had changing our IBD treatment plans and how this fits into school and life for us.


PAC Moment: IBD, College & Routines

It’s back to school time! For me (Fionna), accommodations and communicating with my professors have been super helpful! Let’s see what PAC members have to say about managing IBD at college, and how it impacts their routines.


Episode 12 of the imPACt Podcast - Back to School with IBD

Listen in as I (Vanessa) join PAC members Elise, Leela and Madeline for a chat about heading back to school with IBD.


What I Wish I Knew About J-Pouch/Ostomy Takedown Surgery

Hello everyone, it’s Hannah! In early December of 2020, I had my ostomy reversal or takedown surgery to create my J-Pouch. I knew from talking with my doctor some of what to expect: waking up with lots of tubes, feeling tired and sore. But it was through reading articles about other people’s J-pouch experiences (those who just had surgery and those who have lived with their pouch for some time) that I was able to prepare myself for what to anticipate physically after surgery. Looking back now, I realize I’ve learned a lot, that there are things I wish I had known, and that I want to share what I’ve learned so others can know what to expect.  


IGNITE - Learning to give myself grace.

Fionna is an active member of the Patient Advisory Council, and is currently co-leading their communications taskforce. In this role, she is collaborating with other PAC members and ImproveCareNow to bring the stories and voices of the PAC to even more people in new and exciting ways. This spring she helped to launch the imPACt podcast, which is a new way to connect with and listen to young people talking about life with IBD. It is through the PAC that Fionna was recently able to tap into support, understanding and validation as she coped with a UC flare. She credits the PAC and this experience with helping her shift her mindset about healthy resilience, exploring the benefits of opening up and being vulnerable, and learning how to be flexible and give herself grace during tough times.

Be inspired by Fionna's #IgniteTalk 🔥


Episode 5 of the imPACt podcast - Managing School with IBD

I'm Vanessa - one of the PAC communications team leads - I am currently a HS junior and on tennis team. I've had to learn how to talk to my teachers, coach, teammates and friends about Crohn's and tell them when I feel sick or have an infusion. Being open has helped me build trusting relationships with them. Managing IBD, school and sports is definitely a challenge, but having a strong support system and being able to communicate with them openly has made it a lot easier to succeed. I'll be talking more about it on the podcast today - join me!


PAC Moment: Stress, self-care & school

PAC members weigh in on how they like to manage stress and take care of themselves leading up to school exams or the end of a semester. Here is what they said:


I love my perseverance

I am a second-year engineering major. I tend to be a very academically driven person with high expectations of myself. I love my perseverance, but sometimes my own determination to achieve my goals is my biggest stressor. In my mind I set goals for myself constantly. And naturally when I don’t meet my goals, I am disappointed.

These habits manifest in many facets of my life, but particularly in my academic life. I set goals for tests and grades and expectations for interactions. When I don’t do as well as I would like, it can be rough, and I end up stressed out.


A 504 plan helps school staff understand how they can support you

High school can be one of the most interesting times of your life. It’s fast-paced and you are faced with new challenges, experiences, subjects and adventures! High school is a challenge on its own and having IBD makes it even more difficult, especially because of its unpredictability. Going through one of the worst flares of my life during high school, I missed tons of school, and sometimes even when I was present, my body was so tired that I could not pay attention well. It was around this time that my school nurse told me it would be a good idea to get a 504 plan.


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