Hi everyone! My name is Maitri, and I attend the Ohio State University (yes, the "the" is obnoxious but absolutely necessary). I am majoring in Neuroscience, and plan on attending medical school! I also work as a part-time PCA at Nationwide Children's Hospital. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when I was 15. An interesting thing that most people don't know about me is that I am trilingual - I speak Gujarati, Hindi, and English!

I don’t remember exactly how long I was bleeding for, but I had convinced myself that nothing was wrong with me and that it was completely normal. The only reason that I first started getting tested for various diseases and conditions is because I was very severely anemic, with no known explanation at the time. From my pediatrician, I was referred to an oncologist, then to the GI clinic at the children’s hospital. Once there, they ran plenty of tests and were able to diagnose me with ulcerative colitis. One of my greatest struggles was being able to tell other people about what I was going through. I used to downplay it a lot. I didn’t want to be perceived as “weak” for being sick, and I would put up a front that I was ok.

I have an amazing support system now, with my family and my friends. They helped me realize that it’s not wrong to be or to feel sick sometimes. I’ve learned what makes me feel sick, and what makes me feel better and I finally feel in control of my disease!

Although I have plenty of support from my family and friends, the big thing that I was missing, that the PAC is providing, is support from people my age who are going through the same thing that I am. They are there to support you, they truly understand everything you’ve been through because they’ve been there too. Using our shared experiences, we can create resources that we wish we would’ve had, that would’ve made our own journeys more easy to navigate.

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