Ostomate Video Chat Support Group

live ostomate support

I frequent a lot of social media sites and forums related to IBD and ostomy support, and one of the most devastating things to read is that someone is feeling alone with their illness or new ostomy. I certainly felt that way between the time I learned that I’d be getting an ileostomy to the time I actually had the surgery, but I was able to find enough online support to make me feel comfortable with my new stoma.  Unfortunately, many people aren’t that lucky and they spend months or years feeling isolated and ignored by their family, friends and coworkers.   Some people HATE their stoma and have nobody who understands their situation to talk to.

I hope to change that by offering a free, online video-based support group for ostomates.  You do not have to be vegan to join, and the goal isn’t to try and convert anyone. 

Read moreOstomate Video Chat Support Group

Depression, Suicide and IBD

Depression-suicide-and

The death of Robin Williams has sent shock waves through social media.  If you had to name one actor who fits the word “funny” or “happy”, it would probably be him. But what most people don’t realize is that Robin had struggled with bipolar disorder for a very long time.  Mental illness, like IBD, is an invisible illness for many – what you see on the outside is almost never an indicator of what’s going on inside.  If you’ve struggled with IBD, then you’ve likely also had to struggle with depression.  There is hope.

Read moreDepression, Suicide and IBD

Extraintestinal Manifestations in IBD

ibd symptoms interesting man

IBD stands for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, yet a large percentage of us with IBD (estimated to be upwards of 40%) experience extraintestinal manifestations (symptoms outside of our gut).  These symptoms can sometimes be as hard to deal with as the abdominal symptoms of IBD; for some, they’re even worse.

Since I frequent so many IBD forums, I often get to read about the experiences of newly diagnosed people, but one thing that struck me as odd was how many “veteran’s” with IBD had no idea that they could even have extraintestinal manifestations.  Hopefully, this post will shed some light on the topic. 

Read moreExtraintestinal Manifestations in IBD

Ileoscopy prep – getting scoped through a stoma

scope

On July 9th, I’ll be getting scoped as a follow up to my ostomy surgery and to also make sure that my Crohn’s hasn’t spread to my small intestine.  When we lose our colon, we don’t expect that we’ll ever need to be scoped again, but the reality is that those of us with IBD (especially Crohn’s) need to get monitored to make sure that our illness is kept in check.  Before getting my stoma, I was told that my chances of Crohn’s spreading to other parts of my bowel were very low – still, it’s always a possibility.  While researching for my post on the Environmental Risk Factors for IBD, I came to realize that even though I can make lifestyle decisions which can reduce my chance of flaring or a reoccurrence, nothing is guaranteed.   I was feeling pretty great after my last two surgeries, but after receiving a tetanus booster in February, my joints started hurting and haven’t felt right ever since.  This reminded me that my body is still primed for IBD, losing a colon didn’t cure it and there will always be a chance that Crohn’s will one day rear its ugly head again.

Read moreIleoscopy prep – getting scoped through a stoma

Enhancing Nutrient Absorption – TIPS

Glorious salad

“IT’S NOT WHAT YOU EAT, IT’S WHAT YOU ABSORB”

When it comes to nutrition, that’s the golden rule. You hear a lot about how eating a healthy diet will improve your health, but that’s only IF you absorb the nutrients from your food. For most healthy people, this isn’t a big problem, but if you have a digestive disorder or if you’re eating a plant-based diet, there are things you can do to enhance the absorption of nutrients.

Read moreEnhancing Nutrient Absorption – TIPS