Welcome to C3 - A Field Guide to the IBD Adventure

As you read this, I imagine what you might be thinking. You sit there looking at this screen, with mouse in hand…you have searched the internet for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis or inflammatory bowel disease…and you’re looking for answers.

What is this "Crohn’s disease" my doctor is talking about? "Ulcerative colitis?" How do you even pronounce that? Maybe a few hours ago you had a fiber-optic camera invading your most personal of spaces as you heard these words come out of the doctor’s mouth. Now you’re asking yourself, your family, your creator, your soul: Where did this come from? What caused it? How did I get it? Why did I get it? What’s going to happen to me?

Or, these terms are not new to you. You’ve heard them many times and you’ve struggled to understand them. You've taken your meds, gotten better, or not. You still have symptoms or difficulties despite all the pills or injections or infusions or dietary changes. You're starting to realize that maybe this disease won’t just go away. You want to step further into acceptance. How can I get my life back?

Perhaps you’re reading this as a loved one who heard of this illness for the first time recently. You're trying to imagine what your afflicted friend or family member is going through, but you can hardly begin because you’re still in shock yourself. What does this mean for him or her? What does this mean to me? Our family? What’s going to happen to us?

Or you’re watching as your spouse, parent, child, or sibling still struggles to make peace with illness, even after time has gone by. It has strained the family, the relationship, the friendship. How can I ease the pain?

Maybe you know these terms, but in a different sense…you are a caretaker, doctor, nurse, social worker, or medical student, faced with the dilemma of seeing a disease outside the textbook. You're seeking to understand the patients’ perspective. If I can’t cure them, how can I help them?

Possibly you are a supervisor, counselor, teacher, coach, architect, or policy-maker, trying to make sense of the special needs you are being asked to accommodate. What do they need from me?

Or you have read all the encyclopedias and medical texts. You’ve gone to the forums and support groups. You’ve exhausted the boring doctor talk and you’re looking for something different. You want to find the stuff that’s missing from the traditional resources. You’re tired of studying and you want to enjoy the learning process. Where’s the fun in all of this?

These are some of the critical questions that may be crossing your mind. If they are, then you’ve all come to the right place. This is a place for all of you. A place to learn, laugh, and cry. You won’t find all the answers here… but you will find ideas. You will find camaraderie. You will find that you are not alone. And perhaps most of all, you will find hope. You will find that, though you struggle, you can still laugh about your situation, and even your mishaps. You can still enjoy your life, even though it is now so different than you ever imagined. You will discover that there are new ways to think about these illnesses, and different methods to cope. There are ways you can talk to people about this, and there is a lot of help out there for you.

So I welcome you to the Crohn’s & Colitis Corner, and I look forward to our adventure together. It’s a journey without a destination, so stay tuned—we will make the best of it together, and hopefully we’ll have some fun along the way.

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About the Author

Andrew Tubesing is an acclaimed advocate and humorist on the subject of inflammatory bowel disease.