Planetary Progression of IBD

Thinking about the progression of an inflammatory flare-up, the process bears some similarity to the progression of planets… from the sun to the outer reaches of the solar system.

an image of the sunSun: A seemingly infinite source of flares. They all start here…


Planet MercuryMercury: A small planet, hard to notice, lost in the everyday illumination of normal life, making itself visible only in occasional circumstances. Like the first inklings of inflammation… is it there, or not?


Planet venusVenus: Next comes the planet with an atmosphere of toxic, sulfurey gasses—and a history of volcanic eruptions. Sounding like a flare-up yet?



planet earthEarth: The watery planet, and lots of it. Three-quarters water to be specific. It also has a gassy atmosphere… and lava flows too. Well on our way to symptomatic evidence.

planet marsMars: The red planet, the full blossoming of inflammation.



planet jupiterJupiter: What IBD looks like on the TV screen during a colonoscopy... white ulcerations, bloody streaks, and that giant round polyp.

planet saturnSaturn: A welcome sight at this point in the progression, the planet with a toilet seat around it. Ahh, finally some relief.


Planet UranusUranus: Well, self explanatory, except that it looks less like a planet and more like a star.



Planet neptuneNeptune: The cold blue planet, far from the heat of solar flares. The dwindling of inflammation, a cool-down. It may seem light years away but it’s still within sight.



PlutoPluto: What all of us want our disease to be like. One day it exists…then one day suddenly it doesn’t.

Or so we hope. Godspeed.

  • 1

Tags: Narratives

Was this article helpful? Yes No

Recommended for You

  • Apolo Ohno: A Superstar’s Message about Dreams and Determination

    By: Andrew Tubesing, MS
    Mar 01, 2012

    Last week I had the opportunity to see Apolo Ohno speak about his 8-medal Olympic career and the path that led him from a trouble-bound youth into an international speed-skating superstar. He talked about the challenges he faced at various ...

    Read more »

  • 50/50

    By: Andrew Tubesing, MS
    Feb 07, 2012

    New on video last week was the critically acclaimed film 50/50, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen. It tells the story of a young man in his twenties, Adam (Gordon-Levitt), diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer. As indicated by...

    Read more »

  • Dis-eased

    By: Andrew Tubesing, MS
    Jan 05, 2012

    Today, in a letter from a reader of my book, I was introduced to an interesting term I hadn’t seen before: Dis-ease. Remarkably obvious, yet obscured from my awareness until now, it’s simply the word disease broken into its syllables—which...

    Read more »

  • Jockey Stock: A Magical Underwear Miracle

    By: Andrew Tubesing, MS
    Dec 21, 2011

    Having written about the history of Munsingwear in this column a few weeks ago, and delving into a Jockey story today, it may be apparent that I am no stranger to the importance of underwear in life with IBD. It’s so important, in fact, that it...

    Read more »


About the Author

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