Introducing IBD Academy

Witnessing the barrage of new year's resolutions can be difficult for people with chronic illness. While others vow to take control of their bad habits and become their "best" selves, IBD patients often start the new year by stressing over reset insurance deductibles and the list of things we inevitably lost to disease over the previous year. I know that I can't "take control" of my body, Sure, I can make a solid effort to optimize my nutrition and build up some strength and stamina when possible. But there are still going to be the days when despite my best expectations, pain and fatigue will trump whatever grand plans I had and I'll return to hibernating with my IV.

I don't trust my body. It's consistently unpredictable and unreliable. But most of the time, I do trust my mind. I've learned to cope partially through trying to gain an academic understanding of my disease. I find myself in a weird headspace where biochemical pathways and statistics are somewhat comforting. My Crohn's is there. I can't ignore it. I might as well try to wrap my head around it. Medicine can't answer the existential "why" when it comes to the development and progress of IBD. However, science can tell us a whole lot of "what" and "how."

Moving forward, I challenge you to take a little time and embrace some of the science out there. The "IBD Academy" series on our blog will give you an opportunity to take a look at some disease, medication, and surgery basics in a (hopefully) low-key and supportive setting. In addition to highlighting what we know about IBD itself and the treatments available, I'll be reviewing some of the exciting and crazy new research in the field.

While I've found a wealth of IBD knowledge to be a great help to me personally, I've heard from others that understanding more about my illness helps them to be more supportive. Consider sharing some new information with a friend or family member as we go along!

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Kristen Weiss Sanders is a proud ostomate and third generation girl with guts diagnosed with IBD in 2004. She is passionate about patient education and encourages those with chronic illness to be a knowledgable part of their healthcare team. Kristen credits the constant example and support of the strong women in her family for her determination to thrive with Crohn’s disease and use her IBD journey to empower others.