IBD Awareness Month

20 Nov

You might remember my post at the beginning of the month on the passage from “The Chosen” and making your blinks count.

November is a time when many different disease fighting charities organize awareness campaigns, you have undoubtedly all heard about the Movember challenge for Prostate Cancer, the Diabetes Awareness events, etc. But one disease that you likely haven’t heard about and that claims November as its awareness month is Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This is a cause that is very personal to me and close to my heart. It tends to stay under the radar for a variety of reasons. In my opinion, the two main reasons are that people view it as an embarrassing condition and something that they don’t want to talk about, and it very rarely kills people. For some reason, our society only looks at the quantity and doesn’t count the quality of a life. But there’s one thing that I can tell you: those with Irritable Bowel Disease (which denotes Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) are very much a walking dead for the simple reason that quality of life is nill. Besides the gastro symptoms which keep many patients self-imprisoned at home out of fear, there are many other life-altering/-interfering symptoms which can include severe fatigue, malabsorption of food and minerals, and arthritis (and simple loss of friendship due to an inability to take part in many events). There are also some life-threatening symptoms but I am not writing to give you a medical lesson.

What I am writing to say is that though it is not discussed, it is a horrible disease that is becoming more and more common (fact: Canada has one of, if not the, highest rate(s) of IBD in the world). There is no known cause (though there is a case to be made for a gene environment interaction) and no cure. Instead, if you are lucky enough to be diagnosed (which often takes years) you are faced with a barrage of medications, and many (such as myself) end up getting surgery.

I would be happy today if you just learned about the disease so that you could be more supportive of those around you suffering but if you do have available funds, I would encourage you to donate to your national Crohn’s and Colitis organization (websites to follow). What is wonderful about the response to IBD is that, unlike other diseases, researchers around the world have put their egos aside and are working together for medical breakthroughs. Indeed, they are discovering new things about the disease (such as causes, related genes, treatments, possible cures) every day and Crohn’s is something that we could actually see cured in our lifetime.

So, please keep your eyes and hearts open. And, if you can, your wallet. This disease is all too common and too debilitating to be constantly swept under the rug and I urge you to learn, and contribute for a cure.

Thank you for your time, it really means a lot to me. Please check out the websites and the video below.

Canada IBD: www.ccfc.ca

USA IBD: www.ccfa.org

I personally don’t feel like sharing my Crohn’s story but I do feel that it is my duty to help spread awareness. Therefore, below is a video with stories belonging to 9 year old Landon, and NHLer Fernando Pisani. (Warning: you might want to have some kleenex ready) The sentiments expressed by these two individuals and their families are experienced by all, especially the feelings of being left out from life, fear, and helplessness.

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