Hover over the photos to read about Boston Children’s IBD patients and the care they receive.
Boston Children’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center treats over 1,500 children, adolescents and young adults managing IBD each year. Whether patients are traveling across the globe for very early onset IBD care, balancing diet and medication at home, school or abroad or living a life free of Crohn’s or colitis after surgery, the caregivers at the Boston Children’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center understand the challenges patients and families face and support them every step of the way. In honor of National Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week (Dec. 1-7), we are celebrating our IBD patients and the team of physicians, nurses, dietitians and social workers who supported them through their journey.
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis on December 23, 2009—a day my life changed forever. I went from a healthy and active 14-year-old to a teen with some very concerning symptoms: frequent and sudden onsets of stomach pain, exhaustion and the constant urge to use the bathroom. The diagnosis of a blistered, swollen, large intestine was both a relief and an added stressor.
But my diagnosis was just the beginning of my journey.
During high school, I was embarrassed to discuss my disease. Very few of my teachers and friends knew I had Crohn’s. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to manage school assignments, participate in athletics and still have a social life.
A new school year presents a lot of new opportunities like new teachers, subjects and the possibility of new friends. But that newness also comes with a good degree of uncertainty, which can be frightening for a student with a chronic illness, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). That anxiety can be especially strong if the diagnosis is new, and the upcoming school year will be the child’s first with IBD.
“The first day of school after an IBD diagnosis can be hard, but with some planning it’s quite manageable,” says Michael Docktor, MD, of Boston Children’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center. “Most children with the condition are able to quickly return to their normal school routines, all it takes is a few extra steps to make the return as seamless as possible.”
To ensure school is a positive experience for your child with newly diagnosed IBD, Docktor suggests speaking with your child’s teachers, school administrator and nurse as soon as possible to discuss any concerns or questions you may have. Topics may include:
Inform. The teaching staff should know that IBD is episodic in nature and the child may need to make frequent or urgent trips to the restroom. Depending on classroom rules, he or she may need special permission to do so. …