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We Need To Look Out For The Kids

We Need To Look Out For The Kids

Although I am not a parent impacted by Inflammatory Bowel Disease, I was a child with Ulcerative Colitis. Looking back on my childhood at twenty-six is extremely hard for me. A lot of my memories involve pain and embarrassment. I sometimes still have nightmares about being stuck on the bus having to use the bathroom or vomit. I feel every bit of anxiety and fear I felt back then.

Diagnosis is a blessing and a curse

Being diagnosed “early” is both a blessing and a curse. I use the word early loosely because I’d been struggling with symptoms for years before I was diagnosed, but because I was young it was pretty early in my life. I didn’t know anything about my disease and because of this I put myself in situations I probably shouldn’t have. I expected too much of my body, especially when I was newly diagnosed.

Always ready to return to everyday life

Being hospitalized as a teenager just isn’t fun at all. When I was released I was more than ready to return to my everyday “life.” Although I’d been limited by my symptoms for some time, I still managed to find things I enjoyed, a big one being Tennis. I loved Tennis so much as a child. I talked about My Tennis and IBD here! Tennis was huge for me, but after being hospitalized I probably shouldn’t have returned so soon. If I understood my condition more, I probably would have waited. I would have taken more time to recover or at least better prepared myself.

We need to look out for the kids

Being a child with IBD was extremely hard. With IBD you need control. With a condition you have absolutely no control over, you need some sort of control over your environment, your mode of transportation, something. Just being a bus rider during a flare caused me a daily panic attack. Not having open/easy access to bathrooms made it impossible to relax during the day. Stress only exacerbated my symptoms, but it was impossible not to stress.

If your child has IBD, I would suggest spending more time with them. It’s something I wish was done for me. Spending a little more time talking to them about how they feel and educating them on how their condition impacts their body can prevent one, if not many, unexpected accidents or incidents.

Just imagine it

Think about it like this, imagine having absolutely no control of your body. You’re living, you’re breathing. You know how to walk and talk, but everything else is up to science and disease. Imagine being in a place (at least) eight hours a day where people tell you everything including where to go, what to do, what to eat, ect. You don’t have any control over your body or your day. Now imagine still being young and trying to figure out life, going through puberty, having crushes. You probably can’t imagine it, right? It’s too much! You can’t do all of it at once.

Kids with IBD are literally doing the impossible. Please have patience and look out for them. Ask the school faculty to do the same.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    6 months ago

    This is so true. I can’t imagine being young and in school, dealing with IBD. Kids need so much support with this illness. Thank you for sharing.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • Amanda Osowski moderator
    6 months ago

    Shawntel, thank you so much for this perspective!

    Amanda (team member)

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