Awareness and Empowerment

I have a digestive disease called Ulcerative Colitis. It is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I wrote about it here.  I know, that’s not very exciting, but this is… 

After seeing the above mentioned post, I was contacted by The Great Bowel Movement,  “a social awareness movement with the goals of empowering patients associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) including Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, as well as J-Pouch and Ostomy, to embrace their disease, be proud of their experience, and spread awareness throughout their communities “.  The Great BM offered to send me one of their t-shirts in exchange for pictures of me wearing it as I travel during my great RV adventure.  Of course, I said yes! I am so excited to have the chance to encourage and inspire others living with IBD to get out there and live their lives to the fullest.

Here are some of the reasons I love The Great Bowel Movement and am excited to be a part of this movement…

#1. The Great Bowel Movement works to educate the public about Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  It is so awesome to come across people who already know about this disease. It saves me from having to explain it and not having to explain makes me feel more “normal”.

#2. They call themselves “The Great Bowel Movement”! Living with this disease is so much easier when you learn to keep your sense of humor. I love that they understand and embrace this notion fully!

#3. Their slogan is, “Making Crohn’s and Colitis cool since 2010”. Through humor and inspiration, they encourage people with IBD to not be ashamed of their disease. Let’s face it, the very nature of the disease makes it rather embarrassing. The symptoms can make life awkward and even humiliating at times.  The first several years having IBD, I struggled with the embarrassment. I was always trying to figure out how I could attempt to appear normal to people in spite of my symptoms. Fortunately, I have made peace with it. Instead of hiding my disease, I am very open and forward about my condition. When I make new friends I tell them I have IBD (I find humor works well, so I often start by saying I have a “crappy” (haha) disease) and simply explain that there may be times that I can’t eat in social situations, or that I may run off to the bathroom mid-sentence, or that I will sometimes have to cancel plans at the last minute. People are very understanding and by being upfront about it, my IBD becomes a non-issue.

#4. Through The Great Bowel Movement’s facebook page, I have found community. Though I have always researched my disease and read everything I could by both professionals and patients, I haven’t always sought community with others living with IBD. I spent the first several years after my diagnosis living in denial. I didn’t want to have a disease. People with IBD are sick and I didn’t want to be sick. I didn’t want to be one of them.  But, I have come to embrace the support and encouragement of community. They are my people. We have IBD.

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A BIG thank you to The Great Bowel Movement!

Categories: IBD, Ulcerative Colitis | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Awareness and Empowerment

  1. Annabel, we can’t thank YOU enough for living our mission! We are SO glad that you’ve found a sense of community and only hope it continues to benefit you and others in the future!

    Best,
    Andrea and Megan

  2. Laura

    This is SO GREAT!! You will educate many on your trek across America. Imagine…you thought you were just taking a year to travel!! God had much bigger plans for you, but you’d have never known if you hadn’t taken the first step. I love that you’ve found comfort in community. Prayers that travels are going well. ❤

    • Thank you for the encouragement and prayers, Laura! And I agree! God works in such awesome and interesting ways! Life is an amazing adventure! 🙂

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