WHY THIS IMAGE SHOULD NOT BE USED TO RAISE AWARENESS of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
While I commend efforts to raise awareness of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, I think by choosing this particular bathroom stall image to reflect these incurable, incredibly challenging and potentially severe, relentlessly painful, pervasive and disabling autoimmune diseases, it defeats any such well-intended purposes b/c all it does is help perpetuate the gross misunderstanding in the global mainstream that Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are merely “bathroom conditions” instead of the life-changing – and sometimes life-threatening – devastating diseases they can become with uncontrollable systemic pervasive physical, psychological, emotional, financial, social, professional and familial effects which cannot be prevented or identified beforehand and are only successfully treated by immunosuppressive and immunomodulator biologic drugs whose side effects are too often so severe that medical researchers cannot work fast enough to discover safer and more efficacious disease-targeted therapies instead of the risky symptom-treating therapies currently available.
Admittedly, these diseases have a “broad-spectrum” of severity and effects such that this bathroom stall image might adequately represent those more fortunate IBD patients who suffer from mild cases of Crohn’s or Colitis. But, and I believe the following is true for too many Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis patients, THIS visual characterization of IBD in no way, shape or form represents, for example, the Severe Crohn’s Disease I have suffered from for the last 30 years which has resulted in over 200 hospitalizations, 25+ surgeries and side effects from the various aforementioned IBD drugs which have systemically disabled me at the young age of 47 (i.e. as of June, 1, 2010) and left me with a chronic inflammatory lung condition, the pathology of which no doctor in the United States has ever seen before, and which has required 2 vigorous courses of powerful chemotherapy to prevent it from killing me. That said, I am truly one of the LUCKY IBD patients because I know of MANY OTHERS who are much worse off than me.
Accordingly, I just hope this “severe spectrum” of IBD is kept in mind whenever much-needed and well-intended awareness is sought for IBD because few kind, caring and compassionate people are likely to donate their hard-earned money to help find a cure, or safer, more efficacious treatments, for a disease which, as this bathroom stall image could reasonably convey, simply causes more time spent in the bathroom.