If you have Crohn’s disease, know someone who does, or just want to learn more about the disease, it’s always helpful to hear stories about people living with this experience. Hearing about other people’s journeys can help you through your own disease or help educate others about your condition. And in the digital age, tons of stories about chronic disease are available at your fingertips. Watch these three Ted Talks to hear three inspiring stories from Crohn’s warriors.
1. Rupinder Bains
Rupinder Bains is an articulate Ted Talk speaker. In her talk, she explains with great clarity how Crohn’s affected her life, sprinkling her story with sarcasm and a few jokes. Despite her lightheartedness at times, she also recounts the story of a doctor telling her that she had “Crohn’s from hell” and her down moments. After six hospital stays, Bains says she was holding hands with death. Thankfully, her doctors were on the ball and removed the damaged intestines and fitted her with an iliostomy bag, which put her Crohn’s into remission.
Today, Bains is using her disease and her positive mindset as a platform to be a role model to other patients who need the support. She encourages everyone to learn about Crohn’s and get involved — even in simple things like a 5k fundraiser.
How it will inspire you: Get the courage to push through the hard times and help others despite Crohn’s.
2. Ari Meisel
Ari Meisel was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2007. Meisel spent an enormous amount of time in and out of the hospital dealing with Crohn’s complications like liver failure and kidney stones. He jokes that Crohn’s has “a real knack at hampering your social agenda.” Interestingly, it was the influence of his girlfriend, a yoga enthusiast, that started his journey back to health. Meisel found that the gentle stretching of yoga actually helped with his Crohn’s pain.
Then, Meisel started experimenting with a vegetarian diet and then went on to pull dairy as well. In an effort to gain control of his body, Meisel started endurance sports, which gave him a lot of perspective on what his body could still do instead of everything it couldn’t. At the time of his talk, he had recently completed a half marathon in New Orleans and was looking forward to another in France. The most outstanding part? After Meisel instituted all of these changes, he went back to the doctor for a checkup where they found no active disease.
How it will inspire you: Meisel’s story inspires us to live a healthy, full, and active lifestyle despite a Crohn’s diagnosis.
3. Ryan Zanganeh
After having severe stomach pain and intestinal cramps, Ryan Zanganeh sought the advice of his physician and was eventually diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2013, after missing months of school and undergoing numerous tests. He had been a self-proclaimed junk food addict and tennis lover, but both of those loves were no longer possible after diagnosis. In Zanganeh’s Ted Talk, he offers a great explanation of the difference between Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis and shows what the actual gut damage looks like, joking that although Crohn’s is most frequently found in the illium, it can be found “cheek to cheek.” Zanganeh is doing much better with his Crohn’s control and has gotten back to the tennis he loved so much before his diagnosis.
How it will inspire you: This Ted Talk is perfect for anyone looking for additional information on Crohn’s in layman’s terms.
While all three of these Ted Talks may cover the same topic, they are vastly different in the way each person explains their disease and presents their stories. I highly recommend you take some time to listen to all three. You might gain some insight to help control your disease or at least feel less alone knowing there are others out there dealing with the same things who have overcome similar obstacles.
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Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.