For anyone in university, I would recommend you explore the centre for students with disabilities. It’s important to be aware of all the resources and extra help available to you, which will help you better cope with and manage the stress that comes with attending university.
I would also say that taking control of your diet can help. My undergraduate degree was in nutritional science, mainly because I wanted better knowledge to help myself. Often physicians can downplay the link between diet and IBD, but for me personally, it is a critical component of living well.
If I could give advice to my 15-year-old self, I would have said that you should meet more people living with IBD because it’s awful going at it alone. People without IBD don’t know what it’s like, and it’s hard for them to truly empathize with what we’re going through.
But that said, through my work with the PaCER project, I learned that people need to take time and learn for themselves what it’s like to live with a chronic illness. You can’t force people to do things they’re not ready for. There are rewards to struggling and learning what’s best for you. But overall, I would have wanted to tell myself that the IBD community is out there, and they’re an important resource to tap into.
** Peter’s story may not be representative of the general population.
For more information about Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, please visit: www.crohnsandcolitis.ca or to apply for the AbbVie IBD Scholarship, please visit: www.ibdscholarship.ca.