“If I had cancer in my arm I would never be embarrassed to tell anyone about that, but instead I have active disease in my digestive tract and we’ve been taught that you don’t talk about that,” Jackie Zimmerman reflected on her ulcerative colitis diagnosis. “Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a real disease. It is a real serious disease and people have lost their life to IBD. It’s time to throw the shame out the window.”
We talked with Jackie Zimmerman about Girls with Guts, a non-profit to empower women living with IBD, about playing sports with IBD, strategies for talking to your family, friends and employer about IBD and the Girls with Guts 2017 Celebration. All this and more on this episode of the Patient Activation Network Podcast.
About Jackie Zimmerman
The quick version of my story is that I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) in 2009, had my colon removed in 2010, and my J-pouch connected in 2011. My UC resulted in many surgeries and complications along the way. During this time I felt alone, exhausted, and seriously lacked any kind of confidence. Through my sickness I blogged my experience and learned about creating community through the Internet. This is where things began to change for me. I realized that I was not alone, and that while I couldn’t control my illness, I could control my attitude. Ulcerative Colitis removed my large intestine but it gave me so much more in return. In a world where women struggle with body image and self-esteem, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can be a brutal blow to whatever confidence they have. I wanted to be a part of Girls With Guts to show women and girls of all ages that you can break the stereotypes of IBD, not only by being confident and beautiful, but by turning the disease into a learning experience. Think of it as new-aged, butt-driven charm school.
About Girls with Guts
Girls With Guts was created from a weekend get together of five young women (all at different stages with their IBD) from around the country who wanted to meet others like themselves. During the weekend, the women posted photos, tweets, and other updates about their experience, and the response was huge! Women across the nation (and the globe!) wanted to share in an experience like this. Girls With Guts is helping to establish a national support network that will aid women in their search for community, acceptance, and empowerment.
- About Jackie Zimmerman
- Roller Derby
- Keeping UC a secret
- Talking about UC with Family, Friends and Employers
- J-Pouch Surgery Experience
- Founding Girls with Guts
- Celebrating Girls with Guts
- How to get Involved
- Closing Thoughts
Thank you for tuning into this episode of the Patient Activation Network podcast. Please like and share this to spread the word. Stay tuned for the next episode.