How Can I use Crohn's Disease to My Advantage In College?

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whyCrohnswhyme19
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Date Joined Jul 2010
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   Posted 7/25/2010 11:32 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm Thinking about returning to college, is there any advantages in college? Anyone here that were in college with crohns?

RedSoxGirl85
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Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 265
   Posted 7/25/2010 11:54 PM (GMT -7)   
You might find this link helpful. I know I did. It has some tips and what you should do before starting to go back etc.

http://ibdcrohns.about.com/od/parents/a/ibsibdcollege_4.htm
RedSoxGirl85
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10mg Prednisone
1000mg Sulfasalazine 3x Daily
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tulipg17
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Total Posts : 113
   Posted 7/26/2010 4:03 AM (GMT -7)   
I had a bad flare through pretty much my entire college life and I would say that there are zero ways that Crohn's Disease can be used to your advantage. I had a heck of a time trying to work hard and keep up while being employed and keeping after my health.

MaryS
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   Posted 7/26/2010 5:14 AM (GMT -7)   
I did address this issue in a different post of yours:

Mike, Freakin Ouch! You got diagnosed the really hard way!! My Daughter was diagnosed right before she headed off to College and even being treated with meds, was not a comfortable experience. In fact the first 4 years she was not in remission and it was rough.
Her final year of College was wonderful thanks to Remicade and remission.

First thing, it won't always be (or possibly ever be) as bad as what you have already experienced. Once a treatment is found for your particular case you will get your life back again. Your life won't feel like it is on hold. After your nasty experience depression is a bit of a given but hopefully will subside as you begin to regain control of your health. You have already proven that you are one tough cookie to survive that semester in College and make it to Finals in the condition you were in. IBDers are known to be really tough cookies!! My Daughter falls into that category.

You WILL return to College. When you do make sure first and foremost that you register with your Campus Disability Services. It requires your GI/Dr filling out some paperwork. This will help should you have some not so healthy days trying to accomplish your degree. It is what saved my Daughter's College Education. She was not penalized for having to leave class to use bathroom, she was not penalized for excessive absences, she able to do makeup work and turn in assignments late, she was able to take makeup tests, she was able to take incompletes (when health was not good) and finish class in another semester. Disability Services afforded her Priority Registration which helped much in her getting the classes she needed at a day time better suited to her health (mornings were always a wicked nauseous time for her).

Hang in there, it does get better! Maybe not always perfect, but better than where you have already been once it becomes controlled and managed by meds, diet or whatever combination that works for your particular case. Hopefully, you have a really good GI on your side.

ZenaWP
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Date Joined Aug 2007
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   Posted 7/26/2010 11:38 AM (GMT -7)   
I agree that it can't be used to your advantage, unless your goal is to educate others about the disease.  I also think you should contact your college's disability resource center and be open to your professors about your disease.  It is incredibly difficult to go to school and work full-time (if that's what you will be doing) while sick.  I had my worst flare ever during my last semester of college.  Just take your time...I only took one or two classes each semester towards the end of my undergrad degree and that's all I could handle.  I was open with my professors about it and they were great if I needed to leave early or miss a class...they didn't count off for attendance points as much as they did other people. 

Crohn's Disease with Arthritis, Non-Erosive Reflux Disease, Gastritis, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Endometriosis, Depression/Anxiety 


CrazyHarry
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Date Joined Mar 2006
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   Posted 7/26/2010 5:29 PM (GMT -7)   
i had bad crohn's in college. so no, you cannot use it to your advantage. once in a while if you have a sympathetic professor you can get some help come exam time or missing out on homework or labs, but it is not always the case and sometimes they help you, and then sometimes the same prof can play a totally different tune. so keep your profs abreast of your condition.
Crazy Harry

---------------------------------------------
Crohn's since 1993 (17 yrs old then)
surgery in July '05 - removal of 2 inches at ileum and 8 inches of sigmoid colon (had fistula into bladder)
Nov '05 developed colonic inertia; July '06 told i needed ostomy surgery
began maker's diet in August '06 - now feeling the best ever with no symptoms of colonic inertia and i kept my colon
med free as of 10/31/07


MaryS
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   Posted 7/26/2010 5:55 PM (GMT -7)   
As long as you are registered with Campus Disability Services or at some Colleges it is called Vocational something or other, your Professors cannot give you a hard time about much as they have to follow the rules and regulations of Disability Services and ADA. The 20th Anniversary of ADA happens to be today.

Disability Services, at least at my Daughter's college did not even inform her Professors what her exact disability was. She was given form letters at the beginning of each semester to give to them but it never specified her disability. She was upfront about her disease with each of her Professors and they couldn't have been more amazing and helpful in keeping her education moving forward despite missing many classes sometimes.

If you know in advance that you are going to miss class, even note takers were offered to my Daughter. Of course she never knew when she was going to be ill in advance! But some of her Professors did keep an outline of class notes online that she could access or would give her copies of class notes.

Registering with Disability Services can also provide you sometimes with special housing arrangements and sometimes even accommodate any special dietary needs you might have.
These are all things you would have to check into with your specific College.
Mum of an IBDer since 1999. Daughter diagnosed at age 17 with Crohns/Colitis. This disease s*cks!!


grumpygi
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Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 266
   Posted 7/26/2010 7:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, maybe think about this as not what you can get out of it, but what services you need to be sucessful in accomplishing your goals in life?  How can you give back - as you have been given much, much is expected. 
 
Your task is to be true, not popular.
 
Meds: Celebrex, Omeprazole, Liadla, Entocort EC 9mg/day, Vit D, Mulitvit, Omega 3's, Ambian, Neurontin.
 
 
 


ivy6
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Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 7/26/2010 8:16 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree with grumpy gi. I'm not sure that using illness to your advantage is the healthiest approach for you to take...
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.

Medications for Crohn's ~~ Diet and Nutritional Therapy for Crohn's ~~ Dealing with Abscesses and Fistulae ~~


MaryS
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Date Joined Jan 2003
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   Posted 7/27/2010 4:44 AM (GMT -7)   
I am hoping that the author of this post did not literally mean "to my advantage" but looking for what help may be available for an IBDer on Campus trying to accomplish an education whilst sometimes being kicked down by illness. Disability Services is not a hand out, but a hand up.

My own Daughter was pretty much against signing up for Disability Services, but after a very unhealthy first semester on Campus and in jeopardy of losing her scholarships she broke down and applied. Without Disability Services her College Career would have ended quite abruptly considering she was pretty darn sick for the first four years of it and finally in remission and healthy for her fifth and final year.

I agree that giving back is more important than what you receive. There are always many opportunities on Campus to give back and that is the part of the College experience my Daughter loved the most.
Mum of an IBDer since 1999. Daughter diagnosed at age 17 with Crohns/Colitis. This disease s*cks!!


MMMNAVY
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Date Joined Jul 2006
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   Posted 7/27/2010 5:27 AM (GMT -7)   
I know you are panicing with this new dx, and clearly this might be one of those things that you might have to put off for a bit, or at least go with fewer hours, it is no big deal to take longer then others to get thru school. The important thing is to take care of yourself and turtle your way to a degree.
I would also say that Mary's daughter got very lucky, not all disablity services work out so well for others. It can truely be a professors discression issue, because there are those old school folks who decide well if you are not healthy enough to be in college then tough. It can be a cutting process. I was very fortunate that I had already earned a masters degree by the time I had gotten sick.
Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease/Thyroid Disorders:_All comments have the caveat contact your local health care provider.

I will find a way or make one. –Phillip Sidney 1554-1586

All that I am and all that I shall ever be, I owe to my Angel Mother.

The Bucket List- Have you found joy in your life?  Has your life brought joy to others?

Make sure your suffering has meaning…


Roni
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Date Joined May 2003
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   Posted 7/27/2010 8:13 AM (GMT -7)   
I have a good hunch he doesn't mean that he wants to profit or "take advantage" at college. He likely wants to know the "advantages" (opportunities geared to his educational success) available to him because he has crohns.

whycrohnswhyme, It seems some people are misunderstanding your question.

Are you looking for advice on how to succeed in college, despite having crohns disease?

If so, please note that you should register with the disability office on campus. They will help you achieve your educational goals by allowing more flexibility. It will make your education much more easier and fair.

Mmmnavy, professors discriminating? That sounds illegal nowadays, especially if the student is registered with the disability office.

Post Edited (Roni) : 7/27/2010 9:20:05 AM (GMT-6)


njmom
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Date Joined Apr 2006
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   Posted 7/27/2010 8:47 AM (GMT -7)   
My daughter registered with the campus disability office and it helped with housing...when she was on the higher dose of Entocort, and therefore somewhat immunosuppressed, she was able to get housing without roommates. (The higher dose of Entocort caused her to become sick more often, and when she was sick she became sicker than others who got the same virus - it would lead to bacterial infections.)  
 
She talked to the dietician at the campus food court about being on the SCD diet. They invited her into the pantry to see for herself the labels on cans, etc., and how food was prepared. They also kept on hand a special skillet for her, which they would use to grill meat or chicken for her, to ensure it wasn't mixed with gluten, etc. (They do this for Celiacs kids, too.) So, if you decide to try SCD or another diet, the campus might work with you.
 
She talked to the campus disability office about being protected in case she, for instance, landed in ER the week of exams. The office told her she would have to disclose her illness to the professors in advance. She decided not to and took her chances. Yes, the disease did get in the way, sometimes because of meds like Flagyl, and she did take an extra term to graduate, but she made it! 
 
She was able to do this partly because her Crohn's does not cause diarrhea and was under control after the first few months of trial and error with meds/diet. For those who have D, it makes sense to disclose the condition in advance to profs if you are going to have to leave the class for bathroom visits.

MaryS
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Date Joined Jan 2003
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   Posted 7/27/2010 11:20 AM (GMT -7)   
MMMNAVY, You are so right! There are some old school Professors out there. My Daughter did have one who felt he could lower her grade due to absences despite her being registered with Disability Services. Disability Services intervened and made him reverse the grade!

Other than that one Professor, all her other Professors, 5 years worth including her Study Abroad Semester in Chile, South America were fabulous. So many went above and beyond the call of duty when they seen my Daughter struggling with her health and falling behind. They followed the rules of Disability Services to a T and then some. Very grateful and fortunate for all of them.

Mind you my Daughter went to a State University. I have read that some Private Universities may not be as accommodating to all Students with disabilities especially disabilities that can't be seen.
Mum of an IBDer since 1999. Daughter diagnosed at age 17 with Crohns/Colitis. This disease s*cks!!


MMMNAVY
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 7/27/2010 11:38 AM (GMT -7)   
Roni,
I am a grad student at a State University, and unfortunately it does happen. I have been given alot of exceptions, because I already have my degrees (and it helps that I have put over $100,000 in tuition money towards this school). In fact I have more degrees then most of my professors, because I am really here for my own self efficacy, and to try to make the world a better place. It maybe illegal, but most people who go school here are not wealthy and cannot afford a lawyer (they are middle class, but it is rather common to live in student poverty, this is not the Ivy, but it is the best school in the state), and because it is cheaper just to take the class again from another professor.
I will say this is not a non-traditional school, it is hard core this needs to be your main focus in life kind of school. If you want a non-trad approach to schooling then you need to seek your education elsewhere, because there are other universities that will help you do that. Doing half time schooling is not really acceptable here, unless you have already proved yourself.
Navy
 
P.S. I would also say that crohns has definately effected my brain.  I have noticed that I have spelling and memory problems that have gotten much worse.  It is also much harder for me to write and I take more time then most people to do stuff.  I am also very open about my disease and I have actually had professors send me home, because I was puking during class.  But grit is respected around here. 


Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease/Thyroid Disorders:_All comments have the caveat contact your local health care provider.

I will find a way or make one. –Phillip Sidney 1554-1586

All that I am and all that I shall ever be, I owe to my Angel Mother.

The Bucket List- Have you found joy in your life?  Has your life brought joy to others?

Make sure your suffering has meaning…

Post Edited (MMMNAVY) : 7/27/2010 12:47:20 PM (GMT-6)


MaryS
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Date Joined Jan 2003
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   Posted 7/27/2010 12:14 PM (GMT -7)   
MMMNAVY, IBD definitely has affected "learning" for my Daughter. Before IBD diagnosis, brilliant student, found school and advanced placement classes easy. Graduated High School with Honors which resulted in scholarships.

College with IBD a whole different story! IBD fatigue was her worst enemy in trying to learn or retain anything. She was frustrated to the max. Final year of College when she was finally in remission she did make the Dean's List because her brain was functioning so much better.

IBD still affects her brain in the Real Adult working world. She was actually diagnosed with Adult ADD just a year ago and taking meds for that. Did IBD cause Adult ADD?? Dr. claims she probably had it through most of her life which threw me for a loop because there was never an indication of it in her childhood or Teen years.
Mum of an IBDer since 1999. Daughter diagnosed at age 17 with Crohns/Colitis. This disease s*cks!!


Roni
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Date Joined May 2003
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   Posted 7/27/2010 12:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Mary, I'm glad disability services intervened on your daughter's behalf.

Mmmnavy, schools are supposed to accommodate students with disabilities (SWD). Whether that means more time to complete assignments, days off, tape recording the lectures, having an attendant, etc. Students don't need a lawyer to register, just their doc to fill out the proper papers.

Even if there are professors who are "old school", the disability office at the school is supposed to arrange for accommodations for the SWD and act on their behalf when needed.

Doesn't your state school have a disability office? If a SWD hasn't registered, they may be at the mercy of a non-understanding professor.

It's important to register with the school's disability office, even if you don't think you need it, because Crohn's is unpredictable.

Becoming undone
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   Posted 7/27/2010 1:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Mary S...I'm thinking that she had it always, and no, it was not caused by the IBD (but who knows, it may be one of these traits inherited in a group on the same allele as the IBD...just thinking out loud, but there is a lot of evidence in genes affecting your personality, not just environment)...it was just that she was bright and could work her way past it...also females show ADD a bit different than males...and so you may never have noticed it before...BTW, I know that I did...you don't notice it so much in school, because you go from one subject to another, but in a job, you have to concentrate on ONE thing...

I know that I haven't signed up for more courses (I do already have my degrees, so it would be either for fun/learning or towards a PhD)...I know that I am too unpredictable right now...that's why I can't hold a job(and should be filing for disability, but haven't cuz of that mental thing)...and yes, Crohn's has DEFINITELY affected my brain power...I cannot concentrate near what I used too...my memory is poor...heck when I'm feeling bad, I have a hard time finding words for just common things...but I have seen when I get better, this DOES improve...

And lastly, though it may be "illegal" to discriminate, I have also know professors to make it so difficult as to not be worth it...yes they may be accommodating to the letter of the law, but would give ridiculously hard make-up exams, etc...You can usually tell this type of prof right away though, and my suggestion, is to try and find another class...Good luck!
"The earth laughs in flowers"


bookworm21
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Date Joined Mar 2008
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   Posted 7/27/2010 2:32 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree with everyone else: register with disability services, don't load up on your schedule or work, and take time off if need be.

I've had a good experience with my undergrad's disability services. I was able to get a single room with a private bathroom and they sent out letters to my professors saying that I was registered with them. And then I would send them a letter explaining that I have an autoimmune disease and I may have to miss class or leave early. All of my professors were great about it. But then again, I was in remission and an undergrad at a large state school (where people always skipped classes for no reason).

I hope my grad school is accommodating...especially since I know I'll have to take a day off every two months for Remicade infusions.

I am so fatigued all the time that is affects my concentration and such. I don't know if it's the Remicade, other medications, IBD in general, or something unrelated. But it is awful and makes me nervous for grad school.

jpnutritionfirst
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 383
   Posted 7/27/2010 2:43 PM (GMT -7)   
it does suck, but it makes for a hell of a personal statement/essay
Crohn's diagnosed 6/08
Organic SCD since 4/09
Remicade from 6/09 to 4/10
Low-dose naltrexone since 7/5/10
Boswellia + Natren's Healthy Trinity probiotic + Cinnamon + Wild Oregano Oil + vitamin D


Love_Art_Baby
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 7/27/2010 4:50 PM (GMT -7)   
There is no advantage with Crohn's...period
23 y/o
Diagnosed in 2007
Misdiagnosed w/ Lactose Intolerance @ 11 y/o
Misdiagnosed w/ IBS @ 16 y/o
3 hospital stays in the last 6 months
been on Asacol, Pentassa, Remicaide, Humira, Prednisone on and off (I think it's the devil) and lost more random things.
Right now 6MP ,Monthly B-12,Fish Oil, about to start Cimzia, just went off prednisone AGAIN, just stopped Humira
 
Married with a 3 y/o
~Want to get this back in control so I can try for another baby! :)


MMMNAVY
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 7/27/2010 5:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Roni,
I realize that is what is suppose to happen, but as we all know this is not a perfect world. You can register with disablity services, but it is not a mephorical bulletproof vest.
I am registered with Disablity Services, but sometimes there really is nothing they can do. Luckily, I have had mostly compassionate instructors, but there are some real problems with the system.
Navy
Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease/Thyroid Disorders:_All comments have the caveat contact your local health care provider.

I will find a way or make one. –Phillip Sidney 1554-1586

All that I am and all that I shall ever be, I owe to my Angel Mother.

The Bucket List- Have you found joy in your life?  Has your life brought joy to others?

Make sure your suffering has meaning…


grumpygi
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 266
   Posted 7/27/2010 5:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Navy:  what are you getting a degree in?  Do you think that your professors are biased and are open to change or just not interested in the needs of students?  Sad really, the cookie cutter student mould is sooo old school! 
Meds: Celebrex, Omeprazole, Liadla, Entocort EC 9mg/day, Vit D, Mulitvit, Omega 3's, Ambian, Neurontin.
 
 
 


MMMNAVY
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 7/27/2010 5:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Perhaps I am not articulating myself well here. I was mainly not speaking about my professors, just ones I happen to know in other fields or have come in contact with due to my own professional duties. I have had issue with two professors outside my field and I was told it was instructors privilege, even with disablity services. That is why I looked into legal recourse.


Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease/Thyroid Disorders:_All comments have the caveat contact your local health care provider.

I will find a way or make one. –Phillip Sidney 1554-1586

All that I am and all that I shall ever be, I owe to my Angel Mother.

The Bucket List- Have you found joy in your life?  Has your life brought joy to others?

Make sure your suffering has meaning…


ivy6
Elite Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 7/27/2010 6:00 PM (GMT -7)   
I believe LMills had similar issues, didn't she, Navy?
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.

Medications for Crohn's ~~ Diet and Nutritional Therapy for Crohn's ~~ Dealing with Abscesses and Fistulae ~~

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