The Foul Bowel – A Book Review


I recently finished reading The Foul Bowel: 101 Ways to Survive and Thrive with Crohn’s by John Bradley and I have to say, if you suffer from IBD, especially Crohn’s Disease, then you must read this book. 

First let me say that it took quite awhile to read this book but that is no reflection on the books part.  I usually read my Kindle going to and from work and at night I wind down by watching TV.  So I basically read this book in some spare time or before going to bed if nothing was on TV.  So it was my own fault for taking a long time to read it. 

I actually thought this book was interesting.  It is a recap of John’s journey with Crohn’s disease from his young adult life to the present.  He talks about his numerous surgeries (13 of them) and how he deals with the disease in his life.  He learned to tailor his lifestyle around his disease instead of letting his disease run his life.  He stays upbeat throughout his struggles and always looks on bright side of life (couldn’t pass on the Monty Python reference since John is British). 

What really got me about John is that even when he was near death, he focused on the good things in life.  John is inspirational to so many people.  Even though throughout his life he suffers, he manages to hold a job, find love, and live his life.  He deals with tons of incompetent doctors all the time and still doesn’t let that slow him down.

Throughout the book John gives his words of wisdom…all 101 of them.  They are his versions of how to deal and beat this disease.  They are usually right on the money and I found myself thinking…why didn’t I think of that before.    John also uses humor to liven up his story.  Without it you would look at his life and cry for all his pain but he looks at his life and chooses to laugh.  Laughter is a source of healing and it is no wonder why John has continued to beat this disease.

Check out the website , read the reviews, then order your copy.  Then go to Twitter and let John know how much you loved the book.

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My Take on the Escape The Stall Ads


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Yesterday I read a blog by another blogger, Marisa, which can be found here.  This lead me to a post written by Sara found here

The reason I mention these two blogs is because they kind of opened my eyes to the new campaign going on by The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) called Escape the Stall (http://www.ccfa.org/escapethestall/).  The face being put to the campaign is Amy Brenneman who is known from such shows as Private Practice, NYPD Blue, and Judging Amy.

First, I applaud Amy for coming out of what I call the IBD closet.  It is great to have another face to the disease.  I am also very happy that the CCFA is finally putting ads and stories out there nationally.  IBD is usually talked about quietly in dark corners.  CCFA is now bringing out into the open and I am very happy and thankful for that.image

I had read the reason for why they went with this campaign and at first it didn’t bother me.  I admit I have used bathroom humor in the past as I have a page on Facebook called Bathroom Talk.  But as I look into myself, I know I did it as a way to cope.

Over the past year I have learned so much about IBD.  Crohn’s and Colitis is no laughing matter.  Yes, a lot of us use laughter to cope with our chronic illness, but in no way should the illness be looked upon in a funny way.  As the ads show, we spend a lot of time in the bathroom.  Anyone with IBD knows this is a reality..but it is a small part of the disease.  And this is where I come to the realization that the CCFA ads are not a good idea. 

So many people with IBD are sick.  They have no energy.  They can’t do simple things like get out of bed.  Some people are in constant pains.  Belly pains, joint pains, muscle pains…just overall pain.  There is nausea, fevers, rashes, and eye problems.  We take horrible medicines that give us really horrible side effects with some of those being untreatable cancer.   Many people with IBD have numerous scars from many surgeries.  Some people spend months in a  hospital bed hooked up to tubes.  Many suffer from drastic weight lose and look like walking skeletons.

Now you are probably thinking,  “Wow, people with IBD have it bad”.  Well, yes we do.  But looking at the new ads, all you would think is that we spend a lot of time on the toilet.   When people put out ads for cancer we see bald people hooked up to chemo.  When there are ads for emphysema we see broken down people hooked up to oxygen tanks.   The no smoking ads in NYC show people with amputations, trach tubes, and just looking horrible.  So where is our graphic ads?

When it comes down to it, seeing an underweight person with IV’s and an NG tube laying in a hospital bed with some surgical scars would be more effective than saying “Hey this person poops a lot.  Help them out”.  I recall when I first got diagnosed as a teenager with Crohn’s that my doctor told me that I would most likely have at least one surgery in my life due to the disease.  Where is that fact in the ad. 

I am grateful for all that CCFA has done and continues to do.  I will be volunteering this year for their Take Steps walk and hopefully for Camp Oasis.  But I have to say that I am shamed by their new and first national ads.