Lily Altavena reflects on the challenges she faces going to college with a Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease. I know a number of people who have inflammatory bowel disease, either Crohn’s or it’s sister ulcerative colitis; I know of people in who have other chronic illnesses; I know such people both outside of school and inside. It is an added challenge they face on top of the course work.
Over the years they have mapped out their triggers and predisposing factors and have learned to avoid them. Sometimes though, they still happen. They come to school happy and cheery one day, distressed and weak the next; some days they might not show up at all.
As medical students, it has always been a necessity to stay on top of our studies lest we fall behind, lost without the leading light. The curriculum is constantly an imposing presence that influences us. While medical school is full of support and aid for those who are experiencing difficulties, in the realm of chronic illnesses, it is as much our responsibility as friends and fellow students as anyone else to pull these classmates through harder times and support them in dealing with their conditions.