IBD, perhaps more than other chronic illnesses, can have a definite impact on a patient’s career choices and school performance. Therefore, I have definitely seen patients make decisions that are affected by their IBD.
However, more often, I’ve seen patients overcome this obstacle and reach to greater heights in spite of the diagnosis. In my experience, this is due to a few factors. First, it’s due to the individual themselves. Some folks, when faced with a challenge, approach it differently than others. Second it’s due to clear communication of the goal and expectation for control of the disease and what I call “sustained functional remission”. “Functional remission” (my term) means that they are able to function and do all that they want to do in life. “Sustained” means it is lasting. Explaining that this is the expectation and nothing less, is very important in communicating with patients. So that leads to the third component of success in this regard: available effective therapies. It is certainly true that the development of new therapies for IBD have increased our ability to achieve disease control, clinical remission, and sustained functional remission. The fourth issue contributing to this is certainly one of a positive outlook by both the physician and the patient, and the hope for more advances and successes in the future. Having this approach and outlook definitely helps our patients reach for the stars – and to succeed.
Thoughts and comments are welcome.
David T. Rubin, MD
Professor of Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine