Happily Ever After My Diagnosis

On December 15th, 2009, I was matched up on eHarmony with a man named David (for the SECOND time – long story, I’ll explain later!!!). Being tired of waiting for the men to make the first move and message me first, I sent him my initial questions. I was a little surprised when he responded, but he did and shortly after that (January 23rd of 2010 to be exact) we started dating.

About a year later, in January of 2011, the symptoms started. It began with diarrhea and rapidly advanced to severe rectal bleeding. I told David that I was having some digestive issues, but didn’t mention the blood (I mean, who wants to tell their boyfriend about their bathroom habits!?). I thought it was a tummy bug on top of vicious hemorrhoids, so I ignored it. I started going to the bathroom 20+ times a day. Sometimes those bathroom visits would produce nothing but pools of blood in the bottom of the toilet. I finally went to the doctor at the end of January and by Valentine’s Day of 2011 I had my diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis.

As I’ve browsed the message boards and support groups, I am overwhelmed with the [...] continue the story

“I wished that I had it instead of him.”

By Amy Pon

Medium used: Digital Print

Artist Biography

I am a third year Graphic Design student at the Alberta College of Art and Design. I am particularly interested in print design, typography and photography. For me, design is the combination of desire and creative innovation to better something — especially clarity and coherence of a message. It is always my objective to create pieces that reflect the needs of a patron or client, and to be an instrument in best expressing a message that needs to be heard.

Using the artist’s words, summarize the artwork and how they feel it reflects the patient’s moment of meaning

This piece is a reflection of the person’s experience as the mother of a child diagnosed with Crohn’s. The laundry line symbolizes the warmth and tenderness of a mother’s care. The line is set against a cold, winter landscape that becomes imperceptible as it fades to white. The landscape symbolizes the ambiguous nature of the illness, and the lack of physical control that she has over her son’s illness. In spite of this, there is a quiet strength and optimism.

Using the artist’s words, describe how they felt about this experience

The subject had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis two [...] continue the story

Me and you Forever, and ever and ever

By Matthew Ng

Medium used: Mixed media

Artist Biography

My practice is characterized by experimentation and challenging the authority which is restriction. I wish to make clear what is restrictive. I believe that humans have a natural tendency to avoid restriction, and by understanding it people can then stay away from it. My goal is to make the world a better place through art, because I believe art has that inherent power. How we tap into that power and how potent it can be is still the one question I explore every day.

Using the artist’s words, summarize the artwork and how they feel it reflects the patient’s moment of meaning

To go through the experience of having an IMID an individual becomes unable to have a regular social life. The side effects may include tiredness, pains and cramps. With this project I tried to represent the death of the individual by creating a memorial monument and surrounding it with flowers. The disease is like an obsessive shadow figure that never leaves you. Its psychosis is undeniable and its mark never leaves you! The burn marks “Me and you Forever” represents the scars left by the disease.

Using the artist’s words, describe how they felt about [...] continue the story


By Zakhari Halas

Medium used: Watercolor and pencil crayon

Artist Biography

Zak Halas an Illustrator and Designer studying at the Alberta College of Art and Design. His practice mainly focusses on comics, illustrated books, and other forms of narrative art. Film and film theory influence much of his work, drawing upon his four years of experience in the Film Studies program at Concordia University in Montreal. He is currently in the process of writing and drawing his own graphic novel, and is spending his time at school experimenting with a variety of media and styles.

Using the artist’s words, summarize the artwork and how they feel it reflects the patient’s moment of meaning

For this piece I wanted to explore the emotional effects that inflammatory diseases had on my conversation partner. Our interview revealed that it was during his childhood that he felt the most impact from these maladies, and I felt that this would be an excellent focal point for the project. I was particularly drawn to the invasive nature that his initial care had. There was a sense of claustrophobia, and a desire for normalcy in his described experiences. I wanted to show that these diseases presented an overwhelming unknown presence to a [...] continue the story

Girls-With-Guts: Bella’s Story

How I lost and found myself after being diagnosed with UC

Hi everyone! Let me introduce myself, my name is Bella, and I am 24 years old. I was diagnosed with UC in 2007 right on my 19th birthday.  I went from being a healthy, happy, bubbly, energetic, athlete college student, to being suddenly very ill basically over night.

At first the medications helped, and I thought ok great, I just have to take some medication and I will be fine.  But 6 months later after a trip to Russia I was sick again and the medications weren’t helping.  I went through a lot of trials and tribulations.  I would try something, it would help briefly, and then it wouldn’t.  It felt crazy to me, and I could not, and would not believe this was my life!  It felt as if I was on a continuous physical and emotional rollercoaster.  I was very thin, weak, ill, and scared.  I was depressed, and just wasn’t myself.  I hid from the world, I didn’t want anyone to see me, I didn’t even want to see myself!   So I pushed everyone I could away. I felt like my life, dreams, goals, and aspirations were slipping [...] continue the story