The United Colon Vlog
In the summer of 2007, at the age of 21, I was diagnosed with the inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis. This disease strikes the colon (in my case the entire organ) and causes uncontrollable and frequent diarrhea, internal scarring and bleeding, weight loss, fatigue, and in general much embarrassment.
Less than a year later I had my colon removed and lived with an ileostomy for six months, an artificial opening to get rid of waste. I now live with a reconstructed rectum, called a J-pouch.
Shortly after my second of three surgeries, in September 2008, I started The United Colon Vlog. UCVlog was a video education site showing what it's like living with IBD, ostomies, and J-pouchs.
Together with my business partner Nadia, diagnosed with Crohn's disease, we have created over 200 videos seen by people all over the world. Our videos were watched over 2.5 million times! Select videos were even translated into Catalin, German, Hebrew, Japanese, and Spanish. Videos from others in the IBD community were also highlighted, which helped build awareness of IBD and the online community.
In 2013, after going strong for five years, Nadia and I decided to end UCVlog. Over this time period, we saw many more young people rise up and start their own support communities. When we started, almost nobody was telling their story through video, but now there are dozens of quality bloggers and vloggers spreading awareness of IBD. Nadia and I simply ran out of things to say and didn't want our health information to sit around the internet for years, becoming outdated and unhelpful. Nadia and I are still involved with the IBD community in numerous ways, so we haven't left the community. We've simply refocused our efforts.