Raising awareness about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

COLUMBUS (WCMH)– Becca Foskuhl is one of about 1.6 million Americans who suffers from inflammatory bowel disease.

She suffered through months of unrelenting abdominal pain, losing 25 pounds and feeling “tired and weak” much of the time, before finally receiving a definitive diagnosis of Crohn’s disease at the age of 16.

Four years later, Becca’s colon perforated. She missed one quarter of her junior year at Ohio State to have surgery to remove her colon (colectomy) in Cincinnati, where she recovered at home, with her parents support and care.

Her boyfriend at the time, Jacob Foskuhl, now her husband, helped Becca navigate a tenuous path of surgeries, recovery and intensive medical protocols.

Foskuhl required a third surgery two years ago. This operation created an opening, or stoma, from inside to the outside of her body, because she no longer had a colon.

These painful and personally traumatic experiences have instilled a positive spirit in Becca, especially going through such a major operation just before her wedding to Jacob two years ago. She still remembers having anxiety about whether her illness would flare during the ceremony, but her smiles captured by wedding photographer Amy Ann are a source of inspiration for others.

Becca feels motivated to help others, including Krystyna Kielb, a Chicago native living in Columbus, who also has undergone multiple surgeries since being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 15.

Foskuhl and Kielb both plan to participate in the Take Steps Columbus walk on Saturday, June 25, at Dublin Coffman Park, hosted by the Central Ohio chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation (CCFA), to raise awareness about IBD experiences and provide additional resources for an incurable illness.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are autoimmune inflammatory diseases that affect the digestive track, and sometimes other parts of the body.

Dr. Marty Meyer, a gastroenterologist at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, said that about half of all patients with IBD require surgery at some point, and half of those go on to have one or more additional surgeries.

“In the past almost 12-year journey I’ve been on with Crohn’s disease, I have found that it’s really important to find people who support you in ways that maybe your family and other friends can’t,” said Foskuhl.

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