I'm Jen, the author and illustrator of Me (and IBD). Here's a little bit about me, and what inspired me to get started!
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis aged ten, 33 years ago. As a young person I really struggled to come to terms with my condition, and with the restrictions and emotional difficulties that were part of the journey. More recently one of my children was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. As a result, I understand only too well what it's like to live with IBD, and how challenging it can be not only for the patient but for those close to them too.
My son's diagnosis was the nudge I needed to start to acknowledge my condition and to begin to talk about it without shame and embarrassment. I wanted to learn all about IBD (at last!) and find out how to become a powerful patient - I was determined that my son would never struggle like I had.
In doing so, I developed a deep interest in the impact of chronic disease upon mental health and emotional wellbeing, and vice versa. At the same time I started to offer voluntary peer support to people who have IBD and their families.
Realising the limitations of time when offering one-to-one support, I began to explore ways to reach more young people with IBD. Rediscovering my lifelong passion for drawing and creating, I spent many hours transforming all of my learning and experiences into bespoke content and unique hand-drawn illustrations that have come together to form Me (and IBD), a colouring journal for young people with IBD.
I'm happy to say that my son is in remission, growing fast and most importantly happy.
If you would you like to read more about my IBD story so far, go to - ibdrelief.com/ibd-stories/jenny-rose-my-ibd-story