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Living With Crohn’s: My Daily Routine

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By Michelle Pickens, as told to Danny Bonvissuto

As early as I can remember, I’ve had issues with my health. When I was little, I had severe constipation, nausea, vomiting, and food sensitivities.

As I got older, those symptoms transitioned into diarrhea, irregular bowel movements, and pain. I was always very fatigued and my immune system was weak: The second someone in my class had the cold or flu, I’d get it, too. Looking back, it was a sign.

From a mental perspective, my anxiety was high. What if I need to find a bathroom? What if I’m nauseous? Doctors would say, “Oh, you’ll grow out of it. It’s just your anxiety.”

Finally, a Diagnosis

After years of misdiagnosis, I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2015. I was 23 and had just finished up college while working full time. My symptoms were getting worse. I had a lot of vomiting and pain. The fatigue was at the point where it was difficult for me to work or even get out of bed some days.

It was so bad it pushed me to seek additional care. I took a couple months off, looked for another job, and went through all the doctor appointments it took to get the diagnosis.

There’s no blood test for Crohn’s. No way to prove what you’re feeling. Eventually I saw the right doctor, who did a test with a pill camera called a small bowel capsule. (This is a pill-sized camera that you swallow, allowing doctors to see inside your digestive system.) It tracked my intestines and was able to get into a blind spot where neither a colonoscopy nor endoscopy can see inflammation. 

It was such a relief to get the diagnosis because it made me feel like I wasn’t crazy. For so many years I knew something was wrong and couldn’t name it. I also felt hopeful. Once I knew what I was dealing with, I knew I could work to get to a better place.

Sharing My Story

In 2016, I started a blog called Crohnically Blonde as an outlet to connect with people as I go through the stages of dealing with Crohn’s. When I first started to share, there weren’t as many people talking about it.

I’ve been able to form relationships in an online community through shared experiences. I hope someone can see my story and feel that, if they’re at the beginning of their journey, there’s a way to get through.

Managing My Medication

At first, I was on a lot of medication that wasn’t working well and was a huge imposition on my schedule. Now I get infusions of an immunosuppressive drug every 7 weeks.

It means being away from my family and job for 4-5 hours, and managing child-care coverage during the treatment and the weekend after, because I feel almost flu-like. The extra help allows me to rest and fuel back up after the treatment.

I have the option to be on more medications to control my symptoms. But I try to shy away from those and manage it on my own because I don’t want to be on medicine for every single thing.

Before I had my son, I was more willing to try different medications. But while I was pregnant, I could barely be on any of the Crohn’s medicines. After I had him, it didn’t make sense to be reliant on them.

Crohn’s, Pregnancy, and Motherhood

Crohn’s affected me throughout my pregnancy. I got very sick in my third trimester because I went off my immunosuppressive drug to avoid passing any on to the baby. I ended up having to be induced early so I could get back on the medication as soon as possible.

My son, Maddox, is 1 now. Crohn’s changed my expectation of what I thought motherhood would be.

I’ve learned that I’d rather be present and able to enjoy him in the good moments than push it when I’m sick. It’s been difficult. But if I’m not well, I can’t be there for my child. I try to be with him as much as I can, but there are times when I need to step back and take an hourlong nap.

I have a great support system: My husband, mom, or mother-in-law can step in and help out for a little while, and when I feel better, I can be a better mom. There are also days when I don’t have accessible help. In those situations, I’ll do lower-key activities that I can enjoy with him but that aren’t physically demanding on me.

Schedule and Adjust

Right now I’m in a pretty good spot. I work from home now, as a recruiter for a tech company, and that makes a huge difference. A lot of my anxiety in the past was around being in an office and being sick. Now that I can work remotely, it’s such a game changer.

But Crohn’s still affects my day-to-day. I have days where I’m feeling sick, and need to rest and change my plans so I’m home and not out somewhere.

No matter how planned-out I have my day or week, if I’m not feeling well that takes precedence. I like to be a very scheduled person. But I have to roll with the punches and have a plan B.

The biggest challenge is managing my sleep and stress. They’re both very influential in symptom flare-ups. I have to get at least 8 hours of sleep, no matter what. And I try to incorporate time to de-stress, like reading a book or relaxing at the end of the day.

Going to therapy helps offset stress as well, and is now part of my ingrained self-care schedule.

Social Life Strategies

My co-workers, family, and friends are very understanding. But that wasn’t the case at first. The more open I’ve been about Crohn’s, the more people understand that I’m not flaking out if I have to change plans; there’s an underlying reason.

I only have a certain amount of energy, so now I pick and choose. I know I need to work and be with my family, which means I have less energy to put into social situations.

I plan out what I’m comfortable doing, but have also become comfortable with changing plans. Even if I’m excited to go out to dinner with a friend, I don’t push it if I feel terrible that day.

Food in Flux

I’ve followed a gluten-free diet for years. I started with an elimination diet and realized that gluten was bothering me.

Other foods aren’t as black and white. I can eat a salad one day and it’s fine, and eat the same salad the next day and it makes me sick. I repeat the safe foods that don’t make me sick and stick to a general schedule of three meals a day that are pretty much all gluten free.

Sometimes the timing matters: I’ll wake up and feel nauseated and need a starchy food like dry cereal. If I’m going on a road trip, or have a big event, like a wedding, I plan it out and try to be careful about what I eat leading up to it because I don’t want to be sick. But it’s hard because you never really know. It’s kind of a gamble.

Flexibility Is Key

I’ve learned to be as flexible as possible. I never know what each day is going to bring, I just have to trust that my body is telling what it needs for that specific day. That’s my priority, and everything else can wait.

 



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Health

Student Engagement with Hands-on Science

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This month on It’s Time for Science, we talked about student engagement with a special guest. Host Tom Racine interviewed award-winning science communicator Maynard Okereke, the Hip Hop MD.

Episode Summary

Tom talks with Maynard about the importance of staying curious and keeping students and ourselves engaged. They discuss why you don’t need to be an expert to teach science, embracing changing perspectives as a part of science, and why representation matters for everyone. Maynard then shares the most surprising thing he’s learned from doing an investigation!

Episode Guest

Maynard Okereke

Maynard Okereke, better known as the Hip Hop MD, graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Civil Engineering. He is an award-winning Science Communicator, receiving the Asteroid Award for “Best Streaming Content” and the People of Change Award for his community outreach efforts. His passion for science and entertainment and his curiosity for new innovations have taken him through an incredible life journey.

Noticing a lack of minority involvement in STEM fields, Maynard created Hip Hop Science to encourage minorities and youth to pursue more advanced career paths. His background in engineering, acting, music, business, and credible work in STEM make him uniquely qualified to engage on a wide variety of topics from an entertaining perspective. This is highly reflected in his speaking engagements and daily social media posts, which provide both humorous and informative SciComm content.

Learn More about Hip Hop Science

https://www.hiphopscienceshow.com/
https://www.instagram.com/hiphopscienceshow/
https://www.facebook.com/HipHopScienceShow

It’s Time for Science! To get in touch with us, whether to offer some feedback, ideas for future episodes or reviews, or just to say hi, send us a message at itstimeforscience@schoolspecialty.com. We’d love to hear from you!

This month’s Insights article: Engaging Students as Active Science Learners with FOSS

Look for School Specialty and FOSS on X and FacebookIt’s Time for Science is produced by School Specialty® and the Full Option Science System (FOSS®) at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley.





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An ultimate guide to potty training – CHOC

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Published on: May 28, 2024
Last updated: May 24, 2024

Dreaming of a world without diapers and wipes? Get expert advice from a CHOC pediatrician on when and how to start potty training your child.

Link: https://health.choc.org/an-ultimate-guide-to-potty-training/



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Adidas Ultraboost Light Review: How the Newest Version Stacks up to Its Predecessors

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Men's Journal

Men’s Journal aims to feature only the best products and services. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission. The products featured here have been independently reviewed. This article has been edited and published by Men’s Journal. Learn more here.

Adidas’ Ultraboost line produces some of the best running shoes I’ve used. Over the last few years, I’ve owned three iterations of Ultraboosts, and each version improves on the previous one.

After testing the Adidas Ultraboost Lights on multiple runs over a two-week period, this is my favorite iteration yet. As the name implies, the Ultraboost Lights are a bit lighter than previous Ultraboosts. I love the way they fit: snug in the mid and forefoot, keeping my foot locked in place, even during springs. The Ultraboost Lights also have a thick cushion on the heel that encourages me to strike heel-first during my stride. More details below.

Adidas Ultraboost Light at a Glance

  • Fit: True to size
  • Cushion: High
  • Upper Material: Adidas Primeknit
  • Outsole Material: Continental rubber
  • Weight: 10.5 ounces (men’s 9)
  • Drop: 10mm
  • Colors: 13 options
  • Price: $190 (select colorways often on sale)
Buy Adidas Ultraboost Light

Running in the Adidas Ultraboost Light

The Ultraboost Light has a snug, supportive fit across the midfoot.

Men's Journal

I’ve taken these shoes for 15 miles of test runs, splitting the miles between a treadmill, an indoor track, and the sidewalk around my neighborhood. Overall, the Adidas Ultraboost Light is one of the best running shoes I’ve tried. They fit more like a sock than a typical running shoe, which I love because I find it locks my forefoot in place, even when I sprint.

Related: The 8 Best Electrolyte Powders of 2024

Indoor Running

Before trying the Ultraboost Light, I read several Reddit threads and online reviews. One common complaint is the lack of cushion in the midsole. I’m a midfoot striker, so I expected to notice some discomfort immediately, but that was not the case on my first two runs on the treadmill.

I didn’t just feel more cushion than I expected, the Boost midsole also gave me a noticeable energy return—sort of like a platform that pushed off of the ground with my foot during my stride. Typically, I don’t run far enough to notice the difference between a springy sole and a supportive one, but on the treadmill, the Ultraboost Lights made me feel comfortable enough to add an extra half mile to my run.

Outdoor Running

Running on the sidewalk and road around my neighborhood was a different experience than running on the treadmill. On my first outdoor run, I felt pressure in my right knee joint that worried me because I start feeling pressure in my knee anytime I use a shoe that doesn’t have enough cushion in the midsole. I was able to finish my run, but if you’re a distance runner with a midsole strike, the lack of cushion is something to consider.

Related: The Best Running Apps of 2024

In the Gym

I know the Ultraboost line is not designed to be a daily trainer, but I decided to wear them during my regular workouts to see if they could double as workout shoes. Unfortunately, these shoes are not very comfortable when you’re standing still, and I felt unstable when trying to do any dynamic movements like cleans, step-ups, or burpees. After 15 or 20 minutes in the gym, I could feel how off-balance I was because of the thick heel counter on the Ultraboost Lights. Great running shoe, not recommended for the gym or casual wear.

Related: The 9 Best Fitness Apps We’ve Tested to Help You Get in Shape

Weight

Even though these shoes are called the “Ultraboost Light,” they’re not as lightweight as I expected them to be. The specs list says a pair of men’s size 9 Ultraboost Lights weigh 10.5 ounces, my size 11s weighed in at 11.4 ounces. I don’t think this is a big deal if you’re a casual runner, but long-distance runners will want to consider the heavier weight when choosing running shoes.

Durability

My pair of the Ultraboost Light shows minimal wear after multiple uses.

Men's Journal

The shoes look as good as new after 15 miles. There are a few scuff marks on the outsole, but it seems difficult to damage despite feeling very soft to the touch. I even tried scraping the outsole with a rock I found in my driveway, and it didn’t leave a mark.

I’ve owned two pairs of Ultraboosts in the past, and my big toe wore a hole in the upper of both. However, the knit upper of the Light seems stronger than previous versions, so I am interested to see how they hold up over time.

Breathability

I expected the Ultraboost Lights to be very breathable, but I was disappointed. My outdoor runs were in 70- to 80-degree weather which left my feet very sweaty and hot, which is not unexpected, but my indoor treadmill runs felt the same. I’ve inspected the PrimeKnit upper material, and it seems like a tighter pattern than previous Ultraboost versions—great for durability, not so much for breathability.

Pros:

  • Boost foam sole that offers springy support for easy runs
  • Socklike fit that keeps your foot locked in place
  • Durable construction that won’t wear and tear on casual runs
  • Thick heel counter that offers strong cushion to heel strike runners

Cons:

  • Not very breathable
  • Heavier than many running shoes in the same price range
Buy Adidas Ultraboost Light

Who Should Buy the Adidas Ultraboost Light

  • Those who go on short to medium daily runs
  • Heel strikers
  • Runners looking for a well-cushioned shoe

Who Should Not Buy the Adidas Ultraboost Light

  • Runners looking for the lightest racing shoes
  • Runners who need a wide toe box
  • Distance racers with a midfoot strike

Adidas Ultraboost Light vs. the Competition

Adidas Ultraboost Light vs. Nike InfinityRN 4

The Ultraboost Light and Nike InfinityRN 4 are very similar running shoes on paper. The InfinityRN4 costs a little less at $160 (the Ultraboost Light costs $190). Both shoes are designed with thick heel counters that encourage a heel-to-toe stride and have similar color patterns. However, the Ultraboosts are a full two ounces lighter (10.5 ounces compared to 12.5 ounces), and based on online reviews, the Ultraboost Light seems more durable.

Adidas Ultraboost Light vs. Hoka Clifton 9

I used the Hoka Clifton 9 for several months before trying the Ultraboost Light, and I really like both shoes for different reasons. The Clifton 9 has a thicker cushion from heel to toe, especially in the midsole, plus they are one ounce lighter than the Ultraboost Light. I think I will continue to use the Clifton 9 for longer outdoor runs. However, the Ultraboost Light has a snugger fit, which keeps my foot from sliding around, especially in the toe box. I also think the Ultraboost Light will prove more durable than my Clifton 9s, which began showing wear on the outsole almost immediately.

Adidas Ultraboost Light FAQs

Does the Adidas Ultraboost Light Run Small?

I found the Ultraboost Light to fit true to size. The shoe features a snug, socklike fit that hugs your midfoot and forefoot, so I wouldn’t recommend sizing up because then your foot might slide. These shoes are narrow, so you may need to size up if you have wide feet.

How Much Lighter Are the Ultraboost Lights?

The Ultraboost Light weighs 10.5 ounces (men’s size 9), which is about half an ounce lighter than the Ultraboost 21, which weigh 10.9 ounces for a men’s 9. However, they are a full ounce heavier than the Adizeros (a men’s 9 weighs 9.5 ounces). The Ultraboost Lights are not the lightest running shoes, but they make up for their weight with exceptional durability.

Who Are the Ultraboost Light Running Shoes Good For?

After wear-testing them, I’d suggest the Ultraboost Lights are good for casual daily runners, short- to medium-distance runners, and heel strikers who need a thick, cushioned heel counter to maximize their comfort during their stride. The Ultraboost Light doesn’t have much support in the midfoot, and the shoes weigh more than most long-distance runners will like.

Is the Adidas Ultraboost Light Right for You?

The Adidas Ultraboost Light is a durable, comfortable running shoe. The snug fit keeps your feet secure and provides strong energy return, thanks to the Boost foam sole. The midsole foam is much thinner than the heel counter, but that didn’t cause me any problems when running on a treadmill. If you’re a long-distance racer, you may want a more supportive option, but these shoes are a great choice for casual runners.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.



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