Guts of Fury – The Graphic Novel
When patients attempt to explain Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) to family, friends and coworkers, they are often met with confusion. Or misunderstandings. It isn’t easy to tell someone about your painful and sometimes debilitating disease without going into some of the more gutsy (no pun intended) details. You could hand them brochures, books or point them to websites. They may or may not get the gist of the disease, but they will probably get overwhelmed with all the information. When people are looking for information, most of them skim through and try to get the basic details. This leaves room for lots of error and misinformation.
Educating Others in a Way that Makes Sense
People will often latch on to familiarity and completely ignore the other details that contain terms they don’t understand. You can’t fault them for it because we all do it or have done it at some point in our lives. Words like fistulas, anal fissures, pseudo polyps, adhesions, anemia and bowel perforation are widely discussed among patients, but your average Joe has probably never heard of these things before.
What people do understand are words like diarrhea, constipation and vomiting. Who hasn’t had a stomach bug at some point in their lives? Of course that makes sense! As IBD patients, we know that the disease doesn’t just present itself in the bathroom. However, since this is something that is even remotely relatable, they latch on to these three symptoms and think that IBD is a just a bad stomach bug or bathroom disease. Once we get to this point, it’s difficult to explain to them that it isn’t just about a tummy ache.
I am seeking to break this stigma by educating people in a fun and entertaining way that is easy to understand. I have written and am now illustrating a graphic novel. Before launching into the premise, some of you may not know what a graphic novel is. Basically, it’s a novel in comic book format. So, it is a picture book for adults, in essence.
The novel follows the story of Ammi, a young woman in her mid-20’s, who has everything going for her. She’s got a job, a cat, an apartment, a boyfriend, a car and she’s about to become a black belt. Like many before diagnosis, Ammi feels she is unstoppable. One day, out of the blue, she’s struck down by an evil colon. Her diagnosis? Ulcerative colitis.
At first, Ammi is very confident that she’ll beat the disease–after all, she is indestructible, right? Ammi soon discovers it’s not as easy as she’d expected it to be. After several medications, hospital visits, diet changes and natural remedies, she faces being crushed by an incurable disease or reclaiming victory and taking her life back. Slowly but surely, Ammi discovers her true identity… she is the Colitis Ninja.
Loosely Based on My Own Story
While this story is loosely based on my own, I feel like it is a story than anyone and everyone with IBD can relate to in some form or fashion. I know IBD differs from person to person, but we all face feelings of helplessness. We all face depression. We all face the pain. We all face being misunderstood. I want to help people cope and equip them to educate others so that we can finally get some answers, better treatments and even cures. I want IBD to be a household name like cancer or diabetes.
Earlier this year I sought funding for the project from eight different companies. Unfortunately, I was turned down by all of them. But that’s ok! I haven’t given up. I believe so strongly about this project that I’ve decided to move forward anyway. With or without support and funding.
If I can help just one person with this disease or just one person understand the disease a little bit better, I feel like it will all be worth it. What I am asking of you is that you help me spread the word! Share this page or the video and graphics. Help me get the word out. I have a projected launch date of October 2017. I hope it will be finished before then, but at the pace I’m going and without funding it will be a while. If this novel is successful, I will be looking into turning it into a trilogy.
Thanks always for your support. If you are interested in getting involved or if you have any questions, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org