Understanding Ulcerative Colitis Audiobook
Amy learns how ulcerative colitis affects your digestive system, what symptoms to expect, how to avoid triggers, and what treatment options are available to reduce flare-ups.
Rebecca: Hi there and welcome to a special audiobook installment of Jumo’s In My Words podcast series - bringing our award-winning comic books to life through your speakers!
At Jumo, we provide resources for children and families to understand, manage and own their health.
Narrator: Understanding Ulcerative Colitis with the Medikidz
Introducing the Medikidz. The Medikidz are superheroes who live on Mediland, a planet shaped like the human body. They are experts in health and illness and their mission is to teach you all about your body and how illness affects it.
Skindy: Hi I'm Skindy. I'm the expert on skin and bones.
Gastro: I'm Gastro, the expert on the digestive system.
Pump: Hey, I'm Pump. I'm the expert on the heart and blood vessels.
Axon: Greetings, I am Axon, the brain and nerves expert.
Chi: Hello, I'm Chi. I'm the expert on the lungs and respiratory system.
Abacus: And I am Abacus, guardian of the Medikidz.
Narrator: And this issue also features our star, Amy.
Amy: Hey my name is Amy and I love to move, which is why my hip-hop dance class is one of my favorite places on earth! Ouch, cramp time!
Kid 1: Whoa cool I wonder what move that is.
Kid 1: The move might be cool but we're running out of class again isn’t. What's up with her?
Amy: Can't stop…urgently need…the bathroom! It's like my ulcerative colitis knows when I'm having fun and chooses then to act up. And the worst part is my friends are starting to notice. How do I explain things to them when I don't even…
Gastro: Welcome to Medikidz HQ Amy.
Amy: …get it. Gastro? Abacus? What am I doing here?
Gastro: Oh that's a big question. I mean, really what are any of us doing here? You know?
Amy: No I mean like what am I doing here?
Gastro: Oh that's easy. You're here to learn about your ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a condition that affects your digestive system, also known as your gut. Let's start with the stomach! Abacus, initiate teleporter to Mediland!
Amy: What's Mediland?
Abacus: Mediland is a planet that works and looks just like the human body. Stand by for teleportation.
Narrator: In the stomach…
Gastro: This is where food comes to get broken down. Cool huh?
Amy: A)This is super cool. B) I super don't want to get broken down too!
Abacus: This unit agrees with Amy.
Gastro: Fine, fine! Sheesh, a guy can't even enjoy the majestic beauty of food getting mushed
anymore. Follow me!
Amy: Where are we going?
Gastro: We're following the food. After you get smashed up, it heads to your small and large bowels.
Narrator: The small bowel…
Gastro: Welcome to the small bowel.
Amy: What happens here?
Gastro: See for yourself! Your small bowel’s main job is to take nutrients from your food. Your body needs nutrients to work properly and to grow.
Amy: Hey where's the food going?
Gastro: After all the good stuff is taken out, your food moves into the large bowel. Come on!
Narrator: In the large bowel…
Amy: Ummm…who are those guys and what are they doing with the food mush?
Abacus: Those are large bowel cells. Their job is to squeeze all the water out of your food. Once that's done, everything that's left is squished together to make your poop. Look at the size of that one! Isn’t she a beauty?
Amy: Gastro, you and I have very different definitions of beauty.
Gastro: The muscle walls then move your poop towards your bottom.
Amy: Knowing how poop is made is cool and stuff, but what does this have to do with my colitis?
Abacus: The large bowel is the part of your gut that gets damaged when you have ulcerative colitis or UC.
Gastro: Yup what abacus said.
Amy: Wait, damaged…how?
Gastro: Well it all starts with these guys! Amy meet the white blood cells; they are part of your immune system!
White Blood Cell 1: Move it germ!
Abacus: Note: The immune system usually protects you from infections by fighting germs and other harmful invaders.
Amy: Okay, but that sounds like a good thing. How does that cause UC?
Gastro: In ulcerative colitis, the immune system mistakes your gut, for germs.
White Blood Cell 1: Hey, do you see what I see?
White Blood Cell 2: I dunno, what do you see?
White Blood Cell 1: Germs! They’re everywhere! Get them! Attack!
Gastro: The immune system starts to see your gut as germs and attacks it! This causes inflammation in your gut, which makes it sore, red, and swollen.
Amy: I can see that! I can also see my dance training has become survival training!
Abacus: Small sores called ulcers can develop on the walls that line the large bowel. Sometimes these ulcers bleed or make pus.
Amy: That sounds a little gross and majorly uncomfortable!
Gastro: You said it! And all these sores cause symptoms, which are clues that tell doctors what is happening inside your body. One symptom is diarrhea. It happens because the gut can't absorb water so the water stays in your poop and makes it runny. Your poop might even have blood, mucus, or pus in it if there is a lot of damage in your gut.
Diarrhea can cause cramps that can make going to the toilet painful and the discomfort makes people run to the bathroom. With ulcerative colitis you might need to go to the bathroom alot.
Amy: I think we might need to go anywhere else.
Abacus: Calculations complete. There is a 100% chance of getting zapped if we stay.
Amy: Pfft, I could’ve told you that!
Gastro: Come on let's regroup!
Amy: Who knew ulcerative colitis could cause so much trouble?
Gastro: Yeah it can also make you feel sick and not want to eat. If you aren't eating well, this can make you feel tired. Losing blood can make you feel tired too.
Amy: Ah the white blood cells are here, and they’re, they're yawning? What gives? Why aren’t they attacking?
Gastro: Relax. Ulcerative colitis is only bad when you have a flare-up. it's not all the time! There's going to be times when your symptoms don't even bother you.
Abacus: Note: When you don't have any symptoms, it is called remission.
Amy: Hey things are looking better!
Gastro: Yeah, remission gives your body time to heal! But remember just as there are remissions there are also…
White Blood Cells: Attack!
Gastro: …flare ups or relapses, when your symptoms become active and cause problems again. Flare-ups can happen a few times or lots of times.
Amy: Ugh, already!
Abacus: Sometimes flare-ups can be triggered by a gut infection or feeling stressed.
Gastro: But often, flare-ups happen on their own without any triggers. Honestly it's kind of different for everybody.
Amy: Okay I get it, but what can I do about it?
Gastro: There's no cure for ulcerative colitis just yet, but there are treatments. Treatment can help
reduce your symptoms. Some treatments reduce the number of flare-ups and help keep you in remission.
Amy: Whoa, sweet!
Gastro: Treatments are usually given as pills, liquids, or infusions.
Amy: What do they do?
Gastro: Grab one and I'll show you.
Narrator: Infusion means giving small continuous amounts of medicine directly into the bloodstream.
Amy: Whoa, things are even worse than before!
Gastro: Let’s not waste any time…medicine away!
Amy: It worked! They stopped fighting!
Gastro: Yeah medicine can help reduce the immune system attack, so the gut is less red, sore, and swollen. This helps reduce symptoms and also helps stop flare-ups from happening.
White Blood Cell: Does anyone else have the sudden urge to hug?
White Blood Cell: Oooh ooh, I do!
Gastro: Because each medicine works differently, your doctor will decide which one is best for you. Be sure to take your medicine exactly the way the doctor tells you.
Abacus: Sometimes surgery is the best option when flare-ups are serious and happen very frequently.
Gastro: Mediland’s colon is in remission for now. Good work team! Let's head back to HQ.
Amy: Okay so now I get what ulcerative colitis is, but why did I get it in the first place?
Gastro: Great question. Unfortunately we don't know. The only thing we know for sure is that you're more likely to get it if someone else in your family has it too. But don't worry there's lots you can do to help keep your symptoms under control. Along with taking your medicines, stuff like eating healthily, drinking plenty of water, keeping a food diary, and exercising can also help.
Amy: Yeah and that's all great, but no matter what I still have ulcerative colitis you know.
Gastro: I know, and I know that living with it can be hard, but you aren't alone and if you ever feel worried or sad don't be scared to talk to your parents teachers or doctor. They're all there for you.
Amy: Thanks Gastro. I feel a lot better now that I know what's up with my UC, but I should probably be getting back. This is like the longest bathroom break ever!
Gastro: No problem. But before you go, I want to give you this. It's a Medichron, a wrist computer just like mine. Now you can teach people about ulcerative colitis as an honorary Medikid.
Amy: Awesome. Thanks Gastro. Thanks Abacus.
Gastro: Bye Amy!
Abacus: Goodbye organic being designated as Amy.
Narrator: Back on earth…
Amy: Got to get back to class!
Man 1: Amy there you are. We were worried when you disappeared.
Amy: Sorry, sorry. Look I know I tend to disappear a lot, but if you give me a second, I can explain everything! See… I have this thing called ulcerative colitis.
Kid 1: Are you okay?
Man 1: Whoa!
Kid 2: What does that mean?
Kid 3: I had no idea!
Amy: Ulcerative colitis is a condition that affects your digestive system, also known as your gut.
Abacus: Gastro, are you in need of medical attention?
Gastro: What? No! I’m dancing!
Abacus: Scan indicates that that is not dancing.
Rebecca: Thanks for listening. Interested in hearing something special or want to share your story? Reach out to us. We'd love to hear from you. See you next time!
The health information provided in this podcast is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider.
In My Words is produced in New York City and distributed worldwide.
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