About Brooke

My name is Brooke and I am a public relations and social media professional living in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.

After overcoming life changing health challenges in my twenties, I wanted to create a blog that not only outlined my work, but my daily life living with ulcerative colitis, an ostomy and a jpouch.  I know there are many young people out there just like me, learning to live their life as normal as possible after battling a chronic illness; especially Inflammatory Bowel Disease. They aren’t fun to talk about and are very painful to live with. I have changed my life completely in order to manage my disease and my new body.

After having 3 reconstructive surgeries and having my colon removed and my jpouch connected in order to improve my health and way of life, I realize now how blessed I am to be able to continue on and have a successful career and an amazing family of my own some day. I have and will never let my disease or any past hardships stand in the way of me being the best person I can be professionally and personally. With each day that passes my health gets better and better and it gives me so much hope for how bright my future can be.

I have had a lot of help and support from my loving friends, family and colleagues and continue to fight everyday to make sure that awareness is being spread about Crohn’s and colitis.  I hope to help others like me find inspiration from my writing and different strategies I have tried to help make life a little easier.

I am also the founder and editor-in-chief of Companion Magazine for IBD. I started Companion in hopes that others living with IBD might find some support, guidance and fun in reading a publication that they can relate to and lean on. You can check out all current issues of Companion here.

I am always open to answer any questions anyone might have about anything. If you would like to know more about me or about life with UC, ostomies, jpouches or Companion Magazine, feel free to email me at brkabogdan@gmail.com or companionibd@gmail.com.

If you would like to learn more about my professional experience as a public relations, writer, and digital media extraordinaire, you can go to my LinkedIn page where you can view my resume and my professional experiences at www.linkedin.com/in/brookebogdan/

If you want to read my story with UC and an ostomy, you can click here.

You can also follow me on twitter @brklynbouncer and on instagram @brklynbouncer.  

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23 thoughts on “About Brooke

  1. It’s very interesting, I got UC a week after I returned to New York after traveling to Puerto Rico. I love your story and your bravery, surgery is the next step for me and your spirit gives me strength
    -McKenna Towers

  2. your story I just read on: Everyday Health was so inspiring (after ALL you have gone through)
    What a true inspiration you are. Merry Christmas & happy life to you always! Patti

    • Hi Patti!
      Thank you so very much for your kind words! I am glad that you find my blog and story inspiring. That is my favorite thing to hear! Merry Christmas and happy new year to you as well!

  3. Hi just read your story. I just got diagnosed with ulcerative colitis this week and i also have low blood and iron. Just started delzicol and its frustrating because i havent seen any changes yet. Love your story and during a time where i felt alone and nobody knows how i feel your story is so helpful. Hoping for some good news soon.

  4. Hi Brooke,
    I am contemplating surgery, but after reading your story realize I could be in much worse condition. I was diagnosed with left sided UC 9 years ago while living in Michigan. After suffering for years and only being treated with steroids and Acecol, I moved to Tennessee where I was lucky enough to find a GI who listened to me. After trying drugs like Lialda and 6MP I was finally prescribed Remicade. 5 years later, and 5 years of remission I took it upon myself to stop the treatments. DUMB. Here I am a year later suffering again. I see my new GI on Wednesday and plan to ask to try Humara, or ask about surgery. What are your thoughts on this? Keep in mind I’ve never once thrown up or had much pain from UC. Just a lot of bathroom breaks and bleeding and I wouldn’t have a permanent jpouch.

    • Hi Angela!

      I’m sorry to hear about you falling out of remission. My thoughts on surgery are all positive, to be honest. I really think for some ulcerative colitis patients that seem to be stepping in and out of remission, regardless of medication, surgery is inevitable. Now, my case was EXTREMELY severe and I had no choice. But, I know many other patients very similar to you who have chosen surgery because they just flat out do not want to deal with ulcerative colitis anymore and I think that is a very brave and intelligent decision to make. No more infusions, no more steroids, no more harsh drugs that will only hurt you once you are older and SO much more. If you are finding that a maintenance drug like a 5 ASA such as Lialda and Asacol aren’t working for you alone, I think that surgery could be a conversation that would be worth you having. Humira is an option, too! My GI’s nurse told me that she has seen girls who began Humira with severe UC fall into remission within a few days. Humira unfortunately did nothing for me. But, again, that is up to you and your doctor. I’m all about trying every option before surgery is decided, but you have to do what is best for you! Let me know if you have any more questions! Stay Strong!

  5. Brooke,
    I just want to say.. Your story is beautiful. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when I was 11, I’m now 15, and you’re a real inspiration to me. I live in Springfield , Ohio and would love to meet you some day. I’ve tried so many different options to treat my UC; steroids 3 times, Remicade, trial drugs, etc. All of which my body has rejected and made me extremely sick. I’ve had two GI doctors tell me that I need surgery and I’m going to have it done at the Cleveland Clinic this summer. Do you have any advice for me? I feel like I can really connect with you because I’ve never met a younger person with IBD with such a similar story to mine.
    Thank you so much ❤

    • Hi Haley!

      Thank you for your kind words! I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis at such a young age. What a strong girl to be fighting so young! I would love to meet you one day as well! I’m not sure how far Springfield is from Cleveland, but if you’re ever in the area let me know and I will take you to lunch 🙂 You can email me at brkabogdan@gmail.com. As I’m sure you have read, I tried many different options for my UC as well. Remicade worked for a long time until my body built up antibodies against it and then surgery was inevitable. I was just telling my mom yesterday how HAPPY I am that I had the surgery done and how full and normal my life is now with a jpouch. I’m very healthy and very active. I have a full time demanding job that I keep up with just fine 🙂 You will make it through this rough patch! I know sometimes it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but remember one day this will just be a memory! I think all the time how crazy it is that I can look back on all of my suffering and use it as a constant reminder of how strong I truly am. If you are having your surgery done at the clinic you are in GREAT hands. Look forward to it, sweetheart. You will wake up in less pain than you have felt in 4 years. That is a promise. Who is your surgeon? Make sure to listen to your nurses and pay very close attention when they are teaching you how to care for your ostomy. It took me a few times, but you will get the hang of it. Ask a lot of questions and don’t let them do it for you- be strong and brave and do everything yourself. I know it’s scary and it can seem intimidating to start and seeing your ostomy for the first time is very shocking, but it gets better! Remember to allow yourself to feel emotions. It’s ok to cry and be scared, but do not let that overwhelm you. Keep yourself occupied, positive and educated. If you need anything, you can email me anytime. When is your surgery date? Maybe I’ll come visit you this summer! I would love it! Keep me posted, I’m here to help you. xoxo Brooke

  6. hi brooke,
    I read ur blog and ur story how u suffered from ulcerative colitis and fight back. It was really Inspirational, last year I discovered that I had ulcerative colitis too, when I felt strong pain and bloody stools so my doctor adviced for colonoscopy in which they found that I was suffering from severe ulcerative colitis , iw as admitted in hospital for few weeks then they doscharged me and gave me medicines , I took it for a month but no improvement then I changed my doctor and went to one of best gastrologist and took the medicines, he prescribed, I took it for months sometimes I felt better but again the symtoms would get worst .. even I changed my life style , as I am from India and mostly food in India is spicy so I changed my eating habbits and even my lifeatyle which was tought for me…but it also dint helped me much. Then one day I decided to take ayurvedic medicines and I started taking ayurvedic medicines made from herbs and it showed really amazing results …. I was 80% cured in 1 month after taking it and now I have no symtoms of ulcerative colitis and I am eating as I used to before and enjoying every food which I couldn’t when I was suffering from ulcerative colitis .These ayurvedic medicines have amazing effects in curing ulcerative colitis. And as they are natural they dont have any side effects . I know how it feels like to have ulcerative colitis so I want to help those who are suffering from it. It’s worth giving a try to ayurved, cause it’s totally natural and even if there is a chance that it not cure it wont harm too. So I think people should know about it . if u need to know more about these ayurved medicines contact me.

    • I am also having UC problems since last 333 years tried different doctors. but still its same situation. can you please inform ayurvedic medicines name.

    • I have been diagnosed with UC 6 months ago. Since I have been battling an up hill climb. I have recently began taking youngevity digestive formula which seems to be helping. I will report as time progresses. What vitamins/ supplements were you taking that cured you?

  7. Hi Brooke! First of all I love your blog. your story is so inspirational, motivating, encouraging and much more! I emailed you a few days ago. I don’t know if you have gotten it yet. No rush! Please respond when you can. I’d love to hear your answers to my questions because my story is very similar to yours. Thank you!! stay strong!
    -carolina 😊

  8. Hi Brooke,
    I have uc also. I was diagnosed 7 months ago. I am currently on Prednisone and I am scared to eat because everything seems to affect me. I was wondering if the scd diet or going gluten free would help but I love food 😦 so going on the scd diet seems horrible.
    Your story is so inspirational.
    Thank you for sharing it with us.
    Michelle 🙂

  9. Hey Brooke.

    I’m 21 and just had my second colonoscopy in a month. I got diagnosed with UC about a month ago. My second colonoscopy was yesterday and after being on Lialda and prednisone for a few weeks, my inflammation has gotten much worse. I am starting remicade chemo infusions next week. I’ve been doing a lot of research and any UC websites I find say diet doesn’t play a role. I just came across your blog and I have to say it is the most amazing thing. I think you are extremely brave and I’m glad I found someone who went through similar things. How have you changed your diet? I know the same things don’t work for everyone but I thought I’d ask just to get an idea. I already try to avoid dairy but I wasn’t sure what worked for you. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for speaking up about UC and being a great role model.

    • Hi there!

      Thank you so much for your kind words, you’re so sweet. Be careful about what you’re reading on websites, a lot of them are negative and can be misleading. Diet definitely does play a role in how your symptoms can flare. If I were to only eat fried food, sweets and only drink pop for a week, I can tell you (even with my jpouch) I would be sick as hell. Definitely avoid dairy, alcohol, sugar, fried, anything that is processed, no fast food. Don’t drink pop. Drink a lot of G2, water, nothing with sugar in it. Grilled chicken and white fish were always my go-to. My doctor told me once to “eat like a kindergartener” and she was totally right. I would eat graham crackers for a snack or have some greek yogurt. Nothing that is too hard to digest like any fruits, vegetables or salad. Nothing with fiber. I know it sounds so boring and bland, but if you are in a flare and about to start remicade, then supplement the medicine that is helping your body with a diet that will calm your symptoms.

      Hope this helps! Good luck with Remicade! xo.

  10. Hi Brooke!
    I have been living with UC for 12 years, I was diagnosed in 2004. I suffered for 6 years with hospital stays on and off, steroids, tons of medication and so on and so forth. I started Remicade in 2010 and was on it until 6 months ago. I am one of the fortunate ones to make a full recovery and I have been in remission for a couple years.

  11. Hey Brooke. Long time reader, first time commenter. I’ve had UC going on 5 years. I was recently hospitalized for two weeks with Pancolitis. Now I’m weaning off Prednisone so I can have the IPAA surgery. The problem is if I flare again before the surgery my surgeon said it will have to be three steps instead of two. I’m at 25 mg and I can feel a flare coming. Instead of having surgery healthy and in September it looks like I’ll be ill and probably within a month. Is it scary? I don’t feel scared. I don’t feel safe. I don’t know what to feel.

    • Hi Aaron! Thank you so much for reading and following my blog! As you know, I was in the same spot you are now before I had my first surgery. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks, couldn’t eat, writhing in pain and bleeding like I had never seen before. I was always told that my surgery would be three steps because of the severity and the urgency of my ulcerative colitis.

      If you feel a flare coming, please be honest. If you feel in your gut that you need to have 3 steps, then do so. I’m mentoring a boy who is 22 years old whose surgeon talked him into a ONE step surgery. He is now suffering more than ever, was in the hospital after surgery for 13 days and just went back. You cannot and should not rush these things. I’m telling you this story not to scare you, but to try and help you to realize that rushing through these operations just for a shortcut on wearing an ostomy is not a good idea. Trust me, you will have a full, FUN life wearing your ostomy and it’s only temporary. I had my surgery in three steps and never once have I had an issue with my jpouch. That is because it had the time to heal appropriately and there was no stomach acid going into places where it shouldn’t . I don’t think I ever felt fear, I think I felt angry and confused. Your life is going to change, yes, but it’s going to change for the BETTER. You are going to wake up from that first surgery and feel better than you have in five years.

      I know the idea of having an ostomy is daunting, but look at it as a chance to have a break from constantly going to the bathroom and being in pain. When I had my ostomy, I was the healthiest I have ever been. I remember waking up from surgery like, “Oh my God, is this what it’s like to feel good?” I couldn’t even remember. I don’t think you should be scared, I think you should be excited. Look forward to a future! If you do end up having the three steps please do not be dissapointed. Be RELIEVED. Your doctor knows what he’s talking about and will steer you in the right direction. Listen to your body and read positive articles, blog posts and informative pieces about ostomies. Educate yourself. Don’t go into this ignorant. This is your life. What is to rush?

      Hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions! Stay strong!

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