Omar Garriott

Omar Garriott

Omar Garriott, 42, Ulcerative Colitis / Crohn's Disease

How would you explain Ulcerative Colitis / Crohn's Disease to a child?

I'm such a warrior, I even go to battle with myself!

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a kind of "autoimmune" disease--which is when our immune systems (which usually fight off bad things) get a little too excited and start to attack the body itself. In my case, it's led to a lot of tummy pain (my intestines, to be exact).

What would you want the world to know about Ulcerative Colitis / Crohn's Disease ?

Just because you can't SEE that someone has a disease or disability doesn't mean they don't have one. I go to the bathroom a LOT. Recently, I had my large intestine (also known as a colon) removed and...I now poop in a bag attached to my belly! For realz! It's called an ostomy. And it's (mostly) hidden under my shirt.

What does it feel like to live with Ulcerative Colitis / Crohn's Disease?

Because I'm in the bathroom so much, it can feel lonely and embarrassing to talk about. But it's helpful to try. When I do, I find that people are almost always kind and curious. It helps me feel less alone.

What brings you joy?

This may sound crazy, but sometimes I try to imagine that everyone--EVERYONE--has a hidden disability. Maybe they're in pain or struggling with something I can't see, too. It helps me approach them with compassion and empathy, and seek deeper connection. And what could bring more joy than human connection?? Answer: nothing!

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