Ready and … Action!
Atlanta-based writer and producer Tina doesn’t want Crohn’s to hold her back from her career in the entertainment industry. The Tippi Team rallies to help her take control.
Managing Crohn’s disease is challenging, but it can be even harder when you don’t work a traditional 9-to-5 job. Just ask Tina Shakiyah Powell, a writer and producer living in Atlanta.
The 29-year-old often spends long days on set and can’t always take a break when her symptoms flare. “I just get excruciating pain throughout my entire body,” says Tina. “I have to be on set, but I physically don’t like it anymore.”
Conditions aren’t always ideal for people with a gastrointestinal disease, such as Crohn’s. Bathrooms on set are often porta-potties, which can pose a problem for Tina. “That is something I struggle with, being able to be comfortable enough to use the bathroom when I need to go the bathroom, no matter where I’m at,” she says.
Tina’s busy schedule leaves her little time to pack her own lunch, so she has to choose from the food provided, which isn’t always catered to her vegetarian lifestyle. “Sometimes I’m just like, ‘I’m going to eat what I want to eat, and pay the consequences later, when I don’t feel good,'” she says.
Tina, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s when she was 16, doesn’t often tell others when issues arise on set, because she doesn’t want her coworkers to think she’s unreliable or to feel she’s a “burden” to anyone.
You want to always say, ‘Take care of your body; you come first,’” she says. “But at the same time, you can’t always do that in your work environment.”
Watch the episode to hear more of Tina’s story and see if the Tippi Team can help her find a balance between caring for herself and pursuing her dream of working in the TV and film industry.
Tips for Tina
Create a Crohn’s folder
In the folder, keep a list of all the medications you’ve taken — those that have worked and those that haven’t. Bring it to your next doctor’s appointment and ask how you can optimize your treatment to achieve remission.
Put together a toilet kit
To help you feel more comfortable using public restrooms, create a toilet kit that contains Poo-Pourri, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes for the toilet seat, as well as an extra pair of underwear or pants.
—Tina Aswani Omprakash, Crohn’s advocate and blogger
Bring your lunch to work
Pack your own lunches — don’t rely on takeout or options provided at work. Be sure to avoid processed foods as much as possible.
—Miro Uskokovic, Crohn’s advocate and chef
Create an elevator pitch
Write one or two sentences explaining what Crohn’s is and practice saying it with a friend. This can empower you to feel comfortable talking to others about Crohn’s disease.
Talk to friends and family
Talk to three of your closest friends or family members, and ask “Am I burden to you?” I think you’ll find they’re more than happy to help you in whatever ways they can.
—Partha S. Nandi, MD
Reinvent your favorite recipe
Create a Crohn’s-friendly succotash with easy-to-digest veggies like zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, and green beans. “Bacon” tempeh or smoked Spanish paprika will add flavor without irritating your stomach.
Write down your strengths
On the left-hand side of a piece of paper, write down all of your strengths. On the right-hand side, write down everything you perceive as a weakness. This will help you see all of the strengths you have and realize that you are not a burden to others.
—Partha S. Nandi, MD