IBD takes center stage at any age
Inflammatory bowel disease refers to two conditions: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis that cause serious digestive symptoms like severe abdominal pain, and cramping. They are conditions that can be misdiagnosed, and are often misunderstood. Below is the story about a young performer working to put IBD front and center.
Analise Scarpaci is a petite teen with a big voice and even bigger plans. Analise wants to star on Broadway.
“That was the dream since I was 10 years old,” Scarpaci said.
She’s already landed Broadway roles in A Christmas Story: The Musical and Matilda. Pretty impressive considering she’s been fighting a health battle since age ten. The first signs were evident after a summer ballet camp.
“I was under a lot of pressure and a lot of stress, and I came home and I went to the bathroom and I forgot to flush the toilet, as ten year olds do sometimes. And my dad noticed that there was blood in the toilet,” Scarpaci told Ivanhoe.
Analise’s doctor referred her to Dr. Robbyn Sockolow, an expert in pediatric inflammatory bowel diseases.
“In the past, we would think about people who had inflammatory bowel disease as being malnourished, having bloody stools, having chronic abdominal pain,” said Pediatric Gastroenterologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian, Dr. Robbyn Sockolow.
In Analise’s case, her tiny size compared to her classmates was a concern. It’s a less well-known sign of Crohn’s disease.
“It was me and then the second shortest person was up to here,” said Scarpaci.
“If you find that your child really has not grown, and that you don’t see any difference in the length of their pants or the size of their shoes, that might be something that may raise a flag,” Dr. Sockolow told Ivanhoe.
For Analise, an IV infusion of a drug called infliximab every eight weeks helped her grow, gain weight, and for now, keep symptoms at bay.
“I could be walking in the street and people don’t necessarily know that I am sick. And even though I’m in remission, I’m still sick,” Scarpaci said.
A young woman determined not to let what is going on in her stomach interfere with the dreams in her heart.
Analise volunteers as the chairperson for Broadway for Bellies, a team raising money for the annual Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation walk in her New York hometown. She has also just completed her freshman year at Pace University where she is majoring in Musical Theater.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Katie Campbell, Assistant Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Bob Walko, Editor.