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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. © 2013 Bridget Bezanson

IBD Takes Guts

It takes guts to live with it. It takes guts to talk about it.
And sometimes, it literally takes your guts.
But it doesn’t have to take your spirit.

Welcome to the Gutsy Chick Project

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC), an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, in early childhood. I was sick and hospitalized on and off until my early teens. In 2010, after years of successfully managing the disease with medication, I had my large intestine removed following a colon cancer scare. Increased risk of colon cancer is a danger of living long-term with UC. Removing the colon is the only way to “cure” the disease and prevent cancer. I had J-Pouch surgery, a complex procedure that required 2 operations and took months to complete – it also required living with a temporary ileostomy between surgeries. As a result of this surgery, I no longer have IBD, and I'm now reconstructed, fully recovered, and getting back to my life with my newly re-designed digestive system. And it works great!

I act, I sing, I work out, I have fun with my friends, I play with my pets, I travel with my husband.

I’m a performer, a volunteer, a student, an amateur chef, a wine enthusiast.

I’m a Gutsy Chick: a J-Pouch patient getting on with the good life.

What We’re About

J-Pouch surgery and its long recovery period can be a rough ride physically, mentally, and emotionally. Throughout my experience, I was searching for patients I could identify with. I wanted to hear from other female patients with similar active lifestyles who shared my concerns. I needed to hear more about positive outcomes. Despite assurances from my (excellent) surgeon, I needed relatable, encouraging examples of life post-surgery. After talking to other female patients in person and online, I found that many felt the same way – at one time or another, we all needed proof that there was light at the end of the J-Pouch journey.

As with any major surgery, the J-Pouch procedure comes with potential risks and complications, and everyone’s experience is different depending on the individual and the degree of illness. However, it is important that successful surgeries receive attention and that prospective patients see examples of positive results. And so the Gutsy Chick Project was born.

We're collecting success stories and words of encouragement from other female J-Pouch patients and posting them here:

Gutsy Chicks from Around the Globe Share Their Success Stories

If you are a Gutsy Chick, thriving post J-Pouch surgery, click here to send us your story!

What Else Are We Doing?

In addition to promoting public awareness and providing encouragement to other patients, Team Gutsy Chick will be participating in various future fundraisers for Crohn's and Colitis. Fundraising for research is important. Wouldn’t it be great to find a cure so that nobody else had to be operated on?


Bridget Bezanson, Actor/Singer
Ulcerative Colitis
Polyps and Cell Dysplasia, 2009
Colectomy/Temporary Ileostomy, 2010
J-Pouch (Ileoanal Anastomosis), 2011
Photo by LD Photography

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Takes Guts.

Over 100,000 Canadians suffer from Ulcerative Colitis.

Fund the Research. Find a Cure.