Are IBDer’s Being Left in the Covid Dust?

The good news is that Covid infections are down, hospitalizations are down, and the death rate is lowering in many areas across the globe.

And it’s about time.

Two years my friend. Wow, what a long, strange trip it’s been.

The challenging news for those of us with Crohn’s and colitis and others with autoimmune diseases and those who are immunosuppressed due to illness or medication is that while the risk may be lower for us to contract Covid, the risk is not gone.

So us IBDer’s, we’re left in our own personal battle of tug a war, feeling like we’ve just been left behind to fend for ourselves while everyone else goes out to unite and celebrate.

How can those with Crohn’s and colitis cope with the feeling of being left behind and what steps can we take to continue to feel cautiously safe in, yet again, another new normal. Let’s talk it out.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • Why Covid freedom doesn’t necessarily mean freedom for us
  • 5 Ways to safely jump on the Covid freedom train while keeping your Crohn’s and colitis in a healthy place
  • Finding the balance between, “It sucks to be me” and moving on

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Mentioned in This Episode:

Episode 69: The New Year’s Resolution Every IBD Mom Needs to Make

Episode 70: Using Whole Foods to Crush Your Crohn’s & Colitis

Episode 71: 2 Diets Tailor-Made for Crohn’s & Colitis

Episode 72: Finding Crohn’s & Colitis Relief with the Autoimmune Paleo Approach

Force of Nature Cleaning Products

Episode Resources:

The Strategy of Boosting the Immune System Under the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Millions of People Stuck in Pandemic Limbo

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:


The good news is that Covid infections are down, hospitalizations are down, and the death rate is lowering in many areas across the globe.

And it’s about time.

Two years my friend. Wow, what a long, strange trip it’s been.

The challenging news for those of us with Crohn’s and colitis and others with autoimmune diseases and those who are immunosuppressed due to illness or medication is that while the risk may be lower for us to contract Covid, the risk is not gone.

So us IBDer’s, we’re left in our own personal battle of tug a war, feeling like we’ve just been left behind to fend for ourselves while everyone else goes out to unite and celebrate.

How can those with Crohn’s and colitis cope with the feeling of being left behind and what steps can we take to continue to feel cautiously safe in, yet again, another new normal. Let’s talk it out.


Hello my friend, welcome to another episode of The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD. I’m your host Karyn Haley and today is a glorious day to be alive. Covid infections are down, the death rates are lowering, mask mandates are like poof, they’re going away, groups are congregating again, friends are calling saying, “Hey, let’s get together.” But while so much has changed with openings for so much of the population (mostly healthy population), the question remains, “What’s changed for us?”

With Inflammatory Bowel Disease, we’ve always dealt with a dysfunctional immune system. Our immune system is attacking itself. And so, if we are the luckiest of the lucky, we combat the disease with diet and lifestyle changes, maybe some supplements… and we move on, hoping the remissions holds. Not exactly cured, because even in remission, C + C loves to lurk in the back of our minds, doesn’t it? “Will it come back, what will I do if it comes back?” Still, with autoimmune challenges in there deep down, we think I’m OK, for now. As long as a 100 foot tsunami named Covid-19 doesn’t crash through my window and take me down.


And then there’s the C + Cer’s who aren’t in remission from diet and lifestyle alone. Those immunosuppressives and biologics and steroids, they can be a game changer. They can help us lead normal, functioning lives. Thank God for science and doctors. As long as a 100 ft tsunami named Covid-19 doesn’t crash through our window and take us down.

Well, that unfortunate tsunami came and it struck us down, whether we got Covid or not. Sure, if you contracted the virus, having Covid was probably one of the worst things that ever happened to you. It was scary and horrendous, but I’m guessing since you’re here with me right now, you made it through. But just like that healthy mama who’s in remission because the diet and lifestyle thing is working for her, just like that mama who’s got it pulled together with medication, or like many mamas out there who are still trying to figure all of this out… even 2 years later with pandemic restrictions lifting, we are all still living in fear of Covid.

And the toll it’s taken on us mentally. Holy cow! After being isolated for 2 freakin’ years. Anxiety and depression is real. As real as it gets. The mental toll can be just as damaging as the physical. And we’re not the only ones who felt it. Our kids have suffered greatly—no matter their age. Unattended play dates and pre-school time, Zoom school, missed graduations, parties, hanging out with friends and boyfriends and girlfriends, and after school activities.  All of their isolation being a further burden on us—feeling guilty because how much our kids are able to do is directly a result of our condition.


And now, in March of 2022, Covid hasn’t gone away completely, yet, our friends, our family members, our co-workers, maybe even our kids… they got to get back to living. And I don’t blame them. I want to get back to living.

But what about us? The autoimmune challenged. The further immune compromised by way of medication.

I don’t know about you but getting back out there in this “it’s still out here lurking in the shadows but there’s low Covid numbers and we’re sick and tired of being cooped up inside so we’re coming out world” mentality scares the hell out of me. It’s like the fear of public speaking, or putting yourself out there on a dating app, or jumping out of an airplane all rolled into one gigantic “AAAAAAAHHHHHHH.”

That’s what’s playing in my head most of the time.

But the world is moving on. I see it all around me. Do you see it around you?

Scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, you’d think hedonism took over. Friends traveling, getting together for parties. I keep looking at adorable pictures of friends with their arms around each other and all I can think is two things: #1 How can they stand so close to each other and not freak and #2 I wish I was with there.

Of course, I don’t begrudge anyone for these fabulous times they’re having. It’s fantastic! It’s the way it should be. But sometimes, don’t you get the feeling that those of us with C + C and those with other medical conditions are just getting a little left behind? We don’t live in the same world as our carefree friends. We live in a world where we are constantly monitoring our poops. “How many did I have today, what was the consistency, what score would that be on the Bristol Stool Chart? We label every stomach twinge, every belly ache. We worry when sniffles or fevers come along because we know they can lead to a weakened state that sets the stage for a flare up. And with Covid, these worries have doubled.


But before we go down a rabbit whole of woe is me, doesn’t it suck to be me, it’ not fair that we are getting left behind… you know that level of negativity is never going to be me. I’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks now as things have been opening up in the U.S. Not giving lots of negative energy to it, but just thinking, huh, I’m so grateful the Covid numbers are down. Our country and our world needs this more than anything, but how is this affecting me? I’ve been checking in with myself on how I feel about this so that I can process, even feel sad a little and then find a healthy way to move on.

Well, the reason I’m taping this particular episode today is because I think I’ve figure this out and even though we need to allow ourselves to sit in, “Doesn’t that suck” for a beat. We do need to move on because it’s just not mentally healthy to live there all the time.

If you’ve been feeling a bit stung by everyone seeming like their moving on, where you’re still concerned about how Covid might impact you, and how you might navigate this new freedom and carefree spirit everyone is adopting, I’m here with some advice to help you feel the feels, but then press on just like we all do everyday. It’s like life with Crohn’s and colitis. We’re not getting rid of it, so how can we live our best life with it.

I know we can. Even with the world opening up when those of us with IBD still need to be careful, we will, and we must march on like only IBD moms can. Marching on, for us, may just look a little different. But we will get through this, we will walk through, just like we always do.

I’ve got 5 ways you can jump on the Covid freedom train, while staying true to your physical and mental health.


#1 If social media has become the bane of your existence lately with the faces of friends and family breaking free, going maskless, and partying like it’s 1999, it’s a good idea to take a social media break– for now, or more realistically, limit your use. How about to once a day? And of course you can temporarily hide posts from anything your finding triggering.

Remember though that taking a social media hiatus is not about cutting yourself off you’re your friends. We need connections now more than ever. If you’re still feeling like you’ll serve your health best by being a homebody, keep the Zoom friend calls going. Organize a group text with your besties. You probably already did that during the pandemic, so hop back on there and keep it going. The weather is warming up. Plan some outside hangouts. If you must go inside a restaurant, try to go at off hours when the risk of Covid exposure is lower.

And the silver lining with your social circle still remaining small is that you don’t have to interact with people you don’t want to– yet. Be intentional with the friends in your circle who are uplifting and positive and ones who don’t shame you for still needing to be protective of your health.  

#2 Even though states and businesses may be getting rid of mask mandates, you keep that N95 or KN95 mask on girl. I’m still keeping mine on. Uh oh, a few of you might be thinking. Plugging my ears.. la la la la…  She’s getting into masks and I’m not a masker. Yes, I’m a masker. If you’re not, hit the forward button a couple times and catch back up with us in tip #3. Anyhoo—Like I was saying, keep wearing that mask. In my state, I’d say I see about 40% with them still on and 60% with them off. And God bless them. If there are no health concerns for them and cases are way down where they live, I get it.  And also, that the 60/40 number I mentioned, I get that keeping the mask on isn’t too challenging for me, since I still see many others masking where I live, but if you live in an area where no one’s masking, that makes this idea of keeping your mask on more challenging. And I’ve got to tell you, this one is all about mental strength.

I remember last June (remember, we thought we’d seen the last of Covid?). My son was in a dance recital at a big theater. Of course, we didn’t want to miss his performance. It was his stage debut. He deserved to be there with his parents beaming (under masks) the whole time. So my hubby and I went to the theater donning our masks. Do you know we were the only ones with them on? In the whole theater. 100’s of people. I looked. Not another soul with a mask on. It felt a little weird, but I knew that for my health, it was important to stay vigilant about Covid. Mental strength. Hold out for just a little longer mama. I know happier days, and maskless days are ahead for us too.

#3 Take the time to educate those around you. Do you have friends who say, “Why can’t you just come to the book club?” or “Why are you still being so careful?” Remember, we live just a bit differently because we always need to put our health first. It’s always front and center in our mind. Life may not look like that for others. Most of the time, those friends mean well. They care about us. So why not take the time to explain why those precautions are still important for you. The more people we help to understand what Crohn’s and colitis is all about, the more people know what we go through on a daily basis.

Talking about C + C is one of my favorite things to do. My friends know that once I get started, I don’t stop. And unlike 35 years ago when I was diagnosed, IBD as a diagnosis is growing, so chances are your friends know someone with IBD. Explaining that your meds suppress your immune system or that you just need to be careful because Covid could be worse for you goes a long way to deepen your relationship with your friends.

#4 As much as you can, let it go. Now listen, Covid, our beliefs about how to keep ourselves safe, about masking, not masking, to vaccinate or not vaccinate is such a touchy subject. I’m just giving my own opinions here. I’d love to hear yours too. No judgement just an exchange of enlightened minds and ideas. So take this tip of letting it go—letting a bit of the tight Covid reigns we hold so dear, go, in whatever way this makes sense for you.

For me, I had to let go of some of the restrictions I had been following since early pandemic days and of my very insular world, just a bit even, though I knew it would put me at greater risk of contracting Covid. I’ve got two college age kids and one tween who wanted to go out, see their friends, have experiences, to enjoy life again. Their lives have been on hold far too long. With Covid rates going down and testing more rapidly availability than ever in the U.S., I had to let them begin to get back to life. So I let go, just a bit.

There’s still no one coming in my house that’s not a family member. My kids are still wearing masks when they are indoors, but they’re hanging out with friends more and trying to get back to life as much as possible. To help me feel more comfortable with all this, we’re Covid testing everyone on a regular basis so if one of us does get Covid, we’ll know it right away. And everyone in the family is trying to respect each other’s big circles.

I guess I have to explain that. In our family we think of thoughts and ideas as big and little circles. Little circles are thoughts and ideas where we are able to see both sides— it’s the grey in our world. But big circles are our thoughts and ideas that are pretty set in stone. Ones we don’t want to cave on. When it comes to letting go just a little, we try to respect each other’s big circles as best we can.

#5 To combat the feeling that the world is frolicking around and getting out and about more, keep yourself as healthy as you possibly can so that you can get out and about in the world more too. IBD healthy, immune system healthy, bacterial balance healthy, mind healthy. Assessing where you’re at with those things will tell you how open your world can be by how healthy you are feeling in the moment.

And the cool thing is that there’s no rule that says you have to make up your mind about how open you will be one day and then not change your mind the next. This is a fluid thing and where you’re at with your physical and mental health in the moment will dictate where you are with easing up on Covid restrictions.


So how can you do that? How can you be as healthy as you can be physically and mentally during this crazy time we’re living in? Well, you can:

  • Take supplements. Supplements that have been studied and research backed to help protect against Covid or help with inflammatory markers are things like Vitamin D3K2, Zinc, Curcumin, Elderberry, Cod Liver Oil or Fish Oil, Vitamin C, as well as probiotics. Which ones can you take to help keep your body physically healthy?
  • Get your Antibodies checked. If you’ve had Covid or if you’ve been vaccinated, get your antibodies checked. It will help you decide what level of risk you are currently at. We know that those on immunosuppressive medications and possibly those with autoimmune disorders may not build up antibodies like the rest of the population. Knowing your level will give you peace of mind or help you decide what steps you want to take next.
  • Eat IBD healthy—whatever that means for you. Find the Eating for IBD diet that works best for your symptoms and your lifestyle. It will always help to keep your IBD in a better place and give you peace of mind that you are doing everything you can do to be healthy, strong, and able to fight if a Covid infection comes along.

If you’re still trying to find that IBD healing diet for you, I have a great eating for your IBD series that I did a little while back. Those are some great episodes to check out. I will leave links to them in the show notes. If you’re looking on your podcast app right now, they were episodes 69, 70, 71, and 72. It’s a whole 4-episode series dedicated to helping you find the best gut healing diet for you, the one with your name on it, because that diet is different for all of us. I got a lot of great feedback from it so if you’re still looking for that IBD healing diet for you, that is the place to get information to help you get started.

Being as healthy as you can be also means keeping the germs away. Continue to wash your hands frequently, keep surfaces clean and free of viruses with whatever virus killer you have at home. I’m a huge fan of a company called Forces of Nature. I found them way back when Covid began and I’m still using their products to clean our home daily. So just keep your distance from others when possible and keep the germ bugs at bay.

  • Prioritize your sleep. This is definitely me not necessarily practicing what I preach, but I am a work in progress when it comes to sleep. It’s so difficult for moms to get the necessary amount of sleep. It’s like as soon as we give birth, even if we don’t have a little babies anymore, we’ve surrendered to not getting quality sleep for years and years to come. I wonder if when all of the kids are out of the house if good quality sleep comes back. But the good news about sleep is that it doesn’t have to be the perfect night sleep to count. It just has to be as quality as you can make it. No striving for perfection here, with sleep, it’s B+ all the way. Prioritize sleep.
  • Get your body moving. In whatever way that looks like for you. Maybe you’re a weightlifter and you I have no problem with strength training and heavy duty workouts. That’s getting your body moving for you. Maybe restorative yoga is more your jam. You’re just getting started moving your body and that’s great too. So move your body in whatever way that means for you and if you can get outside while you’re doing it, you get bonus points.
  • Lastly, when it comes to being as healthy as you can be, that means trying not to take unnecessary risks. And this gets us back to this idea of mental toughness. Sometimes we take risks that we just don’t need to take. Be strong. Stand in your power. And know that with that strength, you’re doing what is good of you, and also for the good of your whole family.


So there you have it, that’s five things that you can do to jump on the Covid freedom train, while staying true to your physical and mental health.

#1 Take a social media hiatus—part time or full time, for just a bit

#2 Don’t ditch that mask too soon, even when others do

#3 Teachers aren’t just found in the classroom, educate when you get the opportunity

#4 Let go—in whatever way letting go looks for you

#5 Be healthy, mind, body, and soul

What do you think mama?

This episode is one of those that’s going to make you think. Because opinions about Covid are so strongly held, you might think this IBD gal has gone off her rocker or you might think, yeah, I have been kind of feeling left behind too. I’m glad she brought it up. Either way, it’s all good. As I always say, take what you need and leave the rest behind.

I’d love to hear from you because agree or disagree, this is a conversation worth having. Email me at and let’s continue the conversation. I usually say message me on Facebook @theibdhealthcoach but you’re taking a break from that, remember. So email me and let’s talk it out.

Until we meet again, I’m wishing you cheeky and healthy gut healing journey. Chat soon!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This podcast, video, and blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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