TippiTV Crohn’s Disease

Inspiring stories, top Crohn’s experts, and tips that make all the difference


Meet the Experts From TippiTV

They’ve come together to share their unique skills and passion for helping others live better with Crohn’s disease. Featuring top Crohn’s specialists and two patient advocates, the Tippi Team knows what it takes to live your best life with Crohn’s, one tip at a time. Find out more about each of the experts.

Episode 1: A Musician’s Keys to Success

Harmon focuses on sleep, diet, and stress management to deal with Crohn’s. Can the Tippi Team give this LA performer and yogi what he needs to find harmony — and keep it?
Harmon uses yoga to help manage the stress of living with Crohn’s disease and an ostomy. “It’s become a daily practice that I utilize to help my body get into homeostasis,” he says.

Harmon Clarke knows what he needs to do to manage his Crohn’s disease: Get a good night’s sleep, eat well, and reduce stress. But for this Los Angeles–based musician, that’s sometimes easier said than done.

“There are three main factors that I’ve found really impact my Crohn’s,” says the 36-year-old, who was diagnosed with the condition in high school and now lives with an ostomy bag.

First is sleep. “If I don’t sleep correctly or if I’m exhausted, everything is harder,” says Harmon. But fear of his ostomy bag leaking often prevents him from getting the shut-eye he needs. “I don’t really get into a deep, heavy sleep, because if my bag fills up, I have to be aware.”

The physical stuff, I've noticed it comes and goes. When the mental challenges come, that is extremely hard.

Knowing what to eat can also present a challenge. Many foods, including the spicy ones he so loves, make Harmon’s symptoms worse, which is why he tends to eat the same thing every day. “I find things that work, and I just kind of stick with that,” he says.

For Harmon, managing symptoms such as abdominal pain and cramping isn’t the toughest part of living with Crohn’s. “The physical stuff, I’ve noticed it comes and goes,” he says. “When the mental challenges come, that is extremely hard.” That’s why this former football and basketball player has turned to daily yoga and meditation to help keep stress at bay.

But even with that, Crohn’s disease can take a toll. “It’s like I'm pushing myself to try to work and be successful,” says Harmon. “Then some days I just wake up and wonder Is it really worth it?

Watch the episode to hear more of his story and find out if the Tippi Team can help remind Harmon that yes, it is absolutely worth it.

Tips for Harmon

Episode 2: Midwestern Mom vs. Food

Myra loves to cook, but Crohn’s has turned food into her nemesis. The Tippi Team offers this mom and recent retiree a few tips and tricks she can use both in and outside of the kitchen.
Mom-of-two Myra didn’t eat the day her daughter got married in order to prevent a flare. “I had a beautiful day at her wedding and Crohn's didn’t interfere.”

In the 20 years that Myra Gorman has been living with Crohn’s disease, she’s never once been in remission.

Despite trying nearly 20 medications since her diagnosis, the 60-year-old from Chicago still experiences six to eight flares a year. “I’ve had a couple different surgeries,” says Myra. “I’ve been hospitalized a lot.”

That’s especially hard on Myra’s two adult children, whom she tries to guard from the worst of her disease. “But when I’m the hospital, my kids are there 24/7,” she says. “They see me in my weakest state.”

Having my family and friends here when I'm cooking is my favorite thing. But I couldn't care less if I'm eating it or not.

To try to control her Crohn’s disease, Myra has drastically changed her diet. She’s eliminated foods she knows irritate her stomach — and sometimes avoids eating altogether. “When my daughter got married, I didn’t eat all day, because I wanted to make sure that I was going to be perfect for her wedding,” says Myra.

It’s ironic that food is her nemesis, says Myra, because she volunteers at a food pantry and loves to cook and bake. “Having my family and friends here when I’m cooking is my favorite thing,” she says. “But I couldn’t care less if I’m eating it or not.”

Myra is hoping the Tippi Team can help her regain her love of food and find ways to fit healthy eating into her busy lifestyle, which also includes working at a pottery studio and traveling the world.

In fact, traveling is something she hopes to do more of now that’s she retired after 27 years working for a municipalilty. “Once I retired, I got the travel bug in me,” she says, “and I figured I’d better do it while I’m still healthy.”

Watch the episode to see if the Tippi Team can give Myra the food advice she needs to make friend of foe, along with tips that help keep Crohn’s from getting in the way of doing the things she loves.

Tips for Myra

Episode 3: 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.
Tina sometimes struggles to talk about Crohn’s, but as a writer she knows that “opening my book to people is beneficial to myself, because it’s a sense of therapy when I write.”

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 feel like it anymore.”

You want to always say, 'Take care of your body; you come first.' But at the same time, you can't always do that in your work environment.

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

Crohn’s Disease Resources

Looking for more tips to manage Crohn's? The experts from the Tippi Team recommend these trusted organizations for support and reliable information on living well with the condition.

American Gastroenterological Association 

Founded in 1897, this leading professional organization has more than 16,000 members around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice, and advancement of gastroenterology.

Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation

By promoting education, advocacy, and research, this nonprofit organization aims to help find cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and improve the quality of life of those who have the conditions.

Girls With Guts

The mission of this organization is to support and empower women who have inflammatory bowel disease and ostomies through programs that help them connect both virtually and in person.

IBD Parenthood Project

Led by the American Gastroenterological Association, this program provides guidance on the care of women with inflammatory bowel disease who are pregnant or want to become pregnant — from conception to delivery and post-pregnancy.

United Ostomy Associations of America

This nonprofit organization supports, empowers, and advocates for people who have or are planning to have ostomy or continent diversion surgery.