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Guest Interview with Christina Sgarlata

I ask my friend Christina Sgarlata a few questions about living with chronic illness. She has such great insights especially being in the medical field. Her open mind and well-rounded knowledge are so refreshing! I know that this interview will be helpful to so many readers! Many thanks Christina!
Christina Sgarlata, BSN, RN, RYT is a friend and a nurse in the Cardio-Thoracic-Vascular ICU with LRS HealthCare, with previous experience in Gastroenterology from St. Luke's Gastroenterology Specialists. She is a Classical Yoga Teacher and is studying Comprehensive Yoga Therapy at Yoga Life Institute while also pursuing her MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner at DeSales University.  Christina enjoys spending time in nature, traveling, and of course, practicing Yoga as often as possible. Be on the lookout for more information about her journey and private and semi-private Yoga classes on her upcoming website at

1. What type of chronic illness were you diagnosed with an…
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How to Shift Your Mindset to the Positive

One of the hardest things can be actually staying positive when you are in the middle of a flare. It's hard to see the positive in your life when you are stuck in the hospital tied up to a bunch of different IV's & you can't move! But I'm here to tell you that there absolutely is a way to see the positive DESPITE all the struggles and current challenges you are going through!

"How Jana? How can I do that when all I see is medical this and medical that!! It's all too real! Doctor's appointments, insurance phone calls, piles of medical bills, numerous medications to take, trips to the bathroom, testing, bloodwork...the list goes on!!!! It just takes over my entire life."

Believe me, I know exactly what you are talking about because I have been there and I'm still there!! That is just the medical side of your journey, and the management and upkeep of your disease. That side of your life does NOT define who you are! Those are just things that you…

Your lifestyle DOES make a difference

Some things happened recently in my life that made me realize-- medications alone won't help improve your quality of life. You have to want a better quality of life for yourself!! More importantly, you have to be willing to advocate for yourself and make your health a priority! I haven't seen anyone really talk about this and I think it is desperately needed!

Guys, Lifestyle has a impact on your inflammatory bowel disease. How you live your life does make a difference to your symptoms. How so?

Take a look at your life in all these areas-- sleep, eating, work, stress & anxiety levels. These are some basic areas of my life that I have had to correct since being diagnosed and I have noticed a difference in my symptoms. Was I cured? No, absolutely not! There is no cure for this disease. But I do find my days more manageable and my mental health has improved SO MUCH since paying attention to my lifestyle.

Take a look at some of these questions and see if they resonate with you-…

Most Surprising Emotion of My Diagnosis

There is one emotion I have experienced that has surprised me the most out of all the emotions on this rollercoaster ride. That emotion is anger.

I have never been an angry person. I'm usually always pretty positive and happy. Even when I'm having a bad day, my first inclination is towards sadness not anger. It really takes a lot for me to get to the point where I am angry. I very much consider myself an introvert, so I tend to bottle things up and then I need to let it out every so often. Blow off some steam. Not gonna lie to you--that is where curse words can be therapeutic! A lot of you may not understand that, and that's okay. But it has always been quite a therapeutic tool for me. And when you are in a flare, you gotta curse at something man! It's just how it is!

One thing I have always been is hard on myself. I hold myself to unreasonably high standards. I'm a perfectionist in certain aspects of my life. I always tend to beat myself up first before assuming a…

I'm in limbo with another diagnosis

Today was harder than most days. I had 14 tubes of blood drawn in hopes of getting some more answers. My rheumatologist ordered the blood work since I've been experiencing a lot of joint and back pain. We want to see if there is another autoimmune disease present along with the Crohn's disease. In my appointment today, I learned that having Crohn's disease makes me a candidate for spondyloarthropathy. Arthritic pain in the back, hips and feet that is specifically linked to inflammatory bowel disease. I've always known that joint pain was just one of the many complications that comes along with this disease. However, knowing that it's a possibility and actually dealing with it are two completely different things.  Sigh. I wasn't ready for this today. Real talk--I won't know for sure till all the blood work comes back if this will be yet another thing added to my plate. So I'm NOT trying to jump the gun and say "OMG I have arthritis now too!!!"…