Overcoming a Difficult Day of Pain/Chronic Illness (insert disease here)

Sometimes you need to stop and make camp for the night even if it is early

Today is a painful day for me, my abdomen and specifically my intestines are inflamed and angry. That is a metaphor, really my Crohn’s Disease decided to try extra hard today and it won. So I ended up taking two long naps and more time in the bathroom being sick and basically it was a boring day. Also, I do not care about the Emmys. I would rather watch no TV or anything else. Better idea, now, in fact in my mind, I am envisioning that I feel good, it is a cool and sunny day and I am out on the water in a sail boat – out on the ocean and enjoying every minute!

The Ocean is fantastic

Instead of fighting against the disease- the suffering, I went with it today and listened to my body. I told my family I am sick and do not feel good. I slept through meals and ate when and what I could. These days are part of my chronic illness and more often than I would like.

I chose to not push myself and pretend I felt good because that does not work. Having a chronic illness is like having a bank account. There is a set amount of money/energy/ability to tolerate pain in said account. Well today I was broke, so why overdraw the account?

Perhaps tomorrow my luck will improve and instead of overdoing I will take it easy in terms of pacing my activities. Pacing is an important concept for chronic illness as it also is in many other activities including sports.

Imagine you are running a race every day and some days you feel more able to run than others. It’s a miracle, this one day you feel a little better. Do you increase your pace to a sprint or maintain the walk/jog? If you decide to sprint you feel good in your accomplishment. Then you wake up the next day and your feet hurt and you have to rest for the morning. If you had “paced” yourself – the next day would also be fruitful. This life lesson is one that can be faced daily. Essentially, what is my pace today based on how I feel? Best of luck to everyone out there in their daily race and try to find the right pace each day!

-Isaac Levinsky

Mediterranean Diet Improves Health Significantly Research Shows

An overview of the Mediterranean Diet: Credit 2009 Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust. Posted via: https://franklin.ces.ncsu.edu/2019/05/mediterranean-diet-month/

The Mediterranean Diet can change your life, help you feel healthier, prevent disease, help you lose weight and keep the weight off, improve your quality of life, and possibly live longer too. What we eat affects how we feel and also impacts our health. This is so important in wellness and with chronic illness. What we do everyday is important as well. Taking the time to make food at home is difficulty with the modern workplace requirements. However, I have decided to work on improving my quality of life by looking at my diet.

The Mediterranean Diet has been studied the past 50 years and the benefits are undeniable. I will post a few of the links and book names for research and recipes. I did research on the Mediterranean Diet back in 2010 through 2013 when I published a Medical Brochure on the Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease through lifestyle changes. A major part of the research emerging at the time was that the Mediterranean Diet is probably related to prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease. Well now the facts are in years later and the Mediterranean Diet helps with many health conditions including Crohn’s Disease.

Keep in mind, this is not a diet in the sense that you are doing this to lose weight. You will possibly or even likely be healthier. However, the Mediterranean Diet is a lifestyle change that includes increased physical activity and changing what you eat and your thought process about food.

About one week ago I starting thinking about my reasearch on the Meditteranean Diet and decided to start eating that way to see how I feel. I discussed it and did some updated reading and began the diet. I will tell you that I believe I am noticing some improvement. However, do not use this blog for medical advice, go ahead and speak to your physician about your diet and food intake.

Research on the Mediterranean Diet has provided evidence for:

  • A new study published in April – see below – Mediterranean Diet Improves Quality of Life and may reduce disease activity.
  • Reducing Inflammation
  • Preventing Cancer and inhibiting tumor growth
  • Perhaps living longer
  • Preventing heart attacks and strokes
  • Improved concentration and thinking
  • Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease and possible reduction of symptoms
  • Lowered risk of dying from heart disease and cancer
  • And the foods are delicious!

Links / research:








The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Amy Riolo, 2015. Harness the Power of the World’s Healthiest Diet to Live Better, Longer

The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins, 2009. A Delicious Alternative for Lifelong Health.

Never Forget 9/11 and Never Forget the Holocaust – Terrorism and Extremists still threaten USA, Jews, and Israel – We Must Stand Together!

George W. Bush Addresses the Nation on 9/11. His words are strong, what a great speech. #Neverforget911 #911Anniversary#Holocaust #Israel #Antisemitism #Chronic Illness #Crohns #standtogether

I am thankful yet quite worried. Thankful to be living in the United States of America. Thankful that I am still alive despite multiple surgeries and dangerous medications for my Crohn’s Disease. Thankful for those in public service that defend the freedom and right to live. Thankful that 18 years later our nation still honors our heroes and loved ones that are no longer with us. I am also thankful that our Nation supports other beacons of freedom around the world because against terrorism we must never give up. God Bless America. God bless our allies and those around the world who fight evil.

Yet, as I notice the rising Antisemitism around the world and in our great nation USA I know that as a nation we must stand behind Israel and stop Antisemitism here in our country as well. The Jewish people in America and in Israel and around the world would benefit from a United front from USA in support of our Jewish brothers and sisters. For if we are to be a beacon of hope and light for the world we must protect our citizens; all our citizens who are under attack by terrorists, including protecting the Jewish people.

This problem needs to addressed at the highest level and not speaking about the problem will not help. Staying silent does not help. Israel is a beacon of freedom, hope and light in the Middle East and we need to support Israel. I myself have been a target of Antisemitism going back to grade school when a racist bully wrote a Swastika on my desk and threatened me. I have spoken up and defended myself but the most hurtful part of the Antisemitism against me is that it has been done by those friends or others whom I considered to be friends. Spend enough time with someone and their bigotry will show up it seems. There have been many other incidents toward me as well.

The slogan Never Forget originally was used in reference to the Holocaust and it still is because we must Never Forget the Holocaust and the 6 million Jews that lost their lives in the worst possible ways during World War II by the Germans/Nazis and their allies. In fact the Holocaust solidifies the very need for the Nation of Israel to exist, to ensure the Survival of the Jewish People.

Regarding 9/11, I remember sitting in my English Class at High School when we first heard about the terrorist attacks. A moment in time that I will never forget. The unity and strength our nation USA has shown is unforgettable. We must stay strong as a country and remember that even in these horrible times of tragedy we remain the “beacon of freedom”.

This attack took place less than one year before I developed Crohn’s Disease, something else I will never forget. Life has never been the same since the terrorist attacks and since I began living daily with pain and suffering from chronic illness. A lesson from our great nation’s response to terror can be applied to personal pain and suffering from chronic illness like Crohn’s Disease. We must never give up, we must work together, we must be strong, we must continue to live our life the best way we can despite the terrible changes and events.

Great Suffering Provides Opportunity for Humanity to Act as One

Cruise Ship sets sail to bring back Hurricane Dorian Survivors from Grand Bahama

To be alive as a human being is to experience pain and suffering at times or at least to see other people have such experiences. One can simply turn on the news or read a newspaper and see that the state of the human condition is fragile. Throughout human history we face many challenges a species including health problems, natural disasters such as Hurricane Dorian, climate change, war, famine; also terrible problems of humanity causing suffering to one another such as in: war, discrimation, murder, genocide, hate, and many other problems.

Yet throughout human history there are numerous examples of people helping other people individually or as a unified group. The devastation caused to the Bahamas and now the US by Hurricane Dorian is hard to watch and also must be watched. I am pleased to see that there are people out there right now helping those in need. You can read this news article and click below t0 see how this cruise line is going to help evacuate survivors from Grand Bahama Island:


I challenge you as a person to do one act of kindness today and know it makes a difference. Saying “thank you” can go a long way and also letting someone know you “appreciate” them is great. First of all, be kind to yourself! Remember – You are a unique individual whom has never before existed in the universe and you do matter, I matter, we all matter (and are made of matter)! So, for example, today I am being kind to myself by taking care of myself and allowing time to rest and relax… and that first act kindness is that I made sure to ask people since the Hurricane, How was the Hurricane for you? How are you doing now?” – It is amazing how that one thoughtful comment allows another person to know that they are not alone and we are all part of humanity as a whole! We went through the Hurricane together – yet apart.

When you look at Earth – we are all together in this fantastic ride around the Universe

Be kind, Isaac Levinsky

Chronic Illness increases vulnerability to Climate Change

Melting Iceburg. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Climate change- in the long term and present moment (Hurricane Dorian) threatens my ability to access state of the art medical care – without which I am not sure how I would survive. This is a major issue for any person suffering with a chronic illness. For example, during a major Hurricane I may be unable to leave my home and access emergency care or medical treatment(s).

Having days to think about Hurricane Dorian and the potential life threatening impact of this major storm has reminded me about research I worked on earlier in my life while going to college for my Bachelor’s Degree. I worked on a research project to inquire if a deforested area of rainforest could be replanted and regrown in a tropical area and what kind of life would return. I witnessed the return of life to the Gaunacaste National Park in Costa Rica!

Today my mind turns to climate change and as it turns out my alma mater published a research article this month called:

The case for strategic and managed climate retreat:


Please visit Science Magazine and read!

I know this Hurricane may become a major burden on my health and that of others with a chronic illness. Climate change and the impact on chronic illness is the bigger issue at hand!

It is very easy for my condition to worsen and flare up if I were to lose power and the conveniences of A/C and fresh food along with the poor sleep, stress, and fear of needing to get to a hospital but being stuck at home!

I repeat, the threat to our modern world by climate change threatens my ability to access state of the art medical care – without which I am not sure how I would survive.

The article from Science Magazine about a strategy to mitigate against damage from climate change and major associated problems such as larger and larger Hurricanes. I am posting this article because 1) There is #HurricaneDorian heading straight toward USA and 2) My undergraduate university published this article and I had a very positive experience working on research at UDEL myself in a related field.

Stay safe during the Hurricane and best regards, Isaac Levinsky

Hurricane Preparedness with a Chronic Illness

NOAA Hurricane Dorian, 08/30/2019 5am Update.

It is important for everyone to take hurricane preparedness seriously. Please visit this website to learn more information including disaster supplies kit from NOAA:


Right now the news is talking about Hurricane Dorian, so please keep up to date. What is not mentioned on the news is how to prepare for your chronic health condition when you have a hurricane projected to land where you live. Each condition is different in terms of medications and other treatments so I will speak specifically to Crohn’s Disease and what are some good general ideas in a list below so I am prepared:

  • Make sure you have enough medication to treat your condition, especially considering you might be stuck at home and unable to access a pharmacy.
  • Considering Crohn’s Disease is a disease of the Digestive System, make sure you not only have survival foods, but foods that you can eat. Check with your doctor.
  • Crohn’s friendly foods: this is quite variable and your doctor might recommend a specific diet. An example is the Low Residue Diet – see link to learn more:


  • Stay ahead of dehydration, have electrolytes ready. Make sure to have plenty of clean drinking water available and you can add Gatorade powder for example to instantly have the electrolytes needed to recover when you have diarrhea from Crohn’s Disease.
  • Share your concerns with your family and ask for help if needed
  • Reduce your stress level and try to relax by reading or listening to music

Stay safe and listen to the news for Hurricane Preparedness and tips for safety.

-Isaac Levinsky

Tracks of all Atlantic tropical cyclones from 1851-2005
by Nilfanion on 2006-08-05. Background image from File:Whole world – land and oceans.jpg

Starbucks- Denied Man with Crohn’s Bathroom Access


Starbucks in Washington DC
by: Elvert Barnes
date: 29.11.2005
source: https://flickr.com/photos/perspective/68320063

Starbucks has made another mistake, this time it was a man with Crohn’s Disease who was denied access to the bathroom. Per state law, this man was supposed to be able to access the bathroom as he was having an emergency situation that led to an accident because he was denied bathroom access. To make matters worse for Starbucks, the man is also a lawyer, so we might hear more about this in the news. Here is the link to the article:


As it states in the article a total of 15 states have passed laws allowing people with certain medical conditions access to employee bathrooms. This is a move in the right direction. For those who do not know, Crohn’s Disease can cause accidents otherwise known as bowel incontinence. This is both embarrasing and also can be prevented sometimes, such as in the situation at Starbucks.

In fact one of the “superpowers” of having Crohn’s Disease is that I have to plan my whole life about where there are bathrooms so I can go #2 when needed. In fact, once you have Crohn’s, it becomes apparent that the world is not designed for people with Crohn’s Disease or Colitis. Imagine never being able to predict when you will need to use the bathroom and only having a minute or two to be able to use the bathroom before it is too late. This is a reality for me and for others out there. I hope that all states pass a similar law and it would be great to get a “bathroom pass” from your doctor if you had Crohn’s Disease.

In the meantime I will be working on a “bathroom pass” that you can print out if you have Crohn’s Disease that explains your need to use the bathroom -should the situation arise where you are denied access and about to have an accident. The bathroom pass will be wallet sized, printable, and helpful!

-By Isaac Levinsky

Think You’re A Tough Guy?

I’m a tough guy… (By my father Bruce)

Not afraid to do what has to be done. During my working life I put in long and challenging hours at the job doing both physical and mental tasks. I was blessed with good health for the most part, so I could handle the workload. Occasionally, a cold, bad knee, or back would challenge me on the job; but it wasn’t that bad…Until I experienced a bout of intestinal flu! It stopped me in my tracks. As “Kramer” of Seinfeld once said: “Stick in a fork in me, I’m done!”

All I could do was lie in bed and suffer. The pain, diarrhea, nausea, dehydration, fever, chills and fatigue were devastating. No work for me!

I guess I’m not so tough after all.

My son, Isaac Levinsky, has these intestinal flu symptoms every day and worse. He has Crohn’s Disease, has had it since the age 19. Has it stopped him? No way!

Isaac is the bravest and toughest person I know. Despite the ravages of Crohn’s, the daily struggle to survive with this cruel disease, Isaac has battled on. Not just surviving, but excelling, first as a student achieving his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.), and then becoming a world-class psychologist!

Watching the Crohn’s Disease progress, unable to stop it as his father, I realized I am not as tough as I thought.

-Contributed by my father Bruce

Gratitude: Defined- the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.


“Gratitude is best and most effective when it does not evaporate itself in empty phrases” – Foundation and Empire, Isaac Asimov

I am reading a wonderful series called Foundation by Isaac Asimov. He is writing about 50,000 years in the future yet the books were written starting in 1951. Isaac Asimov is a must read for any person interested in human interaction, science fiction, or science in general along with humanity.

A lesson that is quoted above is about gratitude and I know personally that being grateful is important to my positive outlook and daily survival and beyond survival actual living.

So try this exercise that I do: When I feel the most pain from Crohn’s or I feel the worst or just not my best in any sense I make myself focus on:

  • What I am thankful for?
  • Being thankful for me is a way of life.
  • It is “polite” to say thank you, but it is showing gratitude when you actually follow-up that up with help for some form of paying attention. For that is truly showing gratitude.
  • If there is someone in my life that I can help – I do! It is the small things that help in life, we have to learn to see the opportunities.

I am grateful to have life and to be able to look outside at nature and enjoy being a part of the natural world today! How do I give back today? I write this blog and encourage myself and those whom read it to try and be appreciative of the fact that we are alive – what a gift!

-Isaac Levinsky

Medication Side Effects – Chemotherapy and Infusions

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

Today I feel sick this is nothing new. In fact each week I take a chemotherapy drug for my Crohn’s Disease. I also go to a cancer center and receive an infusion for my Crohn’s Disease and that medication is very powerful. The upside is that the medications weakens my immune system so that in theory my immune system attacks my own digestive system less. In my observation, I notice the side effects short-term. I get chills and fevers, severe nausea, loss of appetite, malaise and fatigue, and this ends up with my taking naps and then waking up more tired than when I went to sleep!

I chose the image above because I love the message and I tell myself this each day it seems. Do not give up, I am not alone, and I matter. Taken literally, I am made of matter, there are billions of plants and animals all around – life is everywhere, and defeat is not an option. The deeper meaning is that being positive helps to reduce the negative thinking that gets in the way of making the best out of each day. Also, social support is essential to reducing the isolation caused by illness and medication side effects like fatigue and fevers and chills etc. So instead of covering up in blankets and spending the day in bed if I have severe chills I will wear my winter coat inside with two pairs of pants and this is a normal thing for me to better cope with how I feel.

Right now I feel just awful – what might be described as chemo sick – but I tell myself that this means the medication is working and I know the alternative – no chemo medicine and that road only leads to more surgeries, pain, and worsening of my Crohn’s Disease. So when I do not have a choice in life such as needing to take these powerful immuno-modulators and infusion medication I try to embrace them and be thankful they exist – for I surely would be worse off without them 🙂 So to my readers, keep your head up, do what you need to feel your best today, and listen to your body – if you need to rest then rest, if you just feel sick – try to feel sick and read or watch TV – it beats just staring at the ceiling 🙂

Best, Isaac Levinsky