Like so many others, we, the members of the board of directors of the Microscopic Colitis Foundation have microscopic colitis. By following the guidelines presented here, we and many, many, others have been able to successfully control our symptoms. We are committed to not only make the world aware of microscopic colitis, but to change the ways that the disease is treated, so that no one will have to suffer needlessly.
Wayne Persky, Founder and President of the Microscopic Colitis Foundation
Wayne's formal education is in mechanical engineering, mathematics, and computer science. He has experience in teaching, agriculture, and agribusiness. Wayne has served as the site administrator for the microscopic colitis discussion and support forum for over 17 years. He has written a number of books on various medical issues that the healthcare system fails to adequately address. Wayne lives on a farm in Central Texas.
"In my sixth decade of life I was suddenly confronted with debilitating digestive system problems that prevented me from being able to work on many days. I would wake up many mornings feeling as though I had been hit by a truck during the night. Every joint ached, my back ached, my head ached, and my gut ached. As I sometimes joked, even my hair ached. I often had migraines and severe nausea that prevented me from working. My gut was bloated so badly that I couldn’t button the top three buttons on my Levis. But the most depressing part of the ordeal was the discovery that the gastroenterologist I went to see didn’t have the foggiest idea what was wrong with me. After subjecting me to a long series of diagnostic tests that ended with a colonoscopy exam, he advised me that he had ruled out cancer and there was nothing more that he could do for me. And when I asked if changing my diet might help, he informed me that diet had nothing to do with my symptoms. In April of 2015, I founded the Microscopic Colitis Foundation and I continue to serve as the president of the organization. But my passion in life is writing books that will hopefully help many people to live a much healthier, longer, and happier life by helping them to become aware of the hazards hiding in their diet."
Jessica Woodward, Treasurer of the board of directors
Jessica joined the Microscopic Colitis Foundation during its initial formation in 2015. Along with her duties as Treasurer, Jessica assists with various other aspects of the foundation. Her career experience includes working in special education for over a decade.
"It's been a frustrating long haul with this disease. After being diagnosed in 2012, I was given little information about microscopic colitis from my doctor and could find nothing about the disease on the internet. Luckily, I stumbled on the online support forum early on. There's been a lot of progress since then, but we have a long way to go."
Gabrielle "Gabes" Ryan, Member of the board of directors
Gabes has 20 years of office manager/contract/logistics experience in a myriad of industries. After years of research in functional whole body wellness, and spending 3 years recovering from chronic illness, she now works as a Chiropractor's Assistant for a functional chiropractic team helping others achieve optimal health. In her spare time Gabes does nature photography and she is a keen classic car/classic race car enthusiast.
Sharyl Magnuson, MD, Member of the board of directors
Sharyl Magnuson, MD, graduated from the The Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland, Oregon, where she also completed her residency in Family Medicine. After her residency, Sharyl worked in a rural practice in Missouri to fulfill a commitment to the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).
After her work with the NHSC, Sharyl joined the Lovelace Medical group in New Mexico, a Mayo model of multispecialty practice, and a practice that worked with NASA to prepare and monitor the early astronauts. In her over 20 years with Lovelace, Sharyl worked primary care, long term care/nursing home, hospital work, urgent care, clinical trials research, clinical thrombosis specialty work and hospice back-up physician. In addition, Sharyl held positions as Medical Director of the Clinical Trials Research Department, Medicare Insurance Associate Medical Director and the Associate Medical Director of the Clinical Thrombosis Center, known internationally for her mentor’s work on anticoagulation standards around surgeries and procedures.
Sharyl’s husband, Patrick Boyle, MD, had a career in academic Medicine with his Endocrine fellowship at Washington Univ. in St. Louis and as a Professor of Medicine at the University of NM. His Diabetes research, especially his work on the pivotal DCCT trials in Diabetes, also allowed her access to his world of high level Medical Research, and a familiarity with grant writing, funding, and how government oversight works.
Sharyl’s journey with Microscopic Colitis began about 15 years ago, with what was thought to be a bad bout of diverticulitis yet no diverticuli found on the colonoscopy. A self-imposed elimination diet revealed a nasty soy sensitivity, and soy avoidance seemed to keep most, but not all, of the symptoms at bay for about 10 years. However, the symptoms continued to worsen despite soy avoidance and Sharyl could not keep up with her clinic schedule anymore.
“My lovely doctor and I were finally able to twist the arm of my Gastroenterologist to do the appropriate biopsies, and lo and behold, a diagnosis of MC. Retirement from practice is allowing me the time and energy to advocate for myself and others with this diagnosis that is so underappreciated by so many of my colleagues in Medicine.”