Shelly J.


During my pregnancy, I experienced severe morning sickness and diarrhea for 5 months as well as anemia. After my son's birth, I was still having diarrhea and passing blood. I finally had a colonoscopy and was diagnosed with colitis.

The diarrhea continued to worsen and it got to the point that I had to go and had to go now. I couldn't even walk 5 steps without having an accident. My husband knew when I said take the baby, I meant this second, now, I can't wait. The bathroom became my companion as I spend so much time there. I started wearing Depends to work, with two pairs of underwear on top, and of course brought an extra pair of pants everyday. If I only had one accident, it was a good day. It got to the point that I couldn't make it to the bathroom, it was too far. I had a box in my private office that I used as a toilet. Sometimes I couldn't even make it that far. I was a prisoner of my body. I couldn't go anywhere or do anything without thinking, "Can I do this and get home before I have an accident? Where can I stop and go to the bathroom, how far is it?" I didn't go anywhere unless absolutely necessary.

My doctor kept increasing doses of Asacol and Prednisone. It got so bad; I had to go to the hospital. I developed blood clots and diabetes. The medicine was killing me. I couldn't work, couldn't take care of my baby, and could barely take care of myself.

I finally came to the conclusion that I needed surgery and I needed it now. I couldn't live my life this way and something had to be done. Thank God one of my colleagues mentioned that her husband had colitis when he was in college. After talking to him about his experiences with multiple surgeries, he told me that he finally went to Palms of Pasadena hospital and had a BCIR done. He said he has a normal and very active life. After researching it more, I realized this is what I wanted, what I needed to get my life back.

After meeting Dr. Rhenke, I was told I have to be weaned off of the steroids before surgery. Not the news I wanted to hear. I went through the "why is this happening to me" phase. I went through the "I just want to die" phase, and finally got to the "I'm gonna beat this" phase. I was naturally terrified of surgery, however I knew this is what I had to do to get healthy and have a life again. Little did I know that I had more road blocks ahead.

After my surgery, I had some complications and a protracted hospitalization but now I have a BCIR. Other than a new way to use the bathroom, gas in the morning, and some foods I don't eat, you would not know I had this surgery unless I told you. Would I do it again? IN A HEARTBEAT! I BEAT COLLITIS, IT DIDN'T BEAT ME!!!!!

Shelly J.
Surgery - 2005