Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center Patient Stories
At NYU Langone’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, people who have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis receive expert care from our team of gastroenterologists and surgeons. Our patients share their stories.
Christopher’s Story About Medical Treatment for Crohn’s Disease
“Dr. Hudesman and everyone else at NYU Langone—I’d give them five stars, ten stars, a thousand stars. They’ve all been fantastic.”
—Christopher, Age 52
By the time Christopher met with Dr. David P. Hudesman at NYU Langone’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center in March 2015, he was frightened and exhausted.
His ordeal had started more than a year earlier, with excruciating abdominal pain, blood in his stool, and vomiting that made it impossible to keep down food. Doctors at two different emergency departments diagnosed Christopher with hemorrhoids and sent him home with medication that didn’t help.
After his third trip to the hospital, where a colonoscopy revealed 32 ulcers and a nearly perforated colon, Christopher was in the hospital for 10 days, “praying, crying, and thinking I was going to die.” Doctors diagnosed him with ulcerative colitis and prescribed medication. He started to feel better, but the symptoms returned within a year.
“The doctor told me, ‘I can’t help you. You need a specialist,’ and he referred me to Dr. Hudesman,” Christopher says.
At his first appointment with Dr. Hudesman, Christopher began to feel hopeful for the first time in a long time. “Dr. Hudesman saw the terror in my face and said, ‘We’re going to fix you up.’ He was so calm, like, ‘I got this, don’t worry about it.’”
To help Christopher, Dr. Hudesman knew he needed an accurate diagnosis. He performed a colonoscopy and an MRI scan, which indicated that Christopher’s condition was not ulcerative colitis, but Crohn’s disease. He prescribed medication—infusions of Remicade and a daily dose of vitamin D—and recommended some lifestyle changes, including weight loss. A year later, Christopher was in remission.
Today, Christopher is feeling happy and healthy. He’s exercising more and watching his diet. “I’ve lost 70 pounds and I’m getting myself back in shape,” he says. “I get infusions every eight weeks, but that’s it. Crohn’s disease doesn’t negatively affect my life anymore.”
“I thought I was going to die, and Dr. Hudesman saved my life. He’s a rock star. I love him.”
Abby’s Story About J-Pouch Revision Surgery
“Dr. Remzi wanted to make sure not only that the surgery was successful, but that I felt good, was ready to go home, and had an improved quality of life.”
—Abby, Age 39
After surgery to treat ulcerative colitis at age 32, Abby felt well for a couple of years. She had received ileal pouch anal anastomosis, or J-pouch surgery, in which the colon and rectum are removed and replaced by an internal pouch constructed from her small bowel.
But 34 weeks into her first pregnancy, she was admitted to the hospital with a bowel obstruction. After the obstruction resolved, Abby had a planned cesarean delivery and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
For the next two years, she was free of complications. “Then I got pregnant again and at 16 weeks had another bowel obstruction,” Abby recalls. This time, she came to NYU Langone, where her gastroenterologist, Dr. Brian P. Bosworth, referred her to colorectal surgeon Dr. Feza Remzi.
After Abby gave birth to her daughter, Dr. Remzi performed minimally invasive surgery to remove what he suspected was the cause of Abby’s recurring bowel obstructions: scar tissue from previous surgeries. Instead, he discovered that her J-pouch was twisted, an unintentional consequence of her original surgery. During pregnancy, the twist tightened and caused an obstruction.
In April 2018, Dr. Remzi performed the first of two revision surgeries to remove Abby’s J-pouch and create a new one. For three months while the new J-pouch healed, Abby had a temporary ostomy to allow stool to exit. Then, Dr. Remzi and his team performed a “takedown” procedure, in which the ostomy was closed.
Just over a year after the last procedure, the mom of two is feeling terrific—so well that she’s planning to run the Chicago marathon in 2020 to celebrate turning 40. “I was so sick,” says Abby. “It’s really exciting for me to be able to run a marathon again.”