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, Brian P. Bosworth, MD, referred her to Feza Remzi, MD, a colorectal surgeon and director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center.
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.
“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
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 2 felt terrific—so well that she was 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.”