Shannon Kederis from Kentucky is one of the nearly 2 million Americans diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a group of disorders that causes chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.
The two most common forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both conditions cause inflammation and sores in the tissue lining the digestive tract, leading to abdominal pain and frequent diarrhea. But while Crohn’s can develop anywhere in the digestive tract and penetrates into the deep layers of the lining, ulcerative colitis usually affects only the surface layer of the tissue lining the colon/large intestine.
“My mom and a great aunt had ulcerative colitis, so when I started to have symptoms, I knew what was going on. I was put on medication which worked for about eight years with very few symptoms,” says Shannon, a busy high school teacher.
Also an avid runner, Shannon trained and completed her very first marathon. Shortly thereafter, her ulcerative colitis flared up.
Despite trying several different medications, her symptoms were not resolved. Shannon had surgery to remove her colon and rectum at a Kentucky hospital. During the procedure, her small intestine was used to form an internal pouch or reservoir – called a J-pouch – that would serve as a new receptacle for waste.
“I thought I’d be fine – I was in good physical shape, and knew what to expect,” says Shannon. But complications with a temporary ostomy and the J-pouch resulted in her being hospitalized for nearly two months. “I had enough of being treated for a problem that just kept happening. Then, my father-in-law suggested the Cleveland Clinic --- why didn’t I think of that?”
“I think the Cleveland Clinic saved my life. Dr. Hull gave me back my quality of life, so I’m really thankful.”
Online research along with a recommendation from another physician led Shannon to Tracy Hull, MD, a colorectal surgeon at Cleveland Clinic’s Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute.
“From the very first appointment I felt comfortable and confident with Dr. Hull,” says Shannon.
“About half of my patients come from a five-state area, and the other half come from all over the world,” says Dr. Hull. “I remember telling Shannon that I was going to hand stitch the pouch, because I wanted to give her the best shot at making things work, and I didn’t want her to have to continue going through surgeries.”
Dr. Hull performed surgery to repair the J-pouch that had been causing the ongoing complications. Following the surgery, Shannon had a temporary ostomy that was reversed after four months because the repaired J-pouch works properly.
“I’ve had to make some adjustments, but I’m back to eating pretty much whatever I want, and having energy again,” say Shannon. “I think the Cleveland Clinic saved my life. Dr. Hull gave me back my quality of life, so I’m really thankful.”
Digestive Disease & Surgery Institute