While surgery may not be a fit for all IBD patients, it’s certainly a topic to discuss. I invite you to join us on Twitter on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 @ 1PM EST as we @ICNPatients talk about surgery and IBD.

The PAC (@icnpatients) will be joined by Benjamin Gold, MD (@BenjamminGold) from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite-GI Care for Kids and Samir Gadepalli, MD, MBA (@SamirGadepalli) from University of Michigan - CS Mott Children's Hospital. We’ll be asking and answering questions about Surgery & IBD. Please join us and use the hashtag #PACChats to follow and share your thoughts! 

My name is Shawntel Bethea and I will be your PAC host for this event. I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease at 17 years old and this is my story:

Since a very young age I struggled with abdominal pain, fatigue and blood in the stool. I was just too ashamed to say anything. By the time I began speaking up about the issues I’d been experiencing over the years, my condition was pretty severe, and it seemed like no one understood what was happening to my body. One emergency room visit after another, doctor after doctor, my family and I searched for answers. It was a long road, and although it wasn’t the answer we hoped for, we finally got one during a stay at Levine Children’s Hospital: I had ulcerative colitis. 

Fast forward about eight years and here I am: a 25-year-old student and blogger; alive and thriving, but not without struggle. I’ve had a total of six surgeries, small and large, including a total colectomy. I now live with what is called a J-pouch. Never heard of it? Simply put, it is a 3-step procedure called ileo-pouch anal anastomosis or IPAA, during which the end of my small intestine was (surgically) constructed into a J-shaped pouch, which allows me to store and pass stool. First, I had my large intestine and rectum surgically removed. Then, I lived with a temporary ostomy for six months. Finally, I had surgery to reverse my ostomy and connect my J-pouch. This surgery saved my life; it essentially gave me life!


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