Ben grew up with no major health concerns until his first year of medical school. He first experienced symptoms of IBD in 2005 but initially mistook the bleeding as something he had eaten. After a few weeks, the abdominal pain became so severe that he went to the ER.
He was referred to a GI doctor and was hospitalized immediately after his first colonoscopy, with a diagnosis of severe ulcerative colitis. He lost 50 pounds and was in and out of the hospital several times. After various oral medications did not bring his symptoms under control, he tried Remicade, which helped him finish medical school and begin his internal medicine residency despite never experiencing full remission.
During residency, Ben’s symptoms became worse. In 2010, he went through the first of two surgeries to remove his colon and construct a J-pouch. The first surgery went well, but after his ileostomy was reversed, he developed complications that looked similar to symptoms of Crohn’s disease. He was forced to live with the ileostomy again to allow things to heal.
Over the next two years, he attempted two additional takedown surgeries with multiple (unplanned) surgeries and hospitalizations needed after numerous complications. Despite all the surgeries and complications, Ben was able to finish his residency in Internal Medicine and continued training as a gastroenterology fellow. He enjoys treating his IBD patients because he understands the struggle of living with IBD and the life-altering nature of the disease.