- After twenty years of cycles of remission and severe distress, a routine colonoscopy revealed signs of a precancerous condition. At that time, I underwent a traditional ileostomy. This surgery gave me back control of my life. I was no longer a prisoner of the disease. I could come and go at will and did not have to extensively plan my itineraries around the bathroom. What a relief!
Alas, nothing is perfect. Moving wrong while sleeping tended to result in an uncomfortable warm feeling spreading across my abdomen. Putting on a seat belt often was accompanied with the snap of the appliance coming unhooked. Skin irritation was a constant concern.
Then I heard about the BCIR. Not only was I interested, I decided that I was ready to try this as soon as possible. So, in June of 19921 went to St. Petersburg for my surgery.
Since my recovery, I am a new person with a new life. I still eat everything I want, come and go when I please, never worry about accidents or the need to rush to a bathroom. I empty my BCIR pouch when I feel it is full with no urgency involved. I can shower in a men’s locker room without feeling self-conscious. I travel all over the country, commit to a demanding schedule and never give a thought to physical needs. I’ve never experienced a leak or had an embarrassing situation.
The BCIR has all the benefits of the ileostomy without most of the restrictions!
Surgery – June 1992
- I was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 1982, I was 11 years old, and I was put on all kinds of drugs to see if they would help. I ended up on high doses of Prednisone for a long time. When I was 27, I decided that 16 years was enough and looked into surgery. I found the BCIR and wouldn’t settle for less. From the first person that I talked to on the phone, to the nurse that walked me out the door leaving the hospital, they were all very personable and professional. I never met a more wonderful bunch of people in my whole life.
The BCIR has given me more freedom than I have ever known. I was always sick! My four year old was so used to mommy being sick on the couch or in the bathroom all the time. She hardly ever had her mom to play with. Since my BCIR surgery I have done so much with her. We have enjoyed a wonderful spring of planting and playing on the swings, a summer of swimming in the pool, basketball with dad in the driveway, biking, roller-skating and walking the dog all around the neighborhood! We had a wonderful fall and holiday season. All without worry of where the nearest bathroom was!! We all are looking forward to playing in the snow and building snowmen and making snow angels this winter! All because of the BCIR! I have no restrictions and have just started working out with the Tae Bo tapes!! What a workout! I would do this again in a minute!
Surgery – February 1999
- Prior to my BCIR, I suffered with Ulcerative colitis for almost eight years and had no life. Twelve years ago, I had a BCIR and feel that if it was not for this surgery, I probably would not be on this side of the grass. The BCIR has given me great freedom and I count my blessings daily. It has allowed me to do the things I enjoy the most which is cherish my family and friends, be active and laugh often.
- At 25, after ten years of dealing with Ulcerated Colitis I had a conventional ileostomy. At the time I remember thinking, “Why did I wait so long?” Not being tied to the bathroom, and for that matter not having to know where every public bathroom was in the county, improved my quality of life. But over the next 26 years I dealt with an increasing number of problematic issues: revisions, skin irritations, leakages due to the clamps coming off or lack of adherence and the ever-interesting phenomena of the pouch blowing or filling up at the most inconvenient time.
When I was facing yet another revision, I went into research mode and found out about the BCIR. In Feb 2007, I went for the procedure. Now I really know what it is to have my quality of life increased ten fold. For the first time, at the age of 50, I became an active adult. No longer am I a cheerleader on the sidelines. I dance, swim, bike, blade, hike, and roll around on the ground rough-housing with my grandson without fear of an accident. And as shallow as it may seem, I admit I love shopping for myself now – I can look at clothes and not have to worry whether or not there is a strategically-placed pleat or room for the pouch to expand!
I am grateful I was able to succeed with this surgery. And I am even more grateful to Dr. Rehnke, Susan Kay, and the great group of caregivers at Palms of Pasadena for the kindness and generosity of spirit they share with each one of us.
Surgery – February 2007
- I am a mother of twins and I want everyone to know that having a baby with a BCIR can be a wonderful experience. My quality of my life improved greatly after having BCIR surgery, but now that I’ve created, carried and cared for two babies, my quality of life has reached a new high I never imagined possible.
At the age of 21, I finally understood the reason for my constant stomach aches that had always plagued me. After seven years of bleeding, discomfort, living in the bathroom, steroids and other powerful drugs, and endless colonoscopy procedures, I decided to have a Barnett Continent Intestinal Reservoir (BCIR). This was an option that would cure my disease and leave me with no future risks for cancer. The surgery was a success! No more doctors visits, no more cancer concerns and best of all – no more pain!
Doctors assured me when I had my BCIR surgery, that I would be able to have a normal pregnancy and delivery. I’ll never forget when we turned our test stick purple. My first words were, “I cant believe there is a baby inside me!” “Or babies!” said my husband, who is a twin. How he knew at that moment that we were carrying twins is beyond me. It must be a twin thing. I laughed and said, “There’s only room for one baby in there.” (I was wrong!)
In February of 2000, I was blessed once again. I had two beautiful babies and a perfectly functioning BCIR.
- “I love life! I like swimming in the ocean and skiing in the mountains. I’m a workaholic and cant imagine my life any other way!
I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at age 46. It’s such a strange disease, because it slowly changes your life. You start avoiding activities where you’re unsure of the availability of bathrooms. Or you find yourself too fatigued from the around the clock bathroom trips to make it to the 10 o’clock news. I found myself taking medications that changed me into an angry guy.
In June of 20071 had BCIR surgery. My GI doctor had said it’s time to be proactive with my UC. It was no longer a question of “Would I get cancer?’ but “When would I get cancer?’ His recommendation was a j-pouch. After researching this procedure, I rejected it because I read a lot of complaints with incontinence, sleep deprivation, self-esteem, and sexuality. Further research lead me to the Quality Life Association Website where I learned about the Continent Intestinal Reservoir. I remember reading about a guy with a busy life who didn’t want to give up his quality of life to this disease. I wasn’t ready to give up my life as I had known it.
It was not an easy decision. My GI doc, who I think the world of, did not have good things to say about this surgery. But I made a list of all the pros and cons of both j-pouch and BCIR, and presented my case to him. He has supported me ever since on this journey.
It’s been a year now since my BCIR surgery and I can say without hesitation, I love my life! I have been skiing in Vail, zip lined in the rainforest of St. Lucia, parasailing in Hawaii, and work 50+ hours a week!
Surgery – June 2007
- I was diagnosed with UC in 1970, several months after my appendectomy. My UC, based on what I have read and heard was fairly mild. I had few serious bouts with the typical symptoms; basically I ate anything I wanted with no ill effects. Other than the flare-ups, the UC did not have any major impacts on my lifestyle.
After a fairly mild UC flare-up in 2003, having years of no issues – and no colonoscopies – I had a colonoscopy in November 2003. On Friday, January 02, 2004, my GI doctor called to tell me the biopsies from my colonoscopy showed severe displaysia; the clear message was the immediate need to have a total colectomy.
My surgeon did not remove the rectum and anus at this time, explaining the possibility of doing the “pull-through” procedure at a later date; he was not positive, though, of the success of the procedure. As well, he was very skeptical of my quality of life with the “pull-through.” The impact of the ileostomy appliance was having a detrimental effect on my life – stress at work and at home, fear of accidents, unwillingness to participate in nearly anything involving getting out of my “comfort” zone. Life, as many of you can appreciate, had dramatically changed. And I had signs of active UC in my rectum.
A week before I was scheduled to have my rectum and anus removed due to the active UC and continuing deterioration of the rectum, my wife stumbled across an advertisement for Palms and the BCIR procedure in Parade Magazine. I showed the ad to my surgeon; he was aware of a similar procedure, though he had never seen it done nor had a patient who had had such a procedure. On July 21, 2006, I had my BCIR surgery. As with any surgery, there is always the possibility of complications. And I had a few. But, 21 days later, I was flying home. I had “died” with my ileostomy; I was reborn with the BCIR! The recovery period at home was almost without incident – the message about staying properly hydrated is serious. But, all those things I had given up – movies, theater, car shows, crawling around under cars, major home improvement projects, away from a bathroom for hours, were now, once again, possible.
Surgery – July 21, 2006
- I had a Brooke ileostomy in 1995 at age 42. I had never been sick a day in my life and then bam, I spent the summer in and out of the hospital where they diagnosed me with Ulcerative Colitis. Three months later I had the Brooke. I was so ill-prepared and hated every moment of life with the Brooke. As soon as I learned about the BCIR, I knew it was right for me. In 1997, I had the BCIR and I now have a whole new life and love every bit of it. Dr. Rehnke is a great surgeon and doctor. All the Palms BCIR staff is absolutely the best.
I love to fish (by the way that is a 10-pound mutton snapper in the picture) and snorkel for lobster every year. I ride my bike and do everything that I want to do now. There was none of that with the ileostomy. Life is so good since the BCIR. I cannot imagine life without it. I have met so many great people through this surgery also.
Surgery – 1997
- Having the BCIR surgery was the best decision I ever made! I feel awesome and it has improved the quality of my life ten-fold! It’s so nice being completely pain free and to be in control of my body. That’s not how my life was with my J-Pouch. I owe my new life to Dr. Rehnke.
Surgery – October 28, 2005
- At the age of 30 I had a conventional ileostomy performed. I was happy that I was no longer sick, but I just didn’t feel like I had much of a life. My main problem was I could not get the appliances to stick. I tried all the different appliances available, worked with ET nurses and even resorted to cosmetic surgery to reduce some of my scars – hoping this would aid the situation.
During this process, someone mentioned the BCIR as a possible alternative. I responded that there weren’t any options since I had already had my colon and rectum removed. To my surprise, was I ever so wrong!
After some research, I decided to have the BCIR procedure. For me, this has been the best decision I have ever made. I live in Colorado and I now enjoy hiking, biking and just playing with my son. Hiking and biking are things I would not have attempted before the BCIR due to my appliance vulnerabilities. I know that there are a lot of people that have had the ileostomy and do fine with activities and do not experience the problems I had. I’m very glad for those individuals, truly I am. For me I’m just glad there was an alternative in the BCIR. My quality of life had changed 10 fold, I enjoy being me and I count each day as a blessing.
Surgery – March 2001
- Well, my story is like many others. At the age of 171 was diagnosed with UC. I took various medications and was able to keep it under control for several years. However by September of 1991, it was no longer responsive to medication and I had a Brooke ileostomy. I was 31 years old and married with two children. My son had started playing baseball and wanted me to help coach his team. (I wanted to coach, too.) There were some things that were not as easy to do with an ostomy, but you cant let it keep you from going and doing to the best of your new physical limitations and abilities.
About six months after surgery, I saw an ad in the Parade magazine with a picture of a female in gym clothes with a caption that read, “I have an ostomy but I don’t wear an appliance.” It sure got my attention. My wife and I decided this looked very interesting and something we needed to check out. We made a few phone calls and set up an appointment with Dr. Rehnke. After our visit we decided the BCIR would be a great alternative for my condition and an increase in not just my quality of life but also the quality of life for my entire family
Dr. Renhke performed my BCIR surgery in August of 1994. Life has been just wonderful ever since. Our quality of life couldn’t be better. If I had not had my BCIR surgery there are many things that my family and I would not have enjoyed. The BCIR has allowed me to participate in volunteer activities with my children such as baseball, school activities and music trips. We go camping, canoeing, boating, fishing, bike riding, take family cruises, go to the beach and actually get in the water not just sit in the sand.
I am so grateful for people like Dr. Rehnke, Dr. Pollack, Susan Kay, Velma Bragg and all the hospital staff for their dedication to the BCIR procedure. The Brooke ileostomy allowed me to live but the BCIR gave me LIFE.
Surgery – August 1994
- Like many people who are burdened with ulcerative colitis, I went through my twenties knowing that I suffered from what I called “abnormal frequencies of intestinal discharge,” and that there better be a toilet right behind me when the urge occurred. Finally, when I was twenty-eight, I ultimately had to have a total proctocolectomy and ileostomy. Having spent my life trying to maintain a good physique, I almost fainted when I awoke and saw my new stoma. I never got used to using the various appliances necessary to maintain my ileostomy and wanted an alternative.
In 1992, I decided to proceed with the procedure to have a BCIR and have been extremely happy that I did. Upon my discharge from Palms, I returned to my life a new man. No longer did I have to worry about all of the uncomfortable and embarrassing things wearing an appliance creates. The BCIR restored my relations with women by not requiring a need to offer any explanations during intimacy.
As mentioned, I was physically fit and that included bicycle racing and triathlons. Since these sports require tight-fitting clothing or being in the water, appliances were difficult to hide, or keep attached, but the BCIR eliminated any of those problems. In addition to the cosmetic aspect, I never wake up with a mess because an appliance had come loose. My occupation required the potential use of physical force and the BCIR eliminated any concerns that an appliance presented. I don’t have to worry about what activities I can take part in due to limitations created with an appliance. Suffice it to say, my BCIR has greatly improved my quality of life!
Surgery – 1992