Steven Webb is my best friend. We're going on 6 years together now, and I couldn't imagine my life without such an awesome and loving person. He was extremely healthy, and the only time I ever had to take him to the hospital was when he stage-dove during a set of a band he didn't even really like, and the crowd moved, which made him fall on the ground and crack his arm in half. Good times! ANYWAYS, like I was saying, super healthy guy, right?
Right around December 1st, he started feeling kind of sick. His stomach was bothering him, but we figured he just ate something spicy or something didn't agree with him, etc. Two weeks later it wasn't going away, and he finally gave me the details of the situation, so he finally decided to go to the doctor. The doctor transferred him to a GI (gastrointestinal) specialist, which of course took FOREVER, so on Christmas Eve when he decided he couldn't handle the pain anymore, I skipped my family trip to grandma's house and we took a trip to the urgent care instead, where they prescribed him some antibiotics and steroids and sent him on his way. By this time he had lost about 30lbs. While all of this was going on, he wasn't eating, because everything he ate went straight through him and he wasn't gaining any nutrition. I'll save you the gory details, but just know he was also losing a pretty substantial amount of blood daily. He was pale, super skinny, extremely dehydrated and he looked like a completely different person.
We somehow made it through Christmas, and on New Years Eve, he had his colonoscopy. This was going to tell us everything that was wrong and it was going to be fixed and done with. Or that's what was supposed to happen, anyways. He had his colonscopy, and the doctor diagnosed him with Ulcerative Colitis - the worst case he's ever seen. I need to add here that they also biopsied his colon about 8 times to check for cancers. Sometime during the week before everything went south, we made a trip to the ER because he was in extreme pain and couldn't handle it anymore. They gave him pain medication and treated him for dehydration, but told him since they know what the pain is caused by (the UC), they can't really do anything for it. He could either choose to stay in the hospital for pain management, or go home. He went home.
A few days passed, and while he was at home not getting any better, he had extreme pain in his side one night. After some trouble getting a hold of someone at 3am, his parents rushed him to the hospital and he was taken into emergency surgery.
I woke up the next morning not having a clue what was going because my stupid phone was on silent for WHO KNOWS WHAT REASON. It's never on silent and I still can't believe that happened. I had about 40 missed calls from Steven and his parents and a ton of texts asking me if I was okay. I called to find out he was taken into surgery and they didn't know how bad it was.
After a major panic attack, I rushed to the hospital to find out he was coming out of surgery and that they had removed 90% of his colon. I didn't really know what this meant, nor did I know the extent of the damage done from his colon tearing. Listen, you need your colon. It forms your stool, and it soaks up all your water and minerals. Without it, life is tough.
Disclaimer: The timing of certain things in next part is probably off, because in hindsight, everything was a complete blur in the hospital. Anyways, not only was his colon pretty much gone, but all of the bacteria and stool that was in there was now in his bloodstream and he went septic. He was placed in the ICU for three days and then transferred to a regular room. His incision wasn't healing, so about 2 weeks into his hospital stay they took out all of his staples on his stomach, leaving a literal hole to do this thing called "wet-dry" packs, where they dip gauze in saline, stuff it in the wound, let it dry, and then pull it out, pulling out all the bacteria. They did this three times a day for about a week, until they realized it wasn't working. That's something I could barely handle watching. I've never seen someone in so much pain.
Somewhere in there his lung collapsed, they had to put a tube in his side and drain fluid, and then they couldn't get his fever down the entire month he was there so they inserted a PICC line to administer antibiotics straight to his heart. Also throw in a a mix of other random health problems, and a very persistent fever, and you have his hospital stay wrapped up.
To heal his incision they sent him home with a Wound-Vac which is like a space bag on your wound, constantly sucking out bacteria. He was hospitalized for a month, and then on home health care for a month where his parents administered his antibiotics by IV and a nurse came and changed his dressing every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. He had lost a total of about 60 lbs, and as you can see from the pictures, he was extremely skinny.
We're just now getting back to normal, doing things we had been dying to do for months. Things as simple as going to Disneyland, and going to hockey games (GO DUCKS). He has surgery again June 10 to form a mock-colon called a J-pouch. Modern medicine is incredible. Google that if you have the time- I think it's really cool.
His mom, who was the one in the family with the insurance, lost her job while Steven was in the hospital. They are going through some very, very tough times financially, and that's where we come in.
Now that you know Steven's story, if you have the means to donate a little, I can't stress how much it would help us. Although the emergency surgery is over, he still has at least two more coming up, and the bills are looming. If you aren't able, all I ask is that you would kindly share this so that maybe someone will hear his story. I am so happy to say that he is alive and on track to being healthy, and although he still has a long road ahead of him he is alive and well and that's enough to be thankful for in itself.
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- Monica Lowell
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