Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long lasting inflammation and ulcers within the large intestine and rectum. Symptoms include diarrhea, often with blood, abdominal pain and cramping, rectal pain, rectal bleeding, weight loss, fatigue, fever, and among other things. He has dealt with every symptom listed since January of 2016. Running out of options, he tried the drug Humira over the summer as a last-ditch effort to save his colon. His body did not respond to the treatment and seemed to make things even worse.
The final option was a colectomy to remove the entire colon. As horrible as this final option was, he turned out to be a good candidate for a J-pouch reconstruction surgery. This is a three-step procedure where surgeons construct a pouch from the remaining colon and rectum to reverse the stoma. After months of debate, this was the only option he had left to improve his quality of life. Following the Humira drug, we became aware of superficial blood clots behind his leg that no one was majorly concerned about. Surgery was scheduled for October 24th until we received some unsettling news that seemed to spark a downward spiral.
Rusty had developed a Deep Vein Thrombosis, more commonly known as a blood clot in the leg. Rather than alternating between being on and off blood thinners for the upcoming surgeries, we opted for a filter to be inserted in the vein to catch clots that could potentially break loose. Great solution! Until he was rushed to the ER a week before surgery with chest pains…
After a few tests, we were informed a clot had broken off and went through Rusty’s heart and ricocheted into his lung causing a Pulmonary Embolism. The chances of surviving this trauma is very slim and set us back another week to begin surgery number one to remove the colon.
Fast-forward to November 3rd, the surgery day had finally arrived! Rusty went through a five-and-a-half-hour surgery to remove the colon and create a temporary stoma. As his surgeon was removing the colon, it was rupturing, but everything went fairly well considering it was one of the worst colons his surgeon had operated on. The recovery process would be two-three months before the second operation. This was to ensure proper healing and reduce the risk of sepsis.
During the week following the procedure, Rusty was hospitalized for dehydration and Portal Vein Thrombosis which is a blood clot between his liver and intestines. We were referred to a hematologist to check for a possible clotting disorder, and Rusty suffers from Factor 5 Leiden which is a mutation that causes abnormal clots within the veins. He is now facing blood thinners for the rest of his life.
Because his case has turned out to be so unique along with many complications, his surgeon recommended the J-pouch formation, surgery number two, to take place at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. This is a one-time opportunity to form the J-pouch. If anything goes wrong, the J-pouch will not form properly causing his body to reject the operation. The Cleveland Clinic has the most experience forming these pouches and why Rusty’s surgeon recommended he travel to increase his chances of success. He will be assigned a team of doctors to analyze his medical history and come up with the best plan of action.
We created this GoFund me page in hopes to raise money for Rusty and Tami to make the trip to Cleveland a bit easier. They will travel once for a consultation, and a second time for the big surgery number two. They are facing high medical bills due to Rusty’s surgeries, hospital stays, and future surgeries. Rusty and Tami have both given many years to children and families within Sevier County and have always tried to be a pillar of support to those who need it. Right now, they could really use some extra income and a whole lot of prayers. Our family has been tremendously blessed, and God definitely still has a purpose for Rusty. If nothing else, please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers. We have at least two major surgeries to go, but Rusty remains in good spirits and will always be Superman to our family. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read his story. God bless!
- Sue Miller
- Shandi Brumfield
- Tena Roberson
- Addrinna Crigger
- Dawna Linger
Organizer and beneficiary
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