Our story began 21 years ago, when at the time, my husband Bryan and I were just dating and he was entering his senior year of high school. He dropped 45 pounds, vomited until the blood vessels in his face would burst, and had debilitating pain in his abdomen most of the time. He ended up at the KU Med Center where they diagnosed him with Crohn’s disease and began treating him with some pretty nasty medicine that fixed some problems, but created alternate issues as well. He finally got hooked up with the wonderful Dr. Baum here in Topeka, and began to see some success in his treatment and response to it. He has had success in his treatment for the last 20 years with many different types of medications, along with a few unfortunate instances that landed him in the hospital. We have always felt like our ONLY choice and the SMARTEST CHOICE of Topeka Hospital was with Stormont Vail. We chose to have both of our wonderful children, Tagen and Brooke, delivered at Stormont due to their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Luckily with both of their deliveries, we did not need to utilize that department, but we felt more secure knowing it was there. In 2004 Bryan spent a week in the hospital due to a flare up with his Crohn’s disease, but the doctors and nurses got him back on track and well on his way back to his normal, but busy and active lifestyle. Bryan has always been a wonderful husband and father. He is very active in our lives and activities. He head coaches or assistant coaches for nearly all of our children’s sport teams and they are both very busy children with football, basketball, baseball, softball, and volleyball. He has played a major role in countless lives of other children and their successes as well. He always believed in their abilities and talents and helped them work through any difficulties and struggles that they might be facing at the time, even when he didn’t feel 100% himself. He never gave up on them. We will never give up on him either!! This last year has been our most difficult one yet. He has spent quite a bit of time in and out of the Stormont Vail Emergency room as well as spending quite a number of days admitted to the hospital as well. We had some of the most wonderful caring individuals during some of our visits here at Stormont Vail. We did not get the names of all of the wonderful people that we came in contact with, but did make note of a few of them that helped us out tremendously along the way. We had an amazing nurse the first night we spent at the Emergency Room and her name was Katie. She spent time getting to know Bryan and our family and helped us get pain relief for him as quickly as she could. She found out answers to all of our questions and even worked an hour later past the end of her shift just to stay with us until we got to our room on the 6th floor. Once we got to the sixth floor, when the morning shift started, we lucked out again with the most energetic, spunky, yet compassionate nurse we could even imagine. Her name was Lori. Lori wasn’t even working as a nurse on the 6th floor the following day, but made a point to come up and check on Bryan just to see how he was doing. AMAZING!! The last names that I had jotted down were those of Theresa, Rene and Maggie. They came in on a regular basis to check on Bryan and our family. They were so friendly and helpful in any way that we asked of them, and treated us with such respect and dignity. Sometimes it is hard to remain positive when you are lying in a bed in a hospital gown with an NG tube down your throat not knowing if you are ever going to feel well again, but they made it so that my husband could look on the bright side, smile a little bit, and remember his experience at the hospital as a positive one. I remember how touched my husband was when on Theresa Rene’s last shift for the week, she told him, “I hope you are not still here when I come back to work the next time, because that means you are feeling better, but I will miss having you here!” As life goes, sometimes things get better and sometimes our journey to a better life is a tough road. My husband just recently found out that in addition to his battle with Crohn’s Disease, he will now need to give the greatest fight of his life to beat Intestinal cancer. If I know anyone in this life who can put up a good fight, it is my husband Bryan. He is just stubborn and ornery enough to give it all he has. If there are other people out there in the world who have beat this disease, his competitive spirit is going to spark him to beat it as well. He never turned down a challenge in his life. He always takes challenges head on. And he knows that we will have friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, teammates, Doctors, and even the staff at Stormont Vail to help us fight this battle together! Together we will FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT to beat it!!