Tony is a retired engineer. Following ill health and emergency surgery to remove part of his bowel, he underwent an abdominal wall reconstruction with Biodesign Hernia Repair Graft. Tony is sharing his story through a series of posts on this blog. Read the first post here.
How did you come to hear about Cook Medical?
“I got a call from my surgeon to come in. This was the same surgeon who had removed my ischemic bowel. On the way to the hospital we were worried. We thought ‘here we go again, there’s something else after going wrong’… But then my surgeon said he had come up with three options for me: a) we can leave you as you are and you can stay on anti-depressants for the rest of your life; b) we can fix your hernias and leave the stoma too; or c) we may be able to give you an abdominal reconstruction and remove the stoma. When he said that I could have jumped six foot in the air! It was like a weight off my shoulders to know that there was something that could be done for me.”
Were you surprised when you learned that the graft was derived from the submucosa of pigs’ intestinal linings?
“When I was told it was made out of porcine submucosa and how it worked I was amazed. I always thought that it was going to be there for life, holding me together, but the graft acts as a scaffold. It gives the muscles a chance to heal and re-connect.”
How did the procedure go?
“I was in the operating theatre for about 5 or 6 hours. Afterwards I couldn’t eat for 2 weeks. Only sips of water and then soup. I remember that very well! I couldn’t get my head around what was happening. I started to feel normal again. I know my surgeon said we may be able to do this and we may be able to do that, but I never thought it could be like it was before I was sick.”
How has your life changed?
“The biggest difference is that now I look forward. Even at my age I look forward. What has been done for me I can’t believe — now I can go swimming with my grandson. Before that I couldn’t go into the water because I had a drain in me. If someone was drowning I would just strip off and get in there. Now my wife still keeps me on a tight rein — you can’t do this, you can’t do that. But what can I say… I’m 66 and looking forward to spending the next few years with my wife and grandchildren.”
Note: This story reflects the experience of one individual. Every hernia-repair case is unique. We at Cook can’t guarantee that every patient will experience the same level of success. Information included in this article should not be used as the basis for any treatment recommendation. This post is intended for US audiences only.