Blog

‘A world of gratitude for saving my life’

Diane Wade

Diane Wade, 71, is a grateful patient who’s been living with diverticulitis – a condition that causes infection or inflammation in the intestines – for decades. After having surgery at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, she was inspired to make a generous gift in honor of her surgeon. This is her story in her own words.

My journey began when I had a colonoscopy about 40 years ago. I was told I had diverticulitis, although I didn’t understand what the disease was at the time or the full extent of what it entailed.

I spent the next 26 years without any major issues, but in the summer of 2016, I was going through my daily chores when I was hit with an intense pain in my stomach. My daughter took me to the emergency department at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago.

Doctors determined I had an abscess on or in my colon. They said I would need surgery, but I was scared and refused the procedure. Instead, a drainage pouch was placed on my stomach to remove the abscess. I spent a week in the hospital.

Still not fully understanding what living with diverticulitis meant, I did not make any dietary or exercise changes in my life. I had additional attacks over the next several years but continued to refuse surgery out of fear.

Then toward the end of 2020, I had two intense colon episodes – one over Thanksgiving and another in December. The pain was so bad I could hardly stand it. In addition to being treated for diverticulitis, doctors were also concerned about my heart.

One day, Dr. Bernetta Herron visited me in my room. She recommended I meet with Dr. Joaquin Estrada, a colon surgeon at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

In March 2021, my daughter and I had an initial consultation with Dr. Estrada. He had a warm demeanor about himself, which I liked. He told me he felt that he could help me.

A colonoscopy revealed a benign polyp and Dr. Estrada removed it. I had a CT scan and learned that I might need a colostomy bag. Ana Bedon, a registered nurse, showed me how it worked. She was an excellent instructor.

My surgery was on June 1, 2021. I was very nervous but ready. Dr. Estrada told me that he was not planning on a colostomy bag unless absolutely necessary. I was relieved and hopeful at the possibility of not having to wear one.

I was so pleased with Dr. Estrada. I am still recovering from the surgery and so happy that I do not have to wear any pads, drainage bags or any kind of bag anymore. I am also grateful that there was no cancer.

All in all, I owe Dr. Estrada and Dr. Herron – with God’s help – a world of gratitude for saving my life.

The Gastrointestinal Programs Fund at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center supports initiatives such as the Community Colon Cancer Screening Program, which provides free colon cancer screening kits, and the Continence Program, which collects sanitary products for patients who are unable to afford or who don’t have access to such products. To learn more, please contact Emily Wagner at emily.wagner@aah.org. To support these programs, please make a gift here.