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Colon and Rectal Surgery Patient Stories

Abbie Perkovich

This Teacher Taught Her Doctors a Lesson in Courage
When Abbie Perkovich came to the University of Chicago Medicine as a young adult, she had been sidelined by inflammatory bowel disease. She met with David T. Rubin, MD, who created a comprehensive treatment plan that kept Perkovich's symptoms in remission for many years. But eventually the medications were no longer enough to keep the disease under control. Rubin and colorectal surgeon Konstantin Umanskiy, MD, recommended the surgical removal of her colon (large intestine). Perkovich agreed and, today, the fifth-grade teacher has regained her strength and active lifestyle.

Taylor Murphy

Rolling with the Waves: Life After Rectal Cancer
At just 19 years old and with no family history of cancer, Taylor Murphy's life was upended when she received a startling diagnosis: rectal cancer. With help from a multidisciplinary team at the University of Chicago Medicine, as well as a first-of-its-kind procedure, Murphy is a 22-year-old college graduate with a positive outlook.

At just 19 years old and with no family history of cancer, Taylor Murphy's life was upended when she received a startling diagnosis: rectal cancer. With help from a multidisciplinary team at the University of Chicago Medicine, as well as a first-of-its-kind procedure, Murphy is a 22-year-old college graduate with a positive outlook.

Active Again After Crohn's Disease and Colon Cancer
Erika Kielhorn Hefke of Marquette, Mich., was diagnosed with IBD at age 15. After being treated at a local hospital, her mother brought her to see David T. Rubin, MD, and the experts at the University of Chicago Medicine IBD Center. Over the years, Rubin tailored Hefke's treatment to her unique and evolving needs. He also encouraged her to have regular colonoscopies -- a recommendation that may have saved her life. Today, Hefke works as family nurse practitioner, caring for patients with chronic illness. She also enjoys kayaking, camping, swimming and running.

Mary Shedd

Woman Chooses Laparoscopic Surgery for Effective Colon Cancer Treatment
Using his own hand-drawn illustrations, Konstantin Umanskiy, MD, helped Mary Shedd understand why minimally invasive surgery was the best treatment option to help her beat colon cancer. Umanskiy performed a laparoscopic lower anterior bowel resection--an alternative to open abdominal surgery--to remove the cancerous tissue from Shedd's colon. Following the procedure, she experienced no complications, a quick recovery, and minimal scarring.

Michelle and Elana Jahnke

Celebrating New Life After Cancer
Soon after Michelle Jahnke learned she was pregnant with her first child, doctors discovered the 30-year-old had stage 3 rectal cancer. Other physicians told Jahnke she needed to terminate the pregnancy because her unborn child would not survive the surgery and radiation therapy needed to treat the cancer. But with the help of seven UChicago Medicine specialists, Jahnke beat cancer and delivered a healthy baby girl.