Jonathan was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 20. His disease lead to four bowel resections, and “eventually, I had so little small bowel left that the other organs – the kidneys, the liver, the pancreas – started taking over and doing the job of the intestines.” The stress on his other organs eventually lead to organ failure, beginning with his kidneys.
Although Jonathan lived in Cincinnati, he traveled to Pittsburgh for his transplant surgery after researching their intestinal transplant program. “We made a decision that UPMC was the place to have the transplant done because… UPMC pioneered much of the work on intestinal transplants.”
The plan was to replace his kidney, liver and pancreas. Jonathan ended up with 3 other new organs after doctors saw the state of his small bowel, large bowel, and duodenum (connects the esophagus to the stomach). Since his surgery four and a half years ago, Jonathan has been getting back to things he enjoyed before he lost much of is energy to Crohn’s disease – traveling, camping, kayaking, and spending time with his family. “I’m 100%. I’m doing great… I certainly feel that I’ve had a second chance at life.”