Thursday Night Football Featured the Colorado Doctor That Saved My Friend’s Life
It's not often you watch a football game and see someone you know, let alone a person who saved a friend's life.
There I was, watching Thursday Night Football at Rock Bottom in Loveland. The Giants weren't losing as bad as people said they would to the Patriots (yet,) when they went to a commercial break, and a familiar voice came on.
Usually, I know all the commercials by the sound, because most times I'm into my phone during the breaks. This one commercial came on, though, that I did not recognize. I looked up and almost spit my beer. 'I know that guy!'
There was a new commercial for Centura Health. They must have a series going on about how their physicians were inspired to take on the profession. The one that I saw featured Dr. John Sun. This is the man that saved my friend's life.
My friend's name is Nicole. She's my ex-fiance, but we've remained good friends since we broke up over 10 years ago.
While we were together, Nicole was diagnosed with Hirschsprung Disease; a rare, genetic condition where there is an absence of ganglion cells in the colon, which causes the muscles in the bowels to lose their ability to move stool through the intestine.
Usually, this is found when those afflicted are infants in the hospital. A 'the baby can come home once they fill their diaper,' kind of thing. Nicole's condition had her leaving the hospital undiagnosed and suffering for most of her life. After years of misdiagnosis (no amount of laxatives helped her condition,) an E.R. doctor mentioned the disease when we went in because she couldn't pee.
I remember him asking if there was anything else going on. I said, 'She doesn't poop.' 'Sounds like Hirschsprung's.' We'd never hear of it, but after looking into it, it seemed pretty clear that this was the case. After a biopsy confirmed the illness as Hirschsprung's, it was time to talk surgery: the large intestine would have to go.
We went right to searching for the right surgeon. The longer that she went without getting something done, the bigger her chances of dying due to sepsis (her intestines rupturing.)
Enter Dr. Sun.
He specializes in colon/rectal surgeries in the Denver area, mostly the colon cancer kind. He was more than familiar with Hirschsprung's, though he hadn't seen that many cases with a person being in their 20's. Nicole did have the choice of two different surgeons with two different plans on how to proceed. She liked Dr. Sun and his plan: Two major surgeries taking out her large intestine and putting her small intestine in charge.
He was very nice. He had a very calming demeanor. It was scary for everyone. Dr. Sun, however, was not afraid.
He did it. He saved her life.
Today, Nicole is happy and healthy; rooting for the CSU Rams, blasting Bruce Springsteen whenever she gets the chance, and forever grateful to Dr. Sun.
Nicole and I still get together often. A couple of years ago we went to see the latest Star Trek movie:
This Centura Health commercial (which as since been taken down) talked about how Dr. Sun's mother inspired him to become a physician; hopefully it inspired others to do the same.