Five months after Jordie’s third birthday, a colonoscopy revealed she had ulcerative colitis, a gastrointestinal disease with no known cure. Within one week of being diagnosed, she was hospitalized at Children’s Colorado with nearly every symptom associated with the disease.
The next years of Jordie’s life consisted of numerous hospitalizations, colonoscopies, rounds of steroids and medications with side effects. Her condition worsened, and in 2008, she prepared to have a total colectomy, the removal of all but three centimeters of her large intestines.
Jordie spent three weeks at Children’s Colorado on a diet of broth, popsicles and Jell-O before having the first of three surgeries. Her colon was removed and a stoma and a colostomy bag were placed. In June, doctors created a “J Pouch” by attaching the small intestines to the remaining three centimeters of her colon. Finally, the stoma was removed months later so Jordie could resume normal GI function.
“For Jordie, the colectomy turned out to be better than expected,” said Jordie’s mom, Denise. “She made an amazing recovery.”
Jordie’s parents often wondered how they would deal with Jordie’s disease if they didn’t live so close to Children’s Colorado.
“There are not enough words to describe how grateful we are to the Children’s Colorado staff. Not just doctors and nurses, but food services, housekeeping, gift shop employees, blood bank staff, volunteers and valets,” Denise said.
Even though Jordie suffers from arthritis in her lower extremities, today she is active and doing well. She is now 12 years old and loves to play the guitar, dance, and has plans to be a veterinarian.
“Even though her ankles and knees don’t want to keep up some days, she is your typical tweenager in every other way,” said Denise.
She also gives back to Children’s Colorado by offering guidance, insights and suggestions for families with similar situations. “I will not let my disease get in the way of what I want to do, and enjoying what I do,” she said.