As a new retiree, Carol LaRosa looked forward to gardening, spending time with friends, and going out for dinner. In March 2022, this all changed when she suddenly lost the ability to digest food properly. Following an extended period of misery after each meal — and going to the bathroom more than a dozen times a day — Carol saw the experts at Emerson Health Gastroenterology. That is when she began to reclaim her life.
“One day, without any warning, I was no longer in control of my digestive system. I did not understand what was happening. My life shut down because I could not leave home for fear of having an accident. My digestive system was out of control.
“My primary care physician referred me to Emerson Health Gastroenterology. John Dowd, DO, performed a thorough assessment, including labs and imaging tests, then diagnosed me with blocked bile ducts and pancreatic enzyme insufficiency. The common treatment for this is a procedure called ERCP (short for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography). Due to a surgery I had 10 years earlier that altered the anatomy of my stomach, I needed a more complex procedure.
“Dr. Dowd consulted with Marvin Ryou, MD, a gastroenterologist specializing in complex abdominal issues. Soon after my appointment with Dr. Dowd, I met Dr. Ryou at Emerson.
“Dr. Ryou performed an advanced ERCP procedure called gastric access temporary for endoscopy, or GATE. Using a long flexible tube with a light that is designed for surgically altered anatomy, the procedure allowed him to confirm my diagnosis and clear the blockage. I went home the same day.”
Thankful Every Day
“The gastroenterology team transformed my life. Within a few days, I started to live without fear of sudden attacks. I returned to gardening and enjoying life again.
“Dr. Dowd and Dr. Ryou established a plan to fix my complicated stomach issues and bring normalcy back to my life. They thought through multiple scenarios and developed a comprehensive strategy that I trusted. Most importantly, they took the time to listen and get to know me as a person — not just my symptoms. They answered all of my questions and thoroughly explained the options and outcomes.
“Today, I have no dietary restrictions and do not take any medications for my stomach. I feel like I am alive again! I am thankful every day for the expert care I received at Emerson.”
For more information on digestive care at Emerson, visit emersonhealth.org/gastro.