"For the last 11 years, UCLA has been there for me and my family. From the birth of our daughter to my continued care, UCLA has become an integral part of our family. As we move forward, we will continue to be proud supporters. We realize that with the help of donors in the past, we are able to tell our story today. We will continue to give back. Thank you, UCLA, for welcoming us, caring for us, and allowing us to be part of the Bruin Family."
On September 15, 2010, Jacqueline gave her husband Doug one last kiss before surgery to have the majority of his colon removed. "Like any spouse, I was worried and scared. We had a five-year-old, and I kept thinking, 'Here we were again.' I was hoping and praying that his quality of life would improve and allow him to live a life outside of the bathroom."
Doug was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, an inflammatory disorder of the intestines that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, when he was 16. At that time, there wasn't much information or understanding of it, and he was in and out of treatment at the Cleveland Clinic and a small hospital near his college in Pittsburgh.
Doug relocated to the Los Angeles area in January 2000 and began his search for the right healthcare facility. Armed with his thick book of medical files, he found Internist Dr. Carol Mangione and began his long journey with UCLA Health. Doug knew from his first visit that Dr. Mangione was a phenomenal doctor; she further demonstrated her dedication to patients by going above and beyond his expectations with each visit, genuinely caring about everything happening with his health.
Dr. Mangione connected Doug with the right specialists and surgeons at UCLA. In 2002, when the Crohn's condition created a stricture, he met Dr. Jonathan Sack, a colon and rectal surgeon, and shortly after that, Dr. Bennett Roth, a gastroenterologist. Doug's defenses were up; he didn't want surgery. Both doctors worked closely with him to establish various treatments.
Eventually, the disease's effects were far too excruciating and damaging to his health and quality of life. For his initial surgery, Doug was in the hospital for two weeks. But along the way, every single person involved with his treatment kept him updated and consistently reached out to him. In 2006, he underwent an additional three surgeries, which changed his life profoundly. Doug had established a family at UCLA -- his doctors and nurses treated him with exceptional care and support.
"Walking into the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, I was awestruck at the improvements from the old hospital. I was comforted by the genuine care and compassion shown to me from the moment we parked the car to the moment I went home. UCLA is more than an academic-medical center; it is part of my family." The comfort that Jacquie felt throughout the whole ordeal was just as important. "....I never felt alone. The entire time the team of specialists never left us worrying because of the lack of information.... Dr. Sack's team never gave up, despite complications.... They not only saved my husband, but they also saved a father of a little girl who will some day understand and be thankful herself."
With his quality of life returned, Doug made the choice to give back to UCLA through Partnership for Care. "It's natural to give back to places that have given so much to you." He is also an Advocate for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Association, and last spring he attended Irritable Bowel Disease Day on Capitol Hill, where he met with Congress to share his story. He came back energized, charged, empowered, and feeling that even one voice can promote change.
Since his first surgery, Doug has discovered a passion for photography. He's taken classes at UCLA Extension. He has combined that passion with travel, with his wife and daughter (born at UCLA). Moreover, he remains connected with his physicians and extended family at UCLA Health. He is sharing his time, knowledge, and experience in the hope that others with similar diseases can experience the same type of care.