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ida palmer

patient name: Ida

age: 8

condition: Crohn’s disease/inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

seen in: gastroenterology

providers: Shelly Rustagi, MD

Ida was just three years old when she started having tummy troubles. Her pediatrician began treating her for chronic constipation but after one year of managing the symptoms, Ida’s constipation was unresolved, and her stomach pain was worse. Her pediatrician continued to search for answers, but nothing seemed to make Ida feel better.

this calls for specialty care

In January 2019, Ida was referred to Shelly Rustagi, MD, pediatric gastroenterologist at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Dr. Rustagi didn’t waste any time and began reviewing Ida’s history. Ida endured several tests and procedures including a colonoscopy and endoscopy which ultimately determined that Ida has inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

IBD is an autoimmune disease and chronic condition that causes parts of the intestine (bowel) to get red and swollen. Symptoms can include diarrhea, abdominal pain, low energy, problems around the anus and more. There are two classified types of IBD, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. It’s not always easy to classify IBD right away, sometimes it takes time for all the symptoms to reveal themselves.

It took seven months to determine that Ida has Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease differs from ulcerative colitis because inflammation can occur anywhere between the mouth and the anus, while ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon. In Ida’s case, her Crohn’s disease didn’t present like a textbook Crohn’s case and her IBD was considered indeterminate for a while.

After another colonoscopy and endoscopy, Dr. Rustagi enlisted the help of her gastroenterology peers to review Ida’s results. The consultation with her team allowed Dr. Rustagi to confirm Ida’s diagnosis of Crohn’s disease.

a scary flare up

A few months after her official diagnosis, Ida found herself being admitted to Dayton Children’s for abdominal pain and bleeding, symptoms common with Crohn’s disease. During her stay in the hospital, Ida had countless blood draws to monitor her red blood cells, as well as a colonoscopy and endoscopy to look for ulcers and inflammation.

Ida had a nasogastric (NG) tube placed to help her consume a solution that helped to empty her intestines. She was in so much pain that drinking the solution was too difficult. Dr. Rustagi also started Ida on new biologic medication to help reduce symptoms and encourage healing of the intestines.

While being sick and staying in a hospital can be scary, everyone involved in Ida’s care was amazing. Ida’s mom, Leah is especially appreciative of the care she has received from Dr. Rustagi.

“Dr. Rustagi’s dedication to her patients is evident,” said Leah. “Her willingness to talk to me even when she is at home with her family, shows how much she truly cares for Ida and all her patients.”

The start of Ida’s journey with Crohn’s disease was hard, but now she is doing well. She continues to follow up with Dr. Rustagi every three months to make sure her weight is maintaining and increasing appropriately. Ida also visits the infusion center at Dayton Children's every six weeks to receive IBD medication by IV (intravenous) therapy.

paying it forward

Rather than focusing on the struggles she may have with her disease, Ida decided to focus on raising awareness. In June 2021, Ida organized a fundraiser complete with food trucks, crafts and t-shirts, and her efforts paid off. She was able to raise nearly $3,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding the cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It was such a success that Ida hopes to do another fundraiser next summer!

"We always look forward to our visits with Dr. Rustagi because she always makes us feel heard, understood and cared for!"

If your child is experiencing symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, contact your primary care provider for recommended next steps.

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