Patient Stories

Sara’s life was being spent undergoing multiple procedures and treatments for ulcerative colitis until meeting Dr. Kiran, for a consultation on k-pouch surgery.
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Since his weight loss surgery with Dr. Bessler in 2017, Bill reports losing over 150 pounds and reversal of his type 2 diabetes.
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Karin wants everyone to know about her experience having intraoperative radiation therapy for breast cancer.
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Diabetic since age 16, Brian Seaman longed to be a carefree kid. But when he passed out at work, dizzy and disoriented from low blood sugar, reality caught up with him. Taking insulin every day and monitoring his blood sugar had to be his new normal.
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Photo: Birgit Siceloff, transplant coordinator at NYP/Columbia in 1993 and now at NYP/Weill Cornell; Richard Welti, Sean’s uncle; Chelsea Kunzli Fennelly, Sean’s daughter; Deborah Songailo-Cottrill, Sean’s cousin; Dr. Craig Smith; Sean Kunzli
A congenital heart condition didn’t stand in the way of Sean and his thirst for life and devotion to his family.
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Fibro is short for Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma, a wily and unpredictable disease that behaves differently from any other liver cancer. It’s ultra-rare, with only 200 new cases diagnosed in the world each year, and is devastating for teens and young adults. When Jackson Hendrix was diagnosed as an eighth-grader in 2015, a complex surgery saved his life. Now he wants to study medicine.
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May of 2016 was an exciting time for Tony Rafaniello. Now retired as an assistant principal and basketball coach, Tony and his wife Dale were preparing for a trip to Italy and a cruise around the Isle of Sicily. His mind often drifted to all he would do, see and eat in the weeks ahead. Two days before departure, he woke up with terrible stomach pain. “I was nauseous and throwing up,” Tony says. “My wife’s a nurse at a New Jersey hospital, so we drove there right away.” In the ER, Tony was given some pain medication. Then, suddenly, he passed out. For the next ten days, he was unconscious, breathing with the aid of a ventilator.
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Sylvia George was first diagnosed with advanced localized pancreatic cancer in May of 2017. It started with unexplained back pain, a vague symptom that led Sylvia to make an appointment with her GP. After a CT scan found a spot on her pancreas, the biopsy then confirmed the diagnosis.
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Sick from the age of 4, Daniel had endured 24 operations for Crohn’s disease and recurring hernias, before he found relief thanks to the innovative surgical repairs done by Dr. Yuri Novitsky, director of the Comprehensive Hernia Center. Now in his early 40s, Daniel is making up for lost time.
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Larry Grunfeld was enjoying an active retirement until he was stopped by a large and painful hernia. After minimally invasive surgery pioneered by Dr. Yuri Novitsky, director of the Comprehensive Hernia Center, Larry is back on the golf course and hiking and swimming to his heart’s content.
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