He Gave Me My Life Back
All summer and into the fall, Frank Kapusinski kept going to his office, even as worsening ulcerative colitis made completing routine tasks an ordeal. By the end of October, the litigator for the Bergen County Counsel lost 55 pounds and was bleeding from the GI tract multiple times a day. He was wracked by sharp abdominal pains.
“I had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis five years earlier, but it had never given me much trouble,” Frank says. “But as the fall progressed, I started getting worried. I realized it wasn’t going to resolve on its own with the treatment I was receiving.”
Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the innermost lining of the large intestine and rectum. Someone with a severe attack cannot absorb nutrients and can easily become dehydrated. Frank became so weak that he could barely pick up a hairbrush. “I dreaded getting on a scale,” he recalls.
As the fall progressed, Frank’s alarm grew. He was scared he would require surgery that would leave him dependent on a colostomy bag. And in his darkest moments, he feared that his 12-year old daughter would experience the pain he felt when he lost his mother as a child.
A recommendation from his wife led him to Dr. Jeffrey Raskin, a gastroenterologist at HackensackUMC Palisades. “When Frank came to see me in November, we both realized he was in trouble,” Raskin says.
Frank’s immediate impression was that he was in good hands. “When I met with Dr. Raskin, he spent an enormous amount of time with me answering questions.” Frank recalls. “He clearly understood ulcerative colitis and the latest approaches for treating it.”
Dr. Raskin immediately took steps to rule out other possible causes and keep Frank’s condition from deteriorating. “Because treatment involves suppressing the immune system, we had to make sure the cause of Frank’s condition was ulcerative colitis and not an infection,” Dr. Raskin says.
Dr. Raskin also realized Frank’s health was so precarious that turning it around required hospitalization. “Time was critical,” Dr. Raskin says. “Inpatient care enabled us to provide the intensive medical treatment he needed.” During the nine days at HackensackUMC Palisades, Frank was rehydrated, fed intravenously, and put on a temporary course of steroids that would give the long-term medications Raskin prescribed time to take effect.
“No one wants to be in the hospital, but I couldn’t have had a better experience in a lot of ways,” Frank says. “Everyone seemed personally invested in getting me better. Dr. Raskin even took a day off from his practice to attend a seminar in Manhattan and confer with other specialists on my case.”
By mid-December, Frank began feeling hopeful about his recovery, and, having regained 20 pounds, he returned to work on February 1. He now sounds buoyant, enthusiastic, and ready for anything life throws his way. “I owe it all to Dr. Raskin,” he says simply. “He gave me life back.”