MINNEAPOLIS - A procedure that no one would envy has given a Twin Cities woman the ability to live a normal life again.
Kris Penfield couldn't have been happier to spend her morning at the Fairview Maple Grove Medical Center.
For the better part of the last five months, she has battled C Difficile, a treacherous bacteria that causes life-threatening bowel inflammation giving her diarrhea about 15 times a day.
"I just want someone to help me. I want my life back and that is what it's amounted to," Penfield said before the procedure.
Kris tried to fight off the disease with what modern medicine gave her, thousands of dollars worth of antibiotics, but it didn't work.
That's when she started her own research and found what many are calling the miracle cure, a fecal transplant. A doctor leading the way in providing the surgical option was right here in Minnesota.
Dr. Alexander Khoruts.
"The patients who are getting this procedure have failed every standard therapy. They are a pretty hard core group of patients," Khoruts said.
Over the past 3 years, Khoruts has done around 150 fecal transplants. His success rate is better than 90 percent.
How it works, is very simple.
"We take some fecal matter from a normal donor. It goes to the lab and gets filtered so that we can isolate the microbial fraction and then it's put into the patients," Khoruts said.
It's basically a colonoscopy, but the syringes with fecal matter are added and then put into the patient.
The donors are completely healthy and anonymous.
And what happens is in patients like Kris who have been treated with antibiotics, the normal bacteria have been killed off so it's wide open space for microbes that work.
Working microbes are what is in the fecal matter going into Kris and that is what she needs to kick C-Diff once and for all.
"I'm very optimistic and very strongly believe this is the technique that has to happen," Kris said moments before going under for the 20-minute procedure.
And just 11 days later?
The difference is so dramatic. Kris is no longer afraid to leave the house something she didn't do for nearly five months.
"I just feel better about everything. I feel alive. That's what I wanted and that's why I emailed to Dr. K, as we were going back and forth. I just I want my life back," Kris said smiling.
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