Mike & Emily Sherels´ story
As a former football player who turned collegiate coach, Mike knew about pushing through physical boundaries and dealing with pain. Despite his short bowel syndrome, he is back on the field coaching, doing what he wants to do.
Prove people are wrong; show them you can do it
Mike had most of his small intestine removed and was told that he may never eat again. After surgery, the remaining part of his small intestine was not capable of absorbing the nutrition and fluids Mike needed to live, so he became dependent on total parenteral nutrition (TPN) to survive. Over time, Mike was able to eat again. “It felt good to prove people wrong. To show them that I could do it.”
“Food has always been something I've enjoyed.” Eating is a very social thing and many American holidays are centered around food.
Set goals and work with your medical team to achieve them
In the beginning, his wife Emily was in charge of Mike’s TPN, she was invaluable. Emily was in constant contact with the medical doctors to optimize his treatment. Eventually, Mike became responsible for his TPN. It helped him feel less of a burden to other people “my wife would never call me a burden but is has more to do with how I feel, and it makes me feel independent.”
Mike´s ultimate goal is to be completely free of TPN. Part of that goal is outside of his control “I think that there's enough eyes on it right now, and the right type of people, that it's a possibility.” Mike is very demanding, trying to figure out what he can do next to continue improving: “I tell people all the time that I'm a horrible patient. I guarantee my doctors and nurses get sick of me.” He wants short bowel syndrome to be a small part of his life and not define him in any way.
Going from 10 to 8 hours of TPN was probably the biggest jump for Mike
Initially, Mike's TPN was reduced from twelve hours to ten hours. It made a positive difference, but still impeded Mike in his everyday life. He would have to wear his TPN backpack into the office the next day “at work with a TPN backpack and cords hanging out of everywhere: that doesn´t do much for trying to convince people you are healthy and can do the job.”
For Mike, the biggest impact so far on his life came when he reduced time spent on TPN from ten hours to eight hours. “It was probably the largest jump. I'm trying to test the limits of my body, to get it to absorb more and more food.” He used to do TPN seven days a week, now he is down to six days of TPN and 5 days are in the horizon.