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Dr. Brian Stork – #ILookLikeASurgeon

Dr. Brian Stork is an amazing surgeon, thinker and compassionate man who I was fortunate enough to “meet” through his insightful tweets.  As it turns out, his partner Dr. Joe Salisz was a fellow honoree for the Great Comebacks Award!  It was an honor to write this guest post for his blog.  Here’s a teaser, but you can view the entire post HERE.  Then, read some of his other reflections and amazing insights on his own blog.  Follow Dr. Salisz @jsalisz – he’s a real hero, as well as the inventor of StomaCloak Pat Camp, a retired Ostomy nurse.

Amy’s Story

I’ve been through many ups and downs over the past decade, but with the help of my friends, I’ve made comeback after comeback. – Amy Oestreicher

Amy Oestreicher OstomateIn 2005, I suffered a coma, a ruptured stomach, and underwent a total gastrectomy. When I awoke from my coma, I was told by my doctors that my stomach exploded. I couldn’t eat or drink, and it was not known when, or if, I’d ever be able to again.

With the expertise, audacity and innovative thinking of surgeons from seven hospitals, many 19-hour surgery marathons, and multiple shifts of nurses and doctors, I was miraculously reconstructed with the intestines that I had left.

Over time, I made slow, but steady steps towards recovering my “personhood.” I learned to sit upright again. When my tracheotomy was removed, I started to talk. Once my hands were no longer shaky from the medications, I began to write and doodle. With time, patience, resilience, and persistence, the “me” I remembered started to come back – the “me” that 26 surgeries could never take away.

Making a Comeback


By 2012, I felt like I had finally made the “great comeback”.  I had written, starred, and directed myself in “Gutless & Grateful,” a one-woman musical about my life. I was happy, healthy, and had an ostomy. But everything is better in retrospect.  At that time, I felt I was happy and healthy, BUT, I had an ostomy.

So I took a risk.  I underwent an elective surgery to reverse my ostomy. Unfortunately, this elective surgery turned into three emergency surgeries within eight days, an ileostomy, a nicked bladder, a fistula, and a wound that will never close.

An Ostomy Nurse Helps with the Setback…

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