About DOD | Dec 6 2019

When food is the enemy, a dietitian can help

Stephen Buczek with his parents

Stephen Buczek hasn’t eaten food since July. He’s fighting a battle against a severe case of Crohn’s disease that left him unable to eat, but thanks to TPN, Stephen still has a fighting chance to overcome his Crohn’s.

Stephen’s story has a special place in the heart of Dietitians On Demand. He is a high school classmate of Dietitians On Demand President, Ryan Davis. And the fact that TPN, a nutritional treatment managed by a dietitian, gives Stephen a chance to continue to fight – well, that’s something we’d like to shed light on.

The dietitian’s role

Outside of the Dietitians On Demand bubble, we know the public generally believes dietitians are the food police, here to tell you what superfood to eat so you can lose the most weight, but in our world, that’s rarely the case.

In fact, Stephen’s story is a much more accurate representation of what a dietitian actually does. The dietitians supporting Stephen are applying scientific, evidence-based and customized care that is literally saving his life.

Stephen’s story

Stephen was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease 24 years ago, he’s had 9 surgeries and has been on and off TPN several times. He now has just 8 feet of bowel left, and while Stephen is not at short bowel syndrome yet, his mother, Rosemary Buczek, said they’re at the end of the line for treatment options.

“We’ve tried the SCD diet, eliminated dairy, eliminated sugar, gone vegetarian, run through the gamete of medications and eventually, they all stop working,” Rosemary said. “Everything he eats irritates him.”

Stephen’s doctors say the only hope he has left is a stem cell transplant, and the transplant needs to be done before Steve loses any more of his bowel.

“If he reaches short bowel syndrome, at that point they wouldn’t give him the stem cell transplant,” Rosemary said.

Stephen Buczek

Stephen Buczek is surviving on TPN. He has Crohn’s disease and his only remaining treatment option is a stem cell transplant.

Asking for support

Rosemary and her husband have been supporting Stephen emotionally, physically and financially since he was diagnosed at age 19. Unfortunately, the stem cell transplant, Stephen’s only remaining option, comes at a price few can afford; $500,000 to be exact.

This holiday season, we see Steve’s fight against Crohn’s as a unique colliding of our two words – clinical dietetics and a dear friend. Those closest to Steve have started a GoFundMe page to raise funds to get him the stem cell transplant he needs. If you feel inclined to contribute to Stephen’s cause, thank you. And if you’re a dietitian out there caring for Stephen, or someone like Stephen, managing life-saving nutrition support, we see you, we appreciate you and we’re here to spread the word about the amazing work you do.

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