Stories of Impact

Olivia Wild's Story

In December of 2015, while most everyone was preparing for the holidays, seventeen year-old Olivia Wild was preparing for major surgery at Rochester General Hospital. Genetic testing had revealed that Olivia had familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), a rare, inherited condition that causes extra tissue (polyps) to form in the large intestine and other areas of the gastrointestinal tract. If left untreated, polyps in the colon can become cancerous in mid-life.

“We knew this genetic tendency ran in my family and I had been tested a few other times before with inconclusive results,” recalls Olivia. “But this time, after another round of testing, Dr. Stephen Rauh recommended surgery. I considered waiting, but with Christmas break coming up, my parents and I thought it was the right time.”

Guided by the DaVinci robot, Dr. Rauh, division chief for colon and rectal surgery, performed the delicate yet extensive process of removing most of Olivia’s large intestine. Olivia had hoped to spend minimal time in the hospital and was looking forward to coming home for Christmas. Unfortunately, her body had other plans.

“I felt so beat up and I was really nauseous for several days. I ended up getting dehydrated and needed to stay put for longer than we thought,” says Olivia.

Olivia was brought to the Riggs Family Surgical Care Unit for recovery. Here, as the result of a generous gift from Drs. Patrick and Gail Riggs as well as contributions from other donors, all of the patient rooms had been recently renovated and almost all converted to private spaces.

“My room was beautiful and so quiet. And I was so happy to be by myself!” Olivia chuckles a little while remembering her stay. “I know it sounds like such a small thing, but I really can’t imagine going through that with someone else in my room. I needed that time with peace and quiet to rest and just let my body recover.”

Olivia also reflects positively about her experience with the staff on the unit. “They were just so kind!” Again, she laughs. “I know, I know - that seems like it would be obvious, but really, everyone was so nice and attentive. The nurses, the techs – even housekeeping!  Everyone truly had my best interest in mind and I really felt like I was the only patient they had to care for. I mean, I know I wasn’t, but they made me feel that important.”

After her third day on the unit, Olivia says she ventured out of her room for a change in scenery. “I was still really sore, but wanted to move around a bit.” She says she enjoyed visiting with other patients in the family lounge, sitting by the fire place and absolutely loved sitting by the large wall of windows where she chatted a bit with the nurses at the Nurses Station.   

Olivia was released to her parents’ care the day after Christmas. Just four short months later, she was sporting a bikini while on vacation in Florida.

“Sure, I had scars, but I wasn’t embarrassed about them at all. My body had been through significant trauma, but I was fully recovered. Actually, I am more than fully recovered - I’m great!”

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