Feb 7, 2014
11:39 AMHealth & Wellness
Connecticut Teen Sees Feeding Tube as Inspiration to, Well, Skydive
Nineteen-year-old Andrew Bodnar of Burlington is more active today with his feeding tube than he was before the volvulus, a twist in his intestines, forced surgeons to remove the majority of his small intestine in 2009. Bodnar now receives home enteral nutrition (HEN) therapy 18 hours a day.
“When your life is suddenly on the line, you look back and say what have I done? I have to do these things before I can’t anymore,” Bodnar said.
He graduated from Oliver Wolcott Technical High School in 2013, and is currently a freshman at Tunxis Community College in Farmington. where he studies criminal justice and computer information systems. He hopes to go into computer forensics one day.
Bodnar has also excelled in Boy Scouts to become an Eagle Scout, started swimming again and repelled off a 17-story building, among other personal accomplishments since getting his feeding tube.
What’s on his list of things to try? Skydiving--an answer that causes his mother to squirm in her chair.
“We’re thankful that he’s a stubborn teenager and he wants to prove everyone and everything they say wrong,” said Bodnar’s mother, Robin.
“Living with a tube doesn’t mean you can’t go do this. It just makes me want to do more--to prove to people that you can go skydiving with these tubes,” said Bodnar.
This year, Feeding Tube Awareness Week runs from Feb. 9 through Feb. 15, and the theme, “Nothing Can Hold Us Back,” is one that Bodnar can personally relate to.
They say it might have been a birth defect that caused his intestines to twist, sending him into septic shock, but doctors don’t really know. Had Bodnar’s parents not gotten him to the hospital in time, he likely would have died.
“The doctor came out of surgery and said, ‘I wish I could tell you it was a burst appendix,’” said Robin Bodnar.
She was in shock because up until that point, she thought a burst appendix was the worst thing that could happen to her child. The reality of the situation was much more dire.
Doctors removed over 20 feet of Bodnar’s intestines, leaving him with just 40 to 44 centimeters instead of the 22 feet most people have. Instead of winding around inside his body, Bodnar’s intestines descend in a straight line. His mother explained there is a 10 minute transit time from his mouth to his colon.