OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma mother of two and former personal trainer wasted away for months while doctors tried to figure out her strange symptoms.
She said she didn’t have any answers until the only dedicated Inflammatory Bowel Disease team in Oklahoma connected the dots.
“My body kept deteriorating and deteriorating. Then, it just went flat,” said Michelle Fick.
Fick said she started feeling sick in January 2022.
After months of not keeping food down, diarrhea, and bleeding she became weak and exhausted. Sometimes she would fall asleep mid-conversation.
“In September of last year, I passed out at home,” said Fick. “Like, I busted my head. I had to get stitches. It was crazy.”
While on vacation in Washington DC, the former personal trainer could barely walk the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
“I could do five steps. I had to stop, catch my breath. I did the next five steps and then that’s when it hit me. I’m like, ‘Something is really wrong,'” said Fick.
At this point, the 5’7″ woman weighed only 106 pounds.
Fick’s doctors at Mercy Hospital didn’t give up.
During treatment for anal fissures, a partial colonoscopy was completed. The doctor found something.
“He found four spots that he sent over to the pathologist,” said Fick.
It was Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract.
Fick felt relieved.
“It was just like, ‘Oh, thank you, Lord. Finally.'” said Fick.
Michelle was sent to Dr. Hussein Bitar at Mercy’s new clinic that’s dedicated to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Its the only one of its kind in the state.
“She was really, really sick,” said Dr. Bitar. “We made the decision right there on the phone to get her admitted to the hospital.”
“They had to do a blood transfusion and iron fusion, major steroids,” said Fick. “Just because my body, it just dropped. It was scary.”
Bitar said the clinic has access to the latest research and treatment and Fick was a candidate for an off-label treatment still awaiting FDA approval.
“The inflammation was in the large bowel. So in this area here and when I got to do her colonoscopy after starting treatment, there was a really tremendous improvement in the inflammation. Little to no inflammation,” said Dr. Bitar while pointing at a diagram.
Fick told News 4 she doesn’t want other patients like her to give up hope.
“You know your body best. And so that’s what you have to take care of,” said Fick.
Fick now weighs about 123 lbs. and is building up her muscles in physical therapy.
Fick’s goal was to feel well enough to go on a spring break trip with her daughter. She has met that goal. As of Monday, they are in Houston and will be going to New York on Wednesday.