First they took his stomach. Then they came after his intestines.
And now, some 25 years after Adam Hyman had those vital organs removed, they’re coming after his kidneys.
The former Newtown resident and sub-three-hour marathoner has been through so many medical challenges in his life, he looks at this latest health crisis as just another hurdle to be cleared.
Due to a rare disease – Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome – he first suffered as a teenager, Hyman has learned to make do without essential body parts for decades.
This time, he’s going to need your help, namely a donor.
Right now, it’s about patience and trust in the medical system. Hyman, 45, has been existing with that mantra seemingly forever.
“You have no choice, you have to overcome it,’’ he says. “It’s a stumble in the road and you just have to go over it.
“I’ve been through so much in my life. Doctors have already presented (kidney) dialysis and there’s no way I want to deal with that. They said, ‘Why?’ I said I’ve been hooked to machines my whole life. I’m totally over that. I don’t want to do it. They’ve perfected kidney transplants. Hopefully I get it and can move on.’’
For information on becoming a possible donor, visit hospitals.jefferson.edu (Living Donor Kidney Transplant – Jefferson University Hospitals).
“When we find a donor, we’ll do it,’’ he says. “If you don’t have a living donor, it (timeframe) can be five to seven years. If we can find a donor, we can get the process going sooner than later, which would be great.’’
When Hyman was about 13, doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia discovered an inoperable tumor that secreted so much acid, it was literally eating the boy alive.
Surgeons had no choice but to remove his entire stomach. If not, he would have bled to death. Five years later, the condition worsened and Hyman had to undergo another series of operations. This time, large portions of his intestinal system were removed.
In his darkest hour, Hyman thought his life was over. The operating team was so uncertain of which way he was going, they left his abdomen open to save time in case of emergency.
“They told my parents, ‘In 24 or 48 hours, if he makes it, we’ll go back in and see what we can do.’ I was in a coma for 20 days,’’ Hyman told me back in 1998.
Hyman recovered enough to complete his studies at George Washington High School and Beaver College. Today, he’s back at CHOP, only this time he’s helping those who helped save his life back in the ‘90s.
Over the years, his fabulous race times (10 miles in an hour, half-marathon in 1:18, 10K in 36 minutes) have slowed a bit but he’s still as competitive as ever.
A positive spirit helps.
“I’m happy I’m still able to run,’’ he says. “I had one knee replacement. I’m not going to win anything but just let me go out, enjoy it and be as competitive as I can be.’’
Adam now lives in Philly because of the short commute to CHOP but maintains close ties with the Bucks County Roadrunners Club. He’s been getting a lot of support from BCRR members and friends on Facebook.
“It’s great,’’ he says. “They say the world is changing but there are people out there who deep down care about you.’’
BCRR’s Mike Gross happens to be one of those.
“Adam is beyond tough,’’ Gross says. “The fact that he’s a former sub-three marathoner boggles my mind. It’s not fair that he has another battle but I know this much: There is no one tougher to handle this. I ask everyone to please get tested to see if you may be a compatible donor.’’
Joe Boyce of BCRR adds: “Adam has always amazed me. His speed, his toughness, the way he overcomes obstacles. Everyone who has run with him looks forward to him overcoming his next battle.
What Hyman said 20 years ago, still rings true today.
“As long as you stay strong and have a good support system, like I do with my family, you can get through battles. I’m going to do as much as my body can stand.’’
Rock Run ready
It might not be 3.1 miles as the crow flies between Council Rock North and South High Schools, but it can be if you take a scenic detour through Tyler State Park.
That’s what participants in the Rock Run 5K will be doing on Saturday, Nov. 24.
The race starts at 9 a.m. at CR South in Holland, takes runners through Tyler and finishes on the track at Walt Snyder Stadium at CR North.
A portion of the proceeds go to CR North and South cross country and indoor/outdoor track teams and to “Athletes Helping Athletes.
To register, volunteer or sponsor, visit www.RockRunBucks.com.
5K Run for Walsh, 10 a.m., Quakertown. Contact www.runsignup.com