Unable to control his flare-ups with medication, Dennis underwent surgery to remove his colon and, eventually, construct an internal J-Pouch.
In his quest to find out more about living with an ostomy, Dennis found that much of the content regarding bowel diseases and ostomies was stale, uninteresting, and definitely not geared toward people his age. It was during this time that he decided to use his interest in communications to create the website www.UCVlog.com.
To date, Dennis and his website partner, 2009 Ina Brudnick Award recipient Nadia Faud Dean, have posted more than 150 videos chronicling their ostomy surgeries and providing tips from sleeping and showering with an ileostomy to living with an external or internal pouch. Their videos have been viewed hundreds of thousand of times by people from all over the world,” says Dennis “People email me daily asking questions or just looking for a friend who understands what they are going through.”
“Many of my viewers are very worried about ostomy surgery. Everybody assumes it will limit their lives, but I tell people that ostomies give life back!”
“Many of my viewers are very worried about ostomy surgery. Everybody assumes it will limit their life, but I tell people that ostomies give life back!” he adds.
Dennis, 24, of Fargo, ND, also helps to raise funds for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, gathers supplies for ostomates in Haiti and volunteers as a counselor at Camp Oasis, a camp for children with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. He is currently working on his master’s degree in communication at North Dakota State University and hopes to complete research that will provide insight into how the internet has affected the way people communicate about health issues.