PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A 19-year-old visiting family in Pittsburgh for the holidays will eat his first Thanksgiving meal after undergoing an isolated bowel transplant.

Almost immediately after he was born, Michael was diagnosed with neuronal intestinal dysplasia, which is an inherited disease affecting the neurons leading to the intestines, preventing digestion. His family was told he would be on a lifetime of total parenteral nutrition, a method of feeding where fluids are given directly into the vein to provide nutrients.

(Photo Provided By Mount Sinai Hospital)

For Thanksgiving, his family will travel from Syracuse to Pittsburgh to visit his dad’s family. He comes here every year, but this year, he’ll be able to sit at the table and actually eat with his family.

Michael underwent a successful isolated bowel transplant this summer at the Mount Sinai Hospital.

The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City says that for nearly most of his life, Michael had to be hooked up to a machine that would pump fluids. In 2008, he began to have recurrent GI bleeding, meaning blood would show up in his ostomy bag.

As the bleeding became worse, doctors decided that a transplant would be the best option.

Then in June 2019, Michael got the call from a transplant team member who said they had an organ for him.

(Photo Provided By Mount Sinai Hospital)

After the surgery, for the first time in his life, Michael ate a slice of pizza with the doctor who preformed the transplant by his side.

Micahel says it’s nice to be able to eat meals, try new foods and participate in the social aspect of eating — all things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.