Bloomington man has new outlook on life after GI diagnosis

“I had given up,” said Michael Gordon, 50, of Bloomington.

Michael had been dealing with constant pain for nearly five years. After many frustrating appointments with various doctors and no answers, Michael was not seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

“I frequently asked myself, ‘Why am I sick?’ … Wondering if I was going to have to live in pain for the remainder of my life,” Michael said.

Michael finally got the hope he was looking for when he was referred to Dr. Omar Khokhar, a gastrointestinal specialist at OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center.

Being heard


“I had seen so many doctors all over the country with no answers,” Michael said. “So I went into my appointment with Dr. Khokhar expecting it to be no different, but my attitude quickly changed.”

For once, Michael felt his voice was being heard, and his symptoms were being understood.

“It was so refreshing,” Michael said. “Dr. Khokhar instantly made me feel comfortable, and asked questions that other doctors had never taken the time to ask me before.”

Upon examination and multiple tests, Dr. Khokhar diagnosed Michael with systemic sclerosis. It is an autoimmune disorder of the connective tissue that can affect a number of areas of the body including muscles, heart, digestive system, kidneys and blood vessels.

“One visit with Dr. Khokhar changed everything,” Michael said. “He nailed down the issue I had been dealing with for nearly five years. It was a wonderful feeling.”

A better life

Since seeing Dr. Khokhar, Michael’s life has drastically changed for the better. Although his condition is not curable, he finally feels that his disease is being managed and treated.

“Dr. Khokhar has the ability to make you feel like you are his only patient,” Michael said. “The care he gives feels as though he is taking all of his spare time to help you feel better.

He doesn’t just care about you medically, he cares how you are doing emotionally – like you are one of his friends. I’ve never had a doctor treat me like that.”

Michael has undergone procedures at OSF St. Joseph for his systemic sclerosis. He believes the treatment he has received from the entire staff has lived up to his standards of exceptional patient care.

“Dr. Khokhar and the entire staff at OSF St. Joseph have helped me find comfort in an uncomfortable time,” Michael said. “I have never felt like just a name on a file. People treat me like I’m family there; like they actually care.”

Michael feels the relief he is experiencing is just the beginning. For once, he no longer sees hopelessness in his future – he sees longevity, raising his children and finally having a normal life again.

“Dr. Khokhar has given me a new outlook on life,” Michael said. “He assures me that he is not done, not quitting, and not giving up on treating my disease. Because of this, I no longer want to give up either.”