Lee Levknecht

Lee Levknecht, HPN Consumer

Lee’s life with HPN began when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in January 1969. He was finishing his last year at the University of Montana. He weighed 205 lbs. When he finished his student teaching in the spring, he was down to 150 lbs. His health deteriorated to a point where he had to cancel his first teaching contract. For the next nine years, Lee averaged one surgery about every three years. First, a section of small bowel was removed, then an ileostomy was performed, and lastly, he had surgery on a stomach that was ready to perforate. In December 1977, he ended up in the hospital dehydrated, at a weight of 105 lbs. Lee says, “It was a bleak time in my life. I did not see improvement as a possibility. Then a special blessing occurred. I received a visit from a gastroenterologist that had just transferred from the Mayo Clinic. He shared with me about a new program that would feed me intravenously.” Within a week, Lee had a central venous catheter surgically placed to receive this IV nutrition. Lee says he could feel a change in his body even when he first woke up from surgery, laying in the recovery room: “I felt strength and energy again. I was extremely grateful for this renewal of life.” For the next twenty years, Lee’s “daily feedings” allowed him to coach baseball and basketball. As a result of the Disability Act of 1990, he returned to school and earned an MSED in School Counseling. He recently retired after twenty-two years working with elementary students. Lee stays physically active with biking, golf, cross-country skiing, and tennis. He is also involved with ministries for the cognitively disabled, nursing home residents, and youth from his church. Lee is also an Oley Ambassador. He and his wife, Jane, have been married for fifteen years (2016).