Family shares story of survival on day bringing awareness to chronic stomach condition

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CLEVELAND (WJW)-- Lyra Craighead from Tennessee, is back at the Cleveland Clinic for her annual check-up.

In 2017, the 8-year-old was the recipient of a groundbreaking procedure after she was born with a chronic stomach condition that doctors missed for years.

"It was life changing. I mean, she was, her quality of life before we came here, it was declining so fast," said Tiffany Craighead, her mother.

Lyra was born, via emergency C-section in 2011. She would soon develop constipation, chronic stomach pain and digestion issues that led to her being malnourished and fatigued.

"And at age 2, I actually asked our pediatrician about it and they said maybe she just needed some Miralax or something to help her use the bathroom."

After years of suffering, Lyra underwent a procedure to clear her bowels. But a CT scan revealed the reason for her pain: intestinal malrotation.

"Her organs did not rotate in utero like they were supposed to."

An online search led the family to the Cleveland Clinic's Center for Gut Rehabilitation and Transplantation.

"I put intestine and re-arrange the blood vessels of the intestine or the gastrointestinal tract and small and large bowel in the position you or I have," said Dr. Kareem Abu-Elmagd, the lead surgeon.

"I couldn't eat any milk or drink milk and my stomach hurt all the time," Lyra said.

But not anymore. Lyra is now a very active and fashionable second grader, who has doubled her weight.

The city of Cleveland proclaimed Jan. 15 as Intestinal Malrotation Awareness Day. The family was invited to share their story during a VIP reception Wednesday afternoon in hopes of helping others.

"It's worth looking into, if it saves one out of 10 people, it's worth looking into," Lyra's mother said.

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