Photo: The Jonathan and Jessica Pounders family, including Mollie and Jill, with “Mollie’s Joy” author Ruth Ashcraft Munday (center). (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is a rare but complex medical condition that affects the digestive system. It occurs when a significant portion of the small intestine is surgically removed or doesn’t function properly due to disease or injury.
In the case of Mollie Pounders, the nearly eight-year-old daughter of Jonathan and Jessica Pounders of Hernando, SBS came about when doctors discovered a defect ahead of her birth.
“She had a defect that we found during ultrasound where her intestines were on the outside,” said Jonathan Pounders. “Because of that, when she was born, they had to go in and resect, or remove, a lot of the bowel that was on the outside because it was dying. The two parts they put together made her a short bowel patient.”
Because of her short bowel, Mollie is not able to normally absorb nutrients in her food. She’s had several surgeries and faces more medical treatment. The Pounders are also looking into possible transplants.
Meanwhile, Mollie uses what is called Total Parenteral Nutrition, or TPN therapy, which is a medical technique used to provide essential nutrients and calories to individuals who are unable to obtain proper nutrition through oral or other means. She does eat, but because of SBS, it’s not known if nutrients from her food are properly digested into her system.
The story of Mollie has become the subject of a book written by Ruth Ashcraft Munday, who has known Mollie and her family since Mollie was born. “Mollie’s Joy” was inspired by the girl’s continual joy Mollie has shown through everything she has undergone.
“We are trying to inspire others who have a similar diagnosis that you can have a life and enjoy life,” Munday said. “We want to let this help others live life to the fullest and to help parents know that there’s help for their child.”
Munday said Mollie’s story and her family have been inspiring to her “since day one,” when Mollie was born at a hospital where Munday is a nurse.
“Mollie has such a wonderful attitude with all she has going on,” Munday said. “She just lives life to the fullest, she does gymnastics, sports and dance. Others with her diagnosis just don’t thrive like she does.”
Another reason behind the book, which was illustrated based on real-life family photos by Elizabeth DeHart Seemann, and the book layout was done with the aid of Fund the Nations, is to raise funds for any future needs the Pounders have.
A book party is planned for Nov. 19 between 2-4 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Hernando. Copies of the book will be for sale at the “come and go” party and Munday and Mollie will be there to autograph copies, as well.
In dealing with her SBS, Jessica Pounders said Mollie is fed constantly, which actually is a different routine from others with the condition.
“When she was born we were not allowed to feed her,” said Jessica. “Most kids like Mollie don’t eat at all. They never learn that skill,” with Jonathan adding, “We insisted that she sit at the dinner table and function like we do, to some degree.”
Munday said the book begins with a special Bible verse important to the Pounders as Mollie started her life, and then talks about her spending six months in the hospital. It continues describing Mollie’s life as a toddler, followed by the birth of baby sister Jill.
The Pounders make a point to express how important Jill has been in Mollie’s mental development.
“When Jill was born, Mollie was able to see Jill move around and do all of the normal things,” Jessica said. “They have such a good bond. Mollie doesn’t remember life without Jill. She’s played a big role.”
SBS can lead to complications like intestinal bacterial overgrowth, liver disease, and kidney stones. Patients may require frequent hospitalizations and specialized care to manage these complications effectively.
Although it can lead to challenging symptoms and complications, individuals with SBS can lead fulfilling lives with the help of healthcare professionals, specialized diets, and tailored treatment plans.
“Mollie’s Joy” is not the only book Munday is involved in at this time of year, as she and her sister continue their “Ann’s Heart for Books” project in honor of their mother Ann Brown Ashcraft.
Books that are donated through the project are provided to newborns and parents at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis through the Forrest Spence Fund, which provides the books given to youngsters at the hospital. Books may be donated through the end of December.
Learn more about “Mollie’s Joy” and “Ann’s Heart for Books” by contacting Munday at email@example.com.
New book donations only for “Ann’s Heart for Books” may be dropped off at:
- Walker, Brown, and Brown, P.A., 2540 Hwy 51 South, Hernando, MS 38632
- Winn Brown Law Firm, 1613 Main Street, Southaven, MS 38671
- SouthGroup Insurance, 5740 Getwell Road, #12-A, Southaven, MS 38672
You also may mail books or monetary donations to Ruth Munday, P.O. Box 444, Horn Lake, MS 38637.