A Sketch of My Recent Health Problems (Not for the squeamish)

1. I get a blockage in my bowels, courtesy of long- term diverticular disease. My stomach swells. It’s quite painful and scary.

2. I go to the family doctor, who diagnoses a blockage immediately, and sends me to a surgeon. Surgeon sets up a colon resection in a week.

3. I enter the hospital after what becomes a routine disaster at trying to clean my bowels with prep liquids. Surgeon performs the resection, removing a foot of colon and developing what becomes a standard line, “yours is one of the orst cases of diverticular disease I’ve ever seen.”

4. Weeks later, the surgeon releases me. I return to work for a week, only to discover that I have pain and a hard spot in my groin. Come to find out, I’ve developed a fistula between colon and bladder, which announces itself  as I pass air when I urinate.

5. Back to the hospital, back into the operation room. I have a second surgery to remove and repair the fistula.

6. I develop bacterial infections in the bowels courtesy of the surgeries and all the antibiotics killing off the good bacteria in my bowels. I have minor procedure inserting a drain into my colon to siphon off the infection.

7.  The drain doesn’t work entirely, even though the doctor sends me home. So doctor performs a third surgery, gives me a colostomy and keeps the drain. Oh, and I almost forgot the catheter. (Anyone still reading?)

8. Looking at three serious bacterial infections, the surgeon calls in the resident immunologist, who changes my antibiotics (Yet again. I won’t bore you with all the medicine changes and the laborious attempts to clean my bowels before the surgeries) and recommends getting all the tubes out of me as soon as possible to prevent them from causing infection.

9. I am released home with my likely permanent colostomy bag  but only one drain left, which the surgeon tells me will fall out on its own in days (he’d been pulling it out slowly and very painfully).

10. Going on six months after all this began, my various doctors pronounce me on the true mend finally, and release me from their care, including the hospital wound care center ( I had three holes in me that needed to be bandaged and watched).

11. On my birthday, December 18, 2010, I finally return back to work, having had my first surgery July 27th.

My condition now is that I have a distracting colostomy bag (my skin really dislikes the paste used to attach it to your side) and scar tissue from three operations that gets sore, and likely will continue to get sore for months. On the good side my eye doctor pronounced my glaucoma well under control, and my family doctor’s blood and urine tests found me well enough that he scheduled my next appointment in six months.

Weight before sickness: 153 pounds

Lowest weight during sickness: 103 pounds

Current weight: 128 pounds, aiming for 140ish.

That’s the summary. If you’re a real glutton for punishment I can tell you more in-depth horror stories, but I’m trying hard to forget them, my own self. The good news is that I had reams of attention from my sunday school class, church members, and coworkers. Indeed I was on more prayer lists in more churches than I can give an accurate count. And I defintely think all that prayer got me through the last six months.

Thanks to all prayer warriors who lifted my name up. It was not at all in vain.


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