Monday, February 13, 2012

Surgery update

Just to let everyone know that my upcoming knee surgery has been postponed. Not that it really hurts my feelings to much considering that I wasn't really looking forward to it in the first place. I want to say thanks for all of the concern and well wishes that came pouring in from everyone.

The reason for the delay is because other health issues have taken precedence. As many of you know, I have been having some serious issues with diverticulitis. Such to the point that I have been hospitalized several times over the past year or so because of flare ups and I even had a rupture last November that landed me in the hospital for about a week. These hospital stays really take a toll on me. While I'm in the hospital I basically live on saline solution, IV antibiotics and pain medication. By the time I come home I am so weak. I usually lose about 25-30lbs and I can barely get out of bed. It usually takes me another week before I can stay up all day without having to lay down for a while. 

Because of all of the problems, they finally did a colonoscopy and I was expecting the worse. I figured that the test would show that the area of my colon affected by the diverticulitis would be in real bad shape and need to come out. This really bothered me because I was afraid that I would need a colostomy bag etc. The Dr. came in and told me that everything looked GREAT. There was some mild irritation in the area of the diverticulitis but nothing serious. No reason to go in and resect that area. 

So I was pumped. I felt great. It was the best news that I had heard in a long time. 

Two weeks later. 

Julie and I were supposed to go up to South Dakota for the christening of our new god-daughter whom I affectionately call Baby A.  We were excited about going but we were on the fence. Weather up there can be extremely unpredictable and going up this time of year could get you stranded for a week. Or longer. We were considering several things but were about 70% sure we were going. 

Now the main thing about diverticulitis is that you don't know when it flares up if it is just because of something that you ate or if it is something more serious. AND you never know if you eat something if it is going to cause an issue. There are some foods that most doctors say to avoid. Anything with small seeds; Strawberries, kiwi fruit, etc. Some say nuts, others say it doesn't matter. It is different for each person, so it's really a trial and error thing. Some of things that you think would cause issues don't and others that you think would be just fine, will double you over feeling like someone just ran you through with a sword. You never know if it will go away or fester up. 

So, the Tuesday before we were supposed to leave, I started getting the pains again. Nothing serious but if I moved wrong I would feel the twinge in my side. Wednesday was worse. Now I was getting the intermittent stabbing pains in my lower left side. I was still in that grey area where it could go away on it's own but not bad enough to go to the hospital. I knew what the doctor would say; Give it a day or so and see what happens. It was possible that I was one good dump away from feeling alright again. There's really nothing they can do at this stage. 

Thursday night things started to get more serious. I called the GI doctor and he said he could call in a script if I wanted but that he wanted me to call him in the morning if it was worse and he would have me come in first thing in the morning. I told him that It didn't quite feel like it had when it ruptured but it still hurt non the less.

I had a pretty restless night and when I woke up Friday, I was done. I called the doctor back and told him that I was going to the hospital. He said he would call them and let them know that I was coming in.

A CAT scan revealed that it was indeed diverticulitis but thankfully there wasn't a rupture. So I was admitted and started on the ritual of fluids, antibiotics and pain meds.

My GI wasn't on call that weekend but one of his colleagues was. He came in and talked to me and basically said that even though the colonoscopy came back clean, the area that keeps giving me problems would probably have to be taken out. He said that in situations like mine, where re-occurances keep happening, the only way to truly get rid of the problem it to remove it.

Now he explained it better than anyone else had. Diverticula are small bulging pouches that can form anywhere in your digestive system. When you develope these Diverticulum it is known as Diverticulosis. Diverticulitis is when the Diverticula become inflamed. It causes severe abdominal pain etc. Just like everyone has an appendix. everyone developes Diverticula. Some flare up, some don't. Those that do, they don't know why they do, they just do. And after it flares up one to many times, it's best to go in and take care of the situation while it's calmed down instead of waiting for it to burst and cause potential fatal problems.

I have agonized trying to figure out what I can eat, what I can't, what will cause a flare up, what won't. The doctor told me that basically, aside from real small seeds (and even that is debatable) they really don't know what causes it. We, as humans, like to think that we can control it by diet because we want to feel in control of it. But there really is nothing that can be done. Increasing the fiber in your diet helps but it's not the cure. That and avoiding any foods that don't really digest, such as corn.

So I was in the hospital for 4 days. I told Julie to take the girls and go to South Dakota so that she could be there for the christening. There was no reason for them to stay, there wasn't anything that she could do while I was in the hospital, so she went to South Dakota, helped throw some holy water on Baby A and had a great weekend.

So. I had an appointment with the GI doctor last week and he set me up with a GI surgeon. I go see him tomorrow. My doctor did tell me that if surgery was going to happen that they would probably put me on antibiotics for a week of so to make sure that everything was calmed down so that when they did the resection, it wouldn't be inflamed and cause problems. It is actually a very routine surgery if done in a controlled situation versus an emergency situation. They should be able to do it through laproscopy. I really didn't want two surgeries so close together, so I canceled my knee surgery to allow time for the resection to heal and my body to recover.

I will keep everyone informed as to what the status is, and as always, send out those prayers. I can use all I can get.

Thanks everyone.

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