In the year 2009 January I started experiencing some back pains. I did not take it seriously, I though it was muscle related and ignored it. By April those back pain became excruciating. I realized something was not right. I was going to work and leaving work by 10am because of the pain. Eventually… I stopped working.
I went to a doctor who ordered an ultrasound, upon completion, the ultrasound showed a blockage of some sort. I was then recommended to visit a Gastroenterologist in south Trinidad. I went through various tests starting with the Endoscopy and the Colonoscopy, both turned up nil. I was placed on the drug, Prednisolone at a whopping 8 tablets per day. April to July was spent doing more tests and on Prednisolone which was not working. I could not sleep because the back pains was still there, tripling in intensity. For relief I laid on a hot water bottle without wrapping it cloth because the burning actually helped relieve my pain. It was a pain I cannot begin to describe. I started loosing weight because I had no appetite.
I was advised in July that I would need surgery because there was a 78% chance that I had Crohn’s disease and in my current condition surgery was the only option. I was scheduled to have a stent placed in me on the 20th July. Not something I ever want to do again.
I was admitted into San Fernando General Hospital, Ward 7 on the 28th July and was schedule to be operated on, on the 30th July. No food was allowed on the 29th after 12 pm and I had to do an enema at 6pm the evening of the 29th. I was given two Valium tablets that night. Woke up at 6am and was prepped for surgery at 8am.
The feeling of being on a stretcher and rolled into the theater room seemed normal for me. I just wanted it over with. It’s like you see in the movies when you look up at all the passing lights. I was put to sleep via injection…..Woke up 8pm in a whole different atmosphere. I was unable to move, I was sore, and I looked down to see the bandage on my tummy. In my head I was like holy crap!
The doctors came the next day and explained that the back pain was because the valve that connects the smaller and larger intestine was infected and had swollen to the size of a grapefruit. It was pressing on my kidney causing the back pains. The doctors also said that tissue samples were taken and sent to the lab for testing as it could be one out of two things….Cancer or Crohn’s disease. (Well we know its Crohn’s now but imagine what I thought when I heard that)
I was kept for a week still not able to eat, at which point I became irate. I was finally allowed to leave but after two days at home I started vomiting bile by the buckets, uncontrollably. I was back at the hospital by the third day. My stitches were not holding and I needed a special type but it was not available in Trinidad. It broke me that I still couldn’t eat in all this and I had to wait for wording on the stitching.
I had a tube running in my left arm through the vein into the jugular and an IV on the right arm, a catheter and a tube running through my nose to my stomach for the bile. I spent about 2 weeks like this, doing blood tests every day. I was basically skin and bones and weighed 65lbs.
Then one day the doctors came in and advised that a patient has the stitching but no longer needed it. They were willing to sell them to me. My family took up on the offer and I was scheduled for surgery again within 2 days. I was reopened in the same area that was first cut so you can imagine how sore I was. I was kept an additional two weeks for observation, still not allowed to eat, still tubed and bedridden.
The first week in September I was allowed to leave FINALLY. I had to learn to walk again. It took me about a month or two to actually walk with some sort of pace. I was able to run around the forth month. Ever since I have been living a normal life. Still unable to gain weight as fast as I would like. I was able to go from 65lbs to 128lbs over time.
From learning to walk to being able to play football every Thursday and hiking every other month. Did I mention eat? I love to eat and well I eat what I want when I want, except for pepper you know how that affects IBD. I still have minor flare ups but that’s Crohn’s for you. I have not been on any serious medication since my surgery. I used Pentasa for about 2 months since 2009. With the flares I just let it run its course as it isn’t as severe as it once was.
Basically I want to say I know how hard it is to think about surgery, but sometimes you need that leap of faith to be in a better position. Never take for granted the small things and don’t be afraid to make decisions.