I really just don’t know where to start, so I guess I’ll start from the beginning. I remember it so clearly, I was going to work at the State House in Boston one summer and my cousin was driving my old Kia Spectra( the kind that was practically made of aluminum foil, before Kia became the brand they are today). I had her pullover so that I could throw up. I didn’t know what was wrong, so I called my boss to let him know that I wouldn’t be coming to work. Getting back home, I wasn’t feeling any better and continued vomiting, it was odd since I hadn’t been drinking the night before and while working and being a full time law student I still managed to find quite some time to imbibe. I chocked it up to post-nasal drip making me nauseous but days went by and it didn’t go away. Little did I know that was the beginning of all of my doctor’s appointments.
I went to my primary care doctor. After my blood work came back normal, he told me it was just stress from being in law school and working full time. Although, it was a lot of work I thrived in it, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed, but my stomach was still hurting. I was nauseous and vomiting all the time and was having diarrhea on a regular basis – clearly, something was wrong. I went to several other doctors in Boston at some of the most reknown hospitals in the world but it was tough to be taken seriously at 24 when stool studies and blood work kept coming back normal. I eventually started feeling better and didn’t think anything of it, but knowing what I know now that was probably my first diverticulitis attack but it sure wouldn’t be my last.
It wasn’t until the Fall of 2009 when I landed in the ER because I was vomiting blood that I would soon learn that I had diverticulitis. Once I got to the ER, I was told I had alcohol poisoning… funny, since I hadn’t been drinking. It was the first of many times that I wouldn’t be taken seriously at the hospital because I never look sick. To make a long story short, my CT showed that I had diverticulitis and I was in the hospital for a few days. The hospital referred me to a GI doctor who later told me, after my first colonoscopy, that I had diverticula throughout my colon. After numerous attacks, courses of antibiotics, and a high fiber diet, nothing helped and I had a colon resection in 2011.
After recovering from the resection that came along with an abscess and some weight loss (which I didn’t mind) I finally started to feel better. In time I forgot all about it, became a little less diligent about always eating the right things but that all changed in September of 2014. I ended up in the ER once again, being told I would need emergency surgery. Once the surgeons changed their minds and sent me home, I was told to see a surgeon about a presacral cyst. I saw a surgeon that I had seen back in 2012 when I had to have the same cyst drained. I was placed on antibiotics and things didn’t get better. I had a colonoscopy later that month, but the doctor couldn’t finish because my colon was so inflamed. I was sent home but had some of the worst pain I had ever experienced in my life, and again, landed in the hospital for another week.
All of that led to my surgery in January 2015 to remove the cyst that had grown so big that it was pressing against my colon. After surgery, I immediately felt relief from my stomach/colon pains. Although I was in a ton of post-surgery pain, I felt relieved, alas a clear chance at a “normal” life. That relief would be short-lived.
Leading me to today, where I’m on another course of antibiotics for either c.diff or a low grade diverticulitis attack (just annoying enough to make you feel like crap but not enough to be in the hospital), trying to figure out how to make life easier, not only for myself but for others dealing with GI issues. The thing about GI problems is that they are “gross” and no one wants to talk about them because they are “embarrassing.” I’m still trying to figure out how to live life to the fullest with my chronic GI issues, while being both healthy and happy. I’m hoping by sharing my story that others can find someone to relate to. I look forward to hearing from others about their experiences and sharing recipes, fitness and nutrition tips, and all of us living life with guts and glory!