If you follow Care’s page, you’ll know me as J, as her other half, Jan, the guy in all the pics and the guy she blogs about frequently.
Most recently, you’ll have been seeing posts about my ongoing battle with diverticulitis.
I have a lengthy and painful history with it. I’ve likened it to feeling like you’ve been poisoned, like the worst case of food poisoning you can conjure up in your mind, but one that plays out over seven to ten days.
The first diverticulitis attack for me came many years ago. I had eaten a bunch of pumpkin seeds after cleaning out pumpkins for Halloween with my girls. We cleaned and baked them and feasted on them, as we had year after year, just as I had as a kid. It was a rite of passage.
Well, passage didn’t happen for me, unfortunately. The next day, I experienced severe abdominal pain. Fearing I had something seriously wrong brewing, I went to the after-hours clinic. The doctor there that day told me that while she couldn’t be certain without running tests that she wasn’t capable of running at the clinic, it sounded like I was dealing with diverticulitis.
She prescribed antibiotics and sent me home.
The pain worsened before eventually dissipating thanks to the meds.
Fast forward a year or so. I woke one day to feel that familiar pain in my lower abdomen, this time even more intense. Along with it came the chills, a fever and a general unwell feeling.
My dad accompanied me to the emerge department in search of answers. Again, it was determined that I was experiencing a flareup of this nasty disease.
In the ensuing years, I’d meet with the city’s top surgeon when it comes to diverticulitis, Dr. Patel, as well as with my own family doctor, Dr. Batel (I know right!), who tried to determine if surgery was needed.
A scope revealed that I had very few pockets of diverticuli, but that my symptoms were severe every time I’d have a flareup.
Bloating, nausea, fever, chills and extreme abdominal pain would accompany the bad flareups, of which I’ve now had four or five. Other times, if I have a mild flareup, it can be some bloating for a week or so and mild discomfort in my lower left abdominal area.
I’ve cut out all nuts, seeds and foods that can cause flareups, which sucks because I really enjoy nuts and corn and other foods that are bad for people with diverticulitis.
But it isn’t just food that can bring on this disease. Stress can also cause flareups.
Fast forward to recent days. I’ve been feeling incredibly stressed of late. I ’m transitioning into life as a single dad. I have my girls a week at a time and I’m trying to create a life with them, and with Care and her son. I’m doing my best to keep everyone happy, perhaps a bit at my expense when it comes to stress.
I left a career to start a new one, and it has a huge learning curve. I’m still transitioning and learning, putting huge stress on myself to deliver and adapt.
And like everyone, I have the daily struggles with finances, time management, taking care of myself and being a boyfriend, son and friend.
The weight of the world has been crashing down on me for a while, and I could feel this diverticulitis attack coming.
This past Saturday, I was experiencing abdominal pain that I likened to the kind you feel after a core workout. But I hadn’t done any core workouts, so I thought it odd.
By Sunday, the familiar pain in my lower left abdomen revealed itself, setting me up for what I hoped would be a minor flareup.
Monday, it worsened. I was using extra strength Advil and Tylenol to get through the discomfort and fend off the fever.
Tuesday brought even worse pain, bloating, and saw nausea and the chills join the fray.
That’s when Care took me to emerge in Napanee, where we saw a doctor who confirmed the diverticulitis diagnosis and helped me with my extreme pain with some IV pain killers and antibiotics.
He sent me home on the promise I’d rest for a few days. So here I lay, writing this blog, doing as the doctor asked.
The moral of this story is, well diverticulitis sucks … a lot. But it’s also to listen to your body. When it’s sending the warning signs, you need to slow down, destress, do whatever it takes to give your body what it requires.
I have always been pretty good at listening to my body.
This is my punishment for ignoring the signs.
Now, back to sleep I go.