Several years ago I went to the doctor because I had stomach pain. They did a CT and found nothing. I had the lovely yearly woman check, though I had had a hysterectomy years before. They sent me to have my shriveled up little ovaries looked at and yup they were still there. They finally told that it must be adhesions from my surgeries.
About four years ago I left work and told my co-worker it was cold, she told me no it isn’t. On the way home the real stomach pain started. If you have ever been in labor, it felt like I was trying to deliver a ten pound baby. When I got home, I gave in and told my husband that I needed to go to the ER. The triage nurse told me that I had a fever, no wonder I thought it was cold. Another CT and this time the diagnosis was diverticulitis and I would need to stay in the hospital over night. Well, four days later I begged to go home. All I was doing was getting an IV antibiotic every four hours. Yes, my stomach still hurt, but the boredom was worse than the pain. I am glad to say that I recovered and went back to just the “normal” stomach pain. It is not anything that I can’t deal with, it is just there.
Over the past year I have been blessed to have 3 more bouts of diverticulitis. The last time I stayed in the hospital for several hours getting antibiotics and then went home on more. Several weeks later I went to my family doctor and told him that the pain still was not gone. It wasn’t the”normal” pain, though still I could deal with it, just thought it should be checked. He sent me to a specialist. I told him my story and he told me “I don’t think it is your colon.”
He finally decided that I should have another CT. The day after the CT there was a message on the machine to call his office. Well, I work in the medical field and this is not normally good news. I called and they said I was to come in the next day to discuss the results. I can tell you that they don’t call you in to give you good news. She then asked it I usually brought family with me, I said I could and she told me that would be a good idea, this is another warning sign. The 24 hours until that appointment seemed like a lifetime. The next day my husband and I sat in the doctor’s office and I could read the computer screen over his shoulder. I will never forget what I could read. “Highly likely carcinoma of the colon with bladder involvement, metastasized to the pelvic wall”. Honestly, I blinked back the tears. The doctor who said he didn’t think it was my colon was now quite concerned. The colon was too inflamed to do any tests, I had to wait ten days. Those were some VERY long days. I spent a lot of time thinking about my life and what I still wanted to do. I tried to talk to my husband about life insurance and such, but he would have none of it.The day of the test came and thankfully all was fine. It was just a really bad case of diverticulitis. The doctor said “NO cancer. No Cancer!” I think he may have been happier than even I was.
I still had to go to the bladder doctor and he too put a camera where cameras don’t belong, and again all was fine. OK, life back to normal. Six weeks later I had to have a recheck with the colon doctor. I go in not really sure why I am there, all of the tests were fine, so I expect a ten minute appointment. I was wrong again. Now he is concerned that my diverticulitis is “extreme” and HE wants a second opinion. He is sending me to the university to see if that specialist agrees that I need a colon resection. Oh boy, that sounds like fun. I have been through major surgery before. When I had my hysterectomy they cut the right ureter by mistake and I had to have bladder surgery on top of the hysterectomy. I had a bladder bag then for six weeks, that I could deal with. The thought of maybe having a colon bag does NOT thrill me at all.
I tell you all of this, not to complain. I will deal with whatever needs to be done. I share so that maybe if you have something that doesn’t seem quite right, continue to ask. The doctor’s work for you. You are paying them. Also, please get the recommended tests at the recommended ages. Yes, I did a colonoscopy at fifty and have had to have two since then. The prep for the test is not fun, but it just might save your life. Get your annual physical. Get your mammogram. No one looks forward to having these things done, but they set the recommendations for a reason – to save your life.
I have a wonderful husband, two amazing children and three adorable grandchildren. I am not ready to leave them yet, so I do what I need to do, and pray that you will too.