A continuation of my faith journey with Crohns disease.
The textbook effect of Crohns disease is that a surgery is required every five years. With active Crohns, ulcers create scar tissue. The scar tissue builds over time, usually over a five year period, until it causes a blockage. At that point, you need surgery.
I got Crohns in 1989. My first surgery was January 1995. As we neared 2000, I was due for another trip to the hospital. Like clock work, the textbook was right.
After a bout with what felt to be a standard Crohns attack… intestinal swelling, bloating and nausea… you know, good times… things got worse. I couldn’t keep any water down. Even after the swelling had mostly diminished. By 2000, Dr. Boyd had left private practice and went on to teach at the University of Florida. I called my new gastroenterologist, Dr. Levy, and told him of my problem. He said simply, with his blunt New York accent “Looks like you have a blockage. Go to the hospital. You’ll have to have surgery.”
I wasn’t prepared for this on any level… physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. I felt like I had just got kicked in the groin. “Okay” was all I could muster in response and hung up the phone. My wife was equally as unprepared, but she drove me to the hospital and I was admitted. As a last ditch effort they pumped me with prednisone to see if it would help. To everyone’s surprise, it did. My intestinal swelling decreased enough so that the scar tissue was no longer causing a blockage. But, we all knew this was only a temporary solution. The clock was ticking. It was only a matter of time before surgery was inevitable.
The first surgery was such a bad experience, my wife and I used our time once I was released from the hospital to pursue other surgical options. We found that they are now performing laparoscopic Crohns surgery in Miami. The recovery is greatly reduced and the scarring minimal. Sounded like a winner to me!
We drove down to the hospital in Miami, met with the doctors, had exams, scheduled the surgery, etc. This time it was going to be different. This time we were prepared. This time the recovery would be minimal. This time, this disease would not completely take over my life.
Or so I thought.
To be continued…