Back in 1980 my weight was about 250 lbs. Over the last 32 years I’ve suffered from a variety of illnesses and I now weigh anywhere from 150 to 155 lbs.
Bowel infarction – January 1980 Felt severe stomach ache. Called my GP who made a house call and diagnosed it as a virus. Told me to get rest, but after several hours and more pain every minute, he instructed me to go to Emerg and Dr. gave me pain killers, but they were ineffective. Sent me home. Still tons of severe pain so went back to hospital. This time was admitted. Had Surgeon take a look at me. Had my stomach pumped. Finally was able to have a BM..it was black. Showed Nurse..she flushed it and made no notes. Surgeon said he would open me up to see what he could find, but was thinking perhaps it was a leaky appendix. Opened me up and found my large and small bowel were gangrenous. Had to remove 75% combined, but did not have to go into a bag. By the way, before the operation, I was over 250 lbs. previous to this problem, I complained on many occasions to my GP that I was having dizzy spells,and having times where I felt spaced out. Sent me to a Neurologist who said it was due to my obesity. Also, my blood pressure was very high and my GP kept on changing blood pressure meds to try to bring it down, with no success. I do believe the surgeon saved my life. Was in Intensive Care for weeks, and sent to numerous hospitals for tests and to be seen by various Specialists since this was very rare for someone my age. I was told that all of my major organs went into shock and in fact one of my lungs had collapsed. Had a couple of other minor surgeries during my stay as an abscess had to be drained. Was discharged on April 3/80, but the actual reason for this is still a mystery. Lately they feel it is part of Autoimmune Disease.
Double Hernia Operation – May 1982 Due to my various medical problems due to the infarction, I chose to use my surgeon to do the operation, since I trusted him emphatically.
Under-active Thyroid September 1982 Found that I had an underactive thyroid, so had to put me on medication. Had a hard time finding the correct dosage due to my short gut.
Cardiomyopathy November 1990 I had kidney stones, so I was scheduled for a cystoscopy at Humber Regional Hospital on Church Street. Before the test, they require you to have an ECG. I had it done, but the hospital had not received it, so they gave me one before the test. Before the test, they asked me if I had a heart attack lately. Told them not that I know of. They told me to get in touch with a Cardiologist as soon as possible. He put me through a Stress test and other tests and discovered that I had Cardiomyopathy, which is heriditary on my late Father’s side of the family. In fact, my Dad passed away from the same disease.
Kidney Disease February 1992 They found through various tests that both kidneys are not functioning properly. This could be due to the infarction, since all my organs went into shock. Also, a small node was found on one of my kidneys, so I have CT Scans or MRI done every year or so to ensure it does not grow. I believe that the nephrologist I see is one of the best. He goes out of his way to ensure that I am looked after properly.
Enlarged Prostate October 2002 At first, the urologist I consulted had a concern that it could have been cancer, so he wanted me to have a prostate biopsy. He did it at his clinic. It was not cancer, so I am taking medication for enlarged prostate. He also thought that perhaps the nodule on my kidney could be cancer, so he scheduled me for an operation to remove the nodule. Due to a technicality, he could not operate. It was actually due to the fact he didn’t look at the blood test results before the surgery. I changed urologists.
Septic Shock January 2003 I was instructed by my first urologist to take an antibiotic a day before the prostate biopsy and again for a week after the biopsy. Due to my intolerance for antibiotics, I felt very bloated and bad stomach cramps, so he changed me to another one. Same problem, so I decided on my own to discontinue. I began to feel very week, severe sweats, and very high fever. I was bed ridden and feeling very sick. One day, I took my temperature and it was over 104F. Immediately called my GP who told me to get to the Emergency ward of the closest hospital as soon as I could. My son was home thankfully, so I told him to take me but I wanted to take a shower first, as I often did that when I had fever to bring the temperature down. This time it didn’t work. My son drove me to the hospital, and as soon as a Nurse saw me in the hallway, she whisked me off to Emergency and put me on a bed. They immediately took my temperature and put me on oxygen. After several tests, they began to give me antibiotics through IV. I asked them if they felt I could go home that night, but they assured me it would be awhile before I would go home. I was in the hospital for about 5 days and when released, I was told that I had Septic Shock, probably due to an infection from the prostate biopsy and not completing the full term of antibiotics.
Ankylosing Spondylitis July 2004 I had been experiencing severe lower back aches, so my GP sent me for an Xray on my back. Suggested it was just a backache. This had gone on for months, so I mentioned it to my nephrologist who sent me to an Orthopedic Surgeon. He examined me and said he felt it was a Rheumatoid Arthritic problem. He sent me to a rheumatologist who put me through a battery of tests and diagnosed me with AS. I was then referred to another specialist. He gave me two options..Biologics or pain killers. My Cardiologist advised me against Biologics as there is a risk of heart attack. I cannot take pain killers since it gives me terrible stomach cramps due to my short gut. I cannot take oral antibiotics either as they too give me severe stomach cramps. Have to have it administered through IV only.
Crohn’s Disease August 2008 I had been seeing a gastroenterologist on occasion for my short gut, so he gave me a colonoscopy about 4 years ago, and discovered I have mild Crohn’s Disease. He said usually if you have AS, you also have Crohn’s. All of this is also part of Autoimmune Disease.
I am under constant care from my Specialists, and take numerous medications, both prescription and supplements. I beat all odds and am still here, so I feel quite lucky. Life could certainly be better, but it could be much worse as well.