We are so lucky. So fortunate. You could be in poverty in the States and be more well off than the richest person on the planet just a few hundred years ago.
If you’ve been following my twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you know that I’ve been having some weird stomach issues lately. Initially, about two months ago, I thought I had food poisoning. Well, after a week, I went to the doctor and, since I travel a lot to the developing world, I was prescribed some drugs that deal with parasites. Well a week after that, I was still feeling the same. Some of the time, the abdominal pain had me moaning rather loudly due to the intensity. This was when I started getting nervous.
Things like diverticulitis, stomach cancer, ulcerative colitis, and other scary sounding things were all thrown around. My doctor got a ton of blood work done and everything came back clear. So Lindsay and I got a much needed sigh of relief. After this, my doctor referred me to a gastroenterologist to deal with what appeared to be late blooming and quite severe lactose intolerance. As much as I did not want to miss out on eating dairy products again (ice cream and pizza?!), I assumed that it was a very fair trade considering the potential diseases — and I was genuinely grateful every time I was reminded of my potential lactose intolerance because of that.
WARNING: TMI ahead ;)
A few weeks later, I had my first visit with the GE doctor. He seemed very unshaken by the lactose intolerance theory. I had fairly severe bleeding, severe but not sharp abdominal pain after dairy, the urge to RUN to the toilet 15+ times a day without anything really coming out… After hearing this, the doctor looked at me and said “congratulations! You’ve just won yourself a colonoscopy!” :)
So last Wednesday I started the prep. Awful. Just awful. They give you a gallon jug filled with what I promise you tastes like luke warm saliva. Thursday morning, I went in, dressed down, and went to a happy place. First time I was ever put down. A very fascinating experience! Lindsay video’d when I came to — so I’ll have to share that soon ;)
After the procedure, the doctor explained that I have one of the two inflammatory bowel diseases called ulcerative colitis (the other being Crohn’s disease — both of which have no cure and they don’t really know what causes them). Not really good news. They took 5 biopsies and this week I’ll sit down with the doctor and see how severe my case is. Moderate to severe cases are life changing in a major way — so I am hoping for a mild case! Would absolutely appreciate anyone’s prayers on the matter. From what I understand, the real difference between the two is that Ulcerative Colitis attacks the large intestine while Crohn’s attacks the small intestine, as well.
So I’m hoping the meds kick in soon and, more or less, am coming to terms with some of the lifestyle changes I’m going to have to put into effect (daily enemas, regular colonoscopies, skipping out on certain foods, feeling awful during “flare ups”). But overall, I’m feeling so grateful for being born in a time and place where I have the best odds at living a normal life with this. I mean, just a few hundred years ago people were willing to sacrifice their lives to live on a ship for months at a time just so they could bring back spices that I can now pick up at Trader Joe’s for a dollar and a half! Don’t even get me started on the medical advances in the last 50 years — no less the access that I have to those advances since I was lucky enough to be born in a wealthy country.
We live in a fortunate time, my friends…
And since these kinds of posts need something to spice it up… Going through an old hard drive and saw this photo of Lindsay and I out in Fiji in 2009 :)
If any of you have UC and have any tips for me, I’m all ears. I had never read a single piece of literature on this disease until last week so I’ve got some serious learning to do :)
p.s. Any Office fans out there? I was thinking about having a “for the cure” marathon like Michael Scott did for rabies. Time to carbaload! :P