It began slowly, that nagging pain in my lower right abdomen. I had started teaching, and getting a substitute is quite the pain. I skipped my 6 month check up, telling myself I would reschedule it soon.
Unfortunately, I deteriorated quickly. In a matter of months, the pain went from dull and minor to sharp and constant. When it hurt to lift my leg just to put on pants, I got that “uh-oh” feeling. Something was definitely way wrong. I figured out work and got an appointment. (FYI I drive 2 hours to see my doc which is why it’s a bigger deal to go).
The doctor pressed lightly on my abdomen and I winced. Let me tell you, I’m a tough one. That’s why I waited so long. I hate to wine and complain over stupid little things. But when his fingers pressed into my skin, tears came to my eyes. He looked at me in alarm.
I nodded. “You must be pressing hard, that’s all.”
“I’m not. I’ve barely touched you. Does this hurt? Don’t hold back, let me know.”
I yelped. If I were being tortured, well, I would’ve cracked. Sorry, location compromised!
They booked me for a barium x-ray that same day, although they were certain I had a stricture. They just wanted to know how bad and precisely where. The results weren’t good. The possibility of surgery was discussed. First, they wanted to see if prednisone would calm it down.
Well, it managed to make my face swell up like a balloon. I felt like a hippo! Nor did the stricture improve. The pain only worsened. And living off pain killers makes you constipated, which only makes THAT whole mess worse. At times I couldn’t even hold food down, or liquids. My mom drove me in for IV fluids one day because I got so dehydrated from vomiting.
Meanwhile I was still teaching. I would excuse myself from class, hurl in the bathroom, then come back. My students would ask why I didn’t get a sub. Yeah that was a whole other mess I won’t get into here.
So by the end of this, they told me I needed surgery. I was good with that. I needed this thing out of me. They booked it for the end of June and ran me through the risks. My doctor told me he had it done and was walking around doing Christmas shopping by the end of the week. It was really no big deal. I signed my life away thinking, “what could go wrong?”