Following my recent IBD diagnosis I’ve obviously sat and done a whole lot of thinking and re-calling, trying to remember when I started to feel the effects, the symptoms and the pain.
Strange thing is, it’s actually difficult to remember a time when I didn’t feel some sort of pain or discomfort in my guts, all those horrible gripes, pangs and pains had become the new normal for me over time, so much so that in truth I really do think it’s normal, that everyone feels the same after they’ve eaten.
But the signs have been there all along that something wasn’t ‘normal’. I guess I simply hadn’t noticed myself adapting and changing my lifestyle so subtly and so slowly over a prolonged period of time, years in fact.
Onions! That’s the first food I recall that started to bother me. They gave me indigestion at first, later in life the little smelly buggers would have me doubled up in agony.
I used to love spring onions and a cheese sandwich, so nice with a little salt to dip them in, and I never even noticed that I’d removed them from my diet, followed by onions in stews, bolognaise etc. etc. A blanket ban on onions ensued, not thinking there could be anything wrong with my digestive system, just that onions ‘Didn’t suit me’ or ‘Didn’t agree with me’. Sound familiar? Do you have similar foods that ‘Disagree with you’?
That began around 12-15 years ago, maybe more and reventually anything spicy found itself booted out of the dietary door, garlic Kiev’s, chicken tikka, pepperoni pizzas, the list goes on and my diet became more plain, more basic, though still varied. I made a judgement on myself, I was brought up on the basic, non-spiced and seasoned foods, like the Sunday roast, the hotpot, chips and sausage, steak and mash, therefore my body wasn’t adapted to spicy or overly seasoned food or able to tolerate it. Nonsense of course!
Was that a theory at the time or an excuse, a way to hide the fact that I was beginning to know that something was wrong with my guts? In hindsight, it was a way of controlling the symptoms I was facing and avoiding the consideration that I was in some way ill.
Alcohol followed, OMG that one I did notice after a few tinnies one evening at home watching TV. The pain was so bad and the explosion from my poor old chocolate starfish was so intense that I’ve never touched a drop since, almost three years ago now.
So severe was the pain the following morning that at long last I went to see my GP who was genuinely concerned at my list of long standing food related issues. She asked about my family history (My mother had Crohn’s Disease) which prompted her to send me up to hospital for investigation.
Over two years of investigations in fact, I was tested for everything from simple allergies to coeliac disease, all of which came back negative. I was starting to think I was right after all, certain foods simply ‘Disagreed with me’! That was until the blood episode in 2015 changed everything.
What happened? Well it was a fairly normal day, I got the urge to have a poop during the day at work, off I went to the poopy spot, I sat down on the ‘throne of evacuation’ and heard the gentle drip, drip, drip of something parting company with my bumhole. No pooping, no pushing, no abnormal pain, the urge went and I stood up to have a quick wipe of the crevice. OMG, the toilet bowl was full of blood, lots of blood, MY blood. How? What happened? Why?
I went cold, I felt the colour drain from my face, I panicked. I lined my jockey shorts with toilet tissue for fear of blood coming through my jeans and causing me embarrassment at work. I never said a word to anyone, I went on with the day like nothing had happened and called at the doctors on the way home.
She prodded and poked my long suffering and painful back door and diagnosed an anal fissure, quite a way inside. Nothing to be too concerned about she said, here’s some cream to shove up there twice day.
This stuff (Rectogesic) was designed to increase blood flow to the area (which was the last thing I thought I would need) and gave me a violent headache after each eeeeerm insertion 🙂
Well, it did the trick, I had a couple more bleeds over the next couple of days and that was that…….. until around six months later. New Year 2016 it happened again, but really, really bad. I was sat on the toilet, unable to get up because the red stuff just would not stop flowing. Eventually it subsided and I went straight to the GP, she sent me straight to hospital. After a whole day of probing, injecting and chin rubbing a new appointment was made with a consultant surgeon.
These tears, fissures, could be related to something else apparently. I was in constant daily pain, so severe I found it difficult to walk at times and the only relief was found by sitting down. The pain didn’t go away when seated, it was just a little easier to tolerate.
After weeks of waiting I finally got an appointment at the hospital where the consultant offered me two choices, he could try Botox injections either side of the tear or he could cut the muscle to ease pressure in that area, which would allow the fissure to heal.
I soldiered on for months with this pain waiting for the injections (My preferred option), one cancelled procedure (minutes before I was due to go in to theatre) and yet more waiting brought the day I would go under the anaesthetic and hopefully get some much needed relief.
The fissure was cleaned, the injections administered and I woke up in a blood stained gown in recovery, then got moved to a ward with two other guys in similar states of semi-consciousness and one guy who wouldn’t stop talking, he was calling friends and family and letting the whole World know he was in hospital, like he was proud, pleased to be the centre of his social circle’s attention. In other circumstances I’d have let my feelings for this idiot be known!
An overnight stay was needed and next day I was up and at ’em after a quick chat with the consultant, cannulas removed and a bag of meds thrust in my hand to take home with me, sorted!
Which brings me almost up to date with the state of play, another appointment was made with the consultant which eventually lead to a diagnosis, but that’s another story for another blog post………… 🙂
Thanks for reading and please add your comments below 🙂