What started off as a normal, run-of-the-mill Tuesday, the 15th of March in 2011 turned out to be a pretty epic day! For the world, it marked the beginning of the Syrian civil war. There was a pretty destructive earthquake and tsunami combination named Sendai that happened in Japan. Also, the tickets for the 2012 London Olympics began being sold. On a more personal note, I had my laparoscopic ileocolectomy done at the Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD.
I remember the angst I felt inside on that day. My parents were there with me. Even though I was crapping my pants, I pretended to be strong so I wouldn’t freak them out even more. This was the first time one of their “babies” were undergoing surgery. Even throughout all the anxieties and worries, I was glad to have them there. When I finally woke up several hours later, through the morphine-induced heavy eyelids and grogginess, it felt nice to hear their voice and see outlines of their silhouettes sitting by me. I had made it.
It took me a while to get back into things. I don’t remember much after they told me to count down. I like to believe that I made it to number four. After finally coming back from the deep sleep, I can recollect several episodes of trying to make sense of it all and eventually dozing off into a delightful slumber. By nighttime, I was able to hold a normal conversation.
Overall, I stayed in the hospital for five days. The first two were very pain-filled days. Although the procedure was done through my belly button, I felt gashing pains that tore through my insides. The surgeon was able to remove all the damaged areas of my intestinal lining, which came out to be about 22 inches that were part of my ileum and colon. They also had my appendix removed to prevent any future complications with it.
I did have a minor post-surgical complication. The physicians and surgeons explained to me that once you perform surgery in your bowels, your body takes it as an offense and causes the activity of the bowels to cease, as if they became paralyzed. After the procedure, the activity slowly returns. I would like to emphasize the word slowly, because it was. I was famished from not being able to eat right before the surgery, so I stuffed my face with what seemed to be one of the best meals I had ever had once I was allowed to eat. (It’s funny how anything tastes like the best meal of your life once you hungry). To simply state it, I had a really bad case of constipation. The doctors were worried about an adhesion or me being blocked up in the insides. I was under observation, and that was the main reason why my hospital visit lasted that long. I felt as if I turned into a hot-air balloon was getting larger by the minute. My abdomen was so tender to the touch. This was more stress added to a regularly stressful situation. I remember the nurses making me walk-something I loathed at the time, especially because of the pain in my belly. After what seemed to be miles and miles of treacherous exercise, I had a bowel movement. I have never seen so many people celebrate for one’s poop.
March 15th, 2011 marked the end to an era of numerous ER visits and hospital admittances. It was the last day I felt pain related to Crohn’s. It was a water divider. I separated my life, and my Crohn’s story into post and pre operation. After the surgery I began my Remicade treatments and with time, I was able to wean off the steroids. I was a new man. As I look back at these two last years of having no symptoms of Crohn’s and leading a close-to-normal life, I thank God for those doctors and the work they did on me. I am blessed to be in this situation and for having the opportunity to have the surgery done. Here’s to several more years to come!