IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib is not a medical book. It’s my story, containing my medical history and survival while maintaining and thriving with never ending medical problems none of which are cured. Most are managed but new ones occur from time to time.
The latest, intestinal, began gradually just a few years ago. I thought that I was getting more than my share of stomach viruses. When the stomach pains accompanied a bad bout of intestinal disorders leading me to the emergency room, I made an appointment with the gastroenterologist. Tests showed diverticulitis, pockets in the large intestine caused by a number of things…stress, diet and aging. Not heart problems.
I was reluctant to have a colonoscopy thinking that I could manage the problem with diet. I couldn’t and episodes with the same problems got worse. Oftentimes some doctors prefer not to do this test on patients over 75. I’m 80.
Finally I asked the gastroenterologist to schedule the colonoscopy. The test is not so bad but the prep, for a full day before the test, is not fun. It used to be that the kitchen was the most important room in the house, but on that day…it’s the bathroom.
The test took less than 40 minutes. Immediate results were ready for discussion with the doctor and a more detailed report arrived digitally later that day. A biopsy was taken that provided info that no cancer was found. The conclusions were that I have ischemic colitis, whatever that means. I made a follow up appointment with the gastroenterologist, then spent the next 2 hours reading all that I could absorb about ischemic colitis from the internet. Nowhere did I read that my new disease is related to diet or stress. It is, however, related to heart problems as is diabetes and aging.
Am I better? No, but I’m not worse. I’m still reluctant about eating having developed a taste for bland food. I’ve seen 3 dieticians. For the first time in my life, food is not the most important thing.
The bad about my new disease: searching for a comfortable way to manage it and having the confidence to do that. The good things about this new affliction: I don’t have cancer and I lost 40 pounds over the last 3 years. Recently I was referred to as ‘tiny’. I’ve waited all my life to hear those words.