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My health and divertulitis

Updated on January 14, 2012

My health and diverticulitis

Summary

I wrote this blog after being diagnosed with this disease after a visit to a local, quick heath care facility. After many tests including blood, urine and a much 'dreaded' colonoscopy no signs of diverticulitis was found. Another reason to encourage others to get second and third opinions with a new medical condition or diagnosis.

Diverticulitis is a type of digestive disease which occurs in the lining of the colon, specifically the large intestine. It’s a condition where small pockets or pouches occur in the lining of the colon. It’s when these abnormal pockets become inflamed that the condition becomes diverticulitis. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicates that, “The condition becomes more common as people age. About half of all people older than 60 have diverticulitis. “ Most people with this digestive disease don’t even experience any symptoms where as others have milder symptoms ranging from mild discomfort in the lower abdomen to more serious attacks like the one I experienced.

Surprisingly enough I had never heard of this disease until experiencing the painful symptoms first hand. It started off with mild, flu-like symptoms including chills and a fever. Over the next few days I experienced serious bloating after eating a bowl of rice followed by excruciating abdominal pain and constipation. The kind of excruciating pain that tells you that medical attention is needed. It’s amazing how the body interprets pains and how our tolerance levels lets us know how serious our condition is when we are in tune to our bodies. Little did I know that some of my favorite foods were contributing to my condition. Diverticulitis, in my case, occurs when foods like popcorn, brown rice, nuts, seeds among others or stool gets caught up in these pockets and an inflammation combined with bacterium causes an infection. What surprised me the most about this disease is how common it is in America? It’s a disease that’s not commonly talked about, and although not clinically proven, might be caused by a lack of dietary fiber. After my diagnosis nearly two out of five friends said they had it too, including one blood relative.

Recently, after watching Dr. OZ I learned that most people who have weight problems should add more dietary fiber to their menu. Oddly enough, I just started increasing fiber to combat that extra ten pounds that I’ve been carrying around over the past year. Diet and nutritional information change with the wind so how do we know which way it’s blowing this month. This information is not meant to scare or replace medical expert’s advice but to alert you to one person’s terrifying experience with a disease that is so common but not often mentioned.

Very few things stop me in my tracks, but this one knocked me off the rails all together. It’s not the five days off work that bothered me as much as how long the recovery process for an acute attack is. Seven days of antibiotics and the bloating still hasn’t subsided nor energy levels returned. Perhaps the antibiotics themselves are the culprit now.

What amazes me is how indifferent people are when you’re sick. It’s almost like they think they will catch it from you. After the initial shock wears off and friends and relatives realize that you aren’t going to die life goes on as usual except your quality of life isn’t the same. What a reality wake up call it is when sickness knocks on your door. Suddenly your life kicks into high or low gear.

It’s been some time since I’ve felt such a sincere appreciation for life, food or the ability to exercise. Who knows what tomorrow will bring but today I’ve survived and become a better person. Instead of hiding or burying my illness I choose to share my story and enlighten others. There are serious complications if the disease isn’t cured by antibiotics but why think the worse until that day comes. Tomorrow is a new day and my prayers and thoughts go out to those who are battling far worse things then diverticulitis.

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