The Early Years
To tell this story properly I have to go back to November 2010. I was living in Toronto with my wife Thea and working at Note Bene a fancy restaurant on queen street. One day I started having some discomfort in my stomach. At first I thought it was a bad vietnamese sub I ate but the pain wouldn’t go away. After several days the pain worsened and shifted down my abdomen radiating pain into my groin. That was when (after suffering through a whole night shift) I walked up to mt. Sinai hospital and checked myself in. The doctors there took it very seriously and after several hours I was given a CT scan. That was when I discovered I was allergic to CT contrast (the dye they inject you with prior to scanning you). I broke out in hives. At first the doctors thought my appendix was going to rupture because it looked much larger than usual. Thea was by my side the whole time I was waiting in emergency which was around 16 hours. The one time Thea decided to go and move the car because her parking had run out was when the doctor came in and told me it could be cancer. I’ll remember that moment for the rest of my life. One day later I was in surgery. They removed my appendix and a small piece of my colon. Waking up after surgery was the hardest part I was in tons of pain and I felt like I wanted to throw up but my stomach was hurting so bad from the surgery that I couldn’t. Good nursing and tons of love and support from family and friends meant that I was home in a week. After a week at home I started having more abdominal pains and started vomiting. Back to the hospital I went and the doctors found a blockage. More specifically an adhesion which is scare tissue that forms in the bowels after surgery. This ended up being worse than the original surgery. I wasn’t allowed anything to eat or drink for a whole week. I ended up losing around 30 pounds. The adhesion cleared itself up just in time for christmas and we spent it with my aunt and cousins. Thank you baby Jesus.
Ok so back to Vancouver. Thea and I get married and almost immediately Thea gets pregnant. I was referred by my doctor in Toronto to a new doctor in Vancouver. My new doctor Dr Brown suggests that I have a colonoscopy. This scope revealed that I had around 50-60 polyps in my colon. Polyps are small growths that most people will develop in their lives within their colon. The average amount someone age 45+ might have is 5 or 6. Dr Brown said that if we hadn’t have discovered this it would have been catastrophic. Each polyp has the potential to become cancerous. Both Thea (who was 7 months pregnant at the time) and I were floored by this news. We were told by my doctor in Toronto that I was in the clear. Dr Brown’s diagnosis for this was to remove my entire colon surgically. Waiting for the surgery was very strange I had no symptoms and no pain. It didn’t feel real. May 14th my beautiful baby daughter Aria was born. Healthy and cute as a button. We bask in her beauty everyday. In such a stressful time we were blessed with the most calm and happy little cutie.
We arrive at St Paul’s hospital get checked in and meet the nurses and anesthesiologists. I explained that after my first surgery I had a really rough time in recovery. We decided to go with an epidural so that would keep my pain manageable when I awake from anesthesia. On the pain scale from 1 to 10 we wanted to awake at around 2 or 3. When I awoke from surgery I was at a ten on the pain scale. It was a total nightmare. Apparently in around one percent of people the epidural can shift and won’t be affective in the right area. I spent eight hours in recovery while they got my pain under control. I was on so much morphine that I kept passing out and stopping breathing. The pain doctors re-inserted my epidural and slowly the pain subsided. I was then moved to a ward on the tenth floor for post surgery patients. I was originally supposed to be in the hospital for around nine to ten days but on the fifth day I had another setback. I had been struggling with nausea since the surgery and the doctors weren’t sure why. In the middle of the night on day five I started having violent shakes. Even though I wasn’t cold I couldn’t stop shivering. So much so that my incision site opened up and started bleeding. I was vomiting a lot too. It was really rough. Turns out I had a bacterial blood infection. Around twelve percent of people can get them from surgery. I was started on heavy duty antibiotics right away and that helped with my nausea and other things. My nurses at st. Paul’s hospital were really great, they helped me get through so much stuff. By far I wasn’t the worst off in that ward. I don’t think i would have had the strength to get through this time but my family rallied around me and helped me through. Many other people there were going through just as tough if not tougher times while at st. Paul’s. I kept reminding myself of that. After another week or so of close monitoring I was cleared to go home. I spent a total of 16 days in the hospital now I’m at home and feeling much better. I still have a nurse coming everyday to change the dressing on my wound and to check my other progress but being at home is much more relaxing. I’m still working through some tough times but I’m feeling better. We’ve also received a ton of support from our family and friends it has been really amazing. Some people we haven’t even met have been really generous. So for this I’m super grateful.