Time to buck up and get over that shit though, and hopefully in the process help some of you if you’re in the same place I was.
One of the things I talk about the most on both my blog and FB page is the importance of healthy eating.
Admittedly, I’m not perfect with that even to this day.
Truth be told, I was forced to learn over and over again what eating healthy meals looks like, and for that matter what healthy eating habits look like, and trust me I still indulge (at times more than I should).
For those of you familiar with what that is, you also know that it is generally something that older people and people who are very overweight get.
Diverticulosis is a condition where the walls of your colon become weakened and little pouches called diverticula form. These pockets in turn can get waste (poop) stuck in them and create inflammation, infections and abscesses which can cause sepsis if untreated.
When I was a kid, my parents were excellent about feeding both my sister and I healthy meals. They were great about making sure we were active, participating in tons of different sports, forcing us to go outside and play, etc.
I want to very clear here, my diverticulosis, and the subsequent infections I've suffered are through absolutely no fault of theirs as you'll see when you read on.
Somewhere around 7th grade, I started doing things like babysitting, shoveling snow in the winter, etc. to make some spending money. Here’s the catch, I almost exclusively spent my money on junk food.
Talk about wasting money.
I had a big appetite too! Hell, I still do, but I'm much smarter about controlling it now.
I used to walk into my local pizza place, Marco’s, just blocks away from my house, and order a small pepperoni pizza and a coke, sit down and a table there, and eat the whole F’ing thing myself.
I was twelve.
I was beginning to develop weird food habits like that, where I would just binge on crap food, then eat some healthy stuff, then back to eating massive amounts of junk again.
High school wasn’t much different. The only thing that ever kept me from becoming a freaking whale was that I was always active and athletic, and though there were many times I was “Chubby” or “Husky” (that term still makes me cringe) I was never what one might consider fat, so I could easily convince myself I wasn’t that unhealthy.
College came around and it was more of the same, except booze entered the equation as well. The combo of a 24hr Taco Bell right around the corner from campus and my love of drinking certainly was a terrible equation.
Alcohol, being in a fraternity, was always something I had access to in abundance, and my abuse of it started to really take hold.
Funny part is if you asked any of my Fraternity brothers or college friends they probably wouldn’t have told you I was that bad, but as an alcoholic (sober 11years, more on that in a separate blog post one day), one of the things you do is surround yourself with other heavy drinkers so you blend in.
This way if someone ever confronts you on your problem you always have someone else you can point to and say, “Well, at least I’m not as bad as that guy!”
Some folks get the munchies from smoking pot, I never smoked, but I did drink my face off, and I can tell you first hand booze munchies are just as real.
I was also studying exercise science in college and working as a trainer at the school’s gym, so I had to look the part. I managed to do that by adopting some really weird dietary habits, like hardly ever eating carbs, binging and then fasting, and at times drinking nothing but protein shakes.
I left school, and got sober, but my eating wasn’t much better.
There was something major lacking in my diet: Dietary Fiber.
I honestly don’t remember any vegetables that I really ate besides things used to be flavor enhancers like garlic and onions.
Then at 26yrs old the levies burst.
I woke up in the morning, feeling a little under the weather like I was coming down with the flu or something. That general achy feeling one gets with the flu or a mild fever. The only difference was that I also felt like I had some gas pains. I thought nothing of it.
As the day went on both the flu like symptoms and the abdominal pain started feeling worse. I didn’t think the two were connected though.
I left work about an hour before the end of the day, told my boss I was gonna need a sick day tomorrow (which he said was a good idea and that I looked like shit) and walked home. Every step I took, the belly pain got worse.
If you’re a male reading this, it felt similar to the same lower abdominal pain you get when you get hit in the family jewels.
I got home, and decided I didn’t’ want to cook, so what did I do?
Damned right I ordered a pizza (because something like soup would make too much sense).
As the night went on, it got worse and worse (duh, you just ate a fucking pizza moron).
Later that night my dad called me just to check in and see how I was doing. I told him I was doing well, but felt like I may be coming down with the flu or something because I def had a fever, and also that I was having some really bad gas pains but didn’t think the two were connected.
Thank god for him. He could very well have saved my life by giving me a verbal smack upside the head over the telephone. He made me go to the doctor first thing in the morning.
My doctor, who also happened to be my father’s PCP and close friend, was nervous to say the least.
The abdominal pain I was having was in the lower left quadrant of my abdomen, but I was too young and healthy looking to be having a bout of diverticulitis, and also knowing my father, he knew that my dad had had appendicitis and when the opened him up to remove his appendix found it in a different place than expected.
He sent me to the hospital to get a CT scan and some Antibiotics. The CT scan confirmed that it was not my appendix, but that I had a bout of diverticulitis.
How the hell does someone my age get Diverticulosis?
After much discussion with my doctors; in my case the conclusion we came to was most likely this:
By eating like a complete asshole at different points in my life.
Fast forward 8 years to today. I’ve have nearly 10 incidents of this, and am currently meeting with a surgeon discussing a bowel resection surgery and partial or full removal of my sigmoid colon where these multiple diverticula are located.
As many of you know, I have broken my nose multiple times, had surgery on my shoulder, herniated discs in my lower back, and I can handle the pain that comes with all of those injuries pretty easily.
These infections stop me dead in my tracks. They are quite literally the most painful things that I’ve ever dealt with.
Thankfully I’ve learned the importance of getting in good amounts of dietary fiber through vegetables and whole grains since my first flare up, and this is probably the biggest reason I preach eating veggies so often.
This deep dive into the crap I’m going through is meant to sway anyone who is currently eating like crap to change their ways and start incorporating things like green leafy vegetables, high fiber fruits, and whole grains into their normal meals so they can avoid going through the shit I am.
If you need help with eating healthy, delicious, and nutritious foods reach out, and if I can’t help you I know LOTS of people who can.
This shit sucks and you don't want to deal with it when it may very well have been prevented with decent eating and exercise habits.