Sorry, I have been so quiet recently; life has been throwing objects at me from all directions!
3 months ago, I saw my gastroenterologist for a routine consultation. We were discussing future treatments that I may want. He advised that I could go back onto immunosuppressants to see if that worked, or to try a combination of medications to see if that relieved my symptoms, but politely I declined. While it may seem extreme to some, I opted for surgery and surgery only. I had been symptomatic for 13 years and tried 4 different treatments to try and control my Crohn’s Disease but nothing had worked.
Surprisingly, my consultant agreed – although he did have some reservations. Of course, with surgery, came with risk. The Crohn’s may come back meaning more surgery in the future and the risks of the surgery itself. I took all of this onboard and had a chat with my husband about it. I didn’t know what to do, which avenue to take or where to even start looking to so I could base my decision off of something concrete.
I decided on elective surgery. I wanted the affected part of my bowel removed so I could try and live a life as a 25-year-old should. My symptoms had been getting worse, I had had enough.
My gastroenterologist referred me to a colorectal surgeon for a consultation. Expecting this to take months, we booked a holiday. We jetted off to Cyprus for 2 weeks all inclusive and we had a whale of a time. We met some great people, drank enough cocktails to kill a small army and ate so much I swear the plane had to have an extra 100m run up to take off to come home! After a relaxing 2 week rest, we were back at work and an appointment came through for me to see the consultant. It was for the following week! I couldn’t wait!
Expecting this to just be a ‘meet and greet’ type appointment, I went in with all the queries and questions I had to see if they could be answered. Once in there, I was told that within 3 months he would have me on the table and he would be taking out the affected part of my bowel. No ifs, no buts, this is what was happening. I came out dumbfounded, how could everything be going so straightforward now? There was no way I would be having this done right? Back home, I told my husband and then it started to dawn on me how big of a procedure this would be! I had, somehow, convinced myself that this wouldn’t be done within 3 months so I threw myself into work.
Cut to the 18th of April, so about a week after I had been told I would be having surgery, Darren and I decided that it would be best for us to separate. Things hadn’t been good for a while and it was best for us both. Fully mutual, no arguments.
So there was me, a newly single man, now looking for somewhere to live, working full time, not knowing what to do with myself one minute to the next. It was safe to say I had a slight mental health crisis. I had been seeing a psychologist for about 6 months who thought it would be best, after recent events, to refer me to the Community Mental Health Team for assessment. This assessment, which I am yet to have, is meant to tell me if there is anything which is causing my low mood, etc. Could be Bipolar, could be a form of personality disorder, who knows?
Anyway, cut to the end of May. I move in with a friend of mine. Things had finally started to level out. Life is finally on the up and I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel again.
13th of June – operation day. Now, I had organized for Darren to be with me for my procedure and to help me afterward, but now that we had separated and I was living elsewhere, I didn’t feel it appropriate. Mum to the rescue! The day before, Mum had driven down to Bournemouth so she could be there with me before and after my surgery. We arrive at Royal Bournemouth Hospital at 6.30am, only 45 minutes early, ready for me to be taken in. It gets to 7.10 am and I am called in, whisked around to get changed into my lovely hospital attire, which consisted of a lovely gown, dressing gown, compression stockings and vintage red slipper socks. Sitting there, watching the minutes tick by, feeling sicker and sicker. A lovely blonde nurse came bouncing around the corner and said: “Right, ready?”. No, no I wasn’t. I suddenly didn’t want to have surgery, all kinds of emotions came crashing down on me. I have no recollection of walking from the waiting room to the door of the theatres. Suddenly, I was there, about to walk into the chiller like room where I was about to be sliced open. Said goodbye to Mum through tears and off I went. Before I knew it, I was on the table speaking with the anesthetist and the nurses. Quick needle into the spine and I was lead down. The last thing I remember is looking at the nurse as a mask was put over my face and her telling me she would see me soon.
Bam. Done. One ileocecectomy delivered for Mr. Sawyer. They removed a large part of both my small and large bowel. The first thing I remember is being shifted from the operating table to the bed, and the pain. The pain was the worst thing I had ever felt. Soon rectified by a copious amount of Fentanyl into my vein I dozed off again. When I woke up, I saw the nurse again. The first thing I asked was; “Do I have a stoma?”. The one thing I was dreading. Not that it is a bad thing, because so many people I know have one and swear by it, but I didn’t want it. Not under any circumstance. She replied; “No, no stoma. Your procedure could not have gone any better!”. I was finally Crohn’s free. I say Crohn’s free, I will always have it, but I no longer have any active disease.
Wheeled out of recovery and onto the ward, I greeted my Mum with a royal-like wave as I came down the corridor. Put into my bay and there I was. Done.
It is safe to say, this has been the most painful, traumatising and most terrifying thing I have ever come across in my 25 years, but it is nothing compared to what could have happened if I didn’t have the operation.
So here I am now, sat at Mums, recuperating, in pain, 4 lovely scars on my abdomen, petrified to cough let alone sneeze! I’m sat here, Crohn’s free.
Jack 1 – 1 Crohn’s. Touché, mother fucker.
Heres to remission.