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since May 2004

I first noticed that I had a problem when I was eighteen years old. I had the standard barium test and it confirmed that I had colitis. I didn't have to take medication and for periods of time everything was okay. I was in my late twenties when the colitis started to give me major problems. I started having frequent bouts of diarrhea during the day, I would take my children to school and hope that I would get home in time to make it to the bathroom. Waiting in line at the grocery store could be a challenge. And somehow every time someone called me on the phone I had to go, I bought extra long phone cords to solve that problem. In my middle thirties I started having blood along with the diarrhea, it left me weak and unable to do much of anything. The medication that they gave me made me very sleepy. They gave me antibiotics, prednisone, and lomitil, nothing worked. I could not eat and I lost quite a bit of weight. My doctor had me scheduled for a barium enema, I was given a liquid clean out kit. That was the beginning of the end for me, I was sick all night long. The next day they tried to give me the barium but they had to stop. They admitted me into the hospital right on the spot. They gave me steroids for three weeks, the inside of my colon was healing but the outside was dying. I had to have emergency surgery because my colon was gangrenous. They took out my large and part of my small intestine, gallbladder, appendix, and rectum. When I woke up I remember telling everyone, "please don't touch the bed", because I was in so much pain. I was in intensive care for a week before they put me on the regular floor. I did have a problem with infection where they took out my rectum because it was an emergency surgery. They had to lance the infected area---Ouch!, I remember that---It was a few days later that I started trying to get them to give me food, I was so hungry and I could see the cafeteria across the courtyard from me.
They finally gave me my first meal, it tasted so good. I also talked my husband into bringing me a meat ball sandwich. The nurses were great about it and they even warmed it up for me.

I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and he has always been there for me, it doesn't matter at all that I have a bag hanging from my stomach. I think that it is because I had his support it made it easy for me to adjust so well to my new lifestyle. I was able to go swimming and play golf with my brother a couple of months after the surgery. I had ice skated when I was young and I decided to give it a try again, why not, I was not stuck to the toilet anymore. So in 1983 I went back to the ice rink, I still skate four times a week. I was even on a drill team that competed at nationals.

I did have to have surgery for a 99% blockage due to scar tissue a couple of years ago, I got through that just like a timex watch----"takes a licking and keeps on ticking".---My first question after the surgery was when can I go back to ice skating.?

Elaine Marie



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