So what ever happened to Dr_Pain (Claude)??
Quite a few of you guys either replied to my post, inquiring if you were interested in hearing about my ordeal, or PM’d saying that it would be a great story to tell. I apologize in advance for the rather lengthy post but……
In April 2021 I finally made the half century and for some reason the medical community chose 50 years old as a landmark age to request that you undergo a colonoscopy. Well, being the bad patient that I am I skipped the appointment my GP had made for me. My excuse was that I would have to close my clinic and since I had ZERO issues that it was not the best cost/benefit. Unfortunately my wife found out and started pressuring me. In order to avoid another argument I finally scheduled to have the procedure done.
Did I mention I had ZERO issues. I neither had issues of constipation (or any other dysfunctions of my bowels) nor did I have any bleeding or appearance of old blood in my stools. I had a normal healthy diet and could eat you out of house and home. Friday, November 12th was the day of reckoning! I was gonna get both that procedure done and get the wife off my back!! I arrived at the GI lab and met with my gastroenterologist. He explained the procedure and told me I was going to get the Michael Jackson “milk” which would give me the best sleep of my life. They came in to prep me and boom I was out like a light. I don’t know how long it took but remember waking up with the doc staring at me, about 3 feet from my face.
As soon as I opened my eyes he started offloading. I was still pretty groggy but he was about 3 feet from my face telling me that they found a few polyps which he took care of but also found two (2) 7cm masses in 2 different part of my colon. One was in the ascending colon and the other at the junction between my sigmoidal colon and rectum. He then proceeded to the chart on the wall and started telling me that they would cut here and there, and would join this and that. Let’s say that I woke up from that grogginess in a hurry.
Here are a couple of pictures of those masses. Note how the invaded the opening of my colon and should have restricted my bowels.
Here is a depiction of the proposed surgery. The reality of it was that it ended up being more extensive. The reddish part are the parts they had to cut out and the green parts were the reconnection.
In actuality they removed a little more of the transverse colon and descending colon.
In any case, my colonoscopy was on a Friday and by the next Thursday I was in a surgeons office, and the following Tuesday I was in surgery. They were not playing due to how “aggressive” those tumors looked. Fortunately I received word from the gastroenterologist that they were not cancerous yet but at the last stage before they actually turned “evil”.
The first surgery took place November 23rd. It was an arthroscopic procedure which was supposed to take 3.5 hrs. Because they had to expand the scope of the surgery it ended up being 6 hrs. I came out of anesthesia to my loving wife and some pain!!. I was overinflated from the gas they put in the belly but everything was according to plan. I definitely felt like a pregnant woman. The scar above my belly button was to remove the colon parts.
I ended up spending 4 days in the hospital and was discharged home with no issues. The next day things started to change. I was a little more lethargic and had a little more pain. Par for the course I though!?!. The day after I started to run a low grade fever. By the Monday the pain and fever were so bad that my wife drove me to the ER (after consulting with the surgeon).
In the ER the people waiting to be seen kept on insisting that I be seen first. At that point I was running 103-104 fever. They did a million test and my surgeon pushed for me to be admitted to the post-op floor as he was waiting for the results of the bloodwork. Hours past and no results. My surgeon was patiently waiting but at 2 am he barged in my room and said “screw it, I am not waiting anymore, we are going back in”. Because of the uncertainties they couldn’t give me medication so I was in so much pain and was hallucinating…… and seriously thought that I was going to die.
The surgeon told my wife that I was septic and was pretty sure what the issue was. He mentioned to her that it should be a 40 minute procedure, which ended up taking 4hrs. According to him the pelvis was full of pus and blood and compressing my small intestine but the main issue was that there was a small leak in the repair at my rectum. He stated that he did not want to repair it because it would involve cutting more of my rectum, which would mean that I would be on a colostomy for the rest of my life. He opted instead to open me wide open, remove my intestine and clean everything, suck all the pus and blood and perform an ileostomy (which is where they create a poo bag using the small intestines). By bypassing the colon the repair at the rectum would eventually heal. Eventually they would reverse the ileostomy and I would resume using my butt like everyone else BUT for the time being I would poo in a bag.
Here is a picture of the new scar they left me with
Unfortunately, despite having fixed the issue, the pain did not get better! Believe it of not the pain got worse, much worse!! They had 4 IVs in my arms and were pushing meds almost every hours. I was on a cocktail of morphine, dilaudid, toradol and tramedol and the pain was never under control. As a result I did not sleep for 5 days. On the second night I woke my wife up at 2:30am and asked her: “Hey Liz, do you have a piece of paper”, she said yes!; “Do you have a pen”, she said yes! I told her that it was the end and that I needed to give her my passwords, and needed to tell her about my secret security deposit box at the bank and my secret stash account. I bared my soul to her because I knew I was dying. If that was not bad enough, as a result of the pain and not sleeping I ended up suffering from hospital psychosis. I was literally losing my mind. I would scream “HELP” for hours. I would speak of my spirit animal. My kingdom was under siege. I invented nursery rhymes etc…. And that is just what my wife told me about. She took notes of my declining mental state and told me that if she was not scared that I was dying that it would have been the most entertaining I had ever been.
Speaking of my wife, she dropped everything for the 3 weeks that I was in the hospital and stayed by my side 24/7 taking care of all my needs big or small. She was and is such a blessing. For those who don’t know, she is a school principal in a very affluent private Christian school. She is responsible for 60+ employees and 300+ students. For her to drop everything…… well I can’t see because of the tears in my eyes. Such a blessing!!
Anyway, they finally got the pain under control and I met with a psych NP who managed the psychiatric issues. And things started to look up. When you think you are out of the woods you are not!! My scar started to get infected and despite their best effort ended up splitting wide open. Here is a picture after it started to heal from the inside out
Fortunately for me I am looking at another surgery to reverse the ileostomy. They will take that opportunity to revise the scar. In the picture you can see the poo bag. I am so over that thing!!!
December 12th I was finally discharged. I came home with all kinds of supplies to pack by wound and to replace my poo bag (every 3 days). As part of my discharge instruction the surgeon stated that I could not lift more than 10 lbs (or a gallon of milk) for the next 3 months. I work as a physical therapist; I am in a solo practice that I own; and my specialization is in orthopedics and manual therapy……10lbs!!! (Insert head exploding). There is zero chance that I can return to work with these kinds of restrictions!! But here is the kicker…. I have 3 months of severe restrictions which is followed by 2-3 months of slow recuperation to then be under the knife again to reverse the ileostomy. This will require another 3 months of restrictions to no more than 10lbs followed by 3-4 months to rebuilt my strength. So if my math is correct I won’t be able to return to full duties (at my own clinic) for close to 10 months to 1 year. Let’s say that I am grieving my old life!!!
As a result of being a solo practitioner and not being able to work for close to 1 year I am forced to sell my clinic. I worked 25 years to build it to what it is today. Let say that it is a huge burden psychologically. Although the physical strength is getting better the mental health is suffering big time. This psychological burden comes to be on top of pre-existent PTSD and anxiety/panic disorder. I am a highly functional/dysfunctional person.
I am being told everyday to look on the bright side. The only few bright spots (not side) of this ordeal is that 1) I am still alive and cancer free 2) I lost 35 lbs as of this morning. The rest is pretty bleak. No income, other than my wife’s; Lost a LOT of muscle mass; I am looking at another surgery and potential complications etc……
I do have to say that I am very appreciative of the Walton family/company Jonathon Austin JohnG5 for the care package they sent me. I am every more appreciative for all of your prayers, best wishes, cards, private messages and those yummy pecans (@lkrfletcher johnsbrewhouse) Most of all I am blessed with the gift of your friendships, especially Chef who communicated with my wife and checked on me daily (still does).
I would probably go to hell if I did not take the opportunity to mention how much of a gem my wife is. She stood by my side 24/7 and continues to biggest supporter (physically, psychologically, emotionally and financially). I don’t know if I could have made it without her. Actually I know I would not have made it without her.
I know it was a long read but I hope it was not only entertaining but a good PSA reminder not to take things for granted. Go get your colonoscopy and please do me a favor not to dismiss it as I did because you don’t have any signs or symptoms. If colon cancer runs in the family then please do yourself a favor and go in your 30s or 40s and don’t wait till your wife pester you in your 50s to get it done
Well I for one am glad you are still here I have learned for a group that I used to I attended on a daily bases now not so much because I am lazy and it has Ben 25 years that god has a plan for us and it is not up to us to know it and that everything happens for a reason so if your story helps one more person that might be what is supposed to be thank you for sharing I will keep you in my prayers
YooperDog Team Orange Masterbuilt Big Green Egg Dry Cured Sausage Sous Vide Canning Power User last edited by
Dr_Pain Thank you for sharing your journey, hmmm… I think LOL. None of us like to get prodded or examined especially when we feel okay. But getting things done removes the doubt of any issues. My wife did the same for me and had to drag me to the ER to bring me to my senses, they still had to take my clothes so I wouldn’t leave. Sometimes we just get lucky especially with who we spend our life with. Someone is looking out for us.
Dr_Pain thanks for your story. You may have just saved one of us without even knowing it. God bless you and your family
Dr_Pain Thank you for sharing this saga with us, yet so much more to have to experience. I cannot even imagine having to go through that much, but am glad that you have made it & know you will make it all the way through, by the grace of God & your own determination. Hang in there & Thank you .
Mean Dean last edited by
Dr_Pain So glad you decided to go in and get it done. Despite the outcome and all the pain you experienced, it saved your life. You are SO right to suggest everyone get a colonoscopy when you are near that 50 year mark. The worst part is the clean out before the procedure, and with the things they have now, it isn’t that bad. My brother did not follow up in time, and short story, he now has a colostomy bag for life. But at least he’s still here, and able to enjoy life.
Thank you for sharing your story. Perhaps it will save someone else’s life. Many blessings to you, my friend. You are fortunate to have such a loving and caring wife. Praise God that you are still with us. Continue to heal, my friend.
Claude, that was one hell of a ride you took. Thank you for sharing the story.
So very glad you came through it and are still here on the green side of the grass with the rest of us.
Its hard to understand all the twists and turns the whole experience took you through. Maybe somethings are just not meant to be fully understood right away.
Dr. Pain, I can not even imagine what you have gone through. I’m so glad that you have a brighter path forward. Hopefully your story will encourage others to get a colonoscopy even though they are feeling good. You are very blessed and a man of many riches having a wife that truly loves you. Get well soon my Meatgistics brother.
Keep up the faith. No hill is too large for a mountain climber!
johnsbrewhouse Team Blue Regular Contributors Traeger Power User Veteran Sous Vide Canning last edited by
Dr_Pain Glad they found things before they became a problem. My doctor is one of the over achievers who doesn’t listen to his patients, thus the reason I don’t see him, but see the P.A… As most don’t know, I only have 1/3 of a stomach due to gastric surgery, so I know where you are at somewhat with the Laparoscopic procedure. It is a long journey when you have normal healing, but even longer when complications arise. I can say I don’t relish the thought of the procedure, but for me the prep is worse since none of them understand what it means to have limited capacity in the stomach and their expectations to consume amounts of liquid physically impossible in the allotted time.
A 7 cm mass was cause for alarm and two I can see why the Dr. want you in ASAP. Thank goodness it was benign. All I can say, you have been though a lot. By the sounds of you recent post your spirits are more lifted day by day.
Thanks for sharing your story, hopefully this will add to the value of education of preventive procedures whether we like them or not.
johnsbrewhouse I hope you are doing much better now too. None of that sounds good, but I am glad to see the recovery. Never the less those sort of conditions will sadly to say, have some impact on your life forever. I am just glad all of you are on the road to complete recovery, as you will know it.
johnsbrewhouse Team Blue Regular Contributors Traeger Power User Veteran Sous Vide Canning last edited by
calldoctoday Have a video appointment with my primary care ARNP for digestive problem and follow up on embolism. Hopefully she will get me off the blood thinner. Prefer the video since Omicron and the flu are running rampant here.
johnsbrewhouse Wishing you the absolute very best & hope it all goes well. I am sure it will & then hopefully you can get off those blood thinners or at least cut back.
Dr_Pain I have always had gut and bowel problems, it’s like a steep roller coaster. It goes from pooing small hard pebbles with pain like a rabbit to diarrhea with nauseous gut and pain, my family doctor just seemed to blow it off. I finally complained so much about it 3 years ago he finally agreed to do a colonoscopy at age 44. They found nothing but two small polyps that they removed. Yes I do not eat the greatest so it’s partially my fault but food is just so yummy I can’t kick the habit so I just deal with it. Just like my aches and pains muscular and bone/ joints, back and hips mostly. I have been told I have irritable bowel syndrome and gastrointestinal disease. He gave me dicyclomine that I haven’t taken forever, I am terrible at remembering to take pills. I am also currently on omeprozole for heartburn and acid reflux. Chocolate and Mountain Dew is probably the two worst things that make it react along with spicy foods. I think I have gained so much weight that it is just pushing so much on my innerds and creating havoc. I’m glad you are moving in the right direction and we will be right here with you in the coming months and years.
twilliams I hope you continue to improve as well. I understand, you have an idea, & it is not a nice description when it happens. Has been happening on & off now for about 25-30 years. Have had all sorts of tests run over the years & no idea or solution. It goes away eventually on its own & then returns at some point. We eat pretty healthily for the most part, I am just fatter than a show dog. I hope they can get to the bottom of yours so you get to feeling better. It is not good to have to go through life like that & the pills are no good at all, if you can help it.
calldoctoday I ordered Pizza Hut pizza on my way home from work on Friday, I had bad diarrhea through Sunday no matter what I ate after that. I told the wife, that’s it!! No more fast food. I have also not had a pop/soda since. We will see how long this lasts. I usually cave to temptation and easibility to a fast meal. I gotta do this though. So a diet for me again although it will not be the keto diet like last time.
twilliams Hang in there. I thought iceberg type lettuce was the culprit for me, but then found that was not completely consistent.
GWG8541 Regular Contributors Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Team Blue Power User Military Veterans last edited by
Dr_Pain wow Claude, that is a journey, thank you for sharing. Your inspiration and tenacity is something. I know everyone in this community is happy to see you come out on the other side of this. I have personally never endured anything like what you have been through, but have family who have had similar medical episodes. I know your career is weighing on you, but please continue to take care of yourself. I do believe that God will open another door when one is closed. It sounds like we also have something in common other than Meatgistics, we both married up. I am glad you are still with us to help us all navigate this thing we all call life. Get well my friend.
mrobisr Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors last edited by
What a ride you went on, thanks for the update glad you are back. I will leave you with this thought, always remember as you are walking through the valley of death that you are walking and not camping in that valley and you can only walk so far before you climb the peak and reach the mountain top.
Dr_Pain We chatted a little off line but those pics look so much like what happened to my brother! I actually sent him this link to look at! Incredibly thankful that you pulled through, as we have said, us Tremblays are hard to kill!!! Glad to have you back, take your time with everything, regain your strength!