Dealing with an appendicitis was a very scary thing for me, because I knew what it would mean if anybody found out about it. This happened a long time ago, and looking back on it now, I consider is a good learning experience for me.
Symptoms and Fear:
I first noticed that something was wrong with me when I started feeling a dull pain in my abdomen that kept going in and out. I kept feeling this same pain for quite a few days and it began to alarm me when I lost my appetite simply because I normally have a very healthy appetite. I felt okay dismissing it as a stomach bug, which I’ve had before, and therefore decided not to say anything. During a normal workday I am so completely busy that I was able to focus my attention elsewhere even though I was still experiencing the same dull pain. For me, with a normal workday, it involved physical training in the martial arts and MMA. One day everyone around me, including my students, noticed that I wasn’t performing my best and kept remarking on it. Still, I kept telling them that I was okay, and that I was having a slow day.
Those around me who knew me the longest knew that it was more than that, and I could tell in their eyes that they wanted to say more, but didn’t. Their concern for me increased when my movements became limited because the pain in my abdomen was starting to get worse. As much as I was trying to hide it, I couldn’t, and decided to go home and rest up while they continued their training. I’m a workaholic so instead of actually going home to rest I decided to work on some of my film projects that I have lined up with a few of my filmmaker friends. But I couldn’t even concentrate on that because I wasn’t feeling well. In fact, it felt like I was starting to feel worse, not just with the pain but with nausea.
Every now and then I like to read up on anything that’s related to medicine. My mom has a huge medical book that I like to read from time to time. Once I started to suspect more and more that something was really wrong, I went to the medical book and started to read, and my symptoms told me it was appendicitis. That made me a little afraid because I knew that if I had appendicitis, I would need surgery. So I did what anybody would do. I went into denial. Going online, I was determined to read more on what an appendicitis really was. I wanted to find anything I could that would give me doubts that that is what I had. Afterall, I knew that pain in the abdomen could mean anything and I wanted to ease the fear that I was starting to have. I started feeling this fear because the last thing I wanted was to go to the doctor and hear him tell me that I needed surgery. I haven’t had surgery since I was 5 years old, and the thought of it was a little bit frightening. I’m fearless when it comes to just about anything else, but with surgery, not so much.
After a couple more days the pain in my abdomen was shifting from my navel area to my lower right side. I couldn’t eat anything and I could hardly keep up with work. I stayed in bed hoping it would pass, hoping that there was still a possibility that all it was was a stomach bug (even though in the back of my mind, I knew that was wishful thinking.) Naturally my mom got wind that something was wrong with me, and as any mom would do, insisted she take my temperature. It turns out that I had a 102.1 degree fever. So I caved and told her about the pain in my abdomen which was coming in sharper than it did when it started out. She was concerned enough to want to take me to the doctor because she also suspected that it was appendicitis. I told her it might just be a stomach bug, but she was having none of it, and pretty much made me get up and go to the doctor.
I was extremely nervous upon entering the doctor’s office. I sat down and spoke with him about how I felt and how long I was feeling this way. Then it came time for him to examine me which, I have to admit, isn’t my favorite part. Once again I heard the word appendicitis. So this is where I decided to stop with the denial and admit to myself that I probably really did have an appendicitis. After the doctor did some tests on me he concluded the same thing; a final confirmation on what I had feared. I didn’t want surgery, but I knew there was probably no other alternative. I started getting really afraid when the doctor told me that the longer we wait to treat it, the more dangerous it could be for me.
If an appendicitis isn’t taken care of right away, the appendix could rupture, causing infection and peritonitis, which is another inflammation that can lead to sepsis. Peritonitis is something I’ve heard about before and was very alarming, because I was never sure what it could mean to leave an appendicitis untreated until that moment. All I read beforehand were the symptoms of what I had and went no further. This is where denial can lead you to, a dangerous situation. One thing that I’ve learned is to speak up if you suspect something’s wrong, no matter how afraid you may be. A little fear isn’t worth my life, and so I knew that finally seeing a doctor was the right thing. My fear ended up shifting from having surgery to treat my appendicitis to what could happen if my appendicitis wasn’t treated at all, and so I became very anxious to get it treated with surgery so that I could get better, which I finally did when I was rolled into surgery and finally had my operation. I ended up getting antibiotics before the surgery, however. But that’s common procedure when you have an appendicitis.
When I woke up in recovery, I was relieved and I felt so much better. To me, the whole thing seemed to take a couple of minutes because when you have surgery you get knocked out right away, and the next thing you know, you’re waking up again. The first thing that came to mind was “what the heck was I so afraid of?” That’s how silly I knew I was being. After all it wasn’t as if I had a “major” operation. An appendectomy is considered minor and routine these days.
It wasn’t very hard to move around. In fact, when I finally got home it felt like I could do just about anything I did before, except my martial arts training. Couldn’t do everything right away, only basic movements. I like being on the go, but in this case, I pretended I was on vacation. I was just so relieved that it was finally over and that I was getting better.
If you suspect you have an appendicitis, don’t wait like I did. Waiting could be very dangerous. Luckily, for me nothing bad happened. Even if it turns out not to be an appendicitis it’s best to know so you can be prepared about what you can do to get treated. If you had an appendectomy, you may feel like you can get back to your normal routine right away, but take your time. You still had surgery after all. I wanted to get back to work right away but I knew that I had to take my time and recover. Also, do your own research if you suspect something is wrong. It’s always best to know what’s going on with your body. And this way if something goes wrong, you’ll have valid information you can share with your doctor. It’s better than being clueless if you suspect something is going on. So always research your symptoms, no matter what your ailment is.
One thing that I remember reading about an appendicitis is that there’s really no way of preventing it. But it will help to eat a high fiber diet, meaning make sure you’re incorporating enough fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. Most people get an appendicitis around the ages of 9-30, however, don’t dis-include yourself if you happen to be older because an appendicitis could strike at any age.
If you’d like more information on an appendicitis, click here: