Warning: If you don’t like to hear about vomiting or want to hear about my intestines, I would stop reading!
I am really bummed to say that I will not be riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge this weekend. After my last long ride on Saturday I was feeling great. My legs were strong and my endurance was great. After showering and lunch, I sat down and got some studying in. Around 4:30 or 5 pm my stomach started to really ache. I just thought, “Not again?!” My rides had been going so well recently and I thought I had figured out my nutrition.
As the night progressed, my stomach hurt more and more. I couldn’t really eat dinner so I just drank some water and electrolytes, hoping that I was just dehydrated. I went to bed early and Dave watched TV. But I couldn’t fall asleep. All I could do was toss and turn. I was literally moaning because I was in so much pain. We tried turning on the AC to see if that would help, but it didn’t. I tried laying out on the couch with the TV on. That didn’t help. Finally, after suffering so much pain, I asked Dave to bring me to the ER.
I thought it would be an easy fix-hook me up to an IV and rehydrate me. But the fix wasn’t so easy. A few IV’s later, the problem was not getting any better. In fact, it was getting worse. I was tossing and turning even more. No position was a good position. The doctors weren’t sure what was wrong but realized it was not dehydration. I went in for an ultrasound to see if it was my appendix or perhaps my gallbladder. So far those organs seemed okay. But I couldn’t last the entire ultrasound. After a certain point I had to ask if the ultrasound was almost done because the pressure she was applying caused me so much more pain.
The next plan of attack was a CT scan. I have never had a CT scan before but was not pleased to hear about the “fruit punch” I had to drink. This may be TMI, but prior to this fruit punch, I had already vomited quite a few times. My nurse prefaced the fruit punch with a warning that it looks like Gatorade but definitely does NOT taste like Gatorade. I was worried about vomiting but did okay…until 5 minutes before they brought me to get the scan where I threw up all the fruit punch. Luckily, they didn’t make me drink more and they just had me do the scan.
It took them some time to get me results from the scan. I think both Dave and I were a little worried, especially when the doctor came in and said the surgical team would be paying us a visit. What we found out was that I was born with my small intestine all twisted (volvulus). When I had developed as a baby, it didn’t form in the correct position. Usually they find this out when people are children but there are cases that people go until they are 80 years old and don’t find out what is up. For me, symptoms started to show once I started Pan-Mass Challenge training-nausea and stomach cramps.
My case was pretty bad so they said that once they were done with the current emergency surgery, that they were going to take me. I think Dave was immediately concerned about any operation that I’d have to go through but I was just thinking, “Do whatever you have to do to make this pain stop!” We proceeded with the steps to get the surgery going. One of which included me getting a tube put down my nose and to my throat to help drain my stomach. That was probably one of the worst experiences ever. They spray a numbing spray at the back of your throat that tasted like terrible cherry cough syrup and push a tube down your nose. And-yes-I vomited the rest of that fruit punch out. I was crying and sweating and felt so helpless. But from then on it wasn’t too bad.
I visited anesthesiology department and it was easy peasy from there. I literally woke up and was under the care of another nurse post-surgery. I overheard the nurse say to her coworker, “I am so bummed I didn’t get into the Falmouth road race!” My immediate reaction was to say, “I love running!! Did you know I have a running blog?” She laughed and we talked about running and fitness.
I’m still in the process of healing but am doing so much better than when I first arrived at the hospital. Even though I’m sad about the Pan-Mass Challenge, I am VERY grateful that this problem happened while I was near home so that Dave was there when I needed him. I don’t know what I would have done if I had these issues during the actual ride itself!
A special thanks goes out to my friends, family and coworkers for the words of encouragement and concern, beautiful flowers, magazines, and gifts to keep me entertained! I’ll be back soon! And hopefully stronger than ever since I don’t have a twisted colon anymore!