What a week. I was just released yesterday after spending 6 days in the hospital. I was terribly ill with what doctors say was a ‘stricture’ or blockage of my intestines. I have never felt such pain before. Pain that was driving me literally insane. A 3 hour wait in the ER waiting room was pure torture. I begged and pleaded with the woman admitting patients that I could not stand the pain. I couldn’t sit, stand, or lie down to relieve the pain. It made me so wacky that I was thinking about doing anything to relieve it. When I got into the ER, they gave me a shot of morphine, which did nothing. 15 minutes later, another shot; no relief. 30 minutes later, a shot of dilaudid. Still little relief. Finally, they doubled the dilaudid; finally my pain began to ease. I was a mess.

When I was finally admitted to the hospital, I was informed that I was to have a colonoscopy at 6 am the next morning, so I began the prep. Also, they took my down for the first of my contrast CT scans (I ended up doing 4 total). After no sleep, the ‘scope’ was performed, and I was told that it couldn’t be completed because of an obstruction. They took several biopsies, and then I was told to wait-the results would take two days. They mentioned colon cancer, which scared the hell out of me, since my father died of colon cancer at age 63 (I’m 61). In the meantime, lots of IV fluids, antibiotics, and steroids. And, only liquids for several days. I swear I will never drink broth again in my life. When I ate my gelatin, I imagined it to be tenderloin steak. I needed to play mental games because I was a mess. Very difficult to sleep on the amount of steroids that I was receiving. In addition, I had a lot of attention form the hospital staff, checking vitals, drawing blood, refilling IV’s at all times, night or day. I’m not being critical of the staff, they were very kind and considerate-they had a job to do, but they did it with compassion.

Before I received the pathology report, a colorectal surgeon came by to inform me of a potential operation. My whole world was spinning. I thought, how could I have felt so great just a few days before, and now this?

After 3 days, my biopsies came back negative for cancer-I was never so happy to hear those words. The doctors said it was definitely an autoimmune disorder; my immune system was causing massive inflammation,building up fibrous tissue inside my intestinal wall. I would need to go on immunobiologics for who knows how long. Normally, I’m so anti-medication, but I see their place. I never ever want to experience that pain again.

On Saturday, with my bowels working again, the nurse said I could advance to soft food, which meant soup, scrambled eggs, and the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had in my life! On Sunday afternoon, they said I could leave. I can’t explain in words what I felt hearing those words; I damn near kissed the doc.

A wonderful thing happened when I got home. My house and yard never looked so beautiful, or smelled so good. My dogs were overjoyed, as was I. The little things that would irritate me, like items out of place, dirty dishes in the sink, dog poop not picked up, seemed so trivial. I actually welcomed the sight of them. I’ve heard many times that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, and boy, did I get a lesson on that.

I want to thank the many friends and family whose well wishes and prayers I’m sure helped me pull through.

A special thanks with much love to my wife, Cynthia, and my son, Alexander, for coming by every day and giving me the determination to pull through.

I fell 95% better. I’m actually going to go back to work tomorrow. I’m backI always sign off my blogs telling you to stay well. This time, I’m including myself.

John R Blilie, MS