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Old 02-10-2008, 09:58 PM   #1
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Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

I'm so glad I found this message board. I'm scheduled for a colon resection on 2/21 and am starting to freak out...again. I was scheduled for one last year at about this time and ended up cancelling at the last moment because everytime I thought about it, I ended up crying.

Brief colon history: October 2005 had 1st bout of diverticulitis (1st diagnosed); had barium enema catscan (ugh; will never do that again); flagly & levaquin with rest at home & tylenol for pain cleared it up.

Another very mild attack beginning of 2006 but not as bad, in fact did not even finish full antibiotic treatment because we were leaving for vacation & I wanted to be able to drink.

November 2006 had VERY painful recurrence with bleeding (but bright blood so my understanding is that it didn't indicate perforation). This was a very difficult bout to get over; 1st it started quite suddenly (at a wedding reception, eating dinner, feeling great, suddenly, I felt terrible & by the time I went to the bathroom, I almost passed out from the pain; I couldn't even get up to get my husband to tell him what was happening; some kind soul saw me & went & got him). Took me a LONG time to get over feeling crappy, being really wiped out; 3 weeks of double antibiotics. Plus the colon swelling intensifies my vaginal prolapse problems (cystocele/rectocele). When I'm healthy, not bothered by them at all; when having diverticulitis attack, they're really presenting. (Anyone else have anything like this??)

So had colonoscopy after 6 weeks, then had to wait another 6 weeks for the surgery. Still wasn't convinced I needed surgery. So decided to quit nicotine, eat better--though I eat very well but a little too much fat--and reduce drinking to just minimal. Felt if I could go 1 year, it was working & I'd be fine.

Well, 2 weeks short of 1 year (mid-Oct. 2007), yup, I had another attack. Like 1st one (not the bad bleeding one). But I had postponed trip to MidEast because 2 surgeons had warned me if I had an emergency attack there, I'd end up with a bag for the rest of my life or much worse.

So here I am. Questions: I don't sound like my episodes were as bad as many of yours; do you all think I really need the surgery? Major questions are on expectations for presurgery, surgery, postsurgery.

Presurgery: I know I basically do what I did for the colonoscopy but do I need to avoid popsicles/jello/drinks etc that have red or blue die again? If I take my meds usually at night (for sinus, high blood pressure, estrogen, ibuprofin for torn meniscus) is that ok if surgery is at 10am?

Surgery: will I have chance to talk to surgeon & anasthesiologist right before but when still clear-headed, or when I 1st arrive at hospital which may be several hours before the surgery (scheduled for 10am but have been warned that he'll take all emergency surgeries first).

Post-surgery: in the past, narcotics (morphine/codeine/etc) make me throw up, make my blood pressure go way down, and have given me hallucinations. So bad. Anyway to avoid this? The thought of throwing up with my incision wounds & especially the anastomosis (sp?) really makes me feel creepy.

Assuming everything goes well (thanks for the advice to get up & walk as soon as possible), how soon will I be able to go up & down stairs? If it's important to walk, & I can't do stairs for awhile, and it continues to snow & be so cold around here, how will I be able to walk around? My house--especially if keeping to the main floor, isn't that big!

It really helps so much to hear others experiences. Not quite sure if it's ok for husband to go on a little trip he had planned previously 2 weeks after my surgery date--will I be able to function & take care of myself ok? Like driving, grocery shopping, etc??

Thanks for any & all help you can give!!

 
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Old 02-11-2008, 05:04 AM   #2
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Re: Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

Hello, I had very similar circumstances to yours , with multiple diverticulitis attacks within one year. At first I felt like you did, the last thing I wanted was Surgery! In the end however, especially after my last attack which was very bad, I came to the conclusion that the doctor was right and there was no sense living with a time bomb that could explode at any time, Then of course with each passing attack there was an increased risk of perferation, perontontis and a Colostomy bag, this thought consumed me and after awhile I begged my surgeoon to do the surgery! I could not even stand the 6 week wait till surgery fearing another attack that would prevent it...I ate next to nothing, lost 25lbs in a few weeks, life was a living hell.So, At 42 years old and with an active family, it was certainly time to take care of this problem!


As for the surgery, Yes I was nervous..I was able to talk to the Surgeon, Anestatist and everyone else well before I was given any drugs..They all put me at ease!

The surgery prep is exaxtly like a colonoscopy prep, the only difference was I had to take anti-biotiocs a couple days before to prevent infection during surgery, I was not allowed anything at all to drink after midnight on the day before surgery, it wasnt all that bad and you really need to do what they say to prep right, I did not have any popsicles etc...its only one day and well worth it for the operation to be a success.

I was put to sleep and it only seemed like seconds before I was awake in the recovery room! The nurses said it went well etc...The only real discomfort I had was a urinary Catheder that was placed during surgery, I hated it but, got used to it and it was only in for two days...Of course I had pain after surgery but it was controlled with pain meds....The best pain med I had was called "Torodol" It was awesome stuff ! and the best part was it was non narcotic! For me the worst pains were gas pains! On the second day, I was able to pass alot of gas and the discomfort eased....I was out of bed and walking the hospital halls as much as I could. On Monday, only 3 days after surgery I was sent home!

My surgery was at 10:30am I was allowed to take my blood pressure meds that morning with a sip of water, All the other meds were put on hold...I had to stop taking my other meds a week before surgery...No big deal, the hospital knows what they are doing...One othet thing, (I know I am jumping around here) While in the hospital I was on the PCA , thats the patient controlled pain pump thing, I hated it and asked to be taken off it, I did better with the nurses giving me my pain meds in the IV, Also likie I said, the Torodol was amaizing for me and really helped with any pain I had , better than the Narcotics, I was asked before surgery if I wanted an epidiral in my back for pain, I chose not to have it because I just did not want anything ekse stuck in me...I was very afraid of hospital infections and figured the less holes in me the better...

I was able to walk up and down stairs right away, I also took walks around the block almost right away...walking is important! It is now two weeks after my surgery! I am able to drive and do, I am walking fine, My soreness is very small now and gets better everyday, my bowel habits have just about returned to normal....Everyone heals different but right now for me, two weeks after surgery, I can do everything for myself...If my wife needed to go away on a trip it would not be a problem! Just dont lift to much weight! I was told nothing over 10lbs.I gO to the store now on my own, I like walking around, it helps me feel better.


The short of it is , the build up was much worse than the event! You really need to do this for so many reasons, the least of which will cure your attacks.Imagine if you wait and end up with a colostomy bag? thats a horrible thought and it was like I said a huge factor in my descision not to wait any longer..

I had mine done laproscopically, the wounds are just about healed up! in fact the holes where the tools were placed look like nothing more than bug bites at this point, I am amazed.It may take longer to heal with an open surgery and I realize not eveyone can have a laproscopic surgery done but, either way the end result is the same, ridding your body of a time bomb that doesnt go away on its own!

The other problem with diverticulitis attacks is the constant use of antibiotics, this is terrible on your system over time and opens up a host of problems to your imune system, and lets bad bugs take hold!...Dont wait any longer, get it done and behind you, I promise you will be happy in the end! I am! Good luck!

I also started taking Probiotics one week ago and also eating more yogurt, it really seems to help regulate me..Please dont worry, you will be happy in the end for the minor discomfort surgery will bring.

Last edited by billfisher01; 02-11-2008 at 05:57 AM.

 
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:52 PM   #3
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cautiouscynthia HB User
Re: Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

Billfisher,

Thank you SO much for your reply. It brought tears to my eyes & peace to my soul. JUST what I needed so bad right now. Keep posting her awhile, ok, please? It just helps me to much to hear about your recovery.

THANK YOU!

 
Old 02-11-2008, 04:34 PM   #4
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billfisher01 HB User
Re: Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

Well, I am more than happy to help anyway I can, Thats what this place is for! God Knows, I asked alot of questions before my surgery and everyone here was so helpfull and supportive! Its only right that I return the favor! Nothing here is a "stupid" question, chances are if you want to know someone here has the answer! So again, I want to thank everyone who helped me and I am glad to help you or anyone else!

Please get it done! you will come out the other side fine! I promise!

Last edited by billfisher01; 02-11-2008 at 04:35 PM.

 
Old 02-11-2008, 05:10 PM   #5
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Re: Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

I can echo Bill's comments. I just had this surgery on Feb 6 and was released from hospital on Feb 9. Very glad I did it. I was unusually concerned about this surgery. Not sure why though. I had surgery 11 months ago to remove kidney cancer and was completely calm about it. I guess this concern may have been because it was more "elective" (couldn't mess around with cancer, so I had no choice then). I was feeling like "is this really necessary to put myself through?". The answer is yes! You don't want to walk around with a time bomb in there. Even if you're lucky enough that it never bursts, think about the constant anxiety of wondering when it could b-l-o-w (first attempt at this **** out that word for some reason).

One of my main concerns was also vomiting from pain meds as it's happened in the past. Last year, I learned that Dilautid (sp?) worked great for me and stomach was fine. I insisted on it this time. Of course, they gave me morphine anyway but, once I could speak, I insisted on Dilautid until they agreed. Never even close to upset stomach. I was walking the halls as soon as the catheter was removed the day after surgery. Do as much of that as you can. Small house & snow??? Don't worry about it. I've been circling through the rec room, kitchen, dining room without a problem. Doesn't need to be long walks, just get up & moving as much as possible.

Please don't cancel this time. You'll be just fine and very happy when it's done! Good luck!!!

Last edited by Utility17; 02-11-2008 at 05:13 PM.

 
Old 02-12-2008, 12:54 PM   #6
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Re: Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

I had my surgery on Feb 5, and went home Feb 9. I was scared about it until I saw a video on line showing exactly what the laparoscopic surgery would entail. The video is from University Hospitals Case Medical Center and I googled laparoscopic bowel resection. When I met my surgeon, he didn't tell me any of the details of the operation and I was too nervous to ask. If you are squeamish, don't watch, but for me, it put my mind at ease. As the others said, the prep was the same as for a colonoscopy, which I had the week before. I did alter the prep so I wouldn't have to drink 64 oz of bad tasting juice - I used the Fleet prep, involving mixing 1.5 oz fleet liquid to an 8 oz glass of ginger ale, followed by lots of other liquids, then again the night before. For me, this was more tolerable (I threw up the colonoscopy prep). I had to be at the hospital at 10 AM, but it was a while til the operation - in the meantime, the anaesthetist and surgeon talked to me. When I woke up, I had a catheter in that was removed the next day - this is much more comfortable for females than males and I hardly felt it. The day after surgery, I was on a liquid diet, and was allowed to walk, dragging my iv with me. The nurses put pain meds in the iv, so I didn't really need the pump - I hardly used it and had no problems. My belly was sore at the incisions and one was bleeding a bit, but it wasn't a problem. The second day after surgery I was given solid, bland food and walked a lot more. The third day, the iv was taken out and I started to poop blood clots - the docs said this was normal and not to worry about it. When I went home, I walked down to the hospital entrance with no problem. At home, I continued a bland, low fiber, no lactose diet, which I will be following for about a month. I did get concerned that I didn't have a bm, just clots and gas, so I called my doctor on Monday (6 days postop) and he told me to take some milk of magnesia - it did the trick. I', feeling good, have hardly any pain, and am amazed at my recovery. In addition, I have lost a few pounds and hope to keep them off. Before this, I had never had surgery that required overnight stays in the hospital. This experience was good. I had been having attacks for 14 months and was worried that I would perforate some time. Now that the surgery is over, I feel relieved that I don't have to keep worrying about that - YES! Please don't cancel your surgery - you will be glad you didn't. Good luck

 
Old 02-12-2008, 11:06 PM   #7
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cautiouscynthia HB User
Re: Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

You are all such a great group on this board. You've helped me a lot.

I actually now feel very peaceful about having the surgery this time (SO different than last year). In fact, I can't wait to have it done & just wish it was over with.

I understand exactly what everyone means about feeling like you're walking around with a ticking time-bomb inside you. Everytime I get a cramp or flutter in my gut, I start thinking, oh no, is that another infection starting? So, I am sure that I will be joining you all with joy that it is taken care of once it's done with & I'm able to get back online to share my experience with everyone here (hopefully to help other 'scaredycats' who are facing this.

I don't know why I didn't search for a healthboard like this last time; it is SUCH a help to hear 1st-hand experiences from other patients rather than just reading the little info-brochures they hand you at the dr's office, or doing online research (I was tending to find all the articles about complications!)

Thank you all so much again!

 
Old 02-16-2008, 05:36 AM   #8
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Re: Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

I stumbled on to this message board quite by accident and I am so glad I did. I have had 3 major episodes in the past 10 months and have been on steady antibiotics for most of those 10. Currently, I am on a wonderful cocktail of Cipro, Bactrim and Flagyl ( my personal favorite). I am scheduled for a resection on Feb. 26 and they are planning on doing it laprascopic. I was really nervous, well I still am, but it truly helps to read the posts here. When you are going through this you can feel quite alone. How to you explain to those that have never had this problem how painful and scary an attack can be when it seems you have been uncomfortable all the time? I am looking forward to a better quality of life as opposed to worrying about my patched intertube that I call a Sigmoid colon.

Thank you, thank you again all of you for being here.

 
Old 02-22-2008, 05:16 PM   #9
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Re: Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

Cautiouscynthia

I imagine that by the time you see this posting you will have returned from surgery. My hopes are that everything goes well and to anyone else who is undergoing this procedure (surgery) in the near future – my prayers go out to you all!

I am new to this board and like many others who stumble across this site; very thankful!

I am another member of the DD club since finding out that I have this condition only last year. However, since then I have been in denial and in search of a second opinion in hopes of discrediting my gastro guy's findings following a colonoscopy. I can't say I have every suffered through anything like many of you have described as far as pain and I have never been on antibiotics for my condition. My symptoms have been bouts of diarrhea and bloating with some cramps. I have only experienced them for the last four years and by the time that I take them seriously - guess what? - they go away. My discovery of the DD followed a routine check up as my advancing years (late forties) require a colonoscopy according to my GP.

Anyways, yesterday, I saw a surgeon for that second opinion and his suggestion is that I take this seriously and consider getting my lower sigmoid colon removed to eliminate this problem and the worry of more serious complications in the future.
So, here are my questions - does anybody know...

Is surgery the only answer for this condition: seems everyone I speak to wants to put me under the knife right away?

What are the odds of serious complications like a perforated colon - are we talking like 80% or is it only 10%

Just how bad is this procedure - every time I speak to my GP or my nurse friend I get this pained look - seems they something there not telling me?!

Can anyone tell me what life will be like following this - I am very active: golf, hockey, gym 5X's a week ect - will I still be able to enjoy these things?

Finally, what about complications - I've heard about infections and leaks are there anything else?

That's all I can think of asking for now. I'm pretty scared but know I can find the strength if I have to especially if avoiding this means putting my life/health at risk. I would really appreciate it if anyone could answer some of my questions - and send a bit of reassurance my way – I could use it!

Thanks

Johnny O

 
Old 02-22-2008, 06:05 PM   #10
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Re: Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

Johnny O

I'm a little confused. Have you been diagnosed with Diverticular Disease
or Diverticulitis? You mention never having been on antibiotics for your symptoms, and that would indicate you haven't experienced an infection (the "itis).

Many of us have Diverticular Disease, but only 5% or so develop Diverticulitis....an abcess in or perforation of the colon, which, of course, is extremely serious.

I don't know why a surgeon would recommend you having a portion of your colon removed unless you've experienced an infection, were hospitalized on IV antibiotics and have taken oral antibiotics for diverticulitis...and have been diagnosed as such with proper testing.

Many control their Diverticular Disease with increased fiber and diet. People live into their 90's full of diverticular pockets, but never experience an abcess or perforation.

If, in the future, you are told you do need surgery (and that's a big if), find yourself a colo-rectal surgeon who is good with the laparoscope. I had my resection this past August and was back to work and driving in two weeks. No complications....pretty straightforward. You will be able to resume all activities per your surgeon's instructions.

Obviously, surgery is always the last resort. Most of us who have had re-sections headed to the emergency room because of the intense pain, fever and all-over sick feeling. Many have to have the surgery done on an emergency basis, need a temporary colostomy (because the bowel perforated), which is then reversed a few months later. Others are treated with IV antibiotics, possibly have the abcess drained, are sent home on oral antibiotics, wait for a couple of months and have the surgery electively (which is what happened in my case....except they couldn't drain the abcess because of location).

Don't assume you need surgery. Get a third, fourth and a fifth opinion if necessary. In my particular case, it was a no brainer. A very large section of my colon looked like a worn tire ready to blow.

Best of luck to you,
Linda

 
Old 02-22-2008, 06:12 PM   #11
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Re: Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

Hello Johnny O ! Forgive me if I bounce around a bit But here goes...

I am 42 years old, extrememly active! I am also a commercial fisherman for my day job..I can tell you from my perspective, I feel just as I did before and I had my Surgery done 4 weeks ago today! I would say I am 100% back to normal, I feel the same as I did before, act the same as I did before, and finally! I can eat without worry! Fishing is very demanding, I haul heavy lobster pots, get bounced around on a boat all day, constantly lifting and pulling etc...I will be able to get right back at it! You will have no problems if your in the shape you say you are! I walk and run my dog every day now, shoveled snow today! Baught a new sink and faucet and installed it in the bathroom today climing under there and twisting and working...everything was fine!

Evereyone scared me also, I was aprehensive but in all honesty this was a relative piece of cake! I was in pain heavy for only two days and then it all got better rapidly after that, I was only on pain killers (Narcotic type) for the first week! I had my surgery done Laproscopically , If you can, do it this way.Now I know this is "Major" Surgery and what they do "inside" is alot...But, it just did not feel that way for me, I felt nothing inside as far as pain only soreness and gas which I passed on the second day, I was home on the fourth day so, I spent only 3 nights in the hospital.I realize also that older people have a more difficult time with this etc...

The key for me was my attitude and the advice I got here which was to walk and get moving as soon as possible! It really helped.

As I dug further, it turns out lots of people have had this done , more than I thought! And most do very well..A Skilled Surgeon is key!

Sooner or later this will catch up to you, the doctor is right, there is no other "Cure" for this especially in people in our age group, I waited and the surgeon was upset by it telling me I was heading for a catastrophy as he called it, What finally got me was when he told me what life would be like with a Colostomy bag..After that chat I was begging him to cut me and get it over with! You are living with a time bomb and if it ever ruptures (and no one can predict when) You will be forced to have a colostomy..Not a fun outcome!

Bottom line? Do not let people scare you, its not as bad as you hear or as I thought, the best part is it corrects a problem so that you can HAVE your active life without worry!!

Good luck! and go for it! Bill


oops! Libllom brings up a good point! If its on diverticulosis without symptoms...then obviously you dont need to do anything, but it sounds to me like you are having problems, they only get worse

Last edited by billfisher01; 02-22-2008 at 06:13 PM.

 
Old 02-22-2008, 06:19 PM   #12
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Re: Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

Hey Libloom! How long should I hang around here now that I am on the path to 100% , I feel my usefullnes is running dry and its time for the new recruits to step in and take over!

I sometimes wonder honestly, if it isnt a good idea at this point to put all this behind me and move on with my life...Just thoughts I am having..My wife keeps telling me I am better now and that I am to consumed by all this..anyway, I hope I have helped people! You have all certainly helped me

I just dont know how healthy it is for me to be so consumed by all this all the time..

Anyway, Just thoughts!

Last edited by billfisher01; 02-22-2008 at 06:21 PM.

 
Old 02-23-2008, 05:31 AM   #13
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Re: Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

Hello Libloom and billfisher01 - and thanks to each of you for your input; I now understand the comfort others experience having read the advise and reassurance coming from others.

First of all, I believe the diagnosis of "diverticulitis" stems from findings over the past few years investigating my symptoms of diarrhea and cramping. Prior to the most recent colonoscopies (two in the past year) I had two sigmoidoscopies and two x-rays with barium enemas. The original procedures (about four years ago) showed the small pouches along my colon and some narrowing in this section. My GP suspected that I must have had a diverticulitis attack (s) at some point causing the narrowing (scare tissue). I have suffered with bowel problems on and off over the past say four years but nothing like each of you described. Anyways, as mentioned earlier, I went to see a gastro guy last year and while conducting the colonoscopy he discovered - hey, I can only go so far up your colon at this narrow spot and it is due to diverticulitis. Then, four months later I went for a second opinion from a surgeon who specializes in colonoscopies and his findings were - no problem going all the way around and the diverticulitis is not as bad as indicated by the gastro guy BUT my recommendation is get this removed.

Now, maybe I am being a bit narrow minded here (or looking for excuses) but I think to myself; ask a surgeon and what do you expect they are going to recommend - surgery!

Having said all of this - something is definitely wrong; my bowels and the discomfort I now experience on and off is not what I am use to say five years ago. I do not want to put myself at risk of more serious complications like going on a bag or worst - letting an infection progress to the point that I have a leak in my colon.

One more opinion – well, I wonder if I really already know the answer and I am just putting off the inevitable (to be honest I feel a bit stupid going for another opinion as well) I am also concerned that I maybe straining my relationship with this surgeon – apparently he is the best in town and highly recommended by my doctor and the best choice for the laparoscopic route – which apparently is my first choice.

Finally, Linda and Bill; thanks so very much for your comments and reassurance. To Bill thanks a lot for the positive story regarding the surgery and recovery. Like you Bill I am very active and I have always been one of these - I don't need anyone’s help kind of people. Being dependent on others or vulnerable is a new experience for me. I work in the food industry in an executive role and have this elution that things at work will fall apart without me - or worst yet they will be fine.

That's it for now. Again thanks and to anyone else who is reading this and has gone or is about to go through this surgery - good luck!

John

 
Old 02-23-2008, 08:18 AM   #14
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libloom HB User
Re: Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

Hey Bill......

I don't think that you're "consumed" by visiting this board at all!

Even though your surgery is over, you've recovered nicely and are moving on, doesn't mean that you can't help others who are full of questions, frightened and need a hand to hold!

Heck, I've been visiting a "hip" support group for years (having had both replaced) and feel that if there's something I can offer...in some small way....then I'll keep visiting the boards.

You are only giving back...and that's what these boards are designed to do!!

Best wishes,
Linda

 
Old 02-23-2008, 08:23 AM   #15
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libloom HB User
Re: Colon Resection: ScaredyCat needs help/has ??s

John.....

If you've been diagnosed with a narrowing, then surgery is certainly in order. That said, I'd still get another surgeon's opinion before moving forward.

Not to fear. If you, in fact, have the surgery, you'll do fine! It's a scary proposition, but the alternative is much worse....i.e., ignoring the condition and having to make a middle of the night run to the hospital resulting in emergency surgery! Go into it knowing you are doing the right thing.

You will be back at work in no time....honestly!!

Keep us posted as it goes.....

Much good luck,
Linda

 
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