My friend Nancy and her experience with Diverticulitis

Nancy used to work at my house. While she was working at our house she said that she had an hole in her bowel that caused lots of pain and she found out she couldn’t eat crunchy vegetables and red meat. If she eats those foods it would flare up and cause pain! Doctors used to believed that with Diverticulitis you should not eat anything that has seeds in it like tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles. I was curious about what happened and how Nancy found out that she had a hole in her bowel, I hope you can learn about Nancy and her experience with a hole in her bowel.

Kelsey: What was your symptoms for your bowel problems?

Nancy: Intense pain and the feeling of having bad gas but there is no gas.

Kelsey: Now, I know you can’t eat some foods, what’s changed your diet? What foods are bad for your stomach and what food are you allowed to eat?

Nancy: Doctors used to believe that diverticulitis was caused by seeds getting stuck in the digestive track. They used to caution those with diverticulitis not to eat anything with seeds in it, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles and tree nuts as well. They now advise people suffering from a flare up to go on a temporary low fiber diet. I have discovered the things that bother me most are red meat and hard raw vegetables like celery, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.

Kelsey: Where were you when it started?

Nancy: I was at home with what I first thought was a bad flu.

Kelsey: Explain how you felt.

Nancy: I had no appetite which is weird for me! I felt like I was carrying a brick in my stomach. I was extremely bloated but didn’t realize it. The pain was so intense I could literally barely walk. When I presented at the clinic, they took me in immediately and performed a variety of tests. I was directed to the emergency department of our closest major hospital.

Kelsey: What happened?

Nancy: Something I had eaten had been trapped in little pockets in my intestine and busted a hole which allowed the stuff that should stay in my intestines to leak into the cavities around my organs. I was essentially poisoning my body.

Kelsey: What did your doctors do?

Nancy: I spent five days on an IV hopefully letting the hole in my intestine heal. Thankfully, it did it I would have had to have surgery and have a colostomy bag either temporarily or possibly permanently.

Kelsey: How many times a year do you get symptoms again? What do you have to do to get back to normal again?

Nancy: Flare-ups generally depend on how often I’m able to say no to all those lovely crunchy veggies and that red meat that I love so much. When I am having a flare up, the best thing to do is eat low fiber foods and try to stick to as many clear fluids as I can for a couple of days.

Kelsey: What would you say to people that are going though the same experience?

Nancy: Make sure you take a soluble fiber daily and pay attention to your body. If it hurts, don’t do it.

Kelsey: Where did you grow up?

Nancy: A little tiny village called Chipman, New Brunswick

Kelsey: What was your childhood like?

Nancy: I rode in the back of a truck standing up with ten other kids going to the beach, loved riding horses at my aunt’s house and fishing with my cousin. Skating on a frozen frog pond. So, I guess more good times than bad.

Kelsey: What’s your job? Explain, what do you do?

Nancy: Right now, I am working in a nursing home. I work multiple positions including personal care, in the kitchen, laundry and even housekeeping.

Kelsey: How was your move back from Alberta to NB? Explain your travels and how many days to drive back to your hometown! Where have you travelled?

Nancy: Moving back to New Brunswick was exciting but hard. I met a lot of really great people in Alberta. I loved my job and had family close that I hadn’t had the chance to spend time within a lot of years.

My husband drove a Uhaul with everything we had accumulated in the four years we spent in Alberta, my son Mitchell drove his first vehicle across the country, and I drove my Civic. We stopped occasionally for bathroom breaks and gas and slept each night in a hotel. Between the three of us we had four cats, it was 5 long days of driving.

I’ve been to Florida once and Las Vegas.

When I was living in Alberta, my vacation was getting to come home to New Brunswick each year.

Kelsey: What’s your favourite memory of your mom?

Nancy: A couple of years ago I was able to take her to meet Jake Allen and the Stanley Cup. She was incredibly excited, and it was a surprise.

Kelsey: What’s your favourite memory of your dad?

Nancy: Unfortunately my dad passed away when I was only 5 so I don’t have much memory of him!

Thanks so much for your interview Nancy.

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