the importance of listening to your body: my story

Hi, all-

The last month I’ve been MIA so I want to apologize for being off my game and fill you in on the happenings, which taught me to pay closer attention to the warning signals the body sends when things are out of whack.

It all goes back to Wednesday, April 11th, 2018. My stomach started feeling funky midday but as a gal who frequently suffers from benign stomach-related issues, I waived it off as nothing. By midday the subsequent Friday, I was in the ER awaiting my fate, which turned out to be an emergency appendectomy.

Say whaaat! But Doc, I’ve never had surgery. I eat well, I’m generally healthy and I showed no signs or symptoms up until two days ago. Doesn’t matter kid; sometimes this stuff just happens.

Okay, so let’s backtrack again to the minimal symptoms I did show.

Wednesday 4/11, 1:30 pm: crampy internal gas pains begin.
Wednesday 4/11, 6 pm: all pressure, bloated ness, and pain has subsided. I went about my life and paid no mind to the pains that cramped my style that day. I must be better, right? Wrong.

Thursday 4/12, morning:

As mentioned, sporadic stomachaches are no stranger to me so I figured these were par for the course. While at work as a waitress, the pain gradually came again. Not only was it worse, but it felt different, which led me to think the two weren’t related. I ran through all potential causes– or so I thought. I wasn’t expecting my period so I ruled out hormonal cramps and I hadn’t eaten anything other than an Rx bar and a clementine so it couldn’t have been something I ate. The time seemingly crawled by. The pangs turned from unpleasant to excruciating. This time they were migrating throughout my abdominal region. “This is new,” I thought. “WTF is going on.” I was growing more and more concerned.

My shift was over at last and I limped home. I felt fatigued, feverish, and scared. This wasn’t like anything I had ever felt. Upon my arrival at Studio 3, I took a hot shower, doused myself with lavender oil, and jumped in bed in hopes of sleeping it off. Wishful thinking.

Thursday 4/12, 9 pm:

Matt got home from dinner with one of his buddies who was visiting and by this point, I had been rolling around in agony for the last 6 hours. To be frank, I have the tendency to dramatize so I couldn’t tell whether or not I was blowing the whole situation out of proportion. With my stomach bloated and rock hard and my trio of roommates as my witnesses, I concluded it was not normal. 

Friday 4/13, 6:30 am:

After the sleepless night, I decided it was time to call home. I fought back tears as I explained the symptoms to my dad, who passed the phone over to my mom. In the calmest way possible, she told me I had to go to the hospital. We agreed that my symptoms were almost certainly those of appendicitis. As per her demand, Vikki and I left for the ER. The timing couldn’t be worse as Matt was heading to Atlanta for his lacrosse season the same day and had to finish packing before leaving for the airport.

Friday 4/13, 11:30am:

We spent about an hour and a half in the waiting room before I was finally admitted to the ER. I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stand, or walk. They hooked me up to an IV; my nausea made it hard to drink water so I was severely dehydrated. When I returned from getting an MRI, Matt arrived before he set off to LAX. That helped. After another 2 hours of waiting, the surgeon confirmed what we already knew: appendicitis. The only solution: emergency appendectomy. Okay, so now I was flipping the f out. I was thousands of miles away from the security of my parents and faced with one of my first “you’re-on-your-own” situations. Although I had Kyle and Vikki, the thought of going under the knife so far from home was unnerving. Granted, it’s a common, almost zero-risk procedure that is completed an average of three times a day– in that hospital at least– but any surgery is still surgery. It was an especially big deal for a first-timer like myself. After my 5-minute freakout, I swallowed my nerves because I knew it had to be done whether I liked it or not.

Friday 4/13, 4 pm: went in for surgery.
Friday 4/13 4:45 pm: surgery successfully completed.

According to my surgeon, my appendix was inflamed to the point that it would have ruptured had I waited any longer. Meanwhile, two days before, I was completely fine! So freaky. It was a terrifying experience, but in the end, I feel like I came out braver and stronger. I’ve got the scars to prove it. The recovery process took a month. No exercise, water or sun exposure for 4-5 weeks. I’m all back to normal aside from the fact that I’m appendix-less.

The moral of my story? Some weird shiet goes down on Friday the 13th. But on a serious note, listen to your body. Although there are no precautionary measures you can take against appendicitis, which comes virtually out of nowhere, it showed me to pay closer attention to red flags. Don’t ignore unusual symptoms. If you think something is seriously wrong, trust that instinct.

Your Gal, Shaye


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