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I Avoided Two Stomach Surgeries

I laid in my bed for two months straight. I didn’t have enough energy to cook my food. I didn’t have enough money to go to the grocery store. I didn’t have enough power to drive myself to a hospital, but I did it two times, and both times the doctors didn’t find anything. They just thought I was having a flare-up, so they put me on a steroid and sent me home. It helped a little bit, but as soon as the two week period of that steroid was up, it just got worse. For two months straight, I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t digest. I couldn’t do anything besides lie in my bed. It was much worse than I thought, and seeing the pictures today freak me out.

After two months of this, there was a race for my brother in Daytona, Florida. At this point, I was in no condition to run. I drove down to Orlando, met my brother, and then we drove to Daytona, where I met dad, and it just really hit me. I couldn’t even watch my brother race that day. I sit in my bed in the trailer, and I was dying. I was so malnourished. I lost 40 pounds at this point. I was withering away day by day, and I had no choice but to come home.

I just wanted help

When we were done in Florida, me and my dad drove straight home in my car. We met my mom at my dad’s house, and my mom drove me straight back to Hershey Medical Center. The first night I was in the hospital, they had me in a bed in the hallway of the ER because it was so busy. They came, did a couple of blood tests and they were talking about not admitting me. But at this point, I did not want to go home; I just wanted help. If they had sent me back, I literally would’ve died.

They took me back into a different room for a blood transfusion because I was so just malnourished, so weak, so low on life. They said, “This is the only thing that’ll make you feel good.” My blood wasn’t fighting what I was going through anymore. I was just too weak to fight this. They admitted me that night.

That night they took a stool sample, and that’s when they found out about my stomach infection. It was scary. I had a surgeon come in and say all of my intestine, colon, and everything in my stomach had to be removed. They’d have to take it all out and put an ostomy bag on the outside of me. I’ve never cried so hard on my entire life. It just blows my mind how they can make such a massive decision from a poor picture. You can’t even see anything on it. I can’t believe that they would jump to the conclusion that would change somebody’s entire life off of a picture that I could have drawn with a crayon. I could’ve created a better image with chalk.

I’ll take my chances

It wasn’t good. You couldn’t tell what you were looking at, and the surgeon wanted to take my entire life away. Even the doctor said they weren’t sure, they were assuming. I told my parents, “They’re not doing that to me.” The first thing I remember is my dad’s saying, “Okay, we won’t let them.” I love my parents. We asked for a new surgeon. He was laid back, old school, and he was willing to wait. We pushed the idea of trying to heal with medication to my doctor. He’s the one which we needed to change his opinion because he was the best opinion that we could ever get. He said, “We’ll give it a chance. We’re going to try this different medication that you didn’t have access to when you were under 18 years old.” He said, “There’s a 10% chance that this works. There was a 90% chance that it is just not going to work, and you will need surgery.”

Those odds aren’t good, but it was enough. I got out of the hospital within nine days, but I was still insanely weak. I had a backpack on that had IV nutrition in it running into my arm 20 hours a day. Not long after that, I started working with the bag on even though I wasn’t supposed to lift anything. I was so eager to get out and get started with my life.

A couple of things happened during recovery. At first, I struggled. I remember eating pizza and throwing it up right away. I remember getting a smoothie and throwing it up right away. I remember the one day I was getting lightheaded every time I stood up, and one thing they were really monitoring was my red blood count in my blood, because if it got too low, that’s when my body couldn’t heal itself and that’s when you literally can’t fight any diseases and infections. Two days after I got out of the hospital, it was down again, so I had to go back to the hospital.

“Don’t readmit me; don’t readmit me”

I just kept on thinking, “Don’t readmit me; don’t readmit me. I want to be home. I hadn’t been home in seven months at this point. I want to be home.” Eventually, they just gave me another blood transfusion. They gave me two bags. It took four or five hours, and then we had to drive home. My mom and I didn’t get back until two in the morning. After that, I just slowly got better. I was trying different pills, and I was trying to eat different foods. I was being cautious with what I put in my body.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, I had a nurse come. On Thursdays, they changed my dressing. On Tuesdays, it was just blood work and checking how much weight I put on. I missed the nurses because they’re kind, and they all loved me just because of me. They love me because of my story. They love me because they saw hope in me. I was going against what ordinary people would have done, and they just saw something in that. Soon enough, within two months, I was putting on weight faster than they have ever seen somebody put on weight before. Every time they’d come in, I would put on five, six, seven pounds. I remember having a new doctor, and she’d be like, “Hey Logan, it’s great to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you.” When they left my house, they were so excited that they went and told their coworkers. I love that. Then I was getting ready to go back to my first race to watch, and I had a doctor’s appointment the day before we left. I remember walking in with a tee-shirt that said fearless on it. One of the nurses who knew me read it, and she’s told, “I like that,” and I knew she understood what it meant to me.

My surgeon came in, the very first thing he said was, “If we keep this bag on you for any longer, we’re going to have to see you back for weight loss.” It was hilarious because all that time, just being so malnourished and so weak and so skinny, only to hear him say that and just joke about me, joke about my progress, laugh about how well I’m doing; it made me so happy. Then he said, “Why don’t we leave this on you until you’re out of supplies, and then we can remove the bag and take the IV out of you?” I was like, “Well, I’m leaving for a race tomorrow, and I’m going to run out of supplies while I’m gone, and then I’m just going to have to wear this PICC line in me this whole time for no reason.” He replied, “Let’s just remove it tonight.” I remember that night I went home, nurse came over, took the line out of me, took all the supplies, and I was free.

A week later, I tried to go on my first run

I ran a quarter of a mile, had a 13-mile pace, and my heart rate was at 180 or 190. It was ridiculous, and I felt like I was dying, but I was so happy just because I was out, I was trying to run again, and running was something I missed. Over a few months, I’ve managed to build my health back up. A few checkups with my doctor informed me that the complications that I had previously had been healed. A gut full of in-curable fistula and inflammation, reversed.

I felt like I was on top of the world, or so I thought. One lousy meal before leaving for a cross country road trip to texas led me into sickness. It was popcorn. I ate one bag of extra buttery (fake processed crap of a product) and then went on to skip dinner because my only option was Pizza Hut or Cinnabon, which did not sound smart after feeling bad from the popcorn. This event made me feel terrible for five days. I could not eat or move. My stomach physically hurt, and the only thing I could do to relieve the pain was lying in bed, so I did precisely that for multiple days in a row. Once in Texas, my dad drove me to the hospital. I had the hospital check for the same infection I had previously as well as give me fluids so I could feel somewhat human again. These fluids kickstarted my recovery, and over the next few weeks, I suffered from an upset stomach. We then found out that the test for the infection came back negative, which means that I just had a very severe flare-up, aka upset stomach.

A few weeks later, while still having some small complications, I made a trip to NYC to hang out with a friend of mine who also volunteers at Tony Robbins events. While I was there, I drank many fresh cold-pressed vegetable juices per day, and almost instantly, I noticed that every complication I was still dealing with went away. For the next few months, my health seemed to be perfect again.

On July 5th, 2019, I had a colonoscopy to make sure all things were still going well and to try to open up a small closing in my intestine. This stricture was not an issue, but my doctor made it a point to open it to prevent and test for future complications. During this colonoscopy, the doctor who was performing the procedure said he was going through a maze. He explained my intestine as complicated, and here is why. When traveling through, he somehow backtracked to where he could see the wire for the camera, meaning there was a fistula, an abnormal passage, in my intestine that creates a shortcut to a different part of my bowel. This shortcut is where my newest complication arises. If this passage begins to close off with harmful bacteria inside, an abscess could form and cause me to go into emergency surgery to have it and the fistula removed. However, if I go into surgery electively before this can happen, they will only have to remove this fistula. So I can instead go into surgery electively or start eating super clean and heal this thing entirely again. I went for the second option, and that is where this plan comes in.

The outcome

If the three previous tests are accurate, then I have already healed every fistula I had just by adopting a healthy lifestyle, and it wasn’t until my flare up from a bad meal that part of the damage returned. If the tests are inaccurate, and I never healed that one fistula at all, I still managed to dramatically improve the quality of my health and repair the majority of the damage in my intestine naturally. Think about it, the doctors planned in 2018 was to remove all of my bowel, all of my colon, everything in my stomach, and put me on an ostomy bag. In 2019, even after suffering from one bad flare-up, the doctor planned to remove ONLY one fistula and leave all of my original intestine and colon in place. No matter what side of this argument you are on, I still have proved that a healthy diet and lifestyle has the power to your body naturally, which is unproven online and in the eyes of medical personnel.

The above paragraph was my exact argument on September 9th, 2019, when I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor and my surgeon, to further discuss the idea of my surgery needs. After explaining my plan of attack to my doctor, he was entirely on my side. Not only did I leave that appointment with a ridiculous amount of confidence in myself, but my doctor left that appointment with a copy of The Plant Paradox, the exact book I followed accomplish everything he and other medical professionals view as impossible.

At the time of writing this, I am in remission and I am in the process of completely healing the last damage that is present in my intestine, and I am doing all of this with the support of my doctor. If I have learned one thing throughout my health journey so far, it’s that no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as reality. Imagine how different my life would be if instead of being hard-headed against my assigned surgeons, I would have taken their decision as final. I’m so grateful to have had the mental capacity to face each of those circumstances the way I did, and now I want to do everything I possibly can to give others the same opportunity and chance that I have.

You can hear the full story here!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    7 days ago

    So amazing that you stood up for yourself and followed your gut. It’s so important for others reading to know, if you are uncomfortable with a decision a doctor makes, you can absolutely say no. It’s your body!

    Congrats on your amazing process. I wish you nothing but good health in your future. Thanks for sharing your story!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • crystal.harper moderator
    1 week ago

    Your story speaks volumes about how important it is to be your own advocate and do what you feel is right. I’m glad you decided to stand up for yourself before undergoing that major surgery. I’m also really happy to hear that you were able to reverse your symptoms and have been feeling so well recently. Thanks for sharing your story and I’m wishing you many more healthy years ahead!

    Kindly, Crystal

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