*I know that getting your appendix out is notthe biggest deal in the world. However, having surgery was a very new experience for me and the intention of this blog post is to share my thoughts/feelings of my own experience using both Holistic and Western Medicine.*
Up until last week I thought my health was A-Ok.
You could imagine the shock I was in when I was told I needed my appendix out!
Before the “Diagnosis”
I knew something was going on in my body because I was experiencing diarrhea (never happens) and nausea. The kicker was when I felt a pain in my lower right abdomen. When you enter those words into Google, all search results points to appendicitis.
Not wanting to be a crazy paranoid person, I texted my dear friend Marielle:
So thank you Marielle for instilling the insight that this could be more serious than I was hoping it would be….
What is the appendix?
It’s a tiny organ located at the end of your large intestine. Modern medicine tells us it doesn’t serve any purpose. However, recent research suggests that it acts as a little home for beneficial bacteria when your gut needs to be refilled with the good stuff (for example- if you have a bout of diarrhea, the appendix would pump out some good bacteria to repopulate your gut).
When it gets inflamed/infected- that’s appendicitis. And it can be fatal.
Hospital Visit 1 & 2
A few hours after texting Marielle I was sitting in the Emergency Waiting Room with my hubby. From 5pm until 10:30 pm we entertained ourselves by playing Checkers against each other on our phones (he is definitely the Champ at that game…).
When I was finally seen by the doctor, I was told to come back the next morning for an ultrasound. Got home at about 1:15am.
The next morning I had an ultrasound, and the Doctor tells me it “looks like appendicitis” and he’s ready to have me in surgery within hours. I was a little freaked out. I really wanted to keep my appendix!
So I decided to leave the hospital and consult my go-to-gal for all things holistic- the incredible Natural Healer- Heidi Ship.
A More Holistic Option
Luckily, Heidi was able to see me almost immediately. I went to her house (took a little stop along the way at one of my favorite places and threw a wish out to the ocean “please let my body heal itself”).
But alas, my wish was not granted, per se. Heidi’s advice was this: if the appendix is just inflamed, we can treat this holistically. If there is an infection- you need to strongly consider getting the surgery because this can lead to more complications if it ruptures.
Through muscle testing, Heidi found that my appendix was indeed infected and that surgery was the best option. I burst into tears at this discovery.
I really believed my body had the innate intelligence to heal itself without an invasive procedure requiring the removal of an organ and all the medication that comes with that. But it wasn't meant to be. I needed to “give in” and as Heidi taught me to love and accept my body as it is.
Hospital Visit #3
So with that I called my hubby, picked him up from work, made a quick stop at the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market to pick up my veggies for my Meal Prep Boxes (so disappointed- the week I get the most orders I had to cancel them!). Then back to the emergency at 4pm where I humbly asked, “Can you guys take out my appendix?”
At around 10pm (a few more rounds of Checkers were played) a doctor came to talk to me and said “we’re not sure it’s appendicitis and we want to do a CT scan”. Oh my soul, I nearly lost it! They were throwing out options of other causes of the pain in my lower abdomen including ovary and uterus problems.
I’m pretty sure the hospital staff already thought I was crazy enough for leaving the hospital earlier that day, so I didn’t say “oh don’t worry- I did muscle testing earlier today and it’s definitely appendicitis”. So, I just swallowed my pride (and hid my fear) and agreed to a CT scan. I knew I would just need to load up on Vitamin C to help fight the radiation my body would be exposed to.
The CT scan confirmed it was the appendix and so I was whisked away to prep for surgery. The hospital staff kept offering me blankets (which were warmed up in some sort of heating tray- it was INCREDIBLE!) because they thought I was cold, but really it was my nerves getting to me. I was so scared. Of what exactly? Well, the thought that my body would be put through a lot of stress and medication…
At 1 am my appendix was taken out.
The next morning at 7:30am I was awoken by a team of Doctors who said “The tip of your appendix was inflamed. Your surgery went well and so we’re preparing your papers to leave”. Holy Smokes, that was fast!
My nurse wasn’t too impressed that I refused to eat the breakfast that was presented to me. I was told that I couldn’t leave the hospital until I ate something. Shout out again to the best husband who ran out to get me a veggie smoothie. Much more nourishing than Cherrios!
The Recovery Phase
When I called to tell my parents (who live in Montreal) there was no doubt that my Mamma would be on a plane out here. She has been such a big help around the house. She has dealt with all the Meal Prep vegetables (she became very familiar with Kholarabi, which she claims reminded her of the Monster’s eyes in the movie Monster’s Inc).
My recovery regimen looks like this:
- Vitamin C (antioxidant. Particularly important after CT scan to help my body fight off radiation effects)
- Probitiocs (to replace gut flora that was killed by the antibiotics I was given)- 2 kinds: Strong General Probiotic and a Native Probiotic called Prescript Assist
- Others: Essential Fatty Acids, Digestive Enzymes, Zinc.
- A ton of water
- Bone broth (homemade- luckily I have batches of this in my freezer from bones of animals who have been pasture-fed)
- Vegetable Smoothies (no cruciferous veggies though, cause too much gas)
- Fruit Smoothie (which have now been cut out due to diarrhea! Too much info? Sorry we talk a lot about poop in the nutrition world!)
- Kombucha (a probiotic tonic. Only a bit daily so as to replenish gut flora but not too much to prevent gas)
- White Rice
- Slowly introducing in: fish, vegetables in their whole form
- Oil Pulling: I’ve been waking up every morning with a thick layer of gunk on my tongue. Starting my day with oil pulling allows me to naturally cleanse my mouth and body of toxins.
Moral of the Story
I may never know for sure what caused my lil’ appendix to go all crazy on me. Do I truly believe that appendicitis is caused by “bad luck” as all the doctors/nurses told me? Not really.
I will continue to remind myself the wise words of my pal Monique (check out her blog Blue Viola Farm):
“There is no such thing today as perfect health. Even our gardens are rained on by pollutants. We can only do the best we can do”.