This month was the one year anniversary of my unexpected trip to the emergency room for an acute perforated appendix w/the complication of gangrene. It brought back so many painful thoughts and experiences. The same week my mind was reliving some of the raw memories I ran into, Dan, my neighbor, who is only 29, and the perfect specimen of health. He is a firefighter, did an Ironman Competition last year, yet just last month went through the same, yet different, experience I had. His appendix had burst! We are both lucky to be alive.
His experience, coming on the heels of my ‘one-year anniversary,’ is why I decided to write this article. Hopefully, it will help you or someone you know, to recognize some of the warning signs, and get medical attention immediately. One thing Dan and I both did in common was to wait much too long (2-3 days) after the first symptoms appeared.
For an especially healthy, active woman interested in natural treatment and prevention this was my worst nightmare. This same holds true for Dan.
I was in the hospital for over a week, living only on antibiotics and shots – no food. I was then sent home with a drainage tube for another week. Similarly, Dan was in the hospital for three days, was sent home, and then had to return to the hospital -some of his organs had started to fail, due to the gangrene. Over the next three days, he had to have a tube inserted into his nose and down his throat. Needless to say it was not an occurrence one wishes to experience.
General Facts Which Are Good To Know About Appendicitis… in layman terms:
The average age for someone to have appendicitis is 10 – 30 years (the older you are, the rarer it is)
The pain often starts in the upper part or ‘all over the stomach’ and might be misinterpreted as gas or food poisoning (both Dan and I had these same thoughts)
The pain continues to build, as it moves slowly down to lower right, becoming extreme
Coughing is very painful
After a number of hours, it will usually localize in the lower right side
High fever will usually accompany it (I had this)
Nausea and/or vomiting may or may not accompany it (Dan had vomiting – I didn’t)
With a timely diagnosis, a normal hospital stay for an appendectomy is up to one night – often outpatient – 3 hours
The appendix can burst within 24 hours after the pain begins
Once the appendix bursts, the pain usually subsides (Dan went to work, remember his had burst, and he hadn’t felt that extreme pain. However, he had to leave because of a ‘general feeling of sickness’ and was too sick to drive home)
Gangrene is not the norm in an appendectomy; Gangrene is a mixture of the staph and the strep virus. Whatever it touches starts to ‘die.’ (Both Dan and I, not being aware of the warning signs, just thought that it would go away.)
As a personal aside, the doctor who had sent me to emergency came by to see me. He said that he had been following my chart (pretty nice, I thought). When he saw me he said “I’m surprised to see you looking as good as you do. After reading all the notes in your chart, I thought you’d look ‘much’ worse.” A couple of nurses and even a patient commented on how good I looked for having gone through what I had and how well I seemed to be handling everything. I feel that the reason was three-fold: a) staying active and pretty physically fit, b) eating a healthy diet, and c) faithfully using the Ancient Herbal Secrets natural supplements.
Interestingly, the U.S. has about 20 times more appendicitis cases than the rest of the world. In my research I’ve discovered that a high-starch diet could possibly encourage appendicitis; however, a diet high in fiber can help prevent this painful and potentially dangerous condition. Again, all I know is that starch was not a mainstay for either Dan or I.
No matter how well we take care of ourselves, the chance is always there for something to go wrong. We have no choice whether we have a healthy appendix all our lives or not. It will either inflame one day or it won’t. However, we do have a choice in doing all we can to stay as healthy as possible. Eating a nutritionally healthy diet and staying physically active, are two positive steps to take to better our chances. For me, the third step is focusing on natural herbal supplements to enhance my condition.