Thankful that my employer allows and even encourages exercise during the lunch break, it’s made working out much easier to fit into my life. Over the past couple years I’ve probably averaged a workout 3.5 times per week which has brought many great benefits; lower blood pressure, increased flexibility, strong cardio, and strengthening. It’s been a surprise and a joy to create exercise rhythms and routines that fit me so well.
On November 5, 2018 however, as a coworker and I went to run a 5k and something in my body didn’t feel right. I felt full or bloated in my torso but I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. So, instead of trail running, my favorite exercise/thinking time, I opted to stretch for 30 minutes. I figured I’d be fine the next day since I’ve found (in my 40’s) that the body just does odd things sometimes.
To my surprise, I didn’t feel much better the next day or even the rest of the week. For the first time in a couple of years, I didn’t exercise for the entire week. That ended up extending through all of November and this stuck out to myself and coworkers that something was wrong. So, I played around with my diet over the next several weeks; increased fiber, decreased fiber, went low fat, and finally went to a liquid diet. On top of the bloated feeling, I began to experience seemingly random pains in my abdomen and back. I found it increasingly difficult to get comfortable whether I was standing, sitting, or even sleeping.
During this time, I began seeing my doctor but I didn’t really present him with any clear direction. My complaints varied from my upper right side, to my lower back, to my lower left side. We did several scans during November but nothing came back as the smoking gun.
During the first weekend of November, I ran a fever and for the first time felt a few stinging pains in my lower left side. (In retrospect, I think the fever was simply a brief cold.) This increased sense of urgency led me to get a full abdominal scan the morning of Monday, December 3. At this point, I wasn’t really concerned about what they would find, neither surgery, disease, or anything serious was in my mindset.