Updates on “Patrick, you are officially my sickest patient”

Never Surrender - Update 9
Update posted by Patrick Franc On Jun 28

Hi everyone,

We had tickets to see Corey Hart on June 15th at the Bell Centre. Great seats on the floor about midway back from the stage. Little did I know, when I purchased the tickets back in November of 2018, that I would end up being be hospitalized two days before the concert. Yes, an IBS crisis again - one of the worst ones I’ve had.

Sherrie drove me to the Jewish General Hospital emergency ward after being in a full-blown IBS crisis for three days. I was in terrible shape, suffering from extreme nausea and gastric distress. I hardly ate or drank for three days because of nausea, and as a result, I became so weak I could barely walk. I was breaking down emotionally several times a day from how much distress I was under. It was dreadful.

They did all their testing (C.T. scan came back fine, but blood work showed that I was quite low on potassium, so they gave me three supplements to take each an hour apart). They treated me with Zofran, a very effective anti-nausea medication, as well as morphine for the pain. Both of those medications were beneficial and allowed me to settle down and rest peacefully - well as calmly as you can when laying down on a hard hospital gurney. I also met with two psychiatrists who were there to help me work through the dark thoughts that arise whenever these episodes happen. We also reviewed which medications I was taking to treat my depression and made some adjustments. I was told that I would stay overnight and meet a G.I. doctor the next day, but they discharged me at 12:30 am!!! Sherrie had already gone back home after spending the entire day with me at the hospital. So, I started to gather my belongings but could not find my pants, my shirt, or my hoodie! I assumed Sherrie had perhaps brought them back in one of her bags. So I walked out of there wearing nothing but a hospital gown that always somehow manages to stay open in the back, and a sweatshirt that had stayed behind. (Turns out my clothing had been tucked neatly underneath the gurney.) I walked down to the lobby and decided I would take an UBER home rather than call a regular cab. But this would be my first ever UBER ride, so I needed to download the App and create an account before I could send the request for a ride. It took about 15 minutes to get it all setup, and the driver showed up in just 5 minutes! The young fellow, a student at Concordia, was polite, courteous, and easy to chat with. I called Sherrie from the car to let her know I was coming home and she flipped out! She was outraged that they had discharged me after telling us that I would be staying the night in order to see the G.I. the next day. And she was right to be angry. I was just happy to be going home.

So while I was on my way home, Sherrie called the hospital and spoke to the discharging doctor for 20 minutes and got him to give us an appointment with a G.I. the following morning at 10 am! We did not get to bed until 2:30 am, so it was a short night before heading back into the city (It’s a 45-minute drive from St-Lazare). We checked in at 10 am and met with him around 11:30. Having heard my story as well as review all of my supporting documentation, he said, “There is nothing I can do for you. We haven’t found anything that we can treat specifically. The causes for IBS differ from one person to another, which makes it nearly impossible to treat. IBS ruins people’s lives.” I responded and said, “Yes, my life has been ruined.

I spent most of the day there doing more tests and ended up also seeing an infectious disease doctor who did not seem concerned with all of the bacteria, fungi, and parasites that have been found living inside my gut. However, he and the G.I. both asked that I submit stool samples, looking for other possible pathogens I suppose. The G.I also sent me for a food sensitivity allergy test, which I did just two days ago. They test more than just food, and it turns out I’m only allergic to dust mites, cats, and dogs - something I already knew.

It’s now Friday, the day before the concert and I’m still uncertain if I’ll be able to attend. I was also coping with a very painful knot in my back, adjacent to the fusion surgery. It had been plaguing me for two weeks and would not let up. It’s now Saturday, the day of the show, and thankfully, my IBS is relatively stable, I’m not in a crisis, and I feel well enough to attend, but the knot is still there. I must confess, it was so painful that I broke down again while getting ready to head into the city. I could not believe that after six months of holding on to those tickets, I would have to see a show that I was very much anticipating, with a knot in my back! Anyhow, we went to the show, met up with our friends Mylène and Nathalie Nociti, and had a great time. I wore my wayfarer style sunglasses most of the evening as a tribute to Corey’s biggest hit “Sunglasses at Night,” which he performed in the encore! And we all thoroughly enjoyed the opening act: Glass Tiger! Lead singer Alan Frew was mostly recovered from a stroke he suffered about two years ago, but was also up on stage after having broken his neck just two weeks prior! I was unable to find any details surrounding the accident, but you could see from his body language that he was favoring his head when walking and turning around. So he and I had something in common - we were both nursing our cervical interventions.

It’s now Thursday, June 27th, and since the concert, I’ve had two more crisis states come upon me, including one just two nights ago. It was another “off the charts” IBS evening for me - and my wife. These episodes are so acute that I am immediately thrown into a state of absolute and utter despair. Feeling hopeless and helpless, I breakdown and sob uncontrollably. The degree of discomfort is hard to describe without actually living it, but I can say that it is by far the worst I’ve ever felt in my life.

I’ve seen several G.I. doctors since this first started back in October of 2016. None of them have been able to help me. And this is what just about everyone who comments in the SIBO Facebook Groups has to say as well: “My G.I. could not help me.” So, I’ve decided to tackle the SIBO/IBS on my own by following a protocol that I found online. I did a lot of research before deciding on a particular person/approach/program. I chose the “SIBO Breakthrough Program” and started on St-Jean Baptiste day. It’s a customized Paleo diet supported by a variety of supplements that are to be taken at various times of the day, with or without meals, etc. I’ll keep you all posted as the days go by to let you know if I see results.

Oh Lord, please, please, let me see results!

There are days where I just want to give up and die. The only thing that keeps me going is music. So in the meantime, I’ve started listening to “Never Surrender” every day to help pull me up when I’m down.

Patrick 2.0 - Your Friendly Neighbourhood Bionic Man

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