Thursday, July 12, 2007

Well, the Stomach is Finally Gone...

Well, my stomach, which has been getting huge over the last five years, is finally gone. All the tens of thousands of sit ups didn't do it, though. And all the hikes in the jungle couldn't make it disappear. Ditto the fasting, dieting and all the rest.
I've always been a fairly slim and reasonably in-shape guy. But about five years ago I suddenly came up with a BIG belly and I couldn't fathom why. I mean I was suddenly up 20 pounds, hovering at 200 or 2005 and nothing I did was making a dent. I gave up ice cream. I fasted three days a week. My malaria would come and get me annually and those bouts meant 3-5 days without water or food and they hardly made a dent. I drink, yes, but I ain't the worst sinner on the planet. And there are hours of yard work weekly, including raking 1.5 acres and so forth.
And then three weeks ago, in Ollantaytambo in Peru, my stomach disappeared in less than an hour. What happened was I was with some clients at the ruins and my friend Victor was due to appear to make a San Pedro ceremony--one of my favorites--and I'd been sick for a day, trying to dislodge this old pain in me that had taken the shape of something like a cat. I'd gotten the tail out of me, but the darned demon refused to leave and once its tail was gone I saw it rise up to my intestines and sink its claws into me.
So I shoved my fingers down my throat to force it to be vomited up and instead it sunk its claws deeper into me and in the next second I saw my intestines with holes, seeping muck into me. I also felt a pain--a lot of different pains--shooting through my stomach area like I was on fire. It got so bad that for a few minutes I wished there was some way I could simply separate from my body.
That didn't happen. Instead, one of my clients called a doc who said it was just gas but who got worried when three pain killing shots had no effect. So he called an ambulance and they took me to the local hospital where they got scared when more pain killers didn't do the trick and then they sent me by ambulance to Cuzco where I was given a battery of tests, after which a good looking guy in sports clothes announced that I was having surgery in two hours. I questioned that and he said I should go seek another opinion but that if I didn't have surgery in two hours I'd be calling a morgue. I opted for surgery.
What happened was that I'd gotten an ulcer on my large intestine. I had no idea, no pain, nothing but my big stomach to suggest it. And when I tried to eliminate the old pain it dug in and made a couple of holes in that ulcer which then released 3 liters of poisoned goup and old stomach acid into my upper body cavity, causing peritonitis.
I was lucky. The surgery got it done, even if it had to be redone this last Sunday in a hotel room in Iquitos because it split wide open when the stitches were removed.
Three freaking liters? I know and knew I was full of it but I had no idea I was carrying around a three liter soda bottle.
So now I've returned to the states to recouperate and my daughter Madeleina wants to know how I got so skinny so quickly.
And while the rest of it feels lousy, just her saying I'm skinny again might be worth it.
And that's the story of How the Stomach is Finally Gone.

1 comment:

Gail said...

Peter..
interesting way to lose weght...leave it to you...
please be well...
gail b. in NYC :)