How a burst appendix changed my life – for the better

The last weekend in April 2014 was to prove a pivotal turning point in my life. I can see that now but I didn’t at the time. I came home from work on the Friday and over the course of the evening began to feel quite rough; the thought of food turned my stomach and I felt exhausted. I put it down to jet lag as I’d returned from the UK the same week. I didn’t feel great over the weekend but Sunday we managed a gentle family hike and felt I was on the mend. Later that day though I started to get some weird pains lower and upper stomach pains but put it down to indigestion.

The next day the pain was worse on both my left and right sides but I struggled into work. ( I’m not one for going off sick very often as I feel I’ll miss out on something!) I had to come home as it was obvious I wasn’t very well but I put myself to bed and just thought it would pass. I was in a lot of pain by this time but kept drifting in and out of sleep and to be honest I was used to pain. This coincided with a time when my endometriosis was at its worst and I thought it was just part of that and Steve my husband too didn’t really think there was anything out of the ordinary for the same reason.

The next day I was feeling slightly better though I knew I had a temperature. I had an appointment at the Drs to be checked over and already had an acupuncture session booked so I went along to that first and my therapist examined me and said; “I think you have had a life threatening episode and I’ll need to call the Dr now”. Not quite what I expected to hear. In came the Dr and he told me sent for a scan immediately suspecting appendicitis. I was alarmed when 3 or 4 personnel from the radiography department came rushing in told me my appendix had already burst and I had severe peritonitis. They couldn’t understand how I was still standing; apparently the only reason I wasn’t dead was that my body had formed a protective sac around the appendix which had stopped the toxins leaking out into the rest of my body (how amazing is that?). I sat in the Drs office stunned while he called to find someone to operate on me.

The operation couldn’t take place till 10pm because of the theatre availability. This was now 7pm at night. I remember asking. “Have I got that long?” And the way I didn’t get a direct response… It was a “well, you are still standing now aren’t you?” I decided to go home and quickly see my 8 year old son. I didn’t let him know I was ill but put him to bed as normal and told him I’d see him in the morning. (I prayed to God I would). My parents and sister back in the UK were frantic and my dad was about to get on the plane over to HK right away. Mum told me later that she thought that was it.

I lay on the table waiting to be taken down to surgery after having kissed goodbye to Steve. I have never felt such fear especially as the surgeon warned me that they might have to take out all of my organs and wash them to get rid of all the toxins from the burst appendix. I remember praying so hard to God, putting myself entirely in his hands and it being his will for me to get through it then so be it. I don’t remember anything after that.

I woke up to find that the operation had been a success though the appendix had been completely gangrenous so I was very lucky to have been alive. More than 21 antibiotics were pumped into me over the course of the next few days to fight the chance of any infection and the toxins causing problems in the rest of my body.

I had a very lucky escape but something was nagging at me this episode caused me to think long and hard about my life – I was a bit overwhelmed by all that had happened and seeking an answer as to why this had happened and what was it trying to tell me.. I have a strong faith and I receive daily devotionals into my inbox and the day after my operation the one I received left me in tears. It was entitled The Tree of Rest. The subject was around why a lone tree is left standing in a farmer’s field – in order to provide rest, shade and shelter for the weary animals out of the elements- and the post went on to talk about why some people survive difficult times and others don’t (eg in times of war and patients difficult illnesses ) and it said that this was so these people could be a ‘tree of rest for others’.

That sat with me for a long while and I kept coming back to it during the weeks and months of my recovery as I learnt more around what I needed to do to support my body back to health during this period of time. It was a key to me taking action to start to train to become a health and life coach and is the reason why in my logo you see a tree. I want to provide a safe place for people to come and unlock their routes to health.

So to close – even some of the bad things that happen to us do for a reason and can lead to positive outcomes and that burst appendix has set me on one of the most exciting courses of my life to date!

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