I had diverticulitis since 2000, and I was in the hospital twice for it. Before my operation, I had some symptoms from the disease.
I was very constipated. It was hard to go to the bathroom and I had stomach pain, sometimes severe, before going to the bathroom. Even though I had these symptoms I wasn't treated surgically for it because I was afraid.
When I was hospitalized for it the first time, the doctors said I would have to have surgery to remove part of the colon, and that I would have to have two operations. In the first surgery, they would take the infected part out and do a temporary colostomy (where the surgeon creates a temporary hole, in the abdomen. The end of the colon is connected to the hole to allow normal eating and bowel movements. The stool goes into a bag attached to the opening in the abdomen).
Once my colon healed, in the second operation, the surgeon would rejoin the ends of the colon and take out the bag.
I did not want to do that because I was afraid of the surgery. It was too much.
This March I went to see my doctor at the [University of Maryland] Medical Center. After I described my symptoms, my doctor referred me to get a colonoscopy.
After the exam, Dr. Roth told me that my colon was very small, and because of the diverticular disease, he recommended that I have surgery. I didn't want to have surgery, but he said the procedure was different now. Now they could operate just once. They could take infected part out and I wouldn't have to come back again for a second surgery, and I wouldn't need a (colostomy) bag.
He said the surgery would be done laparoscopically instead of the standard surgery, sparing me from a big incision. But he said if, while he was doing the surgery, it didn't work out, he would have to go for the regular surgery.
I had a lot of confidence in him. I told him, 'I'm in your hands.'
He told me all the odds and ends, and what could happen. My daughter was there and she asked him if I would be okay and he said he thought I would. The way he explained things to me, the man is so great. He tells you everything up front. He's honest. I have so much confidence in him.
I had the surgery (a laparoscopic colectomy) on April 19, 2004. After the surgery I was in pain the first day, but the next two days I started to feel better. I spent three days in the hospital. Now I feel wonderful, I feel like a million dollars. My symptoms are gone and I feel well now.
I even have two friends who wanted Dr. Roth's number after I told them about him. They are going to call him.