When I got up in the morning of January 2nd, 2007 I asked my wife to make me an appointment with a surgeon, the same day if possible. She asked if something was wrong. Of course something was wrong, and I was ready to fix it for good. She asked which surgeon she should make the appointment with. My reply was that I didn't care, as long as it was a general surgeon that could get me in that day. That afternoon I saw Dr. Boyd Hammond in Idaho Falls.
I took a copy of my medical records. My vital signs were taken. I remember my blood pressure being in the low 80's over the high 60's, something like 82/68. No wonder I could barely walk up a flight of stairs. My fatigue was worsening all the time. I explained the side effects I had from the medications. We reviewed the many tests I had, including several colonoscopies, endoscopy, capsule endoscopy, testing for celiac disease, blood work, and biopsies. We reviewed my current symptoms, including several episodes of incontinence. The doctor did the most thorough exam I had had to date. Luckily my wife had stumbled on a very good, experienced surgeon. The surgeon made his recommendation.
He was clear, "you need surgery." Those words, which may have scared some people, were a comfort to me. I asked him when he could do the surgery. He informed me that he wouldn't do my surgery. He went even further. He was honest enough to tell me, that although there were a few doctors in town that had done total colectomies, none of them were really experienced enough. He told me he wouldn't let any of them perform this surgery on him. He told me about a doctor who specialized in colorectal surgery at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. He told me it was a very good surgeon, by the name of Dr. Bradford Sklow. He would personally call Dr. Sklow's office and get me an appointment.
I went home and waited for the call. An appointment was made in just a couple weeks. It was the earliest I could get in to Dr. Sklow. I waited with anticipation, not nervousness. I saw this as a great opportunity for me. If removing my entire large intestine would improve my bowel habits and way of life, I was all for it. At the same time, I often got after doctors for touting that as a cure for Ulcerative Colitis. I told them I thought that was like curing a broken or infected toe, by amputating the foot. I could hardly wait to get my intestines out. Living with an ostomy bag didn't sound like that bad of an option to me.