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This is part of my personal story. This is not about programming. I have been out of the game for a while and only recently started to get back on track. A few years ago, I got ill. Cramps in the gut. I went to the docter and he told me it was IBS, irritable bowel syndrome. He told me it was incurable, not fatal or anything, 10% of the people have IBS. He didn’t pay any further attention to it, and sent me home telling me to read up on IBS.

So I went home, read up on IBS on the web, and well, that was it, there was nothing more I could do.

A friend of mine also has a slight case of IBS. He had some plant medicine he always used, and recommended. So I decided to give that a try. I do not particularly believe in homeopathy. But sometimes I am willing to try anything.

Hey, if it works for my friend, it might work for me, too.

I just didn’t notice any improvement.

 

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Downward spiral

I figured I must be a pussy. Because 1 in 10 people has that disease and they are not bothered by it. And I was severely bothered by it. I had constant pain in my gut. Paracetamol and ibuprofen didn’t do any good. Neither did the homeopathy. Sometimes the pain got so bad I could not sleep at night. I got tired, it wore me down, and I got depressed. I could not focus on accounting work anymore.

Slowly my life slipped away, I became a bit of a zombie. A zombie on homeopathic pills and drugstore painkillers. It was a downward spiral.

A slight recovery

In september 2019 I quit my accounting job. I could not concentrate on my work anymore. That was one reason to quit. The job also gave me too much stress, difficult circumstances, and it was not going to end any time soon. Stress is bad for gut disorders. So I quit.

A few months later, in february 2020, I got a another weird pain in the gut. This one was so bad I couldn’t sleep at all anymore, so I went to the local docter again. He had no idea what caused it. So he sent me home telling me to take a maximum dose of paracetamol and ibuprofen and sit out the ride, report back in a week. After two weeks suddenly the inflammation pain was gone, and so was the rest of the pain. The disease was still there, but the pain was gone.

I had a little revival.

It is amazing what impact chronic pain can have. And how much better you feel, and function, once the pain is gone.

I got back on the web. Amongst others, I rebuilt and redesigned the charity site I am webmaster of. I did odd jobs here and there, I constructed my mom’s garden fence, tended my garden, et cetera. I was feeling better and slowly started to function normal again. I even started thinking about getting a job.

The pain came back with a Vengeance

I was counting myself lucky the pain was gone. But it didn’t last. By january 2021, some symptoms got worse. Small but increasing pains. I could not sleep uninterrupted anymore, every hour I would wake up. And I started throwing up more frequently. No real cause, I just could not stomach the food. My mother first thought it was her cooking that caused it, poor soul. So I told her many times it was not her fault, it was just random. Some days I was fine, other days I puked my guts out a few hours after dinner.

And by july 2021, the pain was back at full force.

With a brutal vengeance.

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The escalation

By the end of august 2021 it started to escalate. I could not eat anymore. I could not sleep. I could not even take a dump. So after a week of not taking a dump and .throwing up a lot, I went to the local docter again, and he figured it was a stomach flu and it would be over in two weeks. He told me take paracetamol again, and told me to report back in a week. He was not at the office the next week, so I got a different docter who concluded it was not a stomach flu, it was constipation. The docter subscribed psyllium seeds and sent me home to report back in a week. By then I had not taken a shit in three weeks, and had not slept for two weeks, maybe half an hour here and there.

So after a week I went to the docter again. This time, it was again a different docter (they have six at their practice). This one was actually paying attention (sorry, that is my frustration talking), a lady docter this time . She prescribed a different kind of seeds. But she also did some small checks and noticed I had lost 40 pounds in three weeks. Normally I am 190 pounds, a tat overweight, but now I was down to 150 pounds.

Next day she called, she didn’t trust the matter and she figured I should get myself checked at the hospital emergency room.

To the emergency room

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I could hardly walk anymore, my muscles were gone, I had no strength left. I could hardly ride a bike anymore, maybe at 5 miles an hour. So I took a municipal bus to the hospital. It is a 5 miles ride from my village.

I had called my mom to inform her that I was off to the hospital and she kindly offered to come along. Good, because I was feeling a bit alone in the whole matter at that time.

At the emergency room, the nurses didn’t immediately know what was wrong, they did notice I wasn’t doing too well. They decided to have me scanned, and from the scan, they saw that part of my intestines were severely out of order.

Part of my intestines were heavily inflammated and clogged shut. There was nothing they could do about that. I was too worn out. Apart from that, there was no more time. Given more time, my intestines would have ruptured. So I got emergency surgery and they literally cut my guts out. I woke up next morning with a stoma and a 5 inch operating scar on my belly.  I was constantly on morfine after surgery, oxycodon, so I didn’t mind about it that much. It just didn’t fully get through to me. That is normal, for me, I tend to ignore the entire world and process stuff later.

IBS or IBD ?

The docters analysed the tissue they removed in surgery, and concluded it was not IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) but IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), Crohn’s disease. The difference is one letter. But IBD is a different animal than IBS, it is far worse. IBS, Crohn, can have a lot of complications, it is an auto-immune disorder. My immune system can go haywire and attack my own body, that is what causes the constant pain.

The treatment focusses on dimming down the immune system, but that does make me more vulnerable to bacterial infections and virusses. So just like the elderly, I now have to get a yearly flu shot.

Strange things is, the entire hospital matter is nothing to be happy about. But I am feeling better than the last three years. In fact, I feel great. And now that the docters have the right diagnosis, I finally get actual working treatment.

Recovering

I regained 2 pounds a week for the first two months, 8 kilograms. I am currently two pounds below my ideal weight. I walk an hour every day, I eat a lot better and more regular. The disease wrecks your appetite when it is active. And with the disease currently at ease, I have my normal appetite back. I eat healthy food. Full wheat bread. I had to make some improvements in my diet. I also got some protein-rich supplements the first month, but my diet is good enough to do without supplements.

Sometimes I eat a burger. A nice fat juicy hamburger with lots of sauce. I can luckily still have burgers. Burgers are great.
 
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I am pain-free. I recovered very fast. And Crohn’s disease seems in remission for now. I got some more checks, MRI scans, and they show there is little inflammation and no actual damage to the intestines (scar tissue, fistels, the bad things). I am more than happy with that. If I show the same good results in five months time, I am up for a restorative surgical procedure. That means the docters stitch my intestines back together and I am rid of the stoma.

The future is so bright

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A positive attitude is important when recovering. And with the pain gone, and with better treatment, it is a lot easier to have that positive attitude. I feel a lot better than the past three years. I feel I actually have a viable future again.

A thousand things might still go wrong, I could get all kinds of complications, rheumatism, fistels, more surgery. But if you look too much at the bad things that could happen, that is going to bring you down. Better count on luck, count your blessings, focus on getting better, and keep a positive attitude.

And hey, I bet on the right horse back in 2014 when I got into crypto.

I read in the news yesterday that 40% of dutch youth have cryptocurrency. A few years ago, no one wanted to take crypto serious (my former classmates, the ‘adults’) but the younger generation are not so stuffy and old. They accepted and embraced crypto, they love crypto. The youth have the future, and in the future not 40%, but 100% of the people, everyone will own crypto’s, tokens and nfts.

The party has only just started, the future is so bright…

Get in the ring

I can focus on work again, so I feel like working again. Getting back in the ring. I am powering up, recovering, and feeling quite good.

I feel like getting back in the ring. The return of Juust.

I got me some courses in Solidity, smart contract programming. Everything you need to know to develop your own token. And React, Node.js., the basics of an online frontend for the token. I got me a course in setting up my own NFT-shop. Fun stuff for geeks. In the past few years I lacked the energy and focus to do these courses, but now I can spend hours a day doing courses.

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I also built a basic Excel model of a token, with things like salestax. Just checking how a token economy would work out given certain token-settings.

I don’t have a deadline or appointments, I have all the time to write a top notch token contract. Doing these courses and getting more and more involved in smart contract programming, I will meet up with lots of other coders, and maybe I will form a crew. Who knows. At the start of the year I was half dead and sick as a dog, and now I am doing fine again. Just goes to show, “life is like a box of chocolates”.

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