William – Diverticular Disease
William got in touch with Guts UK shortly after his 75th birthday. He'd taken on a life-long dream of doing a SkyDive, and chose to do this for Guts UK after discovering our information and research into diverticular disease.
When were you first diagnosed with diverticular disease and what were your symptoms?
I was diagnosed with diverticular disease at the start of 2018. I went to see my GP because I had a permanent stitch-like pain in my left side. I could tell that he was thinking something serious when he called in the registrar for a second opinion. Both of them were hinting at cancer. I was fast tracked for an endoscopy and gastroscopy. The gastroscopy revealed nothing down to the lowerpart of the stomach. The endoscopy showed numerous diverticula but no sign of cancer which was a relief on that front. I saw a consultant after and suggested to my GP that I take a revolting fibre drink twice a day for a month. I actually did this for two months.
Does diverticular disease affect your day-to-day life, and if so, how?
I still have the stitch like-pain in my side but have learned to live with it because nothing has been suggested otherwise. Other than that my day to day is not affected. I play golf twice a week and play snooker so lots of bending and twisting without further discomfort.
Had you heard of diverticular disease before you were diagnosed?
I had not heard of diverticular disease until it was mentioned by another GP that I saw at my surgery. I hadn’t realised how common diverticular disease is in the UK (affecting 30-50% of people), so I was surprised to discover that I wasn’t aware of something that affects so many people. Perhaps this indicates that we need to talk more openly about digestive conditions and our symptoms.
Do you feel you’ve been supported after your diagnosis?
Other than the follow up appointment with the consultant, which lasted all of two minutes, no further advice, information or support has been forthcoming from the hospital or my GP.
Why did you decide to do a skydive for Guts UK?
In 2019, I took on a Skydive for Guts UK! The Skydive was something that I had wanted to do for some time and definitely before my 75th birthday (I did it with three weeks to spare). I also didn’t want to waste the chance to raise some funds for good causes. I was told about Guts UK when I had my endoscopy, and immediately gave a small donation to help with the amazing work that is done in their research. I wanted to do more, so that pushed me to think about the skydive again. It is possible to do a charity skydive where they take the cost of the dive out of the monies raised, but as the skydive was a wish of mine, I personally paid for the dive and filming so all the money raised went to my chosen causes.
I have another cause that I feel strongly about which is a local nine year old girl who suffers up to 300 seizures a day and struggles with her medication, therefore the amount I raised was split 50/50.
I feel that the research that Guts UK do and information they provide to patients for all digestive irregularities is very important. The awareness of such research can only help and perhaps inspire others to take on challenges like mine.
What are your hopes for the future?
My personal hope for the future is that my problem doesn’t flare up and get any worse. I hope that Guts UK will receive more help for the great research they do, be it from the government or privately.
You don’t have to dive from the skies like William! Play your part in supporting life-changing research into diseases of the gut, liver and pancreas by donating today.