"I always had my routine colonoscopies but nothing prompted the doctors to think my colon was about to rupture and that I would develop peritonitis. I had an elevated white blood cell count, diverticulitis and pain in my joints that persisted for some time.

"In June, I became suddenly ill, disoriented and not myself. My wife took me to the ER at Riverside in Newport News at 7 a.m. I was admitted and my wife called Dr. Marshall Cross who immediately came to Riverside to assess my condition. He performed abdominal surgery on me that morning.

"Exploratory surgery revealed a small hole in my colon that allowed leakage into my abdominal cavity. I was never in severe pain, just disoriented, weak and uncomfortable."

My diagnosis

"I guess my body had just had enough."

The doctor quickly did a colostomy. No waiting, thankfully, because I was close to not making it.

I stayed in the hospital about eight to 10 days while I recovered and learned what it's like to live with a colostomy. It is an adjustment – you have to really see someone with one to understand. You're never prepared for it and then you wake up from surgery and the doctor tells you what he had to do. Let's just say it's a real adjustment in how you live.

My experience with Riverside

"Truly a team effort, it's a first-class facility."

Everyone at Riverside, from the people in the ER to the people in the ICU and the nurses on my floor, were wonderful. They were professional and caring and checked on me like clock work . They made sure I understood what had happened to me and how I needed to live with it.

Dr. Cross called my wife and three children, ages 28-40, individually at least once a day, sometimes twice daily, to explain how I was progressing.

Life is good again

"I was heavy and losing weight made the difference."

I lost 50 pounds in five months, which gave the surgeon better odds for reversing the colostomy, which he did. To lose weight, I watched what I ate and exercised. Thankfully, my colostomy was reversed on Halloween 2011.

I hope to keep the weight off and credit Dr. Cross for my remarkable recovery. I like my current lifestyle and am able to again enjoy my wonderful family, traveling and being content with life. I do feel as though I am reborn.