Want to know what it feels like to come down with a serious case of career (and possibly life)-threatening diverticulitis?
"I have a high threshold for pain, higher than most guys, and I couldn't deal with it. It felt like I had taken a shotgun blast to the stomach, and then someone poured in some salt and Tabasco and stirred it all up with a nasty pitchfork."
Lesnar was initially stricken during a hunting in trip in western Manitoba, Canada, in Nov. 2009. The 6'3", 265-pound fighter was taken to the Brandon Regional Health Authority, which at the time didn't have a working CT machine.
He spent a weekend in the hospital, bedridden, hopped up on heavy doses of painkillers (morphine), waiting in agony for the staff to diagnose and treat his illness.
That answer never came because of the inability to see what was happening inside his stomach.
So rather than continue to let time "slip away," Lesnar and his wife, Rena (widely known as Sable), made a run for the border, leaving the "Third World" Canadian healthcare (his words, not mine) in the dust and heading four hours to the nearest medical facility in the United States, which was a hospital in Bismarck, North Dakota.
It was a decision that he feels may have saved his career ... possibly even his life:
"I put my faith in the doctors at that hospital. I shouldn't have. It almost cost me my career. It almost cost me my life."
While in North Dakota, Lesnar received a diagnosis within 20 minutes of his arrival, which was none other than diverticulitis, "a digestive disorder."
He eventually recovered and made a triumphant return to the Octagon seven months later, submitting interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin to once again earn the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world.
That submission came after a disastrous first round in which the Brockness Monster looked more like a helpless victim.
Lesnar stumbled in his next fight against Cain Velasquez, succumbing to a barrage of punches from the crafty American Kickboxing Academy product and losing his title in the process.
As we later learned from the man himself, he wasn't operating at full capacity. Quite the opposite, in fact, as he explained that he never fully recovered from his first bout with the deadly intestinal disease.
And, regrettably, his condition has again taken a turn for the worse, much like it did just less than two years ago. The relapse recently forced him to withdraw from a title eliminator bout with Junior dos Santos at UFC 131 next month in, of all places, Canada.
While it's not as serious as his first battle with the sickness, a second shotgun blast to the stomach has him contemplating highly invasive -- and ridiculously dangerous -- life-altering surgery that could put him on the shelf once again ... this time maybe even for good.
Even still, Lesnar maintains "this is not the end" of his fighting career and he will return as strong as ever.
Will he? Time will tell. But if there is anyone strong enough to battle his way through a debilitating disorder such as this, it's Lesnar.
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