Diverticulitis changes eating habits for Philadelphia jazz musician

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A musician from Philadelphia is sharing his story about the medical condition that landed him in the hospital for several weeks. (WPVI)

When Action News spoke with Jeff Bradshaw, he was enjoying a green smoothie at Green Soul Cafe in Chestnut Hill.

Eating healthy has become a new habit for the North Philadelphia jazz trombonist after years of poor eating caught up to him.

Bradshaw has been playing the trombone, touring with A-list artists for more than two decades.

But all that traveling led to an unhealthy diet.

"No fiber, just sandwiches, subs, tons of fried food, no matter where it was," Bradshaw said.

As for vegetables - "No, I wasn't interested."

This past October, while rehearsing, Bradshaw felt a sharp pain in left lower abdomen.

He spent weeks in the hospital, losing 52 pounds.

He was diagnosed with diverticulitis.

Dr. John Marks, a colon and rectal surgeon at Lankenau Medical Center, sees it and treats it often.

In the lower portion of the intestines, small pockets can form. This is fairly common.

But if the pockets become inflamed, it's called diverticulitis.

"The bacteria grow and it causes an inflammation of that whole area," Dr. Marks said.

He says treatment ranges from diet changes and antibiotics to major surgery.

One way to reduce the risk is by eating a high fiber diet.

"Whole wheat bread, vegetables, fruits, they're the things that help propel things through the intestine easier," Dr. Marks said.

It's a message Bradshaw has taken to heart himself and now preaches to others.

"Run away from processed foods. It has to be a plant-based diet, it has to be a diet full of fiber," Bradshaw said.

Dr. Marks says don't delay.

If you have abdominal pain, get it checked out.

Bradshaw is not out of the woods yet. He'll find out in a few weeks if he needs surgery.

His fellow musicians have set up a GoFundMe page for him.

For more information on diverticulitis, click here.
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