Oh Schucks, it’s an ulcer!

By admin
21 April 2011

It came like a bolt from the blue. One minute he was fine, the next he was in hospital.

But this was no prank. Since February Leon Schuster has been hospitalised several times for a bleeding stomach ulcer. Last year he was often nauseous but put it down to the hiatus hernia he’d had long ago.

“During the filming of our last movie I was sitting in one of the caravans and said to a colleague I was feeling really sick so I took a few antinausea tablets. You tend to ignore the signs as long as you can,” he says.

But in February Leon realised something was seriously wrong. He was sitting deep in thought on the patio after a memorial service when he suddenly experienced severe stomach ache. He rushed to his pharmacist, who said it was probably a bleeding ulcer. His next stop was hospital.

“They shoved a camera down my throat,” he says. “But I was anaesthetised. Look, if I have a choice I always go for the anaesthetic.”

The gastroscopy showed Leon had three perforations in his stomach and he went cold with shock when he saw the blood draining out of them. His doctor prescribed proton pump inhibitors which neutralise stomach acid. Fortunately he didn’t need surgery.

He now has to take better care of himself.

“I have to eat healthily and I’m not allowed to smoke or drink alcohol,” he says. He steams his food and avoids fatty foods which are harder to digest and require more acid secretion, further irritating the ulcer.

“I was recently in a fish place and I ordered lekker deep-fried calamari and prawns. I didn’t even have a glass of wine but, ag, the next day I was back in hospital with the most terrible pain,” he says indignantly. “And the doctor said, ‘I warned you!’ ”

He hasn’t let any of this interrupt his moviemaking though – he’s working on two films at the moment. One is a prank flick that will have fans spluttering with laughter. The other, titled Boetie and the Beast, tells the story of two men who don’t get along but are forced to spend time in each other’s company.

Eating healthily is a new leaf Leon has turned over shortly before his 60th birthday. “Can you believe I’m about to turn the ‘Big 6?’” he exclaims.

He has no plans for a big celebration. “I’m going to spend it with my family and special friends – I’ll spoil them but I’m actually quite an antisocial guy. I don’t like big parties.”

Read more in the issue of YOU, 28 April 2011.

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