My journey to get healthy has taken some surprising twists and turns. I started off in no particular order, with my bladder issues. Honestly it was one of the easiest to treat because my doctor could diagnose it quickly and get a referral to a specialist for treatment. The other issues I’ve been having have not been so easy to diagnose. Do any of these symptoms sound familiar to you?
- Nausea or vomiting after eating, no matter what you eat.
- Tired, all the time.
- Bloated feeling that doesn’t go away with some toots or poops.
- Occasional acute pain from your abdomen that seems to last for hours.
Let me be real for sec. Over the last two years I have had severe, crippling abdominal pain that seemingly comes on with no notice. The incidents were few and far between at first, but earlier this year they ramped up. Once a month, then twice a month and eventually I couldn’t take it anymore. At first I thought I was having a heart attack so my doctor order an EKG, and stress test which all came back normal. But the painful attacks persisted, became more frequent and got stronger. I went to my doctor again and insisted it wasn’t just gas (that’s one helluva gas problem!) and asked for further testing. She agreed to do an abdominal ultrasound and found my gallbladder was full of gallstones. Apparently with each bout of pain, I was passing a gallstone or two.
Anyone who’s ever gone through it can tell you this is a horrifically painful experience. The fact that it took so long to diagnose is beyond me but I’m glad I was persistent with my doctor. The way our medical system is set up, or at least mine is with HMO’s and what not, it took months to get in to see my doctor, then weeks to see the specialist. I only hope that if this was a life threatening situation that the process would have been much quicker because I had several attacks while waiting to be seen and waiting for surgery.
If you’re a science nerd like me then you’ll want to know exactly what the gallbladder does and what it means if you take it out. The gallbladder stores bile, a combination of fluids, fat, and cholesterol. Bile helps break down fat from food in your intestine. The gallbladder delivers bile into the small intestine. This allows fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients to be more easily absorbed into the bloodstream. You can live without your gallbladder and my doctor says most people even continue to eat normally with no complications. With a little reassurance and some research on my part, I agreed to have it removed.
So here’s how it went down. The specialist told me that no dietary changes could reverse this condition and I needed to have my gallbladder removed. It’s called a Cholecystectomy and is most commonly performed by inserting a tiny video camera and special surgical tools through three to four small incisions to see inside your abdomen and remove the gallbladder. Doctors call this a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This is the type of procedure I had. I have four small incisions which are now healing nicely.
The surgery itself was pretty straight forward I guess. I’ve actually never had surgery before but it seemed to go okay. To be honest the fear of going under anesthesia terrifies me. It’s the loss of control and the chunks of time I can’t account for. I was very nervous and I made sure to tell them so they could be prepared in case I started to freak out on the table. Fortunately, this didn’t happen. They had a hard time waking me up from the anesthesia. I just remember being so tired I could barely lift my head. It was an outpatient procedure which meant, if there were no complications, I could go home that same day. When I came home all I did was sleep, and pee. I woke up later in the night so hungry. Thankfully Chris had some chicken noodle soup on standby because that was pretty much all I could tolerate.
The next day I started eating a little more normally and noticed something different right away. I wasn’t nauseous. I wasn’t sick after eating. The difference was incredible and I wasn’t expecting to notice it so soon. Now here I am a few weeks out and I can tell you I haven’t felt this good in years. The thought of eating doesn’t make me sick. I am physically moving faster instead of feeling sluggish and tired. I sleep better. I have hope again that I can start exercising again whereas before the idea of exercise mad me sad.
I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to figure it out and get this taken care of. If you gain anything from this post, be vigilant about your health and these types of symptoms. It might not seem like a big deal, but it’s only been a few weeks and I already notice a huge difference in the way I feel. As my incision scars heal I hope to put this whole ordeal behind me and use it as a fresh start on my path to wellness. I’m researching dietary changes, and supplements to help ease the transition. If you’ve had this surgery I’d love to hear your experiences and tips. Did you feel better? What was the biggest change you noticed?