Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Week 19 & my faulty gallbladder

DAY 134
First things first, 19 weeks down!!!!!!!!!!! WOOHOO!!

Now - My damn gallbladder!! I didn't even know I HAD a gallbladder until Monday. Stupid damn gallbladder. I have been having these somewhat random attacks in the middle of the night. At first I thought it was heartburn. Then food poisoning. Then I was convinced I had an ulcer because of the stress of the deployment, even though I thought I was doing okay with this dumb deployment. So 4 attacks later, I finally told my mom about this randomness. She called me back 30 minutes later saying that my grandmother had her gallbladder out when she was 35 and had the same symptoms. So I looked it up. And sure enough, that sounds just like the attacks I'm having. I told Joe and he made me promise that I would see a doctor. So after a horrible Monday morning calling Tricare and the damn appointment line for my PCM, I was seen by an awesome doctor and had blood taken that day. And an ultra sound was done on Tuesday. I've never had an ultrasound before. It was slightly weird. And I couldn't tell what the lady was looking at. I'm not sure how someone is supposed to tell me if my gallbladder is broken if I couldn't even tell it was a gallbladder. But I'm not a doctor, probably a good thing too. But now we're just waiting, waiting on a phone call. The radiologist and my doctor will look at the ultrasound pics and my blood work and decide if I need surgery or not. If both of these things come back clear I will be in for more tests. But basically, there are 4 things that can cause these symptoms, and 3 of them require an operation to remove my gallbladder. The 4th thing still requires a procedure, but it isn't as invasive. I should get a call some time today. Fingers crossed. I just want answers at this point. I would hate to have to go in for more tests.

I keep looking at my tummy. It's not flawless, I'm chubby and I have a few normal marks on it. But I've never had surgery before. I keep imagining the scars on my tummy. I have been told they will be very small. But I just don't know what to expect. Will they be healed before Joe gets here for R&R?? Or will they be that light pink wound still? I told my mom this. And she told me that this was just life. And I had to deal with the outcome. But there are lots of things now that can be applied to scars to help them fade.

Although, they weighed me Monday, always a fun time. But I had a number burned in my brain from the last time I was dumb enough to weigh myself. And the number yesterday was 20 pounds lower!! Woohoo!! I looked up how much a gallbladder weighs, hoping it was at least a good pound or two. Negative. 8 ounces. Damn gallbladder.

This week has been really hard, but only because of my faulty gallbladder. I've had some really bad nights. I miss Joe. I want my mommy. I haven't felt this alone since D-day. Which is just STUPID because I will be talking to Joe on Skype and my mom on the phone while Rigel is licking my face and still feel so alone.

Joe has been amazing though all of this. It was his prompting that made me even call a doctor. He offered to try to do an emergency leave sort of thing and come home for the surgery. But I told him not to. I don't want my faulty gallbladder to ruin his leave plans. And my mom and/or dad and/or my grandma can be here in a day's notice. He's been very understanding though, letting me fill our skype conversations with all of the details, all of my questions, and fears, and reassuring me that everything will be fine.

"What are you sorry about, its not your fault, I'm just sorry I can't be there the one time you really need me."

This single line brought tears to my eyes while I was in the waiting room in the hospital.

So if you are reading this and have had your gallbladder removed, please leave me a comment and tell me about the outcome. If you haven't had your gallbladder removed, what is the most invasive surgery you have had? So far, the only surgery I have had was when my wisdom teeth were removed. And that wasn't too bad. I don't remember much. But I personally think that that surgery isn't as invasive as a "real" operation. Does that make any sense?? I keep imagining having to walk to the back by myself and changing into the gown and watching everyone as they put the IV in and put me under... :( uuggghhhhhh!!


Erin said...

I have a crap galbladder! I was supposed to get it out last month but decided to hold off because I have it controlled by diet. If you do have it out, it is a laproscopic procedure. It will be minimally invasive. The scars will be really tiny. Also, the recovery time is pretty quick. You should be feeling back to normal within a week or two.

aka Dragonfly Photography said...

Both my sisters had their gallbladders out laproscopically and it was not a terribly big deal. The scars are minuscule and they didn't even stay pink very long. I had a total hysterectomy - cut hip to hip - and still my sweet man loves me, scars and all. Trust Joe to love your heart and understand that the love of his heart taints the love of a body with a beautiful veil of grace and acceptance.

Amy said...

I'm so sorry you have to go through this without Joe by your side. He sounds like he is doing a great job supporting you even if he's miles away.

I have no experience with gallbladders but I have had a c-section. My understanding is that the scar from gallbladder removal is very minimal compared to a c-section and I don't think my scar is bad at all.

Good luck and I'll be thinking about you!

Jeannette said...

I just had mine removed. There are 4 scars. One inside your belly button, one just below your bra line (a bikini top would cover it) and two kinda high up on your right side. None are actually on your belly. They are each about 1in long and mine are already skin color after 5 weeks. I stopped taking my pain medication after a few days and my pain was completely gone in one week. Full recovery is 4 weeks only because it can take up to that long for the inside to heal and of course they can't tell if you are or not. My Dr only said high impact exercise where there was a risk of falling was not allowed until week 5. DH and I were back to "normal" by week 3. E-mail me if you want to know more.

Just Another MilSpouse said...

OK, I am having issues with mine too. I have learned (after far too many uncomfortable nights) how to control it (for the most part) with diet. I stay away from fatty foods after 3pm. Simple as that. For me, at least. Your situation may be different, yours may be in worse condition, but you could always try it. I am determined to avoid having the cholecystectomy until DH gets home. Even though it is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, I just don't want to have to deal with it until he's here.

Erin is right, it is typically a laproscopic procedure which means it is not a full blown surgery with a giant scar like it used to be. Now they just stick a tiny tube and camera inside you. Like puncture wounds.

I have heard that in regards to your gallbladder the "at risk" group are the Five F's. Fair, Fat, Forty, Fertile and Female. If you have at least 3 of the 5, you are at a much higher risk. Also, "fat" doesn't necessarily mean obese, it just had to fit with the F's. It means if you are even slightly overweight or have a high fat diet.

So, if you have to have it out; relax, not a huge ordeal. But seriously, try easing the symptoms with diet. Fatty foods are the worst for sensitive gallbladders.

Anonymous said...

I have fertility issues and have had work done laproscopically for that. Although I have not had any gallbladder issues. A lap seems to me a way better procedure now a days instead of cutting one open. The gas was the worst part of the procedure for me. My tummy was just a little sore but for some reason I had a terrible pain in my shoulder and neck and was told it was from the gas they used.

I am going to have a fallopian tube taken out while my husband is gone. He is sorry he cant be here but he agrees to not wait till he gets back. I have family coming to help out and it really isnt that big of a deal. It will be an outpatient surgery and I will be sore for a few days. Seriously the only thing I am worried about is having horrible gas pain again.

They went in through my belly button and its is such a tiny little line you cant even see it now.

Sara said...

Thanks everyone!! I feel so much better hearing about your experiences!!

Amber*Renee - I have heard about this gas thing before, about them inflating your stomach. Just seems really weird to me. I've heard it's the worst part from a couple other people. I was really worried about the incisions, but I will stop now, because of what you said. Thanks!!

Alison @ One Lucky Monkey said...

My sister had her gallbladder out and was walking around the same day. She was pain free within a to exercise without restriction in 3 weeks!

I'm an operating room nurse and do several gallbladders a week. They put you to sleep (you won't remember it) and then place four very small ports in your abdomen (less than 1 inch and so small they are closed with "glue" and steri-strips.) One of the ports will be used to pump CO2 in to distend your belly so they can see all the organs inside. They'll go in with the camera/instruments look around and then snip out the gallbladder. Sometimes they do a test where they look at the ducts in your liver/gallbladder with dye and xray but the whole thing takes less than an hour. The worst part of recovery is the pain from the distention and from the incisions...make sure you take your meds on schedule for the first 36 hours and then as needed after. Also there will be "gas pain" in your right shoulder where the unexpelled gas goes to be absorbed the first night post-op. The only way to get rid of it is to get up and walk around to help absorption.
**end of my gallbladder patient teaching:-)**

Surgery is scary for most people (even when you know what to expect) but just ask tons of questions and know that the procedure is routine! I know you're gonna do great and you'll definitely still be good for Joe's R&R:-)