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Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Goodbye Gall Bladder
Let me take a step back and give some history. When I was in 6th grade I had some pain in my upper right abdominal area. It hurt to eat or drink and I was out of school for probably about 6 weeks or so. I had test after test in the hospital but the doctors never found anything wrong. Eventually it was chalked up to stress or poor digestion or something. I grew out of it and didn't have any pain for years until about three years ago.
This pain was different from what I remember from when I was 11. The first couple of times I had it I thought it was indigestion. I used some online symptom checkers and the pain was consistant with gall bladder pain, or cancer, or gas. That's the problem with the Internet as a diagnostic tool, it doesn't really narrow down your disease it just gives you a range of best and worst case scenarios.
Since I assumed it was either minor gall bladder attacks or indigestion or potentially a whole lot of nothing like the pain from years before I ignored it. I probably had about one attack per month from then on out. Eliminating significant amounts of fat from my diet pretty much controlled it so I wasn't too worried about it. About six months ago the attacks started happening more regularly and were much more severe in duration and severity. I finally decided to seek medical attention when I was in bed all day on Christmas. I did want to wait until after the first of the year though because I was out of sick and vacation time, I could of course get FMLA time but it's unpaid so waiting a week made sense.
I went through January with no attacks and had one around Valentine's day. I finally decided to call the doctor and get whatever it was taken care of. My physician just suggested that I go into the emergency room because they would do testing right away so I did that. The sonogram showed stones and my blood tests were normal but my gall bladder wasn't inflamed so they didn't operate right away and suggested I see a surgeon ASAP.
I went to see the surgeon the next week, he reviewed the charts and said that my pain was "consistent" with gall bladder symptoms and suggested I get it removed sometime. He suggested I lose some weight and come back in 2 to three months but that it could be done sooner if I needed it. The day after I saw him I had my worst attack ever, it lasted for three days. It was time to get it out.
Thursday I went into the hospital to get it taken out. I was super worried as to whether or not I'd be able to have it taken out with open surgery or with the laproscopic method . I felt good when I woke up from surgery. Better than I'd felt in months. My blood pressure had been super high whenever I'd had it checked in the months before the surgery but when I came to it was normal. I felt a whole good sense of well being and I'm sure I made the right choice.
So now I'm at home recovering. I'm still on pain pills and from time to time I feel crazily high. I went off them last night for a few hours and the pain got pretty severe. However I'm up and walking, I even did a shopping trip with the family to Wal Mart today so I'm feeling much better than I feared I would and even somewhat better than I expected I would.