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gallstones

gallbladder surgery, gallbladder attack, gallbladder, belly button, gallstones, how it feels to have gallbladder removal surgery, gallbladder removal

Ever wonder how it feels to have gallbladder removal surgery? Remember the night when macaroni and cheese almost killed me?  Well, this past Wednesday, I went to the surgeon and had gallbladder removal surgery. I thought, hallelujah, I will finally be out of pain. But maybe I was just naïve and had no idea what I was getting myself into.

We arrived at the hospital at 9 a.m. and I was scheduled for surgery at 10:30 a.m. Yes, I told them I needed an early appointment because I get hangry. They happily obliged. In fact, once I arrived, they took me straight back and prepped me for surgery. I was pretty excited to not feel like I was dying.

Not going to lie, I was a little terrified about gallbladder removal surgery.

But a few weird things happened 1) my great aunt who is almost 90 called me the night before practically in tears to tell me she was praying for me. This is the same woman who is just patiently waiting for her own heart to give out. 2) My neighbor, who is in her 60’s and falling apart before our very eyes asked, “Aren’t you nervous?” (Well, I wasn’t until she asked me.) 3) The Silkwood baths that I was demanded to take the night before and the morning of my surgery. I felt uncertain. I got spooked about the gallbladder removal surgery that I was honestly, looking forward to having.

As soon as I got into my gown, my surgeon and anesthesiologist showed up. They were ready early. Everything got fast-tracked. Cool, I thought, maybe I could be home by lunch. No such luck.

We went back to surgery and, for the first time ever, I went unconscious from the IV pain meds before they even got the chance to tell me to count backward from 10. When I woke up in recovery, I was in lots of pain, completely groggy and somehow had lost 3 hours. I was supposed to be home, but instead, I was still on a gurney and feeling completely out of sorts and in extreme pain.

The worst and most unexpected was the trapped air pain. Oh me, oh my! I knew that during gallbladder removal surgery they were going to pump my stomach full of air to make navigating the laparoscope easier but I had no expectation of the pain that would accompany that trapped air. I fell unconscious when I came home, only to be awoken by a searing pain in my shoulder so fierce that it made childbirth feel like a splinter. I was screaming and crying in pain. I frantically begged the Big Guy to call the surgeon, only to find out that it was normal and expected.

I didn’t sign up for that shit.

No one told me about that, so I’m warning you!

Another fun surprise, I found out my gallbladder was not located where it is supposed to be. Your gallbladder is supposed to be tucked up under your liver, mine somehow had migrated to the middle of my chest. Was I born deformed? Had it moved during one of my pregnancies? Was it twisted? All I know is that even the surgeon was grossed out by it. Things didn’t go as planned or expected.

Today, we are 5 days post op and it’s been a doozy of a weekend. The surgeon put a transdermal scop patch behind my ear to stop the projectile vomiting. That was nice of him since coughing, projectile barfing, sneezing and hiccupping after having your gallbladder removed, it’s a little excruciating. Only, one problem, I had to take it off after 72 hours. That was a good thing too because the damn thing was making me blind. Seriously, on top of being sore like I had done 1 million sit-ups and higher than a kite on pain pills, I couldn’t even read Facebook. My vision was so blurry that I couldn’t read my phone.

I removed the patch and then my nausea came back with a vengeance. I’m not sure if it’s from the anesthesia, the pain pills or just the change in my digestion from the removal of the gallbladder. All I know is that Zofran was powerless against it so I did what any desperately nauseated person would do, I sent the Big Guy to Walgreens for some motion sickness bands.

Thankfully, I’m feeling a little less nauseated and a little more normal. I’m hoping this means that my health is on the upswing and soon, I won’t have to worry about things like nausea and the label on every single piece of food that I put in my mouth.

Gallbladder Removal Surgery Changed my life

There is one other unexpected side effect, as the tape has begun to come apart from the incision on my belly button, I realized that I did not leave the hospital with the same belly button as I went in with. To be honest, I used to have this adorable little belly button and now, it’s hideous. It may be the swelling but as it stands, I may have to take this ugly thing and go into witness protection; at the very least, I certainly need to take my belly button and go into hiding.

It’s swollen, much larger than it was and, at the risk of being too graphic, it looks like a piece of exposed meat in there. I think some glue has come loose. I’m freaking out. All joking aside, I’m calling my surgeon tomorrow and asking him to take a look because I really don’t think this is what my belly button is supposed to look like after gallbladder removal surgery.

Have you had gallbladder removal surgery? If so, how did it change your life and eating habits?

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Gallbladder attack, gallstones, ER

It’s been a crazy few weeks, so crazy in fact, that I’ve been too busy to actually write about it and my gallbladder attack. Lots of life choices have come to a head and not in a good way. Not in the ticker tape parade, I just unlocked level 1000 in life success kind of way, but in the what the hell have I been doing to my body over the past 40 plus years sort of way. My body mutinied on me.

Two weeks ago, Easter Sunday or the night on Walking Dead that Daryl got shot and I should have been rioting, I was instead ignoring the hell out of The Walking Dead and the possibility of Daryl being shot because I felt like I myself was dying. I say that literally, not figuratively. My body was attacking me over either macaroni and cheese or my Mother-in-law’s amazing cheesecake; trying to kill me and I really wanted to give it the satisfaction of dying just to be out of my misery.

Remember a couple weeks prior, I thought I was having a heart attack and ended up in my local emergency room? That night I found out that I had gallstones and that was my first ever gallbladder attack brought on by a Mexican birthday celebration meal, I was in excruciating pain.

I was given some intravenous meds, including a nice morphine push and I felt great. The ER doctor didn’t seem to think I needed my gallbladder removed because we thought the whole thing was precipitated by my stomach that was irritated from the 1800 mgs of ibuprofen that I’ve been taking every day for the past 6 months thanks to my broken leg. I watched the “bad food” or so I thought for a couple days and then I went back to eating whatever I wanted, because that’s what I do. I’ve always said, I’d rather workout for 3 hours a day than give up French fries. I know better now.

P.S. Anyone who tells you to eat whatever you want because the chance of having another attack within a couple weeks is rare is not your friend. Ignore them because they are full of shit and obviously never survived an acute gallbladder attack.

So anyways, 2 weeks ago, the Sunday before the Thursday that I left for Spring Break at Disney World (the same trip I had to cancel in October because of the broken leg) I had my second attack. It was 10 times worse than the first one. It was transition labor with no medication terrible. I have a high pain threshold and I tried to wait it out for 4 hours, it never subsided. It only got worse. Finally, I had to call my brothers to come over to watch the kids while my husband took me to the ER at 1 am in the morning.

Aside from the body splitting pain in my gallbladder and stomach, I was vomiting pure bile and nauseous. My stomach was messed up and I could not get comfortable. I was in so much pain; I couldn’t get above a whisper. I tried everything; heating pads, drinking vinegar, drinking water, laying on the floor, on my back, on my stomach, upside down. I was trapped in my body being tortured. I sat on my bed and sobbed in desperation and excruciating pain.

After all was said and done, I spent the entire night in the hospital trying to get the pain manageable. After three rounds of Zofran, Dilaudanum and something else, I can’t remember (in my defense, I was pretty drugged), I was finally sedated enough to drift in and out of consciousness through the attack. It was agreed that I needed to have the gallbladder removed at my earliest convenience, which is now. Remember, I was going to Disney World or bust for spring break but changes were going to have to be made.

Immediately, I was told that I needed to go on a low-fat dairy, reduce my fat, cholesterol and carbohydrate intake diet. There would be no butter, cheese, red meat, pizza or Mexican food in my near future. It was fine with me because there is no food in the world worth a gallstone attack. Seriously people, watch your cholesterol and fat intake. So, I went to Disney World on a severely restricted diet and I made it work. You’d be surprised at how many options you find when you look. I’ll write another post about that later.

Anyways, it’s been 2 weeks since my last attack and I’ve lost 13 pounds. I’ve never eaten healthier in my entire life, my blood pressure is down and I am waiting for the call from surgery to schedule my removal.

In case you are wondering why I am still having my gallbladder removed even though I have the attacks under control with diet, I am removing it because both doctors told me that once you have a gallstone attack it’s not a matter of if you will have another attack, it’s a matter of when and I simply don’t want to go through that excruciating pain ever again if I can avoid it.

Needless to say, let me serve as a warning to you, watch your fat and cholesterol intake. Move around and work out because gallbladder removal surgery is the most performed surgery in the United States and I’m sure that has a lot to do with our super-sized, super fat, super sugary, high cholesterol diets. It’s rich food. Ironically, gallbladder issues don’t exist in poorer countries.

What would you be willing to give up to avoid this kind of pain? For me, I’d gladly give up all foods to avoid another attack.

Have you ever had a gallbladder attack?

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