My gallbladder attacked!!

So Tuesday afternoon I posted on my social media accounts that I was hospital bound after having my gallbladder removed after having what I now know was a gallbladder attack on Sunday night.  So here’s how it all went down.

A few months ago I had posted that I was awoken in the middle of he night with vice like pain around my mid section and a friend from years past was kind enough to reach out and share what happened to her and how those same pains ended up in an emergency gallbladder removal (after having a few attacks).  She suggested I get it looked into with some bloodwork and I kind of just put it on the back burner, until this past Sunday night that is.  Once again it’s the middle of the night and I’m awoken by that vice like grip around my waist and nothing makes it better.  I tried changing positions, walking around and then just trying to breathe through it until it passed.  After a few hours the pain had subsided enough to allow me to fall back to sleep, but with the full intention of reaching out to my doctor first thing to have them run some tests to see if something was going on with my gallbladder (as was suggested to me).  My doctors office saw me on Monday afternoon, mainly because I told them I was no longer in active pain and could wait for the afternoon appointment.  I went in and discussed what had taken place and the doctor referred me to the Emergency Room to have an ultrasound to see if I had gallstones and that was causing my discomfort.  I arrived at the emergency room Monday afternoon around 2:30pm, after many hours of waiting they performed two ultrasounds, one in the exam room-an informal one- that determined they saw a stone.  The ER Doctor said he would elevate the ultrasound to radiology and have the surgical department consult on the results to determine what takes place next.  After a few more hours of waiting the surgeons met with me and stated that they found several gallstones and my white blood cells were slightly elevated.  This left them leaning to take my gallbladder out.  The fortunate thing was that it was not considered an emergency.  I wasn’t in acute pain and my gallbladder was not currently inflamed.  But they did say I could not go home and that I would be admitted to have surgery in the morning. 

Sadly I stayed the night, they hooked me to fluids and antibiotics all night and around 11am on Tuesday off I went to surgery.  From what they tell my husband, the surgery went off without a hitch.  It was a very simple surgery that they were able to do a laparoscopic incision(s).  I have four tiny incisions in my belly (that hurt like hell lol).  I returned to my room at some point in the afternoon, I couldn’t exactly tell you when, although I remember seeing 2:30pm in the recovery room.  They kept me over night to make sure that I was able to manage food and pain appropriately.  Which I am thankful for.  They released me late Wednesday morning and I head home.  I was in far more pain than I anticipated and overestimated how much I could do when I left the hospital.  Needless to say it caught up with me and I paid for it, but fortunately my family was awesome and came to my rescue while Al had to go to a job.  Thursday was a much better day for me, where I only needed my heavy pain medication in the morning and at bedtime.  Today (Friday) I am able to manage my pain so far with just Tylenol and Motrin.

So things I learned from this:

  • Anyone can have gallstones but not everyone suffers from them. 
  • Some people have them and it never affects them, others manage by diet and others have the gallbladder removed-like me! 
  • Some people don’t have the pain, but have nausea and vomiting or fever and chills
  • Symptoms are known to come and go – but if you’ve been treated for symptoms once, the likelihood of it happening again increases greatly.
  • Although they recommend you follow a low-fat diet after having your gallbladder removed, in most patients – that suggestion is not followed
  • Your body will eventually readjust to not having a gallbladder but how you process fatty meals could be different now that the gallbladder isn’t there to help out.
What I walk away with from this?
I plan on taking this opportunity to try a lower fat diet and cutting back or out the sweets.  I haven’t had any sweets since Sunday night and I’ve had a few cravings these past two days – but haven’t acted on them.  I am trying out tracking in a different app other than Weight Watchers so that I can set goals for my nutrients (carbs, protein and fats).  My nurse before I left gave me a suggested percentage for each daily that I am going to do my very best to follow.  I am beyond nervous to eat anything that is going to make my belly angry! So for now at least I am taking it slow and following instructions.  I go back for a check up on August 4th to make sure everything is healing correctly.  I think the hardest thing right now for me is listening to my body and not overexerting myself.  I’m on full restriction to not lift anything over 10 pounds, which means not even my little dog!!  James will miss me picking him up, but maybe this is for the best too, dude is 50lbs and this mama gets exhausted carrying him!
So although I’m not a doctor, what I can say is that if you’ve ever felt like I did or have any symptoms that leave you googling at midnight, then reach out to your doctor.  Because one last thing I learned is that you want to have your gallbladder removed while it’s at a time of peace rather than war.  The recovery time is far less as well as the surgery is less invasive.

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