Last night, I was given a stay of gallbladder execution. Getting my gallbladder out was NOT on my to do list yesterday, but for awhile-the doctors disagreed. Apparently, they don't know the power of 'the list.' A few months ago, when my Mom had her last surgery I sat there and thought-I can do this, because it's the last time I plan to be at a hospital for ANYONES surgery....well-ever. I make an exception for babies someday, but beyond that-everyone was going to be well in my world. It was the plan! About a month and a half ago I got sick, and I would still probably qualify as 'sick' up through about a week ago. The symptoms varied day by day, week by week, but I wasn't at a 'well' stage until last week. It started with 'stomach issues'....I'll spare you all the details. Fever, and then the most bizarre hand and feet blisters followed by peeling. I lost the entire top layer of my skin on my hands, and my feet (some people pay good money for this, I don't know why). THAT hurt more than anything else-raw skins, I spent weeks in rubber gloves! I went to my doctor when the throwing up and 'friends', the fever, and the tiredness were joined by a rash all over my body. She ran test, and the conclusion was-she felt like I had Hep A. I figured that wasn't exactly something you 'shared' with people. My liver enzymes were waaaay up, along with a ton of other symptoms, but I wasn't showing positive for the virus yet, which isn't unusual in the beginning stages (it's one of those things that just last a few months, nothing permanant, it's B and C you have to worry about). The plan was to continue to check (and she did) over the coming month. The second test showed the raised liver enzymes,and apparently the rash,and peeling skin is attached to liver problems. Sometimes, with a bad virus this just happens, but she was going to continue to check. After the second 'bad' set of bloodwork results-it was off for a sonogram. The liver was 'inflamed', as was my spleen, and one kidney was a little smaller than the other, in addition, I had large gallstones. Apparently, they often discover these during a sonogram for other things, and they aren't a problem until you start to feel them. The lady giving me the sonogram kept asking me if I ever felt pain in that area, did I ever feel like I was having a heart attack? Uhhh.....no, I think I'd remember that. When I spoke with my doctor, she said that the symptoms I had could have been from passing a stone (yuck), but since I had never had any gallbladder pain, who knew. Gallbladder pain is often misdiagnosed as Hep. They, apparently, like to leave that bad boy in until you feel the pain. Fine with me. She said it was something I would have to get done b/c once it starts producing stones, it will always produce them, and they were large enough they weren't going away. She offered the name of a surgeon, I politely declined. She then extended the length of my next visit with her for the 'next' round of bloodwork so we could 'talk.' That is scheduled for two weeks from now. Then, Monday night I ate a 100 calorie pack of cheese-it's, layed down, and I realized-oh, THIS is what a gallbladder attack is. Pain, oh so very painful. I called Kelly (who has had her gallbladder removed), and I asked her how long this lasted-she said about an hour to an hour and a half. 8 hours later, I was holding the phone WAITING for 7:30 am to roll around so I could call my doctor, and it finally starts to fade about 7:15. 8 hours, seriously? Seriously! Apparently they can last as long as 24 hours, so I guess in the grand scheme, I'm fine. The pain never left, it burned, and throbbed around my gallbladder, and all the way across my lower back. You know, if I'm going to have an 'attack' I wish I at least had an Ice Cream Sundae or something to blame for it! I called the doctor, and at this point I willingly took the name of the surgeon. I then 'emailed' to ask 'If it happened again, what can I take?" I had previously been told to avoid all medicine b/c of the liver. I also let her know I set my appointment for the 20th. I didn't hear back from her, and about 6 pm I ate some dinner (keeping in mind I needed to try to avoid anything fatty), and then I laid down to catch up on my sleep (the theme to the attacks seems to be laying down right after I eat)....and it started all over again. I called the doctor and finally just asked them to page whoever was on call-I wanted to know what I could take, and at what point I need to be concerned. It's the kind of pain you go to the hospital with if you don't know what it is. I rank it as an 8 on the pain scale (I'm reserving 9 and 10 for child birth and death, not necessarily in that order). The doctor on call was appalled that I even still had my gallbladder. He said to get to the ER...NOW, and that it should have come out weeks ago as soon as my liver enzymes were elevated (signs that stones were 'moving around' and making things much more complicated).....and at the latest it needed to be out by Friday. He gave lots of other scary reasons why I needed to get up there, so....I went. Skip lots of details. They gave me an iv with pain medicine (at this point, I was actually feeling better, which I told the doctor, and he didn't seem impressed by my 'miraculous recovery'). I even watched the debate and started returning emails (I like to multi-task, even from a hospital bed apparently). Then came the test-blood work, and another sonogram. The deal was-if the enzymes were still high, it was coming out. I figured they would be b/c they have been for a month. I had a little bit of hope though b/c I was feeling better than I had in a long time this past week. My prayers were answered-they were back down, and the stones they found were still housed in the gallbladder. I went from definite surgery, to getting to call the surgeon and speak with him in a less 'emergency' fashion. I want to make sure he (or she) sees the whole picture, with all the other 'stuff' that could or could not be related. If I'm going under, they are doing all the need to do at one time. I know it probably would have been better to have it 'out' if it's coming out. But really, you should see my October calendar! I can't have surgery until after the 26th, and then I need to be well by the 1st, so I'm going to explain that to the surgeon, let's see who wins this battled of logic...'My' doctor called today to let me know that I needed to get into the surgeon sooner than the 20th, and gave me another name to try. So, in my mind it will be a few weeks before I have surgery, we will see what the doctors say. This completes my month of 'illnesses.' It's a long post, b/c I was pretending like I wasn't feeling bad enough to turn it into a 'post.' The good news is-today, nothing has happened, I even took a nap. I'm not laying down within 4 hours of eating, because even if I get back up, it's too late once the attack starts, and that was a common theme yesterday. I also am restricting what I'm eating to really bland, and boring things. I did find a home remedy for the attacks that I tried yesterday before heading to the hospital, and I'm giving it some credit (trust me, nothing else I found even came close to working). A glass of applejuice with a 'shot' of apple cider vinegar. My prayers last night were that I wanted to wait until a time when I got to ask all 'my questions', but that God would take that decision out of my hand if it was necessary to not wait. I would feel better about getting to tie things up at work, and at home. I know the surgery is 'minor', but when it's your body, it's major, and when the question of 'when' can't be answered concretely, for a list driven person-it's not fun to have to reserve that possibility. In the end, I felt much better heading home with all my organs, and I got some much needed sleep before heading to work. I'm not sure what I'm saving my 'sick' days for.....but I felt fine. I figure I'll take those days when I'm not so sick I can't enjoy them.
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