Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Road To Recovery

I'm starting to feel better! It has been six long months, but I can finally see the light at the end of this tunnel!

Let me go back a bit to explain what's been going on.

Back in February, I started to notice that I wasn't hungry. In fact, it seemed no matter what I ate, I would feel stuffed for hours. It wasn't that, "Oh, I'm completely satisfied" full feeling. It was like I had just had a complete Thanksgiving meal - miserably stuffed. I didn't pay much attention at first. It wasn't until I went to the doctor in late March that I learned I had lost weight. She asked what I was doing and I said, "Not eating." I explained how I felt. She said I needed to go see my general physician for a diagnosis.

I don't exactly like going to the doctor, so I didn't have a GP at the time. So I made calls. I got on waiting lists (because what I was experiencing wasn't an emergency, I figured it could wait). I'd make more calls, choose another doctor, cancel the previous one. While all that was going on, I realized I was still losing weight. Pants no longer stayed on me. I really paid attention to what I was eating to see if a food allergy might be to blame for my lack of appetite. There was no obvious clue - a salad with non-creamy dressing, a single cookie, a bowl of soup - anything could leave me feeling stuffed for 24 or more hours.

Once I met my new GP and explained my symptoms, she zeroed in on two things: liver & gallbladder. Blood tests confirmed my liver was OK. Off for an ultrasound - which did not reveal any abnormalities. Then, the nuclear test which focused solely on the gallbladder. This was the least fun test. They injected nuclear chemicals into my arm, which somehow went straight for my gallbladder. I had to sit still for two hours while the chemicals slowly worked their way out of my system. Within days, I had a call from the doctor's office saying I needed to come in to discuss "gallbladder reduction." Note to any doctors reading this: I fully understand the need for HIPA, but having someone from your office call with that kind of information is not helpful. Either you call me directly or instruct someone to give me a general definition. Making me wait days to see you to explain that is incredibly nerve wracking!

The doctor explained my gallbladder was losing function. No stones. Just a dying organ. I met with a surgeon who was very patient with my million (or so) questions. The bottom line: nothing could make the gallbladder healthy - it would only get worse. There was no telling how long I'd have with it. I scheduled the laparoscopic surgery for last Wednesday.

I've never had surgery on my stomach. Right now, I have four small incisions on my belly, still covered with tape. I'm bruised. I'm swollen. I'm sore. But I no longer have that silly gallbladder inside me. And to prove that I had it removed, the doctor took a picture for me. Here it is:

My appetite still hasn't returned to normal. I'm eating small meals - 2-3 a day. I haven't dared eat a cheeseburger or some spicy, cheesy Mexican food as I just have no idea how my body will handle it. I'm like a science experiment now, waiting to see what each meal will do to me. Luckily, I have not had the nasty side effects of the surgery (if you're squeamish, look away NOW - I'm talking about diarrhea).

I'm looking forward to feeling completely better. I can't wait for this tape to fall off. I am excited about being able to get up (and sit down) without flinching from the pain. And, most importantly, I'm really excited about the next few months, when I've forgotten all about this surgery. Maybe I should start by taking down that surgery photo from my refrigerator...
Post a Comment