Once upon a time, almost five years ago, a surgeon wanted to take out my gall bladder.

Clothespins in winter

I wanted to keep it.  (The hepatobiliary scan rated Ms. GB at a 21.  Anything under a 30 is likely a death sentence for this particular organ.) 

“I really would like to try to heal it with a low-fat healthy diet,” said the patient.

The surgeon peered down at me.

“OK, go ahead,” said he.  “But you will be back.  You’ll get tired of eating granola.”

We ate a macrobiotic diet for the first two years, and gradually weaned to a more comprehensive low-fat diet.  Barry lost 40 pounds (to his great delight) and I lost 25 pounds.  We felt young and dapper and healthy. 

The gall bladder was happy.  We were a happy family.  Except on some of those trips.  You know, you’re visiting New York City or San Diego or Belgium and you accidentally eat a whole box of chocolates and end up with a horrific gall bladder attack.  You quickly mend your absolutely stupid ways–you had forgotten you had a gall bladder problem after a year or so of no pain–and you return to healthy low-fat eating and you’re fine.  (It was a small box of chocolates!  And they were famous Belgian chocolates…)

Until the Florida trip in November.  I had just finished saying blithely to my sister-in-law as we ambled down a dock outside the Parrot Key restaurant, “No, not having ANY gall bladder problems at all…”

When suddenly I found myself overcome with crazed pain, white as a sheet, covered with sweat, lying on the floor of the restaurant bathroom for 15 minutes praying to live.  (Should one share this in a public blog?  No one saw me in the bathroom.  And I didn’t even care about germs. The will to live was stronger than any germs.)

Hands of ice (What's a person to do?)

Twice since returning home the attacks hit again.  And suddenly they seemed unrelated to fat, seemingly unrelated to any dietary commitment.

Sunday night it felt like someone tightened a belt around my waist and said, “Ha!  Here, try to sleep, honey!”  I lay awake the whole long night.  Finally fell asleep on the floor at 6:30 a.m. and awoke, miraculously, pain-free.

That’s when I called the doctor.

I still wasn’t tired of eating  granola–but something needed to change.

The doctor ordered blood work and ultrasound yesterday.  The tests came back today.

“Your gallbladder is filled with multiple stones,” the nice nurse said.  “You are seeing the surgeon, aren’t you?”

Yes.  Surgeon appointment on next Monday.


This feels right.  Good that I tried the holistic regimen first.  Good that Western Medicine has another option now.  It’s time to lovingly whisper goodbye to Ms. GB.  She’s been a good gall bladder.  She helped concentrate and store bile for years. 

People say this operation, especially if laparoscopic, is usually an easy surgery.  I am hoping it can be done before the end of the month. 

In between attacks I am feeling pretty good, except a bit weak and tired.  The doctor gave some anti-spasmodic drugs and mild painkillers, in case Sunday night’s episode repeats itself. 

So!  Here’s the question.  If the doc says “surgery” should I bring my camera into the hospital?  What do you think?  Would you liked to see IV photos?  Or should we stick to pretty snow photos?   🙂

Will let you know after next Monday’s appointment what the nice young surgeon says.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to Sick

  1. Kimberly Grady says:

    My first observation is I amglad you did not get any pictures in the restaurant.!!!

    As for the camera, see your doc to advise you lol….Probably not a good idea with HIPAA and intelectual property these days!

    For me, – say go for it, – have basically lived in a hospital thelast month and actually got some great shots of statues,a medical museum,and a huge cross on the side of the hospital…..


    • Kathy says:

      You know, Kim, my little Sony Cybershot was in my purse! You could have had lots of photos, lol. Except I wasn’t feeling well enough to even care… I have been thinking about your hospital experiences in the past month and feeling for you.

  2. Colleen says:

    Kathy, I’ve been thinking about you for the last few days and was getting ready to send you an e-mail…….
    I don’t know an awful an about gall bladder challenges but know beyond a doubt that you are doing what your heart and your body is asking you to do. Whatever that might be and wherever that might lead you…….wise and intuitive woman that you are!!

    Thinking about you my friend and knowing that all will be well 🙂

  3. Kathy says:

    Colleen, it was very strange. After almost five years of not wanting to even consider gall bladder surgery, I got a strong sense of complete acceptance of it. It was very clear. I feel very peaceful and content about it. Thank you for caring!

  4. Reggie says:

    Oh dear, I am so sorry to hear that you are not well, Kathy. I am sending happy thoughts of healing your way, and wishes that your operation will go perfectly smoothly, and that you will recover fully in no time at all! Hugs from afar to you and Barry. Hang in there! All will be well!

  5. Brenda Hardie says:

    Kathy, I am sorry to hear that you are feeling under the weather…rest and keep following your instincts. I think it’s wise to be going through the steps for surgery..I remember when my sister had to deal with a severe gall bladder attack and thought for sure it was a heart attack…she is ever so grateful to have had the gall bladder removed. As far as the camera…lol…maybe bring it along for some pictures but probably not of the procedure. Although you do have a clever eye for interesting shots….hmm I’m sending warm hugs and prayers for healing…take good care!

    • Kathy says:

      Good morning, Brenda! I feel really good about this decision. Gall bladder attacks can be horrific. (I was just kinda kiddin’ about bringing the camera into surgery…I like your idea about maybe pics but not procedure.) Thank you for the hugs & healing energy. I can feel them.

  6. Susan D says:

    I’m grateful that you had 5 years of relative peace with Ms. GB and that your diligence resulted in benefits for both you and Mr. Barry. It is interesting to me that my cousin’s husband is in hosp. having his removed today. He’s 23. Another friend is 28 and hers burst around Tgiving. Something funny (odd) is going on in the GB Realm. You worked hard to beat the odds and you’re not in your 20s. I say Bravo!!

    Yes, please, take the camera with you. If you don’t, I fear you’ll regret it. You will have amusing and artistic subjects to peruse. Personally, I wouldn’t want to see pics of procedure, or of Ms. GB … but there are tons of other things, right?

    Nice selection of photos today, btw!

    Hoping you’re able to stay comfortable until your adventure. Sending warm thoughts, prayers and love….

    • Kathy says:

      I think it’s funny that people thought I would take pictures of the procedure itself! lol…OK…I have been known to do some strange things. (Thinking of dead animal photos on the blog right now…) I wonder if it’s Mercury Gall Bladder instead of Mercury Retrogade. lol, sorry Susan D, you bring it out. The selection of photos today all came from blogs last year. I so appreciate your caring!

  7. Kiah says:

    Love you mama.

  8. Gerry says:

    Well, Carp! Sorry – I mean, Yikes! Bruce the Weatherman sent us a photo essay of his helicopter trip to Munson when he had his pulmonary embolism, but I figured that was just good therapy. What the heck else is a person to do when he’s flying over the Bay feeling Really, Seriously, Not Too Good? But, um, during the surgery? You will have other things to think about than taking pictures of your laporoscopic procedure in process, trust me on this. Noooo . . . the thing to do now is to take pictures that make you feel nice and calm and peaceful. Make a slideshow from them. Take the slideshow to the hospital, uploaded to a little netbook. Watch the slideshow as you slip into the Happy Place where the nice anasthesiologist will take you. When you get home you can take pictures of whatever you can see from your nice comfy Bed of Recuperation: a visiting sunbeam, a flower, the satin binding on the blankie, the Christmas tree.

    • Kathy says:

      I was just (kinda) kiddin’ about the photography during surgery. Heck, I’d probably be shaking so hard the photos would be blurs. lol! I am now wondering if they have wireless at the hospital for Ms. Ellie, the laptop computer. Now that’s the important thing! Does Baraga County Memorial Hospital have wireless?? I like your idea of images from a comfy Bed of Recuperation.

  9. Karma says:

    Oh my! I feel like there is some sort of deja-vu going on here, but it is really the fact that my hubby had his GB out just 2 months ago. Knowing what he’s been through, I certainly feel for you. Luckily these days the surgery is minor, and recovery is quick!
    I vote for snowy pictures! 😉

    • Kathy says:

      I hope your husband is fully recovered and happy without his life-long companion Mr. GB. I am glad it’s a minor surgery with quick recovery. 🙂

  10. Kathy – Len had his gall bladder out a few years ago and he’s been a Happy Camper ever since. You go, girl!

    1 – You “accidentally” ate a whole box of chocolates
    2 – You laid on the floor in a public restroom
    3 – You’re considering taking your camera into surgery

    And while you may feel ill, you still sound like the same Kathy we all know and love!

    • Kathy says:

      Ha ha, Laurie! You got it! Why lose our unique selves just because a lil ole GB gets a little ornery?
      You made me laugh so much with this comment!

  11. Motherkitty says:

    Sorry your GB is pitching you a fit. If it must come out, it must come out. I hope if surgery is required that you have a topnotch surgeon, and that your recovery time will be brief. As far as photos go, I would take the camera along and get some pictures. You can look the photos over and decide then whether or not to post them. Who knows, your gall bladder might be a work of art. 🙂

    Do, please, keep us updated. Oh! If the gall bladder goes, does that mean you can eat a box of the good chocolates?

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Motherkitty: I love what you said “GB is pitching a fit”! The nice young surgeon has only been here six months and he has an EXCELLENT reputation. Of course, I haven’t even talked to him yet. I think I will have Barry bring the camera when he comes to visit the hospital–if I’m staying overnight. As for a whole box of chocolates–only if I get to go to Europe again! lol…

  12. Sue says:

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re going to need surgery, so here’s a little story to brighten your day.

    My grandpa had this same surgery, and when I asked him the next day how he was feeling, his reply was:
    “Well, pretty good I guess! But they tell me that tomorrow I’m gonna have surgery to take my Gall Bladder out!”

    So my wish is that you wake up after surgery with the same idea in your head……that it’s all going to happen the next day.

    I’ll be sending Reiki!!

    (and I say…..go for it! Take your camera along and snap away while you can.) 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Ha! Funny, Sue. I remember waking up after a colonoscopy a few years ago wondering, “OK, did they do it or not? How would a person be able to tell if it was done or not?” I finally squinted around the room for a few seconds and realized I was in another room. Therefore the colonoscopy had to be over! (I will gladly welcome your Reiki, thank you so much. Goal–no more attacks until surgery. 🙂 )

  13. Kathy you have done very well. I said good-bye to my gall bladder at 16 years old. Same story. They wanted to book me for surgery after an attack where I ended up in the hospital. I said no on Friday. I was back in on Monday. Operation was schedule for Tuesday. No nifty laparoscopic (which had later for getting tubes tide). It was a long cut down the length of my right side. Good thing I was young but still was six weeks not being able to lift. But he didn’t say I couldn’t play grass hockey so I did that at 4 weeks. Wow! was I in trouble when I went for my check up.

    It will all be good Kathy. I still can’t eat too much rich food but mostly don’t even notice. And if you want to take the camera, I think you should as long as someone else looks after it for you because you don’t want that precious baby to go walking with anyone else while you are laughing and waving good-bye from the giggle juice they have given you.

    Wishing you a most speedy recovery!

    • Kathy says:

      Terrill, so your Ms. GB has been gone for a few years? I wonder why we need them…when it appears we can get along fine without them. You can’t say that about most body organs! I am smiling at the image of you playing grass hockey after surgery. And smiling again at the image of giggle juice. Thanks for the well wishes.

  14. Lissa says:

    Hope you feel better soon! (No to pictures of surgery!) Your photos today are just amazing–love them all a lot!

  15. P.j. grath says:

    How did you do “hands of ice”?

    A friend of ours had his gall bladder out last month. David took him to the hospital, brought him home and slept on his couch overnight to make sure he’d be all right. He’s so all right now I’d forgotten he’d had the surgery until I read your blog today.

    Please do not post photos from the OR! Some of the photos I’ve seen from people’s delivery room experiences were too much for me, but the worst of those were C-sections. No, thank you!!!

    Wishing you well!

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, “hands of ice” came from the Michigan Tech Ice Festival two years ago.

      It sounds like your friend didn’t even have to stay overnight…maybe I won’t either.

      I was just teasing about surgery photos. I get weak if I even see blood!

  16. gigi says:

    No, no pictures please. My co-worker just had the same surgery and I know way too many of the graphic details.

    Hope all goes well!

    • Kathy says:

      Don’t worry, gigi, I was just teasin’! As I keep telling you poor commenters–I get weak at the sight of blood. I couldn’t keep the camera from shaking, probably.

  17. Marianne says:

    Very sorry to hear about your gallbladder trouble. Hopefully, it won’t take too long to get permanent relief. I’ll send good thoughts your way.

    • Kathy says:

      Marianne, your good thoughts are so appreciated! Even Ms. GB appreciates them. This morning it feels like a constant dull ache in that area. No sharp pains.

  18. georgia mom says:


    • Kathy says:

      Dear Georgia Mom, never fear! If the camera goes to the hospital, it will come in your son’s hands. He can keep an eye on it. We certainly wouldn’t want to involve the FBI and CIA, would we? lol!

  19. Nicole Smith says:

    Sounds horrific 😦 just one thing after another eh? Sick computer, sick GB…

    all the best with the surgery!

  20. Elisa's Spot says:

    oh bugger!

    tell me about that painting!

  21. Dawn says:

    My husband said that his GB attack was the worse thing he’d ever been through and he thought he was going to die. So I vote for getting it out, but maybe leaving your camera at home. You’ll only be there overnight..and they’ll have you out for tests a lot, when it could get stolen…

    Though I’m sure you’d take some really interesting hospital shots…

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, I am casting a vote for getting it out, too. If that’s what the surgeon says on Monday. Yes, the hospital shots were what I thought my be interesting. Nothing disgusting. Just odd angles that might intrigue. Tell your husband I feel his pain.

  22. OM says:

    Oh dear, I wish I had known about this before things got critical, because in addition to the diet, I have heard that chamomile DISSOLVES gallstones, and one can get concentrated liquid chamomile…. But the timing is what it is, and hindsight is always 20/20.

    Just like, there are natural substances which DISSOLVE kidney stones, too…..

    I’ve had gallbladder pains now and then over the last 20 years, and I sure relate to your description, the “crazed” feeling, the white face, the sweating…..Nothing else is “real”…..

    If your camera ends up in your bag, then I say, take it. Otherwise, not. LOL!!!!

    Enfolding you in Divine comfort until Monday, and after that!!! I’m glad for the weight reduction you and Barry had, and your extra 5 years before this surgery!!!!

    Only Love,

    • Kathy says:

      Dear OM, thank you for your concern. The surgeon’s initial diagnosis five years ago said clearly that it “wasn’t gallstones”. It was an inability to properly digest oil in the gall bladder. Therefore, all dietary and herbal supplements focused on this, instead of gallstones. I have said a hundred times to people over the years, “I do NOT have gallstones–this is a different problem.” ha ha, The chamomile sounds like it would be a good option. But the Universe said clearly, “Time for surgery”. It’s very weird. I never even had a thought about surgery and suddenly it was absolutely clear. Thank you for your thoughts of Divine comfort!

  23. Lucienne(Alluvja) says:

    Oh Kathy, I think I’ve heard you talk about Ms GB before in the old Gaia, seem to remember something like that vaguely. I’m so sorry you were in pain and felt so bad.
    Sometimes a gurl just seems to need chocolat …auch..!

    But you are going to be allright. We are all sending you loads of love and support.
    And do take the camera just in case something unexpected interesting catches your eye and if not you can always take close- ups of your toes and tell us a story or two…;)

    • Kathy says:

      Lucienne, you probably DO remember hearing about Ms. GB before! Thank you for your love and support. It is so precious. YES! I was thinking about innocent photos like toes… there you go!

  24. John says:

    Well to be honest I had visions of an uprising, tax payers storming Drue Island. An armada sailing across Huron Bay from Witz Marina, while ground troops moved up Townline Road. But no, Nooooo, it’s a pain from within and not the hot tar running down your back while pillows were cut open to spew forth feathers.

    I am so sorry to hear you’re ailing, but so glad they already have a plan of action to correct the situation. I admire you for turning to a natural alternative first. I vote for the camera!

    • Kathy says:

      Ha ha, John. YOU have taxes on YOUR mind! lol! I tried my darndest with the natural alternative. I was fiercely protective of Ms. GB. But the Universe declares that sometimes it’s necessary to let go…

  25. I’ve been told by one who’s had both, that the gall bladder pain is far worse than labor pains. Whether it’s laser or the other option; each makes you feel better, from what i’ve seen. It’s a relief when you decide what to do. (((((())))))

    • Kathy says:

      I am tentatively going through each day, Meenakshi. Tentatively. Don’t want any more of those labor pains! Meditation and deep breathing seems to help so much. By the way–it almost felt like the decision was made FOR me and I was just relieved to hear what it was going to be.

  26. Emma says:

    Thinking of you and wishing you a wonderful recovery, whatever the next step is!

  27. KathUsitalo says:

    Ouch, the pain! Glad you’re having that taken care of (but I won’t be looking for the photos 😉

  28. Jeff Stroud says:


    Sending (((Reiki))) whenever you need it, if you choose to accept it! I think you have made wise choices, listened to you intuition and your body! There is a time when Holistic and Western Meds can dance together, knowing when is the tricky part.

    I would take my camera, could be a great way to be creative in a new way? Who knows what you could find!

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, it was the strangest feeling when I finally decided to surrender to the possibility of surgery. It was as if the Universe decided for me. I like that we can dance that dance between holistic and western medicine. Then we get the best of both worlds.

  29. O, geeeez, Kathy. I felt faint just reading every word. I am so happy you got the news and are going to be free of pain. Sending prayers and love, and healing healing energy.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh no, Cheyenne! I hope you didn’t faint! I think I felt your prayers of love and healing energy. (And you will be happy to know the deep breathing is helping so much…)

  30. Robin says:

    I would take my camera (because I am odd that way…lol!).

    I am so sorry about your pain and hope that the surgery gives you the relief you need.

  31. bearyweather says:

    Sorry you are not feeling well. I totally understand the avoidance of surgery and search for a natural remedy (I am avoiding surgery, too ,,, trying natural things). I find it is a lot easier to have surgery when you have exhausted all other avenues and you feel really, really, bad. Sounds like you are at that point, so I hope all goes well and you have a fast recovery. Just think about all the time you will have to blog! (I bet the doctor will take a picture of your gallbladder for you … mine took pictures of my cyst a few years ago)

    • Kathy says:

      Hi bearyweather. I am glad you understand about wanting to search for a natural remedy first. I wish you all the success in the world! I feel SO GOOD about how this has transpired and how it will turn out. It just feels right… Smiling your way, friend!

  32. Pingback: Ordinary extra-ordinary kindness « Lake Superior Spirit

  33. sonali says:

    Oh dear! I hope you get well as soon as possible. Its good that you’l soon get rid of it. My love and prayers for you!
    You will recover quickly so that we get to view many more of those beautiful pictures that you encounter amongst the nature! Don’t worry. You’l be alright! I’m sure 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Sonali, thank you for your good words! I am not worried, really. The surgeon’s office called this morning to remind me of my appointment tomorrow. I must admit to a small amount of nervousness after this call. But, truly, i am just happy for this to happen. Thank you, sweetie!

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s