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