And the Gallbladder is GONE!

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I highly recommend advocating for what you need with your healthcare providers. Approximately 11 years ago I began to complain of nausea and vomiting after eating a fatty meal. I could handle spicy just fine so I got told “oh just cut back on the fat.” I did and it worked pretty well. I avoided fast food and was okay for about a year. Then I began to eat more salmon and avocados and healthy fats. I got sick again. I went back to the doctor and they ordered a Hyda scan of the Gall bladder. I got so sick during the test. The test injects you with a substance that mimics fat and tricks the Gall Bladder. I got nauseated immediately and was so ill all day after that. The tech joked “Oh- that was bad- I bet you’ll be back here in a week for surgery.” Yet the doc said “my gall bladder was functioning and to go on a Gallbladder diet.” I did and again- was fine for a few years.

What began to stink is when we went out for a special meal and maybe there was cheesecake or a fatty dessert or even salmon as the entree- if I splurged- 3 hrs later I got sick. It was beginning to get old. We moved to IL and I had a Gall Bladder ultrasound- I was NOT doing the hyda scan again. They said “not bad enough to worry about.” So back on the low-fat Gallbladder diet again. I could handle it as the attacks only happened a few times a year. Well fast forward to 2017 and all of a sudden once a month no matter how much fat. Butter, a bit of oil etc- 3 hrs after consumption sick. I began a carb only diet- essentially with some lean protein and I gainedĀ  20 lbs. I was so mad. I went to my new doc and she suggested a Gall Bladder Ultrasound followed by a Hyda Scan. I cringed.

I happily got the ultrasound- they found a small Gall Bladder polyp. I skipped the Hyda Scan and made an appointment with a surgeon I trusted. Dr. Aki had done my son’s emergency appendectomy at our local hospital and I knew he did Gall Bladder surgery too. So I skipped the Hyda Scan and went straight to the surgeon. He was shocked I’d been dealing with this for years. He was upset to think that a bad hydascan- even if the Gallbladder appeared to be functional warranted extraction of the Gall Bladder based on symptoms alone. For me- he was more concerned about the polyp. Apparently all polyps in the Gallbladder eventually become cancer. Because it was small- he suspected it would come back as pre-cancerous and with the Gall bladder coming out- no further treatment would be warranted. I had my surgery on Tuesday.

Already- I feel better- in pain mind you as pain meds and I do not get along (I get nauseaus and I’ve had enough nausea for the past 11 yrs I am not going to do that again). But food wise- I already ate refried beans with rice and chicken and NOTHING happened. I had butter on a bagel and NADA. NOTHING. I am in shock. I feel so good. The pain will pass and I’ll be up and around in a few more days so they say. But geesh- it’s gone and I can EAT again.

I hope to get back on my healthy fats diet and less carbs and I hope to lose the 20 lbs I put on since last June. I am beyond excited. The surgeon said “I’m glad you came to me. Patients need to know that it’s ok to skip their doc and go straight to the surgeon. If you have compelling symptoms, any surgeon would have helped you.” I had never been referred to one before so I never talked to anyone but the primary care physicians. I am excited and happy that I finally advocated for myself.

As in all things in life- the squeaky wheel gets the oil and in this case the surgery. I am thankful and grateful and so pleased. And WOW- surgery was at 8am to 9:30am on Tuesday and I was home and in the house by 3pm that day. I’m on day 3 after surgery and I’m a bit sore but functional. No lifting, no driving but I can do laundry if someone takes it out for me. I can load the dishwasher and unload it. I can catch up on bills and online computer work. So it’s all good. All I know is I am so looking forward to going back East and eating Lobster and dipping it in BUTTER!!!

So next time you need something and your gut says you need better answers, seek them. It’s important in this day and age to advocate for yourself. My primary was thrilled the surgeon was in agreement. She only recommended the Hyda Scan as insurance states that is the order you do things. I am glad I skipped it. Bye Gallbladder- I will not miss you!

"These are X-Rays of your operation, and this  is a selfie I took with your gall bladder."

How to survive stomach flu

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There is no real way to survive it. Sometimes you just have to roll with it. What makes it worse is then the entire house and I mean 4/5 of us had it at the same time. In a way that was a blessing because our first victim was our care-giver. She fetched gingerale, and Revive and blankets and towels and more.

What bites about it is the fact that if you get it bad- and this was a bad one that a full week later- and I’m still recovering. 24 hrs of vomit- I can take that- although it was dreadful. Then it went south- joy. That was 2 days and then just the wretched feeling you have after. None of us ate anything for 2-3 days of the bug. We all lost between 5-12 lbs (all since regained- apparently your colon holds a few lbs and so doesn’t your body just in terms of water).

Now moving on from the gross part. What can we learn from it? Well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and for the teens in the house TALLER- the sleep that was induced post-bug, I swear these kids are taller. I’m sure they are. It clears you out and gives you a clean slate. We are all on probiotics now to heal the gut, we are eating clean and small meals to be gentle with ourselves and we slowed down from this crazy fast-paced world.

Realizing we had to STOP all things- clear the calendar- home confinement. We watched shows together, we listened to music together, we moaned together. We talked, and we laughed- but not too hard as that kinda hurt post stomach-bug. But we did things together.

We helped each other cook small meals. We sat and chatted over a Ritz cracker “meal.” We hugged and we cried and we survived it- together. I wouldn’t suggest this as a normal bonding experience but for us- it proved to be just that.

My daughter, Meghan who got it on a Tuesday had her Variety Show Thursday night- and she stomached it into school for 5 full periods so she’d qualify for after school activities. I was paged at 2:30pm for anti-nausea meds (Oh I forgot to tell you- ASK for Zofran- BEG for it- the docs will give it to you when you have a violent tummy bug- it prevents ER visits as you get to pause a bit in between getting sick to hydrate). Anyway- I brought Meghan the anti-nausea drugs and she went onto perform for the student body. I decided- heck- even though I’d see it later on I’d go then too. And thank GOD for that as at 5pm, I was hurling and she was still at school readying herself for the 7pm show. Cole, John, and Quinn went to the show that evening with friends and all was well.

Early afternoon Friday- text from Quinn “Mom I just got sick before I got to History class- HELP!” and I with Meghan’s help (she drove with me so I would stay focused as I was really bad at that point) and we picked up Quinn. My neighbor had filled my anti-nausea prescription forĀ  me and dropped that off Friday morning so I was able to semi-function by afternoon. 4pm- John arrives home from work- NOT GOOD. Then 10:30pm Cole starts hurling. It was a joyous weekend. But we survived.

I’m here- a few pounds thinner and readying myself for Gall Bladder surgery next Tuesday. I am realizing that life is good, my children are good humans and that Meghan who never gets sick- can handle anything that comes her way. I am grateful to my friends who ran errands for me and dropped off food at the door and ran. I am thankful to my neighbors who called to check on us.

Whatever you do- take time when you are sick to get well and your family just might surprise you when they are better. They just might want to have a game night or do something fun because they enjoyed the camaraderie even though we were all sitting with a bucket.

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And if you want to read a great blog- check out her post about having

a Stomach Bug Survival Kit.

P.S.- Lysol your entire house after and put every stitch of blankets, sheets, towels thru the Sanitize load on your washing machine. I didn’t even know I had that setting- took 3 hrs for each load but it heats the water up internally to a very HOT temp and it sort of boils your clothes. All things came out smelling sanitized like hospital laundry. It was AWESOME!