Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Gall of it All

You don't really think about how your body works when it's working right. You just take it for granted. It's when a problem arises that you start thinking about it. For the last few years I have had occasional, random, very painful stomach (or so I thought) spasms. I haven't been able to figure out if there was a certain food that was triggering these episodes, which always came on after dinner, at night, and lasted anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes or so. It's hard to remember. I would feel my stomach area start to spasm, or contract, and disappear into the bathroom--where nothing happened. I got flushed and sweaty and would feel like throwing up but I never did. Sometimes it felt like I couldn't take a deep breath or speak above a whisper. It was scary. The pains would peak and then start to recede. Then everything settled down and I was fine. This happened with no regularity--weeks would go by and there would be another episode. My internist thought it might be spastic colitis. I sort of ignored it until it was happening. A few weeks ago I decided to just deal with it and figure out what the problem was. I was referred to a gastro guy who scheduled an abdominal ultrasound. On the table, I flashed back to the only other ultrasounds I've ever had. Except this time the jelly was warm. Apparently they've made a few improvements in the last 13 years. The technician took a lot of pictures and did a lot of measurements, typing stuff onto the little screen I couldn't really see. I peppered him with questions. "Is this a normal amount of pictures?" "What are you typing?" "Do you see anything?" Of course, he couldn't tell me anything. The doctor had said he might have the results that day. The technician said it would probably be the next day. That night, with no call from the doctor, my mind was racing. "What if the doctor wanted to give me one more good night?" I thought. The next day I got the call--Friday at 5:00. Gallstones. Numerous gallstones. I had never really thought about my gallbladder and now it has to come out. So now I have moved onto the next stage in making myself crazy--looking stuff up on the internet about gallbladder surgery and life after. I've never had surgery before and I am nervous. I have spoken to several friends who've had this surgery and they all say it will be fine. Not to worry. My mother had hers out a hundred zillion years ago--NOT laproscopically--and she is fine. One of my friends, whose surgery was more of an emergency situation, listened to me babble and said, "It's coming out, deal with it!" I suggested she look into a volunteer job counseling hospital patients, but, really, she's right. It has to come out. I meet with the surgeon this afternoon. To be continued......

Thursday, October 15, 2009