Monday, December 16, 2013

How To Lose 10 Pounds In A Week

(TL;DR - I had a my gallbladder removed, complications, another surgery to remove stones and put in a stent, had another surgery to remove stent. As of now, life is good.)

When I wrote this post I had no idea that I'd endure 5 more months of unnecessary pain, and occasional suffering. Turns out, I had gallstones that ultimately caused a severely infected gallbladder because it went undiagnosed for 9 months. NINE.

Apparently, pregnancy can cause gallstones. Who knew? Certainly not me. And I suspect that neither did the young ER doctors (residents?) I saw at 3-weeks-postpartum who ran a couple of tests and sent me on my way with a diagnosis of muscle spasms.

This hospital room (and one other) was my view for nearly a week at the end of October and early November.

On the 26th of October, I had a serious gallbladder attack that I thought was muscle spasms. I hadn't had an episode that bad since around April. I was writhing in pain, throwing up, and trying not to freak out. Ultimately, with Zac's help, I rode it out and was able to fall asleep. My mom came the next day to stay with us so she could help me with Aiden, since my back was shot. This time was a little different than the other attacks, because I never really recovered, even after a few days had passed. My back never felt better, and I was essentially bedridden until my next attack.

After Zac got home from work on Tuesday the 29th, I was feeling worse and had an eerie sensation that I was about to have more spasms. I rolled over in bed to try getting comfortable, and here came the pain. In a matter of 20 minutes, I was literally screaming and moaning in pain, throwing up, and trying to figure out what to do. It was far and away the worst pain of my life. I'd made a doctor's appointment for the upcoming Thursday, but we both decided that I needed to go to the emergency room instead of waiting it out like the other times.

The ride to the ER was horrible, as the slighest movement caused me to feel worse. After waiting for a room for what seemed an eternity, I was finally able to see a doctor. Thankfully, after a few hours my pain subsided as they treated me. Thank God the doctor thought to order an ultrasound, because it revealed the cause of my tough postpartum life: gallstones, and an infected gallbladder. He said it was good that I hadn't waited even another day because it was so bad. He told me I'd need emergency surgery, and all I could think about was that I hadn't shaved my legs in days. Shit.

I was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital and had my gallbladder out a few hours later at 2am. I apologized to everyone, from nurses to doctors, about my hairy legs, and they just laughed. My surgeon smiled and said "that's the least of our worries."

They let me go home on Halloween, but it didn't feel quite right. My liver enzymes were really elevated, but they had gone down since I was first admitted, so they would just do another draw at my follow-up appointment.

I was focusing on not throwing up the whole drive home. I spent the next few days feeling absolutely miserable: vertigo, nausea, couldn't eat, couldn't drink, couldn't get out of bed. I was unable to spend much time with Aiden, and I was barely able to breastfeed him. I was worried that my breastfeeding journey was about to come to an abrupt end, and it broke my heart. I called the nurse hotline a few times to make sure my symptoms were normal, and one even suggested that I visit the ER again (it was a Sunday), but I wanted to wait until my appointment the next day.

I met with my doctor, gave some blood, and was actually starting to feel a bit better. They had to send out the blood for testing because their labs were down that day. At 10pm, the phone rang, and it's the doctor saying I need to go back to the hospital. My liver enzymes shot back up, but at least I could wait to go in until the next morning. I started to shiver from being nervous.

Okay, honestly, I'm getting tired of writing this novel, so I'm gonna try and summarize from here on out. I got to the hospital, it took 4 different people to get an IV in my arm because I was so dehydrated. They didn't let me eat or drink for 3 days. I had an MRCP, 3 HIDA Scans, and then an ERCP to remove remaining gallstones and they had to put in a temporary stent from having been so infected. I wasn't able to see Aiden that whole time (didn't want to expose him to hospital germs), and I missed him terribly. When I got home, I cried as soon as I saw him.

Temporary stents are removed within 4-6, and mine was taken out last Thursday. I was slightly nervous, considering nothing about my whole situation has been a normal case or gone as planned. But other than dizziness and fatigue, I feel great! I was pretty shocked at how good I felt afterward, and I was even able to eat a celebratory steak dinner.

I'll have another blood draw this week to make sure my liver enzymes are at normal levels, and if that goes well, this whole nightmare should be a thing of the past. Considering how good I'm feeling, I'm very hopeful that I'll get good news.

I'm ready for this to be all but a distant memory.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, wow! I know you went through a lot, but seeing it all written out like this, is just, WOW! So glad you're ok! I hope it's all over and done with for good.