I have the Gall….


This is not something I typically want on my blog, but I thought it would be easiest way to tell any of my friends who who care. So, forgive me if this is way too OT and boring.

After several months of pain, nausea, sleepless nights… my gallbladder- who has taken on her own evil persona, giving my life a Jekyll and Hyde effect at times- got the best of me. I distinctly remember pain as far back as February so it’s certainly been awhile, but who had time for it? Not me.  Eventually, the Fowler (my family name) habit of  “suck it up and get over it” and not admitting anything was wrong stopped working out.  I had an idea of what I thought it was, and kept telling Miss Gallbladder to shut up and leave me alone. I seriously didn’t have the time of day to give to her.
I finally went to my doctor back in July and she order an ultrasound on it.  Unfortunately, my insurance restarted that month and we hadn’t paid the deductible yet.  So, after a day of fasting I got a call right before my appointment saying that I would have to pay $700 cash on the spot to get my ultrasound.  I canceled, and I ate lunch…   It was ridiculous really, because I knew the answer was to go to the ER and pay the $100 copay and they would do an ultrasound on the spot.  But I couldn’t just do that, and I despise emergency rooms.  So I went on back to my usual, the suck it up routine.
That’s until the gallbladder made the mistake of throwing a fit after a birth last Sunday night.  Here we were, all enthralled by the beauty of  sweet baby Grace, peacefully nursing in her mother’s arms.  I was at the head of the bed just adoring the scene, watching over them and basking in the beauty of the after-birth flow in the room and a job well done. And suddenly… the pulsing radiating pain hit me like a mac truck.  I started to shake, and the cold sweat spread quickly. I found myself practicing the controlled breathing again that I had been encouraging the birthing mother with just an hour earlier, but now it was for me. And I was praying  HARD that no one would notice!!!  But who was I kidding?  Anjli, one of the most amazingly perceptive midwives I know, was standing across the bed from me and picked up on it right away.  As did Susan an nurse that I’ve worked with so many times I feel like we should be facebook friends.  She knew me well enough to see something was wrong.  I tried to deny it as long as I could. Can you imagine the horror I felt, ruining the ambiance of such a moment?  How dare that damn  diva of a gallbladder steal that sweet couple’s thunder?!?!  I was mortified.  I kept saying I’d be fine. That I’d go home and take some pain killers and call my doctor in the morning, but they weren’t having it. Anjli actually offered to follow me home because she didn’t think I could drive, and I have a feeling she would have marched me up the steps and told my husband to take me back to the ER immediately anyway!   That wouldn’t do.  Then Kim, the photographer, picked up on what was going on.  She offered to walk down to the ER with me, so I decided to just go for it.  By the time I got down there, I realized that they were right.  I was not looking good.
Kim was amazing.  It’s all kind of a blur… yeah, like labor,  but I know she sat there with me a LONG time talking to me and keeping me distracted and all I could think was that it was now the middle of the night and she had over an hour drive home. She’s an incredibly generous and caring person and has demonstrated this to me on many occasions. She didn’t leave my side until they finally called me back and I appreciate every moment of distraction.   So, back I went. Ultrasound done, showing large gall stones. They talked for awhile and offered to admit me and take out the gallbladder right away.
Now, after all these months of trouble I was quite willing to kick the blasted gallbladder to the curb, but I was, in fact, in a hospital and I am who I am. So, doula mode kicked in and all of the questioning that goes with it. I have to say I was pretty proud of myself, being all alone and in pain but still that habitual line of questioning just flowed from me like it was natural, because at this point it really is.

  • What was the reason they were offering this right now? Well I knew that, through every throbbing nerve in my body
  • What were the risks and benefits? Infection was a risk, but really just that I will have pain until it’s gone. And the usual risks of surgery, although a little higher risk since I have already had 5 abdominal surgeries in my life and have adhesions and scar tissue to consider
  • Are there any alternatives? Well, yeah, go home with drugs.  And call Atlanta Natural Health ASAP in the morning!
  • How long do I have to make a decision? Already knew that  form previous answers…
  • Can I have a minute alone to think it through? No, I didn’t ask for a minute alone.  Through the haze of pain I already deduced that I was not really interested in rolling into the ER at 4am to be worked on by whichever surgeon was paged in the middle of the night while my husband and family slept unknowingly. Seriously, how would I even get home? And as long as it wasn’t truly an emergent need (Miss Sassy Gallbladder wasn’t going to rupture like that pesky appendix I had evicted when I was 18) I was NOT going to do anything without a second opinion and without consulting Dr. Hurd at  Atlanta Natural Health who I trust and know well.

So home I went at 4 am. In the meantime the pain had stopped.  Miss Gallbladder has a way of doing that. The pain lets up suddenly and completely, making you feel like a moron and wondering if it was all in your head and you really are the wimp that you were telling yourself you were.  I crawled into bed with my husband, who rolled over and held me until the alarm went off at 6:20am.  Totally unnecessary information to add, I know, but I just have to insert how much I adore and love my man. His arms are my favorite place to be and that little bit of time before the alarm went off relieved all of the fear and anxiety…I was safe.
Monday morning I dragged myself out of bed and went to  Atlanta Natural Health for an NRT and to get some supplements to support the gallbladder.  I talked to Dr. Hurd and Lisa about different options and got some good information.  Over the next week I got a referral for a great surgeon to meet with, and I researched other natural options like doing a flush or something. The problem is that I have LARGE stones that if you do pass them can become lodged in the pancreas and be potentially fatal. I just don’t feel good about pushing it.
So, tomorrow morning I have my surgical consult.  I hate surgery.   I’m not looking forward to it. But I feel like I took the time I needed to be sure that it’s the best option available. I know that some people choose to go one, even their whole lives, with gall bladder pain but I’m just not up for it.
And that’s all I have to say about that.  Thanks for reading my novel.

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