There are a couple of major changes happening in my life right now. Both will be a bit painful and challenging for a while but I’m a great believer in not being afraid to embrace change when the time is right.
Today I am on my 3rd day post-op. I had my gallbladder removed on Thursday. I’m sore and exhausted but apart from the pain where the 4 incisions are, that constant dull and depressing rib ache has already gone (had it on and off for years) and I now have the psychological relief that I won’t ever again have a major gallbladder attack which is very painful and very frightening. I’m feeling rather thankful….
Gallstones are a very common medical condition, infact one in four women and one in six men will suffer with gallstones throughout their lives.
I recommend you CLICK HERE to read about gallstones in more depth at GUTS UK.
For me I started getting pain on and off several years ago, more of a dull kind of rib pain. I didn’t notice it very often, and sometimes I’d not feel it for several weeks so it was unimportant to me. I figured if it was something worth worrying about it would become more painful or happen more frequently. And then a couple of years ago I really started to feel the rib pain when I was out hiking or I’d get some really painful zaps top right under my rib cage. Once again these were quick to come and go but the pain in my right side and back of rib was more often there than not and for the first time I began to worry a bit. I’d been working hard on my health earlier this year and after abstaining from processed high fat and high sugar foods I let my hair down over a few days attending a meal and a buffet and the very next day my guts started to really loudly grumble and churn and my rib was very sore. During that night I woke up with a horrific upper right abdominal pain which quite swiftly moved to my right side and around the back of my right rib. It was so painful I literally couldn’t move. I managed to get up out of bed and propped myself up on the sofa. The pain was radiating into my back, was it a heart attack?
I ordered a taxi to take me down to urgent care. It was beginning to ease off little by little but I still had bloods taken, an ECG, urine and obs done including a chest x-ray. All came back normal. Felt like a fraud! They gave me co-codamol extra strength and said it possibly could be gallstones and to see my GP.
By the time I saw my GP I was getting really bad sternum and between shoulder pain, the GP got me in for an ultrasound within 10 days and the US confirmed that I had several large stones about 3 cms in size. Pretty big stones!!! I went back to see my GP who referred me to the surgeon and after that appointment in June I was put on the list to have my gallbladder removed and had my pre-op assessment at the end of July.
I’ve been waiting since then, I’ve had several mini flare ups during this time, nothing as serious as the first time but the constant discomfort has left me exhausted and often unable to go out hiking which was one of the physical activities helping me get fitter and lose weight.
The past couple of months have seen me gain 20 lbs, partly because of not exercising as I’d have liked to be able to do but also that it’s had an impact on my emotional well being at times and I’ve sought comfort in foods I’ve had to avoid to lose weight.
Getting the call for surgery a couple of weeks ago was such a relief and my first nerves only kicked in when the surgeon spoke with me to get my consent 30 minutes before my op. He talked about my obesity, about the possibility of needing an open cholecystectomy and that I had a higher risk of post-op complications because of my BMI. I briefly considered walking right out of there…
And then before I knew it I was in with the anesthetists and slipping quickly away into oblivion and seemingly seconds later waking up in the Day Surgery Centre. I felt dizzy and had to spend several hours on oxygen but everything had gone really well and by 3 pm my oxygen was off and I was trying to chew on a sandwich!
A couple of hours later I was heading home in a taxi with my daughter and the past couple of days have been spent mostly getting lots of rest in bed with frequent light meals and lots of water!
I’ve been walking around more today inbetween sleeping all hours and stitches are due out this Friday.