Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!


Battle of the Gallbladder

I am waiting for surgery to remove my gallbladder – Damn thing has been torturing me since January (maybe even earlier but I didn’t notice.)

At first I didn’t think too much of the occasional pains – I attributed it to the change in my diet and blamed some innocent vegetables for causing gas and discomfort.

But by the time my next doctor’s appointment rolled around I was having pretty frequent bouts of pain including back pain that made me whimper.  Including one bad attack with fever, vomiting and cold sweats.

So my doctor sent me for an ultrasound – but it was over a month’s wait for the appointment to have it done.

When I saw him for the results he informed me I had sludge in my gallbladder. Sludge?  I commented, assuming it wasn’t as bad as stones, but apparently it is the same net effect and indicates removal required.

So he referred me to a surgeon.  I was given a form from the surgeon’s office with instructions for me to call them in two weeks to get an appointment.

When I called two weeks later, I got lucky – they had just had someone cancel so could I come next week?  YES!  I took that appointment which was in June.

I saw the surgeon at his office – he examined me (I was on day three of an attack at the time,) he commented that he could actually feel it, it was that inflamed.  He gave me a prescription for antibiotics and for pain medication and said it would be “a few months” before I would probably get a surgery date.

He told me that if I had attacks that lasted more than 12 hours OR were severe to the point of vomiting again, that I should go to Emergency.  I said that wasn’t my idea of how to spend time but he pointed out that if it was severe often enough the surgery could be done sooner.

So I’ve been waiting… and waiting… to be notified of a surgery date.  I’ve been having attacks pretty steadily, occasionally bad enough for the pain meds, but I avoided going to Emergency.  Even when I had ones that lasted several days – they flare, then ease off to bearable so I just took a pill and slept.

Last week I got the call from the hospital with a date for surgery!  YAY!  Second week of November.  Unless it gets cancelled. Which happens… a lot…

Then, on Monday this week I had the worst attack yet.  I was at work chatting with a co-worker when a spasm hit me so hard it knocked me down and I fell back onto the counter and started crying.  I had a couple more spasms within the next few minutes so my co-worker took me to Emergency.

I have to say I was processed and seen very quickly which was contrary to my expectations. So that was a relief.  I was given a shot for pain and another of a muscle relaxer, then they took blood.  I was left dozing in a recliner for a couple of hours while they waited for the blood results.  I actually was still having spasms but they weren’t as intense.

The doctor there prescribed a different pain drug and a muscle relaxer and told me to avoid fats until the surgery.

That was Monday…

Tuesday I had all-day tests at the hospital that required fasting so by the time I got home I hadn’t eaten for almost 20 hours, so I made some food, ate it and within 15 minutes I was having bad spasms again.  I took a couple of pain pills.

I’ve discovered if I stand up the spasms are really intense, if I stay seated not so bad – they are still bad, but I don’t fall or double over.

This morning I woke up… felt okay so went to the gym.  Yeah, that didn’t go so well. Spasms started again. So I got home and let the boss know I wouldn’t be in and took a couple of pain pills.

If it gets really bad I will try to get to Emergency again, I guess.

Twenty-one sleeps till my surgery date.  Please keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t get bumped.