gallbladder : end of story

30 Mar


(photo taken by my hilarious husband who thought it would be funny to take a photo of me high as a kite right after surgery. Oh and thanks to the equally hysterical nurse for giving me bunny ears)

Well, it’s been an interesting week for sure. As I mentioned in a previous post, last Saturday I went to the emergency room with excruciating pain in my stomach. After a few tests they discovered I had gallstones and sent me home with Vicodin…saying that I should feel better in a few days and to follow-up with a Gastrointerologist. Sounded like a good plan to me. I spent Sunday watching movies in bed, taking vicodin and researching gallstones (I am my father’s daughter at heart, you know). Through my research I discovered that once you have a gallbladder attack you are pretty much guaranteed to have another. It could be a week, a month or a year…which is why many people elect to have their gallbladders removed after experiencing their first attack. As much as the idea of surgery terrified me, the thought of having another attack terrified me even more (especially if we were on our honeymoon in Vietnam or Bali)…so the choice became clear…I would be saying goodbye to my gallbladder.

Monday morning I devised a plan (If you haven’t realized yet, I am a woman who likes to make plans and  to be in control)…So I dutifully made an appointment with a GI for Thursday morning; an appointment in which I planned to tell HIM that I was electing to remove my gallbladder in the next few weeks conveniently after Rachel’s upcoming Bachelorette weekend (which was a few days away) and before our honeymoon (which was four weeks away). I actually even picked the perfect date…Friday April 4th. I had it all figured out.

How’s that saying go…God laughs when we make plans?

So I spent the week pretending that the pain I was feeling wasn’t that bad!

But in actuality the pain was that bad…it was constant, when I took a deep breath a sharp pain would shoot through the side of my chest, I could barely sleep, I was out of breath all the time and when  I ate it hurt more. But I tried not to complain…one because I hate complaining (remember the time I trekked Nepal with a broken toe?)…two there was no way in hell I wasn’t going to my best friends bachelorette weekend (and I knew that if Bri knew how much pain I was in he would forbid me to get on a plane) and three (I HAD A PLAN).

Thursday rolled around and Brian and I went to my 7:30 am the appointment with the GI. The appointment went like this…Dr. Rosoff checked me over…then invited Brian and I into his office where he informed us that I should have had my gallbladder taken out yesterday and that he was very worried that I had now developed an abscess and/or Cholecystitis (which is where your gallbladder becomes inflamed and swollen).

Then he jokingly asked Brian if I was always this stoic to which Bri said he had another word for it…stubborn.

He said that he didn’t want to wait to take it out himself and that we should get to the ER immediately.

At this point I started crying…One…because I finally let the fact I was in extreme pain hit me….two…I was very scared of having surgery and three…I really didn’t want to miss Rachel’s bachelorette weekend. It all started to feel like an overwhelming blur.

When Brian and I got to the ER at 9am there was a part of me that was still hopeful that it would all be a big fake out and that my plan would stay intact. Yes, I am an eternal optimist.

Instead it went like this….ER…needles…tears…morphine…tears…ultrasound…morphine…getting admitted into hospital from ER…tears….CT scan…discovery I still had the gallstones and but also a ruptured cyst….cuddles with Bri…two hour nuclear image test (from 1-3am no less)…a test in which they discovered I was indeed suffering from Cholecystitis and that my gallbladder had stopped working completely…drug induced sleep from 3-6am…hanging with some of my family in the early morning…a very strange surgery prep bath (I will never understand the point of it)…tears…anxiety…needles…pre-op room with my sweet husband holding my hand and keeping me calm…operating room….anasthesisa…waking up convinced I was in a bathtub (clearly drugs are a powerful thing), very nauseous and in extreme pain…AND more drugs….

In the end the surgeon said he successfully removed the gallbladder and the cyst.

After the surgery I only had to spend one more night at the hospital which was a blessing because there is nothing worse than getting woken up every hour to get your vitals taken and your blood drawn. It was a really shitty few days. Yes, I was never in fear of my life (well, there was the one moment I told Brian that I was convinced they would find a tumor in my CT scan…crazy anxiety or heavy drugs? You be the judge.) but I was terrified and in horrible pain and for a girl who’s scared of surgery and who likes to be in control this was a rough one for me.

But I will say that moments like these always remind you how lucky you are to have friends and family that show up for you. The visits, the calls, the texts & the emails made it all feel less overwhelming. Oh and I have to say that Bri was an amazing partner through every single second of it…he never left my side…made me laugh when I was scared…told me I looked pretty when I KNOW I did not…held my hand…yelled at the doctors when he needed to…watched bad television with me…fed me ice chips (because I got NO food or water for two straight days because of the surgery. Truly horrible)…read magazines with me in my hospital bed…and made me feel like the luckiest girl in the world despite the fact I was in a really crappy place.






14 Responses to “gallbladder : end of story”

  1. Amy March 30, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    Oh god Kate! You poor thing.
    I had my gallbladder taken out in an emergency surgery about two months ago! Must be the new thing, right? One morning I woke up out of breath, convinced I was dying (no drama, right) and then willed myself back to sleep. A few mornings later I woke up again out of breath and in excruciating pain and my wonderful boyfriend basically carried me to the car and drove to the nearest emergency room, which at 5am was deserted thankfully. By 3pm that afternoon I was being wheeled into hospital. The next morning at 5am I was live blogging from bed because I was very, very bored and apparently there isn’t enough morphine in the world to make me sleep… (also, no GF food and I was STARVING).
    Now, two months later I cannot believe how awesome I feel. I can’t imagine how long I have been having problems without realising what was causing them.
    I hope you feel better soon. Lots of water. Stay away from the wine (believe me….from personal experience…) and lots and lots of rest, snuggles, and reading magazines in bed.
    Take care of yourself, and if laughing doesn’t hurt too much check out this cartoon.
    🙂 Amy

    • katemcclafferty April 1, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

      OMG Amy! You poor thing. Clearly, I know how you felt! I cannot wait to feel awesome. At the moment I don’t…how long was your recovery? xoxoxo

      • Amy April 1, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

        Hi Kate, I was really lucky. I spent about ten days feeling sorry for myself and managing “nanna walks” around the block. Hit my record of 2km on day five post op!
        After about three weeks the doctor said I was right to start running again (I was running 5x week before my op) and lifting light weights again.
        I still felt tired for about a month afterwards.
        Now, two months on I am back to hard workouts, but my scars itch like crazy still!
        Hope you feel better soon – keep resting, sleep is the best healer 🙂

  2. barbarapotter March 30, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    So glad you are feeling better. Sorry you had to go through this. I have had tests last month saying that my gallbladder is not working at all but I have “no” pain and only one small gallstone so we are not addressing it now. Please feel better soon and go on your honeymoon:)

  3. amelie88 March 30, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Oh my god! I’m so glad you are okay and on the bright side no more gallbladder means no more gallbladder stones! I’m sorry you missed your friend’s bachelorette party but I think it would have been even worse had it coincided with your upcoming trip to Vietnam and Bali. As much as I love to travel, I would NOT want to check into a hospital in a developing country for major surgery (and most of them lack the equipment and doctors to do so anyways so you would have had to return home). I’m glad you are feeling better and that Brian was there for you every step of the way!

    • katemcclafferty April 1, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

      Right? I am so very grateful NOT to have my gallbladder taken out in Vietnam or Bali! xo

  4. righteousbruin9 March 30, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    It is always better to put such things to rest. No truer friend is there in all the world, than a dedicated spouse. Now you can really enjoy what’s ahead of you.

    • katemcclafferty April 1, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

      Thanks as always for your sweet words. I ALWAYS appreciate them:)

  5. Miss Lynzie March 31, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    Glad you’re on the mend! Going under the knife is scary, huh?! My favorite part of my recent surgical escapade was how tender my mister was to me, and it sounds like you had the same experience. Love is the best. xo

  6. cravesadventure March 31, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    Oh No! Thanks goodness for the people that love you being there to get you through this! Here’s to a Good Recovery – Take Care:)


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