Yup, its gallstones! The medical term for inflammation of the Gallbladder is Cholecystitis, new one to me. Wednesday night, before I even knew the correct name or was able to spell it, I became very sick. I was nauseous, had hot and cold sweats, right under my boobs I had searing, burning pain that wouldn't quit and I couldn't get away from myself. All the sweating spoiled my new hairdo - Boo! My back hurt, my shoulder hurt, I couldn't eat anything (lost my two pound goal for the week!), threw up Vitamin water, couldn't get a deep breath, and I just kept saying, "This too shall pass".
Two years ago I had symptoms and the ultrasound showed I had sludge in my gallbladder. Sludge, BTW, is a medical term for the build up of cholesterol crystals and calcium salts. Finally a medical term I can pronounce! When these are crystallized, they form gallstones. I learned they are not like kidney stones which can pass with great pain but be gone forever. Gallstones can block the bile duct to the duodenum (pronounced differently than when I took anatomy in the olden days), and with nowhere to go, perforate the gallbladder causing peritonitis (deadly infection) or gangrene (death of tissue). Learned the liver produces bile and bile aids in the digestion of fat before going into the intestines. But, I hadn't had any symptoms for two years so gallstones were not on my immediate radar!
By Thursday about 3:00 I knew I had to call the doctor. The stars were aligned and I caught a cancellation for 8:45 the next morning. My doctor, bless her heart, was very happy with my weight loss, but said that is the first thing to look for with gallbladder problems. Early pregnancy, even pregnancy itself, a high fat diet, abuse of alcohol, and some medications also cause gallbladder problems. Well, I certainly didn't think 1-2 pounds of weight loss a week was RAPID! I did have my daughter at 19 (so I guess this is her fault) but I'm certainly not pregnant, I've been eating the LOWEST fat diet of my life, I don't even drink alcohol, and I don't take hormonal medications. But, they don't call it the over 40, fat, female disease for nothing! And the blood tests and ultrasound proved I have it. By 5:00 Friday I had a call from the surgeon wanting to know what I wanted to do. We discussed options and my appoint is August 4, 2009, to decide if I need to go under the knife. Do you think this is really my decision? Here's where I'd like your feedback! Have you been there? Done that? Alternatives??? If the surgeon says the words peritonitis or gangrene enough times, I'll quickly decide, I'm sure.
The one thing I don't know is the size of the gallstones or even how many. The symptoms have subsided to the point that I only have tenderness and the runz. My fever is gone and I actually kept my oatmeal with non-fat skim milk down today. I told the surgeon my daughter and granddaughter come Monday for 2 weeks, we have a fun packed schedule, and I wasn't prepared to even think about surgery until they left on the 1st. He said, "Well, you can always go to the ER if the symptoms flare up". Great, spoil our long-awaited vacation with illness! That sucks!! Life happens! Luckily, I'll save a lot of money since I won't be able to eat hardly anything good to avoid a flareup.
Looking forward to any responses that will give me insight to this dilemma. And, a word of warning! May it never happen to you, but know the symptoms, prevent it if possible, and read a Health News Article for 3 Spark Points if you have a personal interest in avoiding gallstones!