The Great Gallbladder Break-up: 6 months later

Six months ago, I broke up with my gallbladder. I’ve written a few updates since then. The first month was a little rough. I spent a lot of time pretty uncomfortable in a number of ways. Three months in, things were starting to improve. So what about six months later?

A month or so ago, I started to realize that I was having fewer and fewer side effects. Sometimes there are still strange tummy issues, which I suspect will never fully go away. I am still 100% nervous about drinking any alcohol. I have stayed clear of tomatoes in a lot of their forms, but that might be unnecessary at this point. There is no mystery organ pain anymore or weird anesthesia symptoms. I still have scars, of course, but those are even starting to improve.

I was pretty nervous after the first couple of months that I would always be running for the bathroom or might always have little ghost pains. I’m pretty confident that those days are behind me. Of course, I don’t eat a lot of greasy foods very often, as that seems to be what most horror stories I read seem to be about.

All in all, I’d say I feel pretty good about the surgery now. It was something that had to be done whether I liked it or not, but I’m glad that I can be okay with it. I know some people are not as fortunate as I am post-surgery. I have pretty much lived my life normally, even when I was having problems. I’m grateful that things have settled down and my body has adjusted well. Way to go, body. You did something right!

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10 Minutes of Nothing New

I was saving an update on my back until today, when I was supposed to have a wonderfully enlightening visit with my physiatrist.  Unfortunately, the words “enlightening” and “wonderful” could not be applied here today.

I have seen this doctor once before when I first had my MRI for the herniated disc.  She prescribed me some medicine and physical therapy.  She told me that if things did not progress well conservatively, I would have to start thinking about a steroid injection.  I have not seen this woman since and have worked solely with my physical therapist for the past many, many months.  I should note that I really love my PT and feel he is very helpful and encouraging.

The doctor, however… Not so much.  I spent ten minutes with her today.  Ten minutes in which she told me the following:

  • I could have re-herniated the disc a couple weeks ago. I could also just be one of those people who is prone to doing such things.
  • I should finish physical therapy. Despite my questions, she did not give me a time frame for this, only said that my PT would know when I should be done.
  • I don’t need another MRI because she would only need that if she were going to give me an injection or have a surgeon look at it. Neither of those things are necessary unless my leg pain gets worse.
  • If the pain in my leg gets worse or if I have another episode, I should call her.
  • Do not bend, twist, or lift things for six weeks.

My internal monologue:

  • I was already told that by your colleague at urgent care when it happened. Read charts much?
  • I have been in PT for a really long time now. A really long time.  And this still happened.
  • Thanks for not making me spend a whole load of money on a diagnostic tool for treatment that is not in consideration. This is not sarcasm.
  • If the pain gets worse or I have another episode, I am going to find another doctor.
  • Duh. Seriously and completely: duh.

I really appreciate the focus on conservative treatment.  I don’t want the shot or surgery.  I really just want to feel like I can do something to get better and protect myself against this happening again.  It’s frustrating to hear that I just need to keep doing what I’ve been doing and even then, it could just be for nothing and I could re-herniate again. Maybe another doctor wouldn’t tell me anything different.  The position I am in is just not the best one.

There is good news though!  Yesterday, my physical therapist told me I could start going on walks.  I did for about 30 minutes and added a little very slow, light jogging.  I had no problems with my back or legs during or after! I am really excited about that.  He also gave me the clear to at least walk the quarter marathon for Cap City.  I figure that in a month’s time, if things keep going well, I can probably run some of it.  Good news! Good news!

Post-Physical Therapy Back Update

I had my first physical therapy appointment this morning since my herniated disc “re-flare.”  When I walked in, I was apparently bent and shifted into a strange pose that when my PT mimicked it, I was horrified.  He immediately took me through preliminary movements to see my range of motion. I could lean forward pretty well, but I could not lean back at all without pain.

We went over to the wall and he had me stand a little away from it, lean on my left arm a little, and just “glide” myself against the wall.  I did this several times and it started to help almost immediately.  We varied it with leaning forward a little bit and working my way up to standing straight as I glided a few times in each position. It didn’t feel awesome, but every time I stepped away from the wall for him to check my alignment again, it was improved.  I could even start to lean backwards more.  We did a few other things, most of them didn’t feel very good, but I still felt like my ability to move around was improving and has improved a lot since Friday.

Back Care Notes

The session today was pretty short and ended with ice and instructions: I am to keep doing the glides in order to get myself into a more neutral position in my back.  If it doesn’t hurt, I can use the recumbent bike at the gym.  I can start with with 10-15 minutes, walk a little bit, and continue on if my back feels okay. I must use ice and the muscle relaxers would do me well at night since I can’t take them when I’m at work.

I cannot: run, jump, lift (including upper body lifts), twist, sit in a chair without back support, etc.

My PT said that it’s possible that once I am done with the steroids I am currently on, things could get worse again.  The steroids are taking care of the current inflammation, but it could just come back. He also thinks the doctor is probably going to want to go with a more “aggressive” treatment at this point.  He mentioned the shot, which he knows I am pretty against.  I don’t know what other options there are after that aside from surgery, which I am also not interested in either.  My doctor’s appointment is in the middle of being rescheduled, so we’ll see when that happens.

I have to say, I am pretty upset about this whole business.  I was doing so, so well. I was keeping to a good schedule of 3x a week strength training, 3x a week running.  My back was feeling good.  My ankle stopped hurting.  I was about to run over 6 miles for the first time ever!  Now, I can’t do any of that. I am going to try the bike tomorrow and see how it goes, keep up with my instructions, and all of that.

I am hoping being able to bike will help my sanity. That’s the real problem.  I am so grumpy from pain and steroids and not being able to do the things I would normally.  Usually, if I was this grumpy, I could go for a run or go to the gym and work it out, so to speak.  With that not being an option, I just feel like I’m a pile of irritability and unhappiness. Strange how I never thought I’d run like I do now and now that I can’t run, things just aren’t as awesome.  In the little bit of time I’ve been running, it has become such a part of my life and my mental well-being, even.

While I don’t know if I will be able to run by the time the Cap City quarter comes around, the pacing requirement is pretty low, so I think I can at least walk it.  That’s my goal now: let’s just get to the point where 6.55 miles is something I can do in one way or another.

Disc Herniation, Take 2!

I know I have mentioned my herniated disc before, but for those not following along, here’s the story:

March 28, 2011 – I was deadlifting over 100lbs.  I came up wrong on the lift, felt a pop in my back, dropped the bar, and thought I was going to pass right out.  I could barely move, but luckily one of the trainers was nearby and helped me sit down. I couldn’t breathe very well and I was deathly pale, which made them think that my blood sugar dropped the minute the injury hit. One of the owners sat with me and iced my back for I am not sure how long.  Eventually, with the help of everyone and a very big stick they loaned me, I was able to drive myself home.  I had to re-ice my back just to get up the stairs to my apartment.  I have no idea how I did that because by the time I landed in bed, I could barely move.

Most of that week was an awful experience and the pain wasn’t something I’d ever felt before.  I am lucky that my friends are helpful and a couple of them came by those first few days to help with the cat, get meds, get food, etc. Not so lucky that it hurt so much to move that I almost passed out any time I had to get out of bed.

I was able to get along better as the week went on (I remember rejoicing when I could sleep on my side again), but it took a long time for the doctor to send me for my MRI.  I didn’t get that until part way through April of last year and then the appointment with the physiatrist didn’t take place until May.  By that point, I had made quite a bit of progress on my own, but still used a cane to walk at times to help me feel more stable on my feet with the leg pain and residual back pain I was experiencing.

L5-S1 herniated disc

From my MRI: To my untrained eye, this certainly looks like a disc popping out...

During the appointment with the physiatrist, she explained that I had a disc herniation at the L5-S1 (which is in your lower back).  The disc was pressing on a nerve, which was causing the sciatica in my leg, so she prescribed me a medication to help with that.  I was told about my options, which included an epidural steroid injection and physical therapy.  I chose to go with PT for the time being and only do the injection if it didn’t work.

Physical therapy started in June. I’ve been at it ever since with varying amounts of attendance. The main focus has been to develop my core muscles so that they could support my low back. I started back into the gym at some point and that’s when I started running due to lack of other possible activity (read: no heavy lifting).  I’ve been pretty regular in my activity level for the past couple of months. I finally felt like I was out of the woods and almost wondered why I was still in PT every other week.

Fast forward to two days ago. I had gone on a short run, come back and started to stretch.  I was about to go into one of the yoga poses that I do during stretching and that’s when it hit. I tried to stretch it out with things from PT. I applied ice pretty quickly and that seemed to help, but I could no longer stand up straight and the pain was intensifying.  I tried to call and talk to my physical therapist, but he was out of the office until Tuesday (incidentally when my next appointment with him is) and so they referred me to the orthopedic urgent care that they have.

I went in as soon as I realized that I wasn’t going to make it better on my own and that the pain was not subsiding. They asked some questions, did some quick tests, and told me that I had re-flared the disc. “Oh, yeah. This can just happen at any time now.  There might not seem to be any reason for it,” they said.  Great news, right? They did a thing on my legs that indicated that my nerve was being pushed on again.  I was given a prescription for steroids to help get the inflammation to go down, but I was told I could wait to use them since I could maybe wake up in the morning and feel better. They also gave me a muscle relaxer and told me not to return to work until Monday and to not do any heavy lifting.  I have to have a follow up with my physiatrist in a couple weeks and keep my PT appointment.

I am back to being friends with my cane.  My leg pain has only gotten worse in the last day, but I started the steroids yesterday morning. The back pain is nowhere near what it was the first time around and I’m thankful for that. My mobility really isn’t that bad and I can do most things, just uncomfortably. Yesterday was a big friend gathering and I had to leave not very far in because my leg pain was only getting worse and I couldn’t get comfortable. Ice and rest seem to be the biggest help and I’m hoping that the steroids will start working fast. I’m going to spend pretty much all day today resting so tomorrow at work won’t be a bad experience. I am anxiously awaiting my PT appointment to see what else I can be doing and I’m sure that I will get more info about the whys and hows of relapse.

Here’s to hoping this is the only relapse there is.

It’s Not a Tumor… Just a Strain.

My physical therapist took a look at my ankle yesterday.  I see him every two weeks and since I had complained about it for the past session and the one yesterday, he started poking around.  His diagnosis: it’s probably just strained.  Not sprained, but strained.  I told him I thought it was probably overuse and he agreed it could be.

ankle elevation and calf sleeves

New CEP calf sleeves and ankle elevation up the wall.

I am to keep icing it, elevating it, etc.  If it isn’t better in another two weeks, I am being sent to the doctor. I took yesterday off from running despite my plan for a long run.  I had intended to do six miles either Monday or yesterday, but my ankle + rain on Monday left things a little short and then yesterday was yesterday.  Originally, I had planned to do weights today and maybe try the elliptical or bike for cardio with less impact.  I decided this morning (after a somewhat painful evening of standing at work last night) that I was taking a full day off from extra activity.

I know this is probably a good idea.  Mentally, it’s hard to swallow.  I want to do things and it makes me feel so much better to do them.  I feel kind of defeated even though I logically know I’m just resting so that I can do more later. Funny how your brain can work against you like that.

On a side note: the other day, I snagged some of those lovely CEP calf sleeves you see in the picture above.  My ankle felt pretty rough for a lot of my run on Monday, but man did my legs feel great!  I have to say I think I’m a true believer in compression now.

Anklemania, or How Do You Always Get Hurt?

If you’ve looked at my Twitter in the last couple weeks, you will have heard me bitching about my ankle.  It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that there is somehow something wrong.  I usually end up in the ER for an annual visit of some sort: 2011 was for the my gallbladder, 2010 was for pleurisy, and years prior were mostly for asthma.  I didn’t end up in the ER for my herniated disc, though the owner of my gym offered to call an ambulance.  That time, I probably should have gone if for no other reason than to get better pain medication or to get diagnosed faster.

At any rate, I have actually been dealing with left foot problems since I was in Boston in January.  While taking a run with my sister around Cambridge where there are some very uneven sidewalks that are often made of brick, I think I did something to my toe or foot.  I’m not sure which came first because eventually, it was both.  My theory was that I hurt one and then walked so strangely to compensate, that I aggravated the other.  I guess it really doesn’t matter where it started. As for my ankle, it has been giving me trouble since around the 5k almost two weeks ago.  When we went to the expo for packet pick-up, I was half-searching for two things: a hat and something to help my just-starting-to-ache ankle.  I never did find a hat, but I did find something helpful.

First, I stumbled upon a booth selling compression socks, but that wasn’t really what I wanted.  I then found CEP products.  I wanted this ankle support, but my (somewhat swollen) ankle measured in a size they didn’t have, so I went back to the compression sock booth.  I settled on some Sigvaris athletic recovery socks.  The sales woman explained a few things about the socks, that they could be worn during activity or for just recovery, the type of compression, etc.  I signed for them and we were off.  Of course, after the expo, we went and walked around Disney parks, so the only time I had with the socks before the race was a small amount of time the night before.  I didn’t want to wear them for the race because I didn’t know how it would be to run in them.  I did wear them after, and that seemed to calm my feet/ankle/calves down a little.  After the race, though, we went park hopping again and that was also probably not helpful.

After two weeks,  I am  still dealing with ankle pain.  I’m sure it’s partially because I haven’t taken real time off from activity.  The stiffness and pain usually subside with use, flare a little bit during activity, but then go away until I am suddenly stationary for awhile and then it doesn’t feel so good again.  My trainer suggested icing after all activity, which I’ve been doing.  I’ve been wearing the compression socks and elevating for recovery as well.  I took today off of running because going out in the wind and rain with my ankle feeling stiff and painful just seemed like too many negatives.  I am hoping that by the time I go out for a run tomorrow, I will be a little better off.

So, if you have ideas about how to ensure better ankle strength and support or just how to get this healed up a little faster, I’d love to hear any suggestions.  I fear RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is my only option and that doesn’t sound like a quick fix.

That last statement actually answers the question in this post’s title: I always get hurt because I want things too fast.  I hurt my back because I did too much lifting too quickly.  I was too tired and didn’t check my form while using heavy weight, taking for granted what my body could do.  My ankle has bothered me because I haven’t taken the appropriate amount of time to heal.  Hell, it’s probably just from overuse in the first place. Not resting to the point of pain and then not resting when there is pain just means more pain.

The moral of this story: take it slow. Whatever physical activity you are jumping into, don’t follow my lead and jump a little slower.  I try to listen to my body and then I promptly tell it to shut up.  Don’t do that.  Avoid anklemania for yourself.

The Great Gallbladder Break-Up: 3 Months Later

It’s been three months now since I became gallbladder free.  It’s been kind of an interesting ride so far.  In November, I talked about what it was like just a month in.  I’d been to a follow-up with my doctor, I had started using stuff for my scarring, etc.

So…  Three months in and I’m at about the same point that I was back in November.  There have been some positive changes, though.  I stopped getting the weird anesthesia episodes for the most part.  Every once in awhile they sneak up on me, but they seem to have mostly gone away.  I don’t have as much pain at the incision sites.  My scars seem to be healing up pretty well, too.

What’s going on with everything else?  Well, the digestive problems haven’t righted themselves yet.  They haven’t gotten any worse, though, which is a good sign, I think.  When I do have problems, it’s usually right after I eat.  My stomach will hurt or will get a little upset.  Some of this is helped with drinking a little Sprite or something like it.  Sometimes, I just have to spend some time with my friend, the toilet.  What I have read suggests that stomach upset should happen with fatty foods more than anything else, but this is not the case.  I can eat a turkey sandwich and have problems and eat a piece of pizza and have no problems.  Figure that one out.  This is all pretty frustrating and sometimes embarrassing.  Am I destined to be full of gas and poop my whole life?  I guess we all are, so I should probably just get used to it, but the fact that this is different than I used to be is what is bothersome.  I tried taking the probiotic that my doctor recommended and I also tried a digestive enzyme from Whole Foods.  I am going to give them another shot, but have yet to see much result from them.

I have pretty much given up on much drinking at this point.  I wasn’t drinking a lot before I had my surgery anyway, but spending New Year’s Eve at a bar and not drinking was a little strange (I did have some drinks at dinner, which is what caused me to NOT have any afterward).  Nice for others to have a designated driver and all, but it would be nice to have a little more fun too.

Overall, some days I wish I hadn’t had surgery and could have kept my gallbladder to not deal with the hassles.  But those hassles are really relatively small compared to the risks of not losing an organ.  In reality though, it hasn’t hindered much of what I wanted to do (including what I want to eat for the most part, which is impressive after the horror stories you hear).  In fact, as of today, three months to the day of my surgery, I ran 5k.  I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that things aren’t too terrible.

The Great Gallbladder Break-Up: 1 Month Later

A month ago today, I broke up with my gallbladder.

Yesterday, a friend and I were talking about it and he put it a really good way: It’s like when you’re short-staffed at work. You still do the same job that you had to do anyway, but it’s a little harder and you can tell something is missing.

That pretty much sums it up.  After the follow-up with my surgeon, I was still having problems.  Incidentally, my GP had gotten all the reports from the hospital about my surgery and her office called to see if I wanted a follow-up with her.  I did.  I like my surgeon a lot.  This is the second surgery I’ve been through with him and I trust him to do a good job and take care of things.  He will answer any questions I have and address any concerns, but he is very straight-forward and a little short when he talks. I needed a little bit more than that.

When I went to see my GP on the 31st (about 3 weeks after the surgery), I was still having pain at the main incision sites (one on my upper stomach, one below my bellybutton). I was also still feeling lightheaded and I had a very scary experience where I no longer felt able to talk right.  It happened at work one morning and I felt like I was slurring my speech, unable to get my tongue to do what I needed it to do to make words happen. I was also concerned about my digestion and stomach problems.  My surgeon had told me everything was normal under the circumstances and my GP said about the same thing.

What they don’t seem to tell you when you undergo anesthesia (or at least what they didn’t tell me), is that your cells suck that stuff up and hold onto it.  Your cells then decide to randomly release some of that medicine.  She said it happens for most people in the afternoon and they get really tired.  For me, it seems to happen about 10 in the morning or so and that’s also when the speech problems happen.  Like clockwork, every time I’ve had the problem, it has been the same time of day. This is normal for about two months after surgery.  It also helped explain not being able to stop myself from sleeping 11-12 hours at a time.  I am doing that less, but I can tell you that I’m still tired  A LOT. Normal post-surgery, but a pain nevertheless.  The lightheaded feeling is probably also connected to the anesthesia, so hopefully that goes away within the month also.

As far as pain from the incision sites: 1 year.  The doctor said it can take up to a year for that to go away.  Really?!?  No one told me that either! She took a look at my scars and said that I was having some hypertrophic scarring.  Luckily, I am not developing keloids, but in order to help the scarring stay more minimal, she recommended applying something like Bio-Oil to them with as much massaging as I could handle.  I have already been able to tell a difference.  The worst scar is below my bellybutton and it has the most raised scar tissue.  I’m not sure if it’s shrinking exactly, but it looks like it’s healing better. (A side note: I had a dream that the Bio-Oil worked so well that it started to make my bellybutton disappear. Not reality, thankfully.)

My stomach problems have been the worst part, really.  Here is also where we get into TMI territory, so consider yourself warned and feel free to skip this paragraph. After I eat, I almost always feel stomach pain of some sort. It’s not constantly awful and sometimes it’s just a minor annoyance, but it is a marked difference. I also have noticed an increase in gas.  I have discovered that eating spaghetti with tomato sauce is a giant NO. The acid is just too much and I end up laying on the couch wishing I hated pasta.  I also think that I can’t drink a lot of alcohol anymore.  I had a couple of glasses of wine one night and everything seemed fine. At a friend’s wedding, I consumed about 3 rum and cokes over a several hour period.  The next day, I almost shit myself.  I can’t trace any food I ate that night to that sort of reaction again, so I can only assume it was the alcohol. I haven’t drank since.  Everything in general seems to move through my system a little faster now than it used to and I have had to become more comfortable with public bathrooms than I ever expected.  Overall, I seem to be able to eat most things without much problem, which is a relief.  The doctor did suggest that I start on a probiotic in order to get myself a little more regulated and a little less uncomfortable.  We’ll see how that goes as I haven’t noticed a difference yet.

All in all, things are generally manageable.  I will be really happy if the probiotic helps my stomach and I will be especially happy if I can get these tired feelings under control as well.  I am still cautious about some foods, which I think is probably a good thing anyway.

I was talking the other day about how there are some things you can never undo.  Taking out your gallbladder is one of those things. I don’t regret doing it, especially since it apparently needed to happen, but I wish I had been better educated about exactly what I was getting into afterwards.  Nothing is unmanageable by any stretch and things can always be worse, but I didn’t sit down and think “Well, you could always have more stomach problems after” or “Be prepared to want to sleep for half the day.”  I think I probably should have planned to take some more time off of work or at least plan for an extra day off here or there so that I didn’t/don’t feel so drained all the time.  Whenever I get bummed about how something feels, I try to remind myself that it’s only been ___ amount of time. It’s only been a month.  I’m allowed to still feel tired or have stomach trouble or whatever it is after losing an organ only a month ago. Figuring out what things work (smaller meals, teas for digestion, etc) and what things don’t (alcohol, etc) is part of this process.  I have to give myself time to do that also.

In the Meantime…

This morning was my follow-up with the surgeon.  He took off my steri-strips, told me the incision and everything is looking good (though I personally think it looks kinda weird right now), and told me I have no restrictions.  He also said that the lightheaded feeling and a couple of other side effects may or may not be because of the anesthesia.  Some people are pretty sensitive to it, but that should go away. I also still have to play it safe, of course, and pay attention. For instance, I know because of the strain I feel at the main incision site that I have to be careful about lifting things.  And I still feel like I tire easily, but I think that will probably get better as I increase activity (lazy begets lazy) and still heal. Healing is tiring! My body is still probably looking for it’s gallbladder every now and then.

Today will be the third day this week that I’ve gone out walking.  I did a teeny tiny bit of jogging yesterday.  I mean teeny tiny and that was enough.  Hopefully today, I’ll get going a little bit more.  I am anxious to get my Couch-to-5k progress back on track. I know I still have a lot of work to do before I do the 5k in February.

 

So what would a beginning runner do with herself when she can’t train? Read.  Here’s what I’ve been getting into the past week and a half:

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Barefoot Running University :: specifically this

HuffPo Countdown to the NYC Marathon by Emily Faherty

Running with Your Cat, How Much Running Should I Do on Pavement?, Breaking All the Rules :: Runner’s World

Post-gallbladder surgery running discussion here.

 

Kitten-assisted reading.

The kitten loves a good running book.

 

The Great Gallbladder Break-Up Part 2: Recovery

The day after my surgery, I was in a pretty good mood and ready to go home. I had been able to walk down to the nurses’ station sometime very early that morning. I had been able to eat dinner the night before, so breakfast wasn’t a problem.  I just felt like I needed to walk more.  By the time my mom showed up, I was ready to do just that.

Hospital breakfast

Hospital breakfast of champions!

We did a couple laps around, slow and steady. Ever since the first time I got out of bed, the nurse had me holding a folded up blanket against my stomach.  This was advice I’d been given by several different people, including my mom. She had brought my designated pillow from home that morning, so there I was, shuffling along the hallways with my Jack Skellington pillow and my IV stand.  I can’t tell you how helpful that pillow has been. I’m not sure what it is about it that helps, maybe just the bracing effect.

The surgeon arrived one more time and asked again what I was still doing there. I said I was ready to go, so eventually those orders came again.  I don’t think I was officially discharged until about 11am. They gave me instructions, a prescription for painkillers, and wheeled me on out.

Most of that first day home I remember eating and sleeping. I had a little bit of a scare that night with feeling lightheaded when I was walking around again. Luckily, my mom was right there.  I can’t begin to tell you what a help she was. I had tried to deter her from coming up for my surgery, but I see now that there is no way I could have done it without her. From helping me out of bed to making sure I was eating okay to cleaning my kitchen, she was beyond helpful. I spent most of the next couple of days back and forth between the couch and my bed. It was also just nice to have the company. We walked down the street one night, which felt good. We watched some Netflix. I was grateful to be able to relax.

My mom left on Thursday night. I was pretty nervous about being alone, though I was perfectly capable of handling things by that point. Every day I was getting better, it seemed. Noticing progress was nice. The pain from the gas they used to pump up my stomach with was pretty intense at times, so when that started to dwindle and when the gas itself started to disappear (normal pants!), those were all good things. I had been feeling pretty good most of the weekend.  I wasn’t 100% comfortable and felt tired pretty easily, but still a lot better than earlier in the week.  My boyfriend was nice enough to come and stay with me and force some Indiana Jones movie-watching upon me.

By Sunday, though, I had started to feel kind of gross. I have been eating pretty normally since I left the hospital.  By normally, I mean that I haven’t seemed to have any bad reactions to things.  I even ate pizza on Saturday, something I had been dying to do since I was told I needed to stick with low-fat because of the gallstones.  My surgeon had told me there were no more restrictions on what I ate, though it was obviously wise to eat healthy and low-fat, etc.  Sunday came along and my stomach started to ache. It’s ached on and off since.

Aside from my stomach, I have also had more problems with feeling lightheaded.  Even while sitting down at times, I won’t feel quite right. This caused a bit of a problem yesterday when I went to Target for a few items and ended up feeling like I was going to pass out waiting in line to check out. I didn’t and made it to the car and off to get something to eat, thinking that maybe my blood sugar was low. I still haven’t figured out what is causing this feeling, but I do know that eating often and in small quantities has been helpful. This seems to curb some of the lightheaded feelings, though not all. I have been trying to stay well-hydrated also in case the problem lies in dehydration. Hopefully I can either figure out the cause of the problem or it can mend itself on its own soon.

I have also still been using the pillow for different things.  I haven’t driven much since the surgery, but feel best when I have the pillow against me when I do.  I’m sure that it looks strange to passersby, but it’s definitely helpful. I also use it at night. I still can’t sleep on my favored side (as I have 2 invasion points there), but sleeping on my back or other side require the pillow against my stomach for the most part. I keep it there partially to stop the cats from getting on my stomach.

Cat Naps

The cats teaching me how to nap by example.

After Sunday and yesterday being kind of a bummer as far as feeling goes, I woke up this morning with the intention of getting out to walk to hopefully feel better. It seemed to work pretty well, but that’s for another post. I am hoping that today is the start of more steady improvement to feeling normal again.

Overall, the experience so far could have been far worse. I am really grateful to everyone who has been so helpful or sent a card or a gift. My mom, friends, family, and boyfriend have all been really wonderful to me.  I couldn’t be more thankful for that.

Flowers

One of several get-well items that have helped brighten things up.

I still have a few days before I need to go back to work.  I’m hoping to get to walking more, resting more, and hopefully be good to go once I have to be back in the normal swing.  I have my follow-up with the surgeon on Friday, and I am hoping he clears me for all the fun things like working out too.