|The countdown is on for Christmas Eve: in days gone by....|
In the comments section I was asked a question regarding what sort of thyroid problem I had, as well as a remark about the gallbladder and gallstones. I thought I'd address my answer as a post, given the complexity of the issues, especially when chronic illnesses such as "our" CFIDS/ME/CFS and fibromyalgia are thrown into the mix. Furthermore, my answer was delayed more than the usual (sorry!) because my neuro-transmitters were again on strike. I also wanted to check my medical info with a source. So here we go!
- to further ascertain if you do indeed have stones
- to get an idea of how large they are
- to see if they pose a threat to the all-important bile ducts
- and "other considerations."
After all the tests are done, a decision then needs to be made as to what to do with the stones and gallbladder.
So to get to what the reader who had a "bag full" of stones wanted to know or was commenting on, here's the rub:
The gallbladder may be healthy and functioning but because of the stones, it may well be having trouble contracting back to its normal size after a meal because the stones are there, taking up space and can irritate the interior of the gallbladder. On the other hand, the gallbladder could be "shot," working at a barely functioning rate because of a host of problems. That's why the HIDA scan is needed.
In my situation, my scan showed that my gallbladder was working at only 20% efficiency and that was two years ago. Medically speaking, I should have had the surgery then. However - and this is the BIGGEST "however" a woman can EVER make - my daughter's life was in danger and we almost lost her on more than a few occasions. Our lives completely revolved around her for almost two years, and that included her two adult brothers caring and giving up weeks of their lives to help with the support needed during hospitalizations. I was by her bedside 24/7 with each hospitalization, with a 20-minute break for shower, etc, once I got too mangy. We, her family and her many doctors, all fought hard to keep her alive, a long and complicated story that reads less like fact and more like fiction.
The last thing I needed was to be out of commission for three weeks because we never knew when she'd suddenly need to be rushed to the ER locally or to the "major medical center" hours away by ambulance. Now, what’s wrong with that sentence I just wrote?
Idiot Irene! (I just addressed myself here, not any other Irene!) A gallbladder operation puts you out of commission for much more than three weeks!
All in all, before going home, my surgeon gave me three separate, serious, in-depth talks on how incapacitating a gallbladder operation is. That is, I couldn't climb any stairs for a week, one flight allowed after a week, and so forth. I wasn't to pick up anything heavier than 8 lbs at most and on and on and on. Furthermore, I got hand-outs galore explaining this problem, that anatomy, that procedure, everything but the proverbial kitchen sink. Sheesh!
My surgeon even gave me recovery statistics for gallbladder surgery which said that after:
- 3 weeks, there is 20% recovery
- 6 weeks, 50% recovery
- 3 months, 80% recovery
- Greater than 4 months, 100% healed.
I was about to say that I finally "got it" but just realized that yesterday the painter/wallpaper hanger got here for what will be a two to three week job (stress, anyone?) and since we've known each other for 30 years but hadn't spoken in about four, we had a lot of catching up to do, then me climbing up and down stairs numerous times and that combined with Tuesday's adventures.... Well it's all put the kabosh on me and I wish someone could simply give me some anesthesia and wake me up in about a month - or two....
As to the thyroid: I developed hypothyroidism, diagnosed only a month before the emergency gallbladder surgery. Now THAT I really had a problem adjusting to and wrote a few posts addressing this as well. I think a lot of people are really tired about hearing THOSE complaints on this blog! (You can put thyroid or gallbladder into the search box and find more than you'll ever want to hear from me!)
Last night as hubby was getting ready to go to sleep, I suddenly said, "oh no, I forgot about the infections in my two big toes!" as I was thinking about everything I'd been through physically in the past almost 12 months alone. One of the toes actually had to be lanced because my body wasn't responding to antibiotics. Now that was an uncomfortable mess!
However, hubby said, "don't forget the cellulitis!" Oh yeah! (Or is it "Oh no!"?) I HAD forgotten about it. After sitting at the computer one evening when hubs was out of town, I got involved in an alumni Facebook page "cyber-pajama party" where a bunch us were suddenly into "remember when...." The session really lasted no more than four hours and yet within 24 hours I somehow managed to develop a nasty case of cellulitis of my lower legs just from sitting at the computer for that long. (Thank you, whomever, for the invention of the iPad!) Luckily, antibiotics took care of that problem rather quickly. But cellulitis? Really????
Honestly, half the junk that happens to me doesn't even register. Last week I fell down in the bathroom and laid there for four hours, not able to move. (It was actually quite pleasant lying there, taking in the new bathroom, the crazy Irene says!) It only registered because the next day I had a huge sore spot on my thigh and was puzzled because there was no visible bruise there. A few hours later I happened to scratch my head as I thought about something and THAT spot was sore, feeling like I should have had a goose egg there, but there was no swelling. THAT'S when I remembered the fall and lying there for four hours.
Looking back now, a few days later, in 20/20 hindsight, I have to say, AM I NUTS???? Answer: YES!!!! But in my defense I have to say that this DD is the absolute pits!
And so on that cheerful and nutty note, as always, I hope everyone is doing as well as can be, only better. Ciao and paka!