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Surviving Gallstones

Updated on May 15, 2013

I was so sick and tried everything to feel better!

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Symptoms

Crystal's View:

Last Fall I became extremely ill. I have never had the flu and with all the talk about the flu virus going around in Colorado I thought that maybe I had the stomach flu and it would pass. Here are the events leading to surgery.

The first day, I just felt bad. My stomach wasn't digesting food that easy and I had some pain but nothing I felt was serious. I was able to go to school and function normally. I came home and began eating soup and staying hydrated.

The second day, I had a fever and wasn't able to eat much. I began vomiting and felt extremely drained. I skipped classes and called into work sick and just slept the whole day.

The third day, was the worst. My fever got worse and I was vomiting everything I ate or drank, including water. I then knew this was a bad bug, whatever it was. I began having chest pain when I would breathe and realized I really should see a doctor. I asked my mother in law to drive me to the emergency room. We arrived at the hospital and the pain in my stomach was like a very sharp pain with every step as I walked to the emergency room doors.

In the hospital

I awaited for my time to be seen by a doctor in the emergency room for what seemed like forever. The nurse finally called my name and I was examined.She asked a few questions and said I would have to be seen due to the symptoms I was having. They gave me a room and the doctor came in with a very concerned face and ordered an ultrasound to see what was happening in my stomach to verify what he suspected. The results came back and he told me I had a gallstone that moved from my gallbladder and was blocking one my intestinal ducts (the reason I couldn't hold down food or water). He had a very concerned look on his face and began to tell me that I would need surgery to remove not only the gallstone but my gallbladder entirely. Mind you I was 22 at the time and couldn't believe I would have to need surgery for something I had no control over. It was frightening. I finally called my parents and fiance to tell them I was in the hospital and because the procedure required a specialist I was to be transferred to another hospital about 45 minutes away. My parents got to the hospital right as I was put on the stretcher to head out to the ambulance (pain killers were my friend at this point).

I was greeted at the second hospital with very kind faces. I was taken care of extremely well there (I was there about 5 days)! The nurses were true angels to me.

Pretty much how I felt when I woke up from surgery!

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Surgery

I was monitored and given Intravenous fluids and pain killers. I was super dehydrated and in a lot of pain at this point. Because of the gallstone blockage my pancreas became inflamed and I needed to wait a few days before I could go into surgery.

Once the inflammation went down I was to have surgery in the early morning, the same day as my son's 6th birthday. I know, great timing right. Anyway, I was asked numerous questions ranging from allergies to illegal drugs. The anesthesiologist was very thorough. They explained that the would have to go through my throat in order to get to the gallstone and remove it from the intestinal duct. They had me lay on the surgery bed. I was somewhat in and out at this point. I laid on my left side and saw at least 10 doctors in the room. My left arm was above my head and my head was rested on it. My right arm was pulled behind my back and tied down. There was a lot of machines beeping and people talking. Then the breathing mask was placed over my mouth and I was out like a light.

I woke up in a room with my family standing over me staring down at me. As I came to I wasn't able to speak yet and my mind was just in an awe like state as I continued to look around me. Slight confusion and anxiety hit me pretty good, it was a weird feeling. After about 15 minutes I was fully aware of everything and was able to talk but my throat was dry and hurting from the surgery. I remained recovering from the surgery for the day and was scheduled for my second surgery the next morning (the day after my son's birthday party)to remove my gallbladder to prevent future complications. I went through the same questioning as before with the anesthesiologist and was placed in another room on another surgery bed awaiting for surgery as I lay there. The doctors game a liquid sedative to drink and I immediately felt tired. As I lay there I only remember seeing the ceiling and the lights above me vertically passing by as they pushed me to the surgery room.

Four laparoscopic incisions were made in my stomach, the scars kind of look like the stars on Orion's belt with the fourth scar inside my bellybutton.

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I love ice cream :)

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Back to Life

After I was able to go home, I was still needing my Percocet pills for the pain. I was told not to life more than 20lbs and to be careful while moving around. I took a week off of school and work and tried my best to stay home and recover.

Missing school was rough because I had 2 exams within the week I was in the hospital and 1 in the week I took to recover I would have to make up for. It was extremely stressful getting back into the swing of things but somehow I was able to get through and pass all four of my classes that semester. Work was very understanding and didn't make me lift anything heavy until I was ready.

The hardest thing I had to get used to, was eating again. My stomach was in pure recovery mode and I wasn't able to eat ANYTHING high in fat since my gallbladder was removed, part of it's job was to process fats. This was extremely hard for me. Most of the things I usually ate was not in the cards. I attempted eating ice cream and let's just say never again will I be able to eat that much. Now almost a year later I can eat ice cream but in very small amounts.

The plus side though from this whole experience is that I am healthier. I lost a lot of weight and because of my new lifestyle with food I am more fit and living a healthier life. My birthday was a week after my surgery and I believe "my life" is the best present I could have received.

That's the end of that story, which allowed me to continue making new ones :)

Thanks for reading!

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      On one hand you're lucky to have never had the flu, but on the other, I think this more than makes up for it. Sounds like you had a really rough go of it! I've never known anyone with gallstones. Sounds painful and quite serious! Glad you are feeling better now. Interesting hub.

    • Crystals-view profile image
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      Crystals-view 4 years ago from Colorado, USA

      Thank you for reading, I'm glad it was interesting. It was definitely a crazy time in my life. I seem to have a lot those haha. I didn't want to post what an actual gallstone looks like so if you are further interested...Google it sometime. It's pretty scary lookin'.

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