Friday, March 19, 2010

Our St Patrick's Day Adventure

I love holidays, especially ones with a color or 2 associated with them. I always dress up in whatever colors go with each holiday - and I dress my kids (and husband LOL) up in those colors, too. St Patrick's Day is no exception. I love dressing up in green and doing fun St Patrick's Day-ish things.

This year, however, I did NOT wear green on St Patrick's Day. Neither did my kids. John did, but it was a fluke - he just grabbed the nearest shirt and it happened to be green. No, this St Patrick's Day, I found myself in the ER with severe abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, and dehydration.

Those of you who read my blog may recall my last post where I mentioned getting super sick after eating sugary foods. We thought we had it under control, but it all came to a head recently. And it turned out to be something completely different than we thought it was.

Since my last post, John actually ran into MY doctor at work and told him what was going on with me. He was concerned, and asked me to call him. It took awhile to actually get ahold of him, but once I did, he asked me to come in and get my sugars tested to see where I'm at. Based on what I told him, he said it sounded like insulin resistance. My sugars were on the high end of passing during pregnancy and my baby was HUGE, so it wouldn't be too surprising if I had sugar issues postpartum. Plus, my dad's a type 2 diabetic, so it runs in the family. I scheduled an appointment for next Tuesday (it was the soonest they could get me in that works with my schedule).

Starting Sunday night, I kept feeling sick off and on. Every time I ate, I felt sick. I was SO careful about avoiding sugary things, too. It was really annoying. Nothing I ate made me feel better at all. It was frustrating and confusing, but now we know why.

Wednesday morning, I started throwing up like crazy with severe ab and back pain, just like the sick spells I mentioned in the previous post. Between 7 AM and noon, I threw up 9 times. Yuck. We kept trying to get in contact with my doctor or one of the nurses, but they had a super busy day. In the end, I was SO miserable and just sick of not having any answers that I decided to go to the ER. I already knew I was dehydrated and couldn't keep anything down, so at the very least they'd give me an IV with zofran.

We left Emma with our awesome upstairs neighbors (thanks Jim and Nicole!!!) and headed out. We took Hyrum with us, since we knew he'd have to eat while we were there. Thankfully, there was absolutely NO wait at the ER. One of the benefits of living in a small town:) In fact, they took me back to get an IV before we even got all checked in. Awesome. First and foremost, however, they took a couple vials of blood for testing. Then I got an IV and zofran. I was still in a lot of pain, so they gave me something for the pain as well. It helped for a bit, but my pain was pretty intense so they had to give me more pain meds.

While John went to change Hyrum's blow out diaper in the bathroom, the ER doc came in with my blood work results. My sugar levels were actually in a GREAT range. However, as the ER doc said, I had an "evil gallbladder" and it needed to come out right away. He left to call the surgeon.

John returned at that point. When I told him my blood work came back, I said, "the good news is my sugar levels are great. The bad news is..." and that's when my ER doc came back in and said, "you're going to surgery in 45 minutes." John was pretty shocked by that, until the ER doc explained what my problem was. Ironically, one of the nurses from my doctor's office called at this point, so John told her what was going on.

I called my mom to let her know I needed to have my gallbladder removed. She asked when, and I said, "um, like, right now" as the surgeon walked in the door. Mom started crying, so of course I started crying. I had to go to talk to the surgeon, but Mom said she'd talk to my dad and see if she could come out here (we live 800 miles from my family and John's - our families live 20 minutes apart). At first, we didn't think she really needed to come out, but we're SO glad she is. We learned upon discharge that I'm not allowed to lift anything over 10 lbs - which means I can't pick up either of my kids (my 2 month old is 13 lbs already!). She's on the road right now and should be here in the next hour or 2.

I'm getting ahead of myself. The surgeon said I was jaundiced because I had a gallstone blocking my common bile duct. If it didn't pass by the time they did the x-ray, I'd have to go to a specialist in the "big" city nearby the next day and have it pushed out via a balloon type thing. Thankfully, that stone passed, so I only needed the normal gallbladder removal surgery.

The surgery itself went really well. They removed my evil gallbladder and 24 gallstones!! No wonder I was in so much pain! Now that I know what was wrong, I totally understand why I was so miserable off and on the last couple months. Those sick spells where I couldn't keep anything down and threw up non-stop were caused by gallstones blocking the ducts. Symptoms let up when I passed the stones. It all makes sense now. As much as surgery sucks, I'm glad I know what was wrong and that it's been resolved. I'll never have another gallstone ever again! Yay! I'm also thrilled to know that it's not a permanent problem. Had it been insulin resistance or some other sugar-related problem, it'd likely be a lifelong issue. But it's not. It's a temporary condition with a permanent fix. SUCH a blessing.

I asked the anesthesiologist if I could continue nursing my baby. He said that so little anesthesia actually gets into the breast milk, so it'd be perfectly fine to continue nursing. I'm SO relieved by that! I've heard that after surgery it's typically a pump and dump routine and a friend who had the same surgery a few years ago had major supply problems as a result. I had supply problems with Emma and I REALLY don't want to deal with that ever again. Plus, both my kids have nasty colds this week, so Hyrum needs all the Mommy-antibodies he can get. I don't have a freezer supply since I haven't done any pumping since Emma was a baby.

Now all I need to do is recover from surgery and let my body adjust to not having a gallbladder. I'm home now and on awesome painkillers. I'm limited as to what I can eat right now, but I'll gradually be able to eat normally again. Today I moved up to a "white" diet, meaning I can eat breads, pastas, potatoes, and bananas in addition to the full liquids I was on yesterday. Once I can tolerate that, I can move up to normal foods. Meats and fresh veggies will be the last dietary additions and I'll have to take those slowly.

I so desperately want to take a shower, but I can't quite yet. I was too sick on Wednesday to even think about showering, and I have to wait until my incisions are completely dry before I can take one. My surgeon said I could take one this afternoon, but the biggest incision isn't completely dry yet. It's a tiny bit sticky so I have to wait a bit longer. LOL, I'm currently sitting at my desk with my shirt rolled up to let it air dry. I'm tempted to pull out the hairdryer to speed things up. I'm not sure if that's a good idea, though, so I'm refraining.

Of course, all this has to happen the week John has a TON of group projects and the like due. Before the week started, he told me he had a ton to do this week so he'd be gone a lot. Well, Emma woke up Sunday morning with a nasty cough and a fever. I was sick off and on since Sunday evening. And, as is always the case with siblings, Emma graciously shared her cough with her baby brother. And I wound up in the ER and had surgery. Go figure.

But aside from all the craziness, we're doing great. Recovery is going well I think. We've had friends drop by with food and lots of people checking up on us. And my mom will be here soon! Yay! We can't help but to feel blessed. Mostly, I'm just SO grateful that now we have my health issues resolved. Life is definitely looking up!