Monday, October 18, 2010

My Friend Gail, a Tale of Betrayal

Gail has been a friend of mine for as long as I can remember. She's always been there for me, helping me out when I needed it the most. But, lately something's changed. Gail decided to give up on me, to stop helping me. In fact, Gail has taken to hurting me lately.

I try to be understanding. Maybe, Gail is not intentionally hurting me. Maybe she is sick, maybe she is depressed. But, she won't let me help her and I think it's time to say goodbye. It's time to cut her from my life and move on, forget about Gail and our friendship, forget about Gail and her betrayal.

I should probably mention one thing before you think me callus and unfeeling, Gail is in fact my gallbladder. It's true that she has been a part of my life for as long as I have had a life. Up until now she's always done her job properly but to be honest I never showed her any gratitude.

Gallbladders don't usually get any recognition until they go bad. Gail has been working hard for 28 years, storing bile and helping me digest my food. But, it wasn't until she stopped doing her job that I paid her any attention. In fact, I didn't even know why she was there.

About 5 months ago I started feeling a "kicking" sensation under my ribs. It honestly felt like a tiny baby kicking me, so much so that I took several pregnancy tests in order to avoid being on the next episode of "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant"

3 months ago the kicking progressed to "tummy issues" forcing me to spend way too much time in the bathroom. My stomach also started bloating after every meal. I took more pregnancy tests all the while knowing that I couldn't be 8 months pregnant like my distended belly suggested.

Finally, I went to the doctor. He ran blood tests to rule out various bacteria, viruses and parasites. When all of that came back negative he sent me for an ultrasound of my gallbladder. The ultrasound was also negative, showing no signs of gall stones or sludge.

Then I was referred to a gastroenterologist (a gut doctor). The gassy doctor tested me for Celiac disease, lactose intolerance, fructose intolerance and excess bacteria in my intestines. It all came back negative.

Then the pain came. It felt like I imagine a heart attack would feel except it was on the right side of my chest. It wasn't as bad as some gall bladder pain is described. It wasn't worse than labor. But, it was painful. It sent me home early from work. It made me want to curl up and sleep until the pain was gone. Except, I couldn't sleep.

I called my doctor and told him the update. He ordered a HIDA scan which is a special x-ray that measures how quickly your gall bladder empties. Gail, my gall bladder failed the test. My doctor called and told me that my gall bladder is completely dysfunctional.

The thing is, I always knew it was my gall bladder. Ever since the tummy issues began, even after the negative ultrasound. But, I had to wait all of those months, through all of those tests until the doctors could find the answer. It's incredibily frustrating but I'm glad we have an answer.

I'm scheduled for surgery on Friday. I can't tell you how nervous I am. I know it's a common surgery but that doesn't mean I'm looking forward to it.

It will be nice to eat again without worrying about getting sick later. But, to be honest, part of me is really going to miss Gail. I suspect my liver, Lily will miss her the most, I know they are very close.


Stephanie in Suburbia said...

Ok, naming your gallbladder is HILARIOUS! You have a great perspective on this, truly. I hope you feel lots and lots better!

Sarah said...

Thank you Stephanie! When I first started thinking my gall bladder was the problem (but my doctor hadn't diagnosed it) I felt like a tool always saying "my gallbladder is bugging me" It just seemed so much less monumental to say "Gail is getting on my nerves" ;)

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