The last few months have been a whirlwind of emotions for me. A whirlwind of emotions that I didn't know how to handle, and still don't. I've had a few ups, I've had a lot of downs, and I've even had some WAY downs. I've been afraid. I've been scared. I've been terrified.
It's no secret, to this blog, or anyone who knows me, for that matter, that I've had gall bladder issues for some years now. I know pain, trust me, I know pain. But for the last 3-4 months or so, something has just been different. The pain had become more what I would classify as "chronic", and I was just SO tired and weak all the time. I just didn't feel like myself, and it made me sad, depressed, and just not sure of life itself. I've had a few people, who really know me well, tell me that I just haven't been myself lately, and I knew it was true...but I didn't know why. I'd dealt with the gall bladder pain for so long, that I never even thought to associate my depression with it.
And so January comes, and I land back in the hospital emergency room with another "gall bladder" attack. This finally set into motion the planning stages for removal. I was SO thankful to finally have insurance and was very excited to know things were moving forward. But something still just didn't feel right. Surgery scheduled for February 20th. My countdown began.
And then the night I've already blogged about happened, and I landed BACK in the ER, 8 days before my scheduled surgery date. Sitting in the waiting room alone, it hit me. I was terrified. Knowing something didn't feel right, I was flat out terrified.
After meeting with my doctor today, here is a quick summary of what had happened:
In the ER in January, they did blood work on me. At that time, my bilirubin was .6. Anything below 1 is normal. So they never thought twice about it. They assumed I was under another "attack", gave me pain meds, referred me to a surgeon, and sent me on my way.
And on February 12th, when I landed in the hospital, my bilirubin was .9. Still in the "normal" range, but higher than what it was in January, and this made a red-flag for my surgeon. That is why she decided to admit me, and do surgery right away. Upon surgery, they found the blocked common duct, and she thought perhaps that was why my liver was reacting more than normal. She thinks the block had been there for at least a few months, and that is why I was feeling differently. My bilirubin was .2 after surgery. So while the .9 was still considered "normal", it was almost 5 times what is normal for me. As she said, I was a "very sick lady".
The weeks following surgery were NOTHING like what I thought they would be like. I expected to be back to pre-attack condition in just a few days, and that didn't happen. A combination of Norco, and surgery, and complications there-in, caused serious side effects, and I just hurt. I hurt so bad I was once again depressed. I was frustrated because I didn't have any way to explain what I was feeling, both emotionally and physically. I was mad because things weren't going the way I expected. I was terrified because I feared the worst.
I've now had to wait 10 days for the results of my liver biopsy. I didn't know what to expect. I've never really had a lot of medical problems. Aside from weight issues, I've been a pretty healthy person. This was all new to me. I was experiencing emotions I didn't know one could have. I began to research different reasons that my liver enzymes could be elevated, and so many things began crossing my mind. If something did happen to me, who would take care of my kids. Did they know how much I loved them? The most extreme thoughts were running through my head. I was having one hell of a wake up call.
I finally got in to see the surgeon today, and I was sick to my stomach with worry. I tried to read everyone's faces at the office, for some sort of hint that they knew my bad news. And the doctor came in smiling, and the first thing she said was "you look SO much better than the last time I saw you. You look absolutely incredible". I could just see something in her face that meant good news. And it was.
I was diagnosed with hypertension in the hospital. Today, my blood pressure was "almost normal". I'd lost 20lbs since pre-surgery. And best of all, my liver biopsy was negative.
And like a feather in the breeze, every ounce of fear was gone. I could breathe. After holding my breath in fear for 4 months, I could breathe.
I know there are people that go through MUCH larger scares than mine. But this whole situation, the last 4 years, and especially the last 4 months, has been an incredible wake up call to me. My life will change, and I welcome that. I'm ready to try this again, a little more "health aware" this time around.
There are some personal things going on in my life right now that are going to throw me some severe curve-balls. Small chapters in my life will be closing, and that saddens me. And so I'm closing this blog post with a short little reminder note to myself:
Amber, it's okay to be afraid, really afraid, sometimes. Those who truly love you, will understand, and stand beside you until the very end...because they love you....not just because it's the "right thing to do".