Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gallbladder be Gone

Mid race at the Disney 10k
The crowd was very large on the side lines. I ran through them as well as some Disney characters waiting for fellow runners to stop and have their pictures taken with them. Where I stood in the Disney 10k, runners tended to be more competitive, so nobody was stopping for the photo opportunities. Running through the Disney park I began rounding the Tower of Terror attraction when suddenly, "bleeeeeehhhhhhh". I puked in front of the many happy spectators. It was funny.

That was the beginning of my gallbladder issues. This took place just over a year ago.

I took a few months off from running because of school. Still, I ran lightly; maybe 4 miles a week. When Spring began rolling in I started training for the annual Salt Lake Half-Marathon my family runs every year. It was then I noticed that on runs where I'd push myself I would always throw up along the way. I shrugged it off, but it seemed to be getting worse.

Soon enough I couldn't hold my food down, even if I were peacefully sitting down totally relaxed. I tried to figure out the cause, carefully examining my diet and activities prior to feeling nauseous. I couldn't find any correlation. Nothing. I even gave up Monster for a month to see if that was causing it.

Thanks to me, a CrossFit coach added rule #9 as seen here:
In my defense, I only messed up the bathroom once. Every other time I did barf outside.
Finally, after a year of constant increase of discomfort, I went to the doctor's in August (2014). They told me to stop drinking alcohol and to come back in a month. I told them I don't drink and they scratched there heads. Thus began my many visits to the various doctors who scratched their heads because I'm a young and healthy dude who doesn't have typical symptoms of a faulty gallbladder.
Taken after the Gastric Emptying test.
During these past few months I gave lots of blood, did an ultrasound, had an endoscopy done, ate radioactive food and watched my body digest it which showed my body didn't digest liquids normally, and went through the slightly painful HIDA scan which is where they discovered my gallbladder wasn't working correctly. Hooray, we found a problem!
Here I am giving blood (top left & bottom right), getting a HIDA scan (bottom left), and finishing up an endoscopy (top right).

As time went on I began getting sharp stabbing pains where my gallbladder is. Fortunately a date was set by this point to get my gallbladder out, so I just had to wait.

I have officially given up running and Crossfit. Music was also on hold because my voice was almost always gone from all the vomiting. Basically, I've had more time on my hands these past few months than I'd like. It was a bit rough.

I had a few days where I couldn't go into the office and had to work from home. But finally the day has come!

My friend Jesus took me to the hospital. He also picked me up post-op.
After being dropped off I filled out a bunch of paper work and then had to change out of my clothes. The gown they gave me was way too big and it didn't close in the back. No shame. I mooned everyone.
Just before surgery.
Before I knew it was lying in my bed waiting for surgery to begin. A nurse came by and gave me my I.V. which I absolutely hated. It doesn't matter how many times I get stuck, I freak out every time. As I was being wheeled into the operating room, I told the team I was going to fight the anesthesia and stay awake. They chuckled. And that's all I remember.

I woke up in the recovery room in pain because I told them I don't like the drugs, so they didn't give me that much of them. Oops. They quickly gave me some more. I looked down and noticed they shaved my happy trail.

Then the nurse was like, "OK, it's time to change back into your clothes." and she immediately flips my gown off me. I was totally exposed. Just chillin' there, naked for everyone to see. 'Well this is fun.' I thought as I proceeded to sit up. The nurse offered to help me put my pants on. I said I'd try to do it but that she could put my shoes on for me.
Just after surgery -- in recovery.
After the strip show they put me on a wheel chair to where I was wheeled outside into Jesus' car. He took me to my apartment where I waited for my sister to pick me up and take me to her place. I chilled at their place for two days as they nursed me back to health. They took care of me and I just lazed around reading my book or watching movies. It was quite nice.
The four incisions made to remove my gallbladder. I'm pretty swollen here.
I'm really excited to recover and try out my body without a defective gallbladder. But for now it hurts to bend over and sometimes breath. Laughing kinda hurts too, so along with the painkillers I'm on I'm kind of a zombie at the moment. A hungry zombie.

[I wrote this while on painkillers, so please excuse any slurred sentences and what not.]