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Gallbladders Are Highly Overrated

March 29, 2018

This is a bit of a rant, so I apologise in advance.

In an effort to try to lose weight and be generally healthier this year I started counting calories. I counted them religiously, being very careful to avoid crash dieting by eating enough every day to lose a steady 1-2lbs a week. I figured, over the course of the year, if I was very careful, I could lose the weight I wanted to. And it worked… in fact it’s still working very well, however I’ve hit a snag.

At the beginning of February I had a gallbladder attack in the middle of the night. It was excruciating, but I’d had one about 10 years ago and I recognised the pain immediately, so it wasn’t as scary as it could have been. If giving birth is a 10 on a 1-10 pain scale, I’d give a gallbladder attack an 8 or 9 easily.

I figured that it was probably just another one time thing, however I was mistaken, because a couple days later it happened again! And joy of joy, it happened while I was out of the house with my toddler. I barely managed to walk home and had to call my husband to come home from work because I couldn’t watch my 2 year old daughter, or pick up my other daughter from school curled up in agony on the sofa.

Over the past two months, I’ve had 6 more full blown attacks and a lot of days full of intense nausea and sharp twinges (threatening to be full blown attacks). I understand the physiology of what is happening inside my body pretty well, and usually I know exactly what’s caused the attacks (what I’ve eaten) but sometimes, it’s a mystery. The last attack I had happened on the 26th, three days ago. It was actually two full blown attacks in one day, which was just super! I ended up in the hospital at 1am, they gave me stronger pain killers and told me to continue to lose weight. It was such a bad day, I’m actually still uncomfortable.

Normally I would distract myself by focusing on making things, but I’ve been very uncomfortable with a severe case of pain induced brain fog and exhaustion… so on the rare occasions that I have an opportunity to get stuck into something crafty… I’m usually glued to the sofa, watching netflix, hating myself.

Now 3 months into trying to elevate my general mood by taking better care of myself I’m just feeling useless, sore, pissed off, frustrated, sad and miserably unproductive.

And here are the best parts!

  • In combination with my genetics and size, eating healthier, even though I was not crash dieting, has triggered the gallstones forming.
  • The only way to feel better, is to have my gallbladder removed. I can try to avoid attacks by choosing what I eat very carefully, but my body will continue making stones.
  • Unless my gallbladder becomes infected and they’re forced to do emergency surgery, I need to lose at least 70lbs before I can have it removed, so I’m looking at at least another several months of this misery.
  • Sometimes I can eat the exact same thing every day, thinking it’s safe and then POOF, one day, it triggers an attack and I am afraid to eat anything.
  • I can’t cut out fat completely and be safe from attacks, because I have to keep my gallbladder constricting (by eating some fat) to try and avoid even more stones from forming, or getting any larger, unfortunately by it contracting at all I run the risk of it shooting an existing stone into my bile duct, triggering a number of gut wrenching agony filled hours. So damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Also, have you ever tried to eat NO fat? It’s effing impossible… but how much is too much? I saw 20 grams somewhere as a number to shoot for.
  • Even though I’m often physically hungry, I have almost no appetite because food = discomfort, and a problematic gallbladder also causes nausea.
  • I have to force myself to drink as well.
  • I am running out of foods that I don’t associate with pain. You know when you go off of a food you once loved because you associate it with puking your guts out? It’s sort of like that, but replace the puking with pain and nausea.
  • If I don’t eat enough and my body interprets that as starvation, I won’t lose weight, or if I don’t eat at all and I do starve myself, forcing the weight off I’ll not only make more stones, but I will also struggle to keep the weight off, because that’s crash dieting! If I don’t lose the weight, I’m stuck like this forever.
  •  Painkillers make me loopy, so I can’t take them during the day when I’m the only adult in the house with two children, so I’m basically afraid to eat unless my husband is home, just in case. But I have to eat, because of all the consequences of not eating.
  • Anxiety is a big problem.

The only good news, as I sit here feeling like I’ve been kicked in my guts, is that losing the first 25lbs (yeah, it’s 70 more I have to lose on top of that) has gone a long way to relieve my persistent heartburn and a lot of the discomfort I was having in my feet and wrists. So at least I’m getting some benefit from weight loss, and I suppose nothing quite keeps you from going off the wagon like horrible pain.

I bet a LOT more people would be thinner if they experienced this every time they ate a bit of fat.

From → Ramblings

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