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Ham Sandwiches And Fear

November 13, 2018

Gallstones are no joke, but I’ve got to laugh, because if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry.

I feel discomfort from my broken gallbladder every day, no matter how well I eat. It is just physically and mentally exhausting, and some days it brings me to tears.

My focus since March has been to manage my symptoms, eat enough fat to keep the stones from getting bigger but not enough fat to trigger more discomfort,  and to lose enough weight to get keyhole surgery.

The good news is that the fear of incapacitating pain has been really good at keeping me on track losing weight. I’ve now lost 70lbs in total and still have 30 to go to escape obesity and wander back into the mystical land of “overweight” which I haven’t visited since I was roughly 20 years old.

It is sort of nice when people notice that I’m smaller than I was, but I am realising the reality of how awkward and uncomfortable that is as well. I have had quite a few people asking for my dieting secret… and I just say “Gallbladder disease!” :D It feels silly. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s the truth.

My diet actually isn’t terrible though. It’s not as varied as I would like it to be, but I have figured out enough things I can eat without painful repercussions, so I am not completely miserable. Maybe I should write a cookbook.

In all seriousness… I’ve been on so many crash diets in my life, I can honestly say that finally losing weight in a slow and steady way by counting calories and being incredibly aware of every gram of fat that goes into my mouth has worked so much better. The first couple months were horrible, but at this point it’s not so much a diet as it has been a complete lifestyle change, so now I barely need to think about it.  I’m also substantially less miserable than I ever was counting carbs or obsessively counting points while starving myself on weight watchers. This is the most weight I’ve ever lost and the longest I’ve kept it off as well.

I went to see my doctor in July, after a long run of bad gallbladder days that had worn me out to the point of desperation. I told her I had been living on a diet of “ham sandwiches and fear”. I said it smiling and laughing, but hearing it come out of my own mouth made me die a little inside. Thankfully she was really happy with my weight loss and that was also the day she decided to finally put my referral through for surgery.

After a very long and patient wait for an appointment, I had my surgical consultation last week (9 months after being diagnosed with gallstones). It lasted about five minutes and I was absolutely terrified that the surgeon was going to tell me to come back in 30lbs… but much to my relief he was happy to put me forward, and I’m probably looking at having the little bastard removed in February.  Can you believe it’s roughly the size of your thumb? A year of misery for an organ that can fit in the palm of my hand.

Life sized amigurumi gallbladder I made for my 6 year old daughter who has a lot of questions about human anatomy, especially regarding mommy’s gallbladder.

I would complain that this health problem has stolen my life for the better part of 2018, but the longer it goes on, the more I see it as a blessing in disguise. If I can put all the discomfort, exhaustion, excessive anxiety and hypochondria as a result of gallbladder issues aside, I look at myself and realise that I’m healthier and physically stronger than I’ve been in many years.

I’ve been forced to discover a very large range of healthier food alternatives that I probably never would have sought out had I not been backed into such a corner, and we have cooked this year probably more than we have in our entire marriage. We had an amazing, active, family focused summer with weekly adventures and beautiful picnics in the wilderness all because my mind has been focused on my health rather than shopping, food and Netflix. It’s been good not only for me, but for everyone around me, and I hope that without the pain I’ll still have the strength and determination to keep the weight off and continue to raise my girls with this much healthier mindset.

Unfortunately my crafting, while still fairly productive, has not been as prolific as I’d like. A combination of anxiety, health problems and a 2 year old who no longer frigging naps wrecking everything she can get her hands on, has left me unable to do much of anything that isn’t yarn based.  I really do miss model painting, and I hope that 2019 will hold a lot more of that for me, in addition to distracting myself by engaging in much creative collaboration with my very talented friends.

As ever, many projects on the go. Picking away at them a little tiny bit at a time day by day, so watch this space as updates are randomly published, (also randomly conceived) but always in the works.



From → Ramblings

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