I remember July 19 of this year well. I had been feeling fine for a while, enjoying a relatively good lull between all the complications of diabetes and the after effects of my exposure to statins.
But that evening, I got sick. I thought it was just stomach flu, so I just did what I usually do, stopped eating anything and drank only water. I missed work the next day, continued to feel bad over the weekend, and decided that I still needed another day off from work the next Monday. By Tuesday, I figured that even though I wasn't at 100%, I needed to get back to work. After all, I no longer had a fever. And I certainly felt better than I had for the last few days.
But it turns out that I wasn't really getting any better, and I probably didn't have stomach flu - follow me below the Itzl for my story.
KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday and Wednesday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. There are two parts to each diary. First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.
For a couple of days, it seemed that while I wasn't feeling totally better, I was still improving. However, by Friday, I decided that I was enough off that I left work an hour early or so. I got home and promptly fell asleep from the exhaustion I was feeling. I dragged for the whole weekend, cancelling a trip to see my mother.
I spent the next week following much the same routine, working most of the time, but dragging from exhaustion each night. By the time the next weekend came, my husband and son were concerned enough that we all decided I should go to urgent care because something was wrong. I made sure that I specifically stated at that visit that I'd felt bad for two weeks at that point, and I thought that stomach flu couldn't be that bad. The diagnosis from that visit? Gastroenteritis (stomach flu).
By this time, I had cut out all meat from my diet, and was down to eating very few things. As this continued, I cut out everything except the most bland food - rice, mashed potatoes, sugar-free jello and pudding, and bland cereal. By the next Tuesday, I decided to go to my regular doctor. The bad news was that he was now on vacation for two weeks, so I was told to come in and I would see one of the other doctors in the practice.
The result of that next visit was that after some blood tests, she felt that I had some kind of infection, and she put me on antibiotics. Three days later, I was even sicker than I had been before, and was having problems keeping anything down except water. Mr. W decided to take a day off and off we went again to urgent care.
This time, I was much luckier in the doctor that happened to see me. He looked at the history, asked some more questions, probed my abdomen a little more thoroughly, and told me to get off of the antibiotics, as I was reacting badly to them, and ordered more tests, including a sonogram to see if there was a problem with my gallbladder.
A few days later, I was able to get the sonogram, and the person giving the sonogram told me that she believed that I would have definitive news as a result of the sonogram. I got a call before the end of the day, but was told that I would need to come into my regular doctor's office (but a different doctor, of course!) to discuss the results.
Once again, I was lucky in that the doctor that I saw was very good (and he also happens to be Mr. W's doctor). We covered a lot of the results, including the good news that my pancreas and liver look great, and the kidney look in good shape considering my age. The problem that seemed to be causing me the grief was gallstones. The doctor was going to try to get the surgery scheduled before the end of August, and he was hopeful even though I couldn't get an appointment with a surgeon until the last Tuesday of August.
The appointment with the surgeon was ok, but he seemed a little offputting. He also thought that the gallstones might not be the problem. As he put it, I didn't have 'the usual symptoms' of gallstones. He also wouldn't agree to the surgery until I went back to the doctor who had sent me to him to get his final ok. When I showed up again, the doctor asked me why I was there. He made a quick call to the surgeon again, and I went home to wait for the call for the date of my surgery. The slight delay meant that I had to wait until after Labor Day for the surgeon.
The one good thing that came out of the second meeting with that doctor was that he explained that while indeed did not have 'the usual symptoms' of gallstones, that the symptoms that I had were seen more often with diabetics.
Not only was I unable to eat over the long holiday weekend, but our anniversary plans had to be delayed as well. Mr. W did some grocery shopping, so in addition to toast, jello and pudding, I got to eat a banana as a treat.
The day of the surgery came, and in addition to Mr. W, my 91-year-old mother strongly suggested to my brother that he drive her up so that they could see me before my surgery. He did well, as I got to spend about an hour with all of them before it was time for me to finish the preparation for the surgery.
Once again, I've been lucky, as the surgery went well, and the recovery has been fairly uneventful as well. I'm lucky in that I was able to work from home once I was off of the painkillers and could sit at the computer for a while. The surgeon used adhesive instead of stitches, so the care of the laparoscopy cuts was easier to manage as well.
I'm still weak and easily tired if I try to do too much, but I've been back to work for over a week now, a mere three weeks after having the surgery. I've been eating a lot more varied diet, but I now no longer eat nearly as much as I did before. Since I was about 100 pounds overweight when this stuff started, this is a good start in that I've lost at least 20 pounds already. If I do eat a big meal, it seems to take a lot longer to digest, so I lighten up for the next day or so. And while I still like meat, I'm not eating it as often as I used to.
As for the title, that part of the diary was written before I had the surgery. I feel lucky that I was able to have the problem taken care of. Before the diagnosis, both my youngest son and I feared that I might have Crohn's disease, which runs in my family.