OK, new year, same old journal! I like having everything in the same place.
How to begin? I want to record this, but I don't particularly want to have it in the discussion as of yet, since I have no experience with it.
Sunday morning, January 1, I went to bed at 1:30 after getting home from our friend's house, where I had hummus, corn chips made of tortillas, rice cakes, (all perfectly OK and MWL), and a few olives, a few nuts, and 3/4 cup of soup that was all vegan, but the hostess had sauteed the onions and garlic in oil.
AT 3 am I woke with the worst indigestion of my life--or so I thought. I moaned and groaned through the night, getting no more sleep. I had dry heaves, and wondered when I would purge the food. I ate nothing Sunday, and tiny bits of stuff Monday, when I finally felt a little better. By Monday night, I felt OK, but my stomach still hurt. It felt OK enough for me to touch it, however, and my right side was definitely more tender than my left. I began to research appendicitis. By Tuesday morning, I was too weak to go back to work. I ate some oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast, since my stomach finally felt OK for new food to be introduced to it. I called my doctor when they opened at 9, and they told me to go to the emergency room (much closer to me than they are) to get diagnosed.
(Side note: our furnace had been going out a lot, and the repair guy was coming that morning also. And I had to walk my boss through doing payroll for an employee who needed a check. I also thought that if I WAS going to have an appendectomy, I'd better get bills paid, before I got sidelined. So I did all that, too, pretty much simultaneously--the repair guy came at 9 am, when the doctor opened, my boss got into work at the same time, and I got online and started paying my bills in the moments in between.)
I really was reluctant to put myself into the hands of doctor-types, but also wanted to find out what the inflammation in my stomach was, so I had my DD's boyfriend take me to the emergency room. I was fully expecting to be told that I had a touch of the flu (which the intake person mentioned), or that the gas would pass (:unibrow: )!
After blood work, which came out clean and clear of infection, I had a sonogram of the abdomen. (This was just after I had given up trying to get my boss through payroll--we had tried, over the phone, to set up a new payroll year, but the software is not clear to her, and we boogered it up. When I get back to work, I now have to call support and wait for them to help me get it all setup again, to do payroll on Tuesday for all staff!)
Well, it turned out my gall bladder
(my who? what? not something I had EVER thought about) was inflamed, totally blocked off, and full of stones, and had to come out NOW. I (and DH who by this time had joined me) wanted to get a second opinion; they showed me the sonogram, they faxed it to my regular doctor, and she told me it looked terrible and that it could become much worse, having stones break off and wander around blocking other ducts and stuff. Frankly, I had no choice. I had been prepared to have my appendix out, and the gall bladder was a time bomb.
The ER staff were amazed at my energy, my lack of a fever, my normal (low) blood pressure, the low level of pain, and everything. We all discussed my weight loss from a diet that is low-fat and no animal products, and I credited that with the vibrant good health that I was displaying in light of the infected mass inside me! My biggest complaint was how HUNGRY I was! It got to a point where I couldn't tell the gall bladder pain from the hunger pangs! That was a recurring theme that day, but I knew I couldn't eat. Luckily, I have practice in that!
So eventually I got admitted, got my IV in (what a pain in the neck that is!) and lay around, waiting my turn in surgery. While I was waiting, I met my anesthesiologist, who had heard about my diet (apparently everyone had!), and told me she was vegan, too, because 2 of her brothers had had heart attacks at 44 and 42 years old, and she wanted to protect her and her kids from that. She was so cute, though, she said, "But mine is a really restrictive kind of vegan--no added oil." And I nearly leapt off the gurney! DH and I said, mine too, and she said it was Dr. Esselstyn's program, which I knew all about. We started talking about how to make restaurants give you steamed vegetables and rice, and she asked if there was any place that served brown rice, and we said not that we had found, not in Anchorage yet--Portland, Corvallis, Boulder, yes, but not here. What a great way to head off into surgery!
So, the surgery finally happened at 1 am, and I woke up at 3:30. I felt pretty good--as good as you can feel when someone has gone inside, rummaged around, and cut bits of you out! I was on medication, of course! We finally managed to send DH home about 5:30 am. My biggest laugh came the next morning when the food came. My first words were, "This is no meat, no dairy, no processed foods, right?" And he said, "There's nothing on your chart about allergies." I had to laugh--I had answered the diet questions for the food, and everyone on yesterday's staff knew I was a vegan, but it hadn't made it to the kitchen, apparently! It all worked out well. First of all, I was no longer so hungry. Secondly, the nutritionist came to me a few minutes later and brought the menu, and discussed my wants and needs, she and I developed the menu I'd have for the rest of my stay--a baked russet and a baked sweet potato, steamed carrots and green and yellow beans, and a huge fresh fruit plate. Oddly enough, I did not have my pre-op appetite. I ordered what I would have eaten on an ordinary day, and felt bad leaving the food on the plate. But what a wonderful food experience! She was great.
Since the operation had been a laparoscopy, I was surprised that I might have to spend the night--I've only spent the night in a hospital after the births of my two oldest kids, back in the dark ages of the 60s and 70s--but I was comfortable with that. I had my tonsils out when I was 9, so I barely remember that, and my tubes tied with a laparoscopy about 24 years ago, which was a day surgery and I was up and about pretty darned quickly. Those are the only 2 surgeries I've had. This was new to me!
Anyway, I was released Thursday about 4 pm and went home. I have antibiotics (I had DH get probiotics, too, to keep my tummy flora in balance) and pain medication. The funniest thing about this is, I'm a daily weigher, right? I was curious, after 5 days of such minimal eating, what I'd lost. Hop on the scale Friday morning--and I had gained 14 pounds! My eyes could not believe what they were seeing! I emailed Dr. M later that day, and among other things, he explained the weight gain was likely to be inflammation from the gall bladder and from the surgery. Wow--no wonder I felt so logy! I lost 4.5 pounds both days since, so things are moving along nicely. (Oh and TMI but I need to record it--my last BM had been Sunday at noon. Saturday, I finally did it again! And again this morning, I seem to be back to a more normal routine.)
The pain medications I used every four hours for the first night, then 8 hours the next day, and then yesterday I didn't use any until bedtime again. I am amazed at my recovery! Frankly, I am so glad this happened after I was fit and trim and in such good health from this way of eating! Two major reasons: if I was my old, fat, achy self, I might not have noticed the pain in my side after the initial horrible pain subsided--it just wasn't that extreme. But the contrast with my usual energy level and good heath was the major reason I called the doctor. Secondly, my entire experience has been so much easier with a lighter body and (moderately) toned muscles! Just getting out of bed to go to the bathroom would had been difficult for me two years ago. They put these wraps on my legs to keep the circulation going while I was lying down, and I had to lift my legs to get the wraps under them--that would have been, with my cut-up stomach pains, another major deal--they probably would have had to do it for me. (I loved that leg massage, BTW!!
Anyway, that's all I've got about this so far. The surgeon told me that the diet I eat now is the diet I should eat for having my gall bladder out, so I'm way ahead of the game! Oh, and they gave me a bottle with my gallstones--eight of them, the size of marbles! No kidding--bigger than 1/2" in diameter! That is so scary and shocking! Guys--this is what SAD was doing to us, whether we were fat or not!