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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

What is tiny and green and hurting all over?

I've been blogging most of the daily/weekly stuff on #pinkyblog, but since this one is 99% medical, it's going here.

I've had gallstones come and go for decades, sometimes they would just magically dissolve and then come back.  I guess thank goodness for being autism spectrum with a fibro nerve disorder, because I was done dealing with the pain long before a rupture, even though I've been putting up with gallstone problems most of my life. I've regularly passed them, very used to that kind of pain, but this year was really different. I felt short of breath and heart racy with the least exertion that got worse over time, and the worst of the pain referred left, so I was checked for everything imaginable, including pancreatitis and aneurysm. I've seen the pathology report after surgery. I got lucky, my gallbladder wall was only .2 cm even after months of being chronic. My mucosa was still intact, but I was a ticking time bomb this year jammed so full of little rocks and scattered particles inflaming the hell outa the surrounding area.

From the abstract The degree of gallbladder wall thickness and its impact on outcomes after laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
"A greater degree of gallbladder wall thickness is associated with an increased risk of conversion, increased postoperative complications, and longer lengths of stay. Classifying patients according to degree of gallbladder wall thickness gives more accurate assessment of the risk of surgery, as well as potential outcomes."

I honestly cannot even imagine reaching the point of rupture. So many horror stories are coming at me now from all directions about complications that I'm wondering how some of you or your loved ones are still alive. One doctor once called me a canary in a coal mine, aware of my internal environment long before other people normally are, and another told me I'd probably outlive everyone I know just because I can feel every little thing inside me making me a nervous wreck.

Since I've lived with autoimmune flares and resulting treatment wreaking havoc on my immune system, I have a very healthy fear of infection going out of control. I'm not easy to treat because med intolerant, so I confine myself to what others fondly refer to as my bubble world. I still go out and run errands, but I'm super cautious about not ever letting anything touch my face until I get home and wash my hands really good. I've had allergic reactions to simply absentmindedly scratching my lip, and I pick up germs so fast just touching things that I'm usually the only one sick. I've mentioned picking up hand-foot-mouth just from resting my arms and hands on chair handles in a waiting room and not being mindful of touching my hands to my face. I had no other contact with anyone besides my husband for the two weeks prior, and he never got it.

One of my biggest fears is CMV reactivation, because I've been living with a liver condition most of my adult life and possibly even my entire life back to around 11 years old. I had a discussion with a liver specialist one year about aggressive mega supplementation for long periods that I was subjugated to as a child, and it's very possible my stomach bloat and belly pain goes back that far. My liver was already sensitive when I started drinking in my mid 20s and I'm pretty sure I went through liver toxicity after sudden alcohol withrawal about a year and a half later. I've been watched for liver tumors after a ten year stint with lupus meds, and then had a few discussions about autoimmune liver disease after initial CMV infection swelled me up for months, which could actually kill me very quickly if that ever happens. The last thing I want to do with my health is make life harder on my liver.

Most people don't even think about their livers and don't know they live with stenosis for years. I've been very aware since my late 20s because my liver almost never stops sending out referred pain signals, and apparently was able to feel the imminent explosion coming on. I can't tell you what a relief the surgery was after months of pain referring, and after the horror stories I'm hearing from friends and loved ones now about their own and others' experiences with gallbladder emergencies, I'm point blank saying stop blowing yours off before it gets to the point where your life STOPS for immediate emergency rescue after a rupture. That level of inflammation and infection isn't easy to get over and recover from once that happens. That ticking time bomb is snuggled right next to an organ you absolutely cannot live without.

Save the liver! I saw when this original skit first aired. If you cannot view this 3rd party embed, you can see Dan Akroyd's French Chef skit -here-.


I just discovered someone has autotuned Julia Child. 😂