Monday, January 13, 2014

Gallstones while pregnant and Gallbladder removal at 20?!

My 1st pregnancy with my daughter who is 5 years old now was a very complicated one. I was 20 then but until now, I can still remember the pain I've gone through with my 1st pregnancy.

My 1st trimester was very hard for me because every night, I would have super painful cramps in my abdomen. This happened every single night. It would last until about 5 in the morning and for the whole day I'll be fine. I will have to tell this story in another post since it's a pretty long one.

The abdominal cramps gradually decreased and on my 3rd month of pregnancy, the pain finally subsided. IT STOPPED. Just like that.

I started eating and before I know it, I am "naglilihi" (a word in Tagalog which means craving for a specific food while you're pregnant). Do you know what that specific food is? BACON. Oh yes. Sweet, sweet bacon. I craved for bacon and satisfied my cravings because if I didn't I felt bad for myself.

5th month into my 1st pregnancy with hubby

In the beginning of my 3rd trimester, I started having stomach aches. I thought my "gastritis" was acting up again (I've had it since I was in highschool). I drank Maalox and then I noticed that sometimes it worked and a lot of times it didn't. After a week, I would throw up everything I ate. When there's nothing more to throw up, I would throw up green-colored liquid. Sometimes the pain subsided but a lot of times it was there. We went to my doctor and she referred us to her husband who is a GI specialist. That's when he told me I have gallstones and one of them was impacted on my common bile duct. That's causing my pain. I was like WHAT?! I can't believe it. They can't remove it since I was in my early third trimester already. If I was diagnosed when I was in my second trimester, they could've removed it.

I was admitted for 2 days and given a Demerol shot round the clock for the pain. I craved for the shot of Demerol. The shot brought me pure bliss. No pain. I felt guilty. Like an addict I waited for the Demerol shot. I was worried for my baby on what the effect for her will be but it's just so painful.

I got admitted 2x during my 3rd trimester due to the pain and on the 3rd time, the doctor decided to place a tube on my gallbladder to drain out the bile. I came out of the hospital with a big tummy and a tube hanging down my stomach. A disposable latex rubber glove was attached to the outside tube to hold out the bile drainage (he improvised a bit and told me to use the gloves for the bile).

The pain from the impacted gallbladder was gone but the tube felt uncomfortable for the first few days. It sometimes hurt specially when I lean a bit on my right (that's where the tube is) but my muscles seem to adjust a few days after.

I've had to change the gloves about 6 times a day! I can't believe my gallbladder produces THAT MUCH bile in a day! The bile is dark green, a bit slimy and has a bit of a slimy smell. I've learned to live with the tube and the gloves for about 3 weeks. After about 3 weeks, the bile just stopped coming out. I found out that it got dislocated. So the doctor went ahead and pulled the tube out. Don't worry it didn't hurt a bit. :)

My due date is coming out so my doctor (the OB-GYNE one) went ahead and scheduled my C-Section. I gave birth to my daughter on July 28, 2008. I was so happy and thankful for such a beautiful little girl. :)

My gallbladder removal or "cholecystectomy" in medical terms was scheduled in a month. I was too afraid to have an impacted gallbladder again and feel the pain that I ate like a bird. I ate so little food that after a month, I weigh less than my pre-pregnancy weight. I know it's not healthy but my fear of the pain is greater than my desire to eat. That's how painful it is.

A month after I gave birth to my daughter. A few days before my supposed to be laparoscopy surgery turned to laparotomy surgery.


On the day of my gallbladder removal, my doctor said that it's only going to be a simple laparoscopy surgery. That means I can go home the next day because he'll only cut 3 small incisions on my stomach. When I woke up from the general anesthesia, I panicked because I felt pain. IT HURTS. I soon learned that the doctor had to do a traditional laparotomy surgery because he couldn't get 1 gallstone out. It had lodged in my common bile duct and he had to cut me open to get it. I had to stay in the hospital for 3 days and again, I went out of the hospital with a second tube in my stomach. Just to make sure everything is alright. The doctor removed 7 gallstones in total. After 3 days, I went back to the doctor and he removed the tube.

I wish I could have taken pictures when I had the tube but it was too painful and gross to see that I didn't do it. I am thankful for my supportive husband who was there for me through my worst pains and for my mom who helped me a lot too.

I call my gallbladder-related scars my "battle scars" and they are a reminder to me that I should be conscious of my health because no matter how young or healthy I am, anything can happen.

  
My 1st tube scar when I was pregnant


My laparotomy surgery scar (the line) and the scar from my 2nd tube (scar below)

I am now gallbladder-free and had my 2nd daughter almost 3 years ago. I had gained weight since then but I will never forget my 1st pregnancy. I am very thankful for my daughter and how everything turned out to be alright. All the pain I went through is very worth it when I see her smile and laugh.


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