I’ve all but abandoned this blog. A little over two years ago I wrote about my attempt to get healthy after being diagnosed with Hypothyroid disease. I re-started my TaeKwonDo training in order to complete a long time goal of getting my Black Belt. I’m happy to report that a few months ago I achieved that goal.
During that time I continued to struggle with some other health issues, however. My knee, which has bothered me for half my life, started to get worse and worse. I decided to finally get it checked out, and discovered I had a meniscal tear. Treatment, in my case, was either to stop activity, or surgery. I chose the surgery route so that I could hopefully continue dancing and TaeKwonDo without pain, but I also decided to put it off long enough to get my black belt.
So a little after my test, I scheduled surgery. 4 days before that surgery I found myself in the emergency room with abdominal pain like I had never experienced before. While I had experienced a level of this sort of pain before about 4 separate times, the pain always went away within a few hours. This time the pain started at midnight, and by 9:00am, after writhing in pain all night, I made my wife take me to the ER.
By this time I took a guess as to my problem. A few years back my mother was sent to the ER with a burst gallbladder, and seeing how I have been experiencing many of the health issues that my mother had, I figured I had a gallbladder issue myself. I told the doctor this, and while he didn’t think that’s what I was experiencing, he ordered an ultrasound anyway. He came back, apologized, and confirmed the problem: gallstones.
I visited a surgeon shortly after and confirmed that considering my family history (Mother, Sister both having had their gallbladder removed), removal was in order.
In the meantime, I decided to go ahead with the knee surgery since it was going to take a while to get the surgery scheduled. However, the night before I was scheduled, Avery jumped from his swing set and broke his arm, requiring us to stay with him all the next day at the hospital. So I rescheduled for a few weeks later.
I decided that while I waited for the gallbladder surgery, I didn’t ever want to experience that pain again, so i made an abrupt change in diet. I’ve learned a *lot* about how the digestive system works, what the gallbladder does, and how to avoid an attack when you have gall stones. I wont’ bore you with all the details, but the gist of it is that the gallbladder stores bile, which is produced by the liver. It is used in order to digest fat (that you very much need). It was my taste for high-fat foods (specifically the chocolate milkshake from Fuddruckers I had the night before my ER visit) that caused my pain. Avoiding fat prevented me from having another attack while waiting for the gallbladder surgery.
So a few weeks went by, and I got my knee surgery. For a week or so, the knee pain was dull and achey, but now after three weeks, I’m happy to report that almost all pain is gone. The pain that caused me to get the surgery is completely gone, and the only thing left is residual scar tissue and stiffness from the surgery. I’ve been told I need 6-8 weeks for a full recovery, so I’m hopeful. Early today I played volleyball at work, and experienced no pain.
Last week I had the gallbladder surgery. They generally do it laparoscopically which means you leave the same day. For the first 4 days I was generally uncomfortable, and a week later I’m still a bit sore, but otherwise feeling a lot better. There is an unfortunate side-effect which I will spare you the details of except to say that my digestive system is very out of balance. I’ve since read a lot more about that, and hope that my body will make adjustments in about 6 weeks time. Until then… just “ugh!”.
One positive side-effect of the new diet (which I call the fear of food diet) is that since my intial ER visit just over a month ago, I have lost 18 pounds. The weight loss is ongoing, and I am very happy about it. I’ve lost the majority of the “Gearhart belly” i’ve grown over the past year. Since probably the start of my gallbladder symptoms (which on retrospect started about a year ago — funny how I attributed a lot of it to other things) I had gained about 15 pounds. So all of that weight is off, and somemore.
Other than some weird intestinal things that will resolve (I hope), I feel a lot better lately, and only see things improving. I’m about ready to start dancing and TaeKwonDo again. I turned 40 last week, and while my “Warranty” seems to have expired, I’m looking forward to feeling better than I have in a very long time. Let’s hope this is the end of major medical issues for me, and the beginning a healthy trend.