I still cannot believe that a year ago today, I was getting prepped for gallbladder removal surgery. Just the thought of the entire day made me realize how lucky I was to have caught my diagnosis when I did. Although the timing was absolutely horrible, I couldn’t wait to be pain free for the first time in years.
In 2017, I started getting really bad stomach pains in the middle of the night. It would always hit around the same hour, about 3am. The only way I can genuinely describe the feeling of the pain is feeling like you are being stabbed in the same placed and the knife is twisting and turning in your stomach. It would keep me from sleeping and getting a good night’s rest. I was so miserable until I decided to finally go get checked out. I would take OTC medication just to subside the pain, but even ibuprofen couldn’t help.
In April 2018, I had the biggest attack I had ever felt and this time, it wouldn’t go away. I thought my insides were being ripped apart. It happened on a Saturday morning, and back then I worked Saturdays. I tried calling out from work but they wouldn’t give me the day because it also happened to be my mother’s birthday that day. I didn’t want them to think that I was faking stomach aches just to get the day off. So, with tears running down my face and looking pale af, I went to work. It wasn’t until I was at work that they saw that I was in fact being honest about my pain. I still worked a full day and I couldn’t help but feel extremely miserable after that. A few days later, the pain came back and decided enough was enough. I drove myself to Urgent Care and went through 8 hours of labs, blood work, and radiology to figure out what the hell was wrong with me. It took one look at the ultrasound that I had to go through for the doctor to finally diagnose me with gallstones.
I didn’t know how they came to be, it happens to most young adults. I was glad to finally have a diagnosis and to be able to take prescribed medication for the pain. I was referred to a general surgeon and my journey to my first surgery began.
After a few months and miscommunication, I had my pre-op appointment and then scheduled my surgery. I was scheduled for September 24th at 8am. I was beyond upset at the timing because we were days away from my sister’s quinceañera. I didn’t want to go through with the surgery because I knew it had to be all hands on deck for the party and getting everything ready. But unfortunately, there was no other time for me to schedule the surgery. So first thing Monday morning of that week, I got ready to get my dang gallbladder removed.
I don’t remember much after I was put under. I remember getting wheeled into the OR, moving onto the operating table, and seeing a bright light. After my surgery, it was a whole set of dramatics. My mother and my comadre Linda were waiting for me after my surgery. I broke out in sobs the moment I saw my mom and Linda, but mostly because of the pain from the 3 small incisions that surgeon made to remove my gallbladder laparoscopically. It hurt to even sit up because I felt like my stomach was just going to burst. After the tears, the yelling, and the violent word vomit I put the nurses, my mother, and Linda through, it was time for me to go home. I felt absolutely gross and bloated from the gas and the anesthesia, but I was so glad to have the source of my pain GONE.
After two grueling weeks of recovery, I was back on my feet. I absolutely hated, but loved the time I had off. It was one of the most eye-opening experiences I had ever had as an adult. I realized that my body does not bounce back the way it did when I was younger. My 24 year old self could hardly do anything without being in some kind of pain. But now at almost 26 years old, I am so glad that I was able to not only go through this experience, but truly see how much my health matters.
A year later, I am fully recovered. No gallbladder, no gallstones, no problems! Although the side effects have been shitty (pun TOTALLY intended), I have been living pain free and sleeping like a baby at night. I will say this, if you ever feel a sharp pain in your stomach and it doesn’t spread or it feels like your stomach is tightening into itself, GO GET CHECKED OUT. It could be a plethora of things that may be wrong with you, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I am so grateful for the surgeon and the nurses who attended me before and after my surgery. My mom and Linda were amazing and I am so thankful for them being there for me during my recovery time. I’m just glad that I don’t have to deal with that anymore and it’s behind me now.
Thanks for reading my horribly long story! Love y’all!