Today I found out I’ve got Gallstones. 

Today, my doctor called me with results of a scan last Saturday to inform me that my Gallbladder is the reason I keep experiencing severe intense pain.  She said there is currently no sign of infection.  With that, we are going to wait until after I give birth to do anything about the gallbladder situation.  If I get a fever at any time, I may need to go in immediately to scan for possible infection which is life threatening. Nice.

Right now, I am not in immediate danger. The baby is also not in danger at the moment so that is good.  I am currently 33 weeks pregnant.  Only another month & a half to go on that front.

The pain is my biggest concern right now.  The first attack was so intense that I mentally compared it to labor pains.  It began in my guts and circled through my ribs and sides.  Once the pain reached a certain threshold, my torso muscles began to contract uncontrollably which caused a whole new type of pain on top of the aches, cramps, & sharp pains.

The Pain that led me to a diagnosis

The first time it happened was May 23rd.  It was so bad that I had Cris drive me to the ER.  They didn’t get to us right away, though, and the pain went away suddenly in the waiting room.  It made me think it was just gas pains – and with Cris saying that is all it is, relentlessly, we just left.

The second attack happened on April 30th.  That one was pretty bad as well, though, it didn’t seem to get to the point that the first one did.  And since I was able to go to the bathroom during, and the pain ceased immediately, it seemed to confirm that it was just gas…

The third attack was May 17th.  This time, I didn’t feel gassy or bloated and had just gone to the bathroom earlier that day so I was more skeptical on the whole “gas” thing.  I posted about it to facebook and had a few people tell me it sounded like the gallbladder and not to ignore it.  Despite Cris’s slight objection, I scheduled a doctor appointment the next day.  The doctor agreed that the symptoms were weird for gas but not necessarily normal for gallbladder issues either.  She went ahead and scheduled a scan just to be sure.

On Saturday, May 20th, I went to Kern Radiology and they scanned my gallbladder.  They said they had “stat” on results so my doctor would receive them immediately on Monday.

Today is Monday. May 22nd.  My doctor called me around 3pm to give me the bad news.  She said I do have gallstones but no infection that they could see.  I am instructed to stay away from ALL FATS since that could inflame it more.  If it becomes infected then it could be life threatening… they would have to remove it immediately even though I am pregnant.

 

No Fat Diet

To avoid inflaming it I am supposed to eat only foods that won’t cause a gallbladder reaction.  My gallbladder, if it tries to involve itself in my digestion, will try to release bile into my intestines, and if blocked by a stone, will cause my intense pain to come back.  The pain can happen anyway, from the many accounts I have read online, people experience attacks even on good diets… but it is the best bet to keeping me and the baby healthy enough to get to the due date.

Foods to Avoid

High-fat foods include:

  • Foods that are fried, like French fries and potato chips
  • High-fat meats, such as bacon, bologna, sausage, ground beef, and ribs
  • High-fat dairy products, such as cheese, ice cream, cream, whole milk, and sour cream
  • Pizza
  • Foods made with lard or butter
  • Creamy soups or sauces
  • Meat gravies
  • Chocolate
  • Oils, such as palm and coconut oil
  • Skin of chicken or turkey

High-fiber and gas-producing foods can also cause some people discomfort after gallbladder surgery, so you may want to introduce them slowly back into your diet.

These include:

  • Cereals
  • Whole-grain breads
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage

Spicy foods may also cause some gastrointestinal symptoms for a short time after gallbladder removal.

Good Foods to Eat

Low-Fat Food

Since eating fatty food triggers the gallbladder to contract and secrete bile, it’s a good idea to eat low-fat food in order to prevent irritation. Some fat is essential for health because your body needs it to make cell walls and steroidal sex hormones, but most Americans can afford to cut back, especially to avoid a debilitating gallbladder attack. Switch to low-fat milk and dairy, trim fat and skin off your meats and poultry, avoid creamy sauces and heavily processed foods and cook with less butter or lard. Stalk up on lots of fresh fruit and vegetables as they are mostly soothing to an inflamed gallbladder, with the exception of cabbage, cauliflower and onions. Eating smaller portions and taking supplemental enzymes are also helpful. Fatty foods well-known to provoke gallbladder attacks include eggs, aged cheese, milk chocolate, nuts, cured meat such as pepperoni and almost anything fried.

High-Fiber Food

Food high in fiber is also helpful for not further irritating an inflamed gallbladder and possibly even soothing one. Dietary fiber tends to bind to fat, which may help to reduce the stimulation and contraction of the gallbladder. Furthermore, soluble fiber attaches to cholesterol in the intestines and drags it out of the body, which may help reduce the risk of gallstone formation. Gallbladder-friendly examples of high-fiber, low-fat foods include carrots, beets, cucumber, oat bran, brown rice, peas, lentils, baked potatoes with the skin, dried figs, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, plums and bananas.

Citrus Fruit

Citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges have a cleansing affect on the liver and gallbladder and help to reduce the risk of gallstone formation in addition to contributing to dissolution of the stones. For prevention and possible treatment, fruit high in citric acid and vitamin C is certainly helpful. Furthermore, citrus fruit is essentially fat-free and high in fiber. On the other hand, these fruits, especially grapefruit, can stimulate the gallbladder if it’s clogged with too many stones and increase symptoms. In a sense, having a problematic gallbladder and eating citrus fruit is a risky, but high-reward venture. Consult your doctor is you have chronic gallbladder problems.

So, I just sent Cris to the store to get some Propane so we can cook chicken.  And also a list of fresh foods: Bag of carrots, package of baby tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, bag of red apples, bag of green apples, bag of potatoes, & bananas.  I will be eating mostly rabbit foods, with the exception of some white meats here and there.  UGH.

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