July 07, 2011

A Little Vacay, A Little Run and A Little Surgery

We arrived in OC (Ocean City, NJ) late Wednesday night after Simon got his cast off (yay!) around lunch time and we headed out here with an unintentional bathroom stop at "Gigi's Friendly's" the same friendly's we stop at every year. Unintentional, because we decided to try to get there as quick as possible and make the trip without a sit down dinner, but when a 4yo bladder calls, the whole mini-van listens. The first available stop....Gigi's Friendly's!

Simon's cast is off!
The beloved road trip to OC!
I still had my appetite and enjoyed my meal as well as some of David's spicy fries. (Cue the dramatic music.)

We got to OC and I started to feel a little backed up. But nothing major, yet. I hadn't run in a few days and felt like I could use it. But a run just wasn't happening - so it goes. I could always run some time...we were going to be here for almost 2 weeks. There was too much going on, David was headed for MD for the day, we had to plan David's birthday celebration and Izzy was in full on Mama-mode. And I wasn't really feeling up for a run. We tackled other things like Congo falls! (A Simon fear from last year.) The beach! The Under-Toad! An Izzy shower! (An Izzy fear.) Woot!

Besides I figured I was just backed up from being a bit dehydrated, a couple long beach days, not moving around as much even though we were walking and I wasn't eating the same chobani & granola every morning.

By day 3 of pain, and several more days of other tummy trouble, with Izzy on her like-a-bike and me in my running shoes we ran/shuffled/biked 7 blocks to CVS for some over the counter relief. Tonight was the Red Sox vs. Phillies game and I was GOING! It kinda worked. Sort of. By the afternoon the pain wasn't as intense, but mind you I only ate a chobani all day because I wasn't hungry and I wanted to save room for CHEESESTEAK!! (You can't go to philly without a cheesesteak!) So we went to the ball game, had great seats (Thanks Rob!) and a great time (Thanks David!) and great food - cheesesteak and crabfries. Besides that food was SURE to get things moving right, right, right????

Red Sox lost.  But still a fun game. And man....those seats!
Tasty, yes.  But this is what got me up at 3am in terrible pain. 
Tasted even better with the wrapper off!
By 3 am I couldn't take it anymore. I felt like I was so backed up and there was no place for the food to go. I tried going to the bathroom again. No luck. I just wanted this shit out of me dang it!

I got on my running gear. Izzy woke up, I got her back to bed. I wrote a quick note on a paper plate to David and 3:30 in the morning I finally went for my run. 


I ran to 12th street from 22nd. About 2 miles total. Just enough to see the stars, feel the ocean breeze, hear the waves and talk to God. There was a LOT said.

"This pain is so great. And not just this...."
"But you know what to do. Just keep moving forward."
"You've done a lot of things. You can handle this and the next and the next."

But then I heard the most important thing.

"You are loved because of who you are. You may or may not be liked because of what you do or say, but that is not the point. The point is to love and be loved. So just be."

And then I got to the end of my run.
I didn't see a single soul.

How often does that happen? I have never, ever been on a run where I never saw a single car, person, bike, walker, runner, police officer (good on that since there is a curfew I found out after the fact!).

Walking back to the house at around 4 am with this realization, the same voice said:

"Did you feel alone?"
"No. Not once."
"Because you aren't." 


I got home and wrote down the line I heard about love on the back of the paper plate I wrote to David that said: "I am going for a run. I love you."
I slept about 1/2 hour then was up again in pain. Took another ducalax and nothing. After nothing happened again, and I was still clearly in pain, David took me to the ER. We were checked in by 7am.  They hooked me up to an IV gave me a shot of something for the pain, but it helped a little.  They gave me something stronger a bit later then in for an ultrasound.  David kept my mind off by talking about the last time we were in the ultrasound room.

Soon after they wheeled me back in the bed (that is one of the most helpless feelings ever) to the ER, the surgery consult came back and said I needed to have my gall bladder removed.  It was acutely inflamed and he didn't think I would be able to make it back to Boston for elective surgery.  He was kind and helpful and reassuring.  He assured me that he has many people that come in from out of town and he knows this is hard but he sees I am in pain and can get me in the OR for surgery by 2. 

He said he would do laparoscopic cholecystectomy - the gentler way of removing the gall bladder and only perform open surgery if he needed to.  What does this mean?  It means they made four incisions and blew me up like a balloon and removed my gall bladder using a video camera. The pain was worse than anything I have ever felt (I delivered both children naturally, and ran a marathon and this was way worse. I would NEVER wish this on anyone!)....but the pain was met with smiles as David and I recounted every happy moment, every happy word we could think of. Simon....Isabella....waterslides.....as I drifted in and out of consciousness. 

He never left my side.
He never left my side.

After surgery, I woke up in recovery with David there, gall bladder gone and a different pain, like I was punched in the gut, back and shoulder repeatedly, but lots of dilaudid (trippy!), percoset and sleep helped. 

And a little goofiness from David....
I love the Airlife!  I love to boogie!
David was making bong jokes coaching me to reach 1000!
Dang was that hard to hit!  
Two days in the hospital and some recovery at my grandparents' house - extending our vacation - and staying a bit longer in the most healing place on earth. Besides, everything at Gigi & Granddaddy's house is pretty much already accessible! We stayed for a follow-up appointment with the surgeon and then back home for kid's camp, some normalcy.  Recovery is typically 7-10 days, but no sit-ups, heavy lifting or things that involve stomach muscles for 6-8 weeks. I am not sure what this means for running.  

Ironically there are no dietary restrictions.  But I will still try my darn-dest to stick to the outer aisles anyway. :)

Flowers from Brian & Jeanie.
The most wonderful welcome home sign ever.  Yes.
It is good to be home.  I will never forget that run.  I will never forget this vacation.  And I will never forget the love and support that I felt for and from my family.  I love you.
I found out that this is hereditary (both of my grandmothers had their gall bladders removed) and typically happens in women.  And sometimes in women that have lost a lot of weight.  I am curious, have you had your gall bladder removed either with elective or emergency surgery?  


Carolina John said...

Wow what a vacation! We've been to OC a few times. It's always fun. My wife has even popped a hemmroid out once while drinking up there. Made for a very uncomfortable train ride back to Charlotte. But nothing like gall bladder surgery! holy crap.

If you do it right, running will certainly involve lots of ab muscles. I would refrain from running for at least 8 weeks.

Christy Z. said...

Thanks Carolina....That is what I am thinking too. Ever since I started practicing ChiRunning, I noticed my abs did more of the work than the rest. So when the doc said no sit-ups for 6-8 weeks, I knew I was done for in terms of good form running. I am wondering how an ARC trainer would work....but I'll hold off at least another week or two. Sigh. Looks like I will be walking at lunch a lot over the next 5 wks or so.

Practical Jenn said...

Glad you are feeling better and at least you are assured never having to go thru it again ...beneftit of only one gall bladder. I vividly remember my mother having gb attacks until she finally had to have surgery ( the big scar kind back then).
I think you deserve a vacation do-over. happy birthday to David.

Ellen said...

Christy- I know this may not be what you want to hear but...rest! Be good to your tummy and your body for a bit. It took me a good month even at 15 to recover from the surgery. And despite the "no dietary restrictions" I found that it took about a year for me to be able to digest some foods. It was a nudge for me (pre-diabetes) away from fried and fatty foods especially. Walk some new routes to look forward to when you are back up to full speed. I had the shoulder pain along with an acute attack which is what got me diagnosed etc...it's this really fascinating phenomenon of residual pain. Apparently the nerves that ennervate your gallbladder start up in your shoulder because of where things are arranged when you are a developing fetus. I find that stuff so fascinating...and see God there too. xo

susan#'s said...

Yikes! Hope you are feeling better!

LAPT said...

Hi there, lady! That's so funny... I had my gall bladder removed when I was six (back when they had to actually cut ya open)...and I had the WORST gall bladder attacks. My parents didn't think anything was actually wrong with me, so I had four major attacks before they took me to the doctor. I could not imagine RUNNING in that pain. I'm glad you got it taken care of! Personally, I cannot eat super fatty/fried foods, and red meat does me in--but those are foods I'd rather give up than have a tummy ache!

CheriseFastic1706 said...

That's a dream come true kind of vacation.I always wished to move on such a trip but till today I didn't got a chance.Simons look really happy.

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