5 weeks today since gastric bypass. What a journey it has been. I should be excitedly getting ready to go back to work next week but instead I am now in the early days of recovering from yet another surgery. So what happened?
Two weeks post bypass I started experiencing pain in my right side and around towards my back. It wasn’t really something that I had never felt before and because so many parts of me were sore I thought it best to just ignore it and not be a panic merchant.
My history with weight loss surgery prior to the bypass was not great. Nerves and anxiety have been my daily and unfortunately nightly companions in the lead up to and since the bypass. The very last thing that I wanted was to contemplate that something may have been wrong. Two more weeks pass and I noticed that I was finding it hard to stand for any length of time. The pain in my right side felt worse, not better and my back continued to ache.
I reluctantly made an appointment with the GP last Tuesday and was sent for immediate X-rays and ultrasound of the area. Wednesday we had the results. My gallbladder was filled, not with stones, with sludge and had thickened and was extremely inflamed. So antibiotics would surely do the trick right? Well I started taking them and OMG. I can’t really explain what happened except that my body responded differently to how it used to. What was once a sensitivity to antibiotics turned into pooing 18-20 times a day. I stopped taking the antibiotics but by then it was too late.
Thursday morning I arrived to the hospital, at 8:30 am dehydrated and in agony. My weight loss surgeon and surgical specialist was out of the country, so another surgeon, (Mister George K) whom I had already met was called. He called in the infectious disease specialist doctor to try and work out what was going on with my bowel. Was it gastro, an infection, a bacteria, colitis? They called George at 10:30, by 11:00 George had arrived and was standing in the room as I was wheeled out of the CT scan! Yay for my hero Dr. George!! He told me that they were going to have to take out my gallbladder and try to work out what had caused the bowel to be like it was.
There was no way for me to stay hydrated while going to the toilet so much so I had to have IV fluids and they started treating me for a bacteria that could have been in my bowel. Thankfully it wasn’t that bacteria! But it still meant 3 days on antibiotics that made me sick and, I am still not 100% right in the number 2’s department but at least it’s not 18-20 times a day now.
What I have realised through this is how important it is to be well hydrated. I didn’t realise how much easier it would be for my body to become dangerously low on fluid post bypass. I am, in comparison to many, very lucky with how much I am able to drink!!
I also have to face the fact that antibiotics may be problematic for me in the future and getting the balance right for that will be a process of trial and error. I hate trial and error. The antibiotics from the GP for the gallbladder triggered the bowel episode 😞 and I can tell you I never ever want to go through that again.
I am recovering well, but it wasn’t simple or straight forward. The surgery has caused tummy swelling which has put pressure on my new tummy and made it so that my amounts of food are tiny again. Tiny means three teaspoons and I am full. So I will have to build that back up again and that is important because we don’t want the opening in my tummy to narrow from lack of appropriate food. In short, it’s been hard. I have no doubt that I’ll be fine but nothing about this has been easy.