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Living Without a Gallbladder

I feel healthier than ever as I type this. But two weeks ago I was in the worst discomfort of my life and couldn’t figure out why until I eventually drove myself to the nearest urgent care and ultimately had a cholecystectomy — my gallbladder was removed.

This was major surgery, the first (and hopefully last) of my life. What I thought was severe heartburn that would pass was in fact pain from gallstones and a nasty infection surrounding my gallbladder. It never dawned on me that I could have a serious medical issue but in hindsight I had experienced similar abdominal discomfort on 4 or 5 occasions over the course of 18 months or so. It typically lasted less than two hours and I would simply lay down and breathe through it. I was naïve and assumed I had a much lower tolerance for pain than I actually do.

I thought I was taking ace care of myself — I was (and am) in the best shape of my life. I hadn’t even had a cold or flu in years and apparently didn’t even remember what it felt like to have a fever. But I did have a fever and an extremely high white blood cell count as my body fought to contain a nasty infection.

I learned a lot over the past two weeks. Here’s how it all played out…