Sunday, July 17, 2016

Goodbye Gallbladder



Goodbye Gallbladder | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
This was supposed to be our summer of adventure. Hubby and I created a list of things we wanted to do before the leaves begin to change. My intent was to blog about each experience. So far, we've checked three experiences off our list. I've blogged about one

The reason we're behind on having fun this summer and my excuse for not writing all about the adventures we did experience are tied to my love of cheese and onion rings. It doesn't hurt that I also adore pasta. 

When half your genes are Italian, you tend to serve a lot of cheese-topped and cheese-filled pastas. Also, we've had to travel up and down the coast a lot in recent years. A certain gas station, which also boasts made-to-order food, happens to serve excellent onion rings. When you are on the road headed to a funeral, excellent onion rings make for excellent comfort food.

However, when you also inherit genes that are not the best at processing cholesterol, cheeses and fried onion rings end up taxing a little thing called your gallbladder.

For the past few months, I've been experiencing chronic headaches, weight gain, stomach aches, upper abdominal pain and back pain. My annual physical also revealed another spike in my cholesterol and triglycerides, which I had had under control. I was surprised that one bucket of onion rings in a weak moment could undo all my dietary good work, but alas, I had other symptoms that could not be ignored. 

An ultrasound revealed what two doctors suspected after office exams. My gallbladder was inflamed and filled with stones. According to information on the Mayo Clinic's website, the bile that the gallbladder moves through the digestive system breaks down cholesterol. But if there's too much cholesterol, stones can form. There are other causes for gallstones, but mine were most likely caused by excess cholesterol.

Now, my poor gallbladder, who was only trying to do her job, must be removed. She tried, but my German-English (from my dad's side) gallbladder just could not withstand the workload from my Mediterranean (from my mom's side) palate, combined with the influence of southern cooking to which I've been exposed since my teen years. 

It is with great remorse that, on this last day with my gallbladder, I offer these words of apology and a sincere promise for the future:

My Dearest Gallbladder,

I am so very sorry for all the cheese that passed through my lips. I could have stopped at one cube or a few sprinkles atop my spaghetti. But I let my savory desires get the best of me. For all those wedges I ate by myself, I apologize. For all the times my homemade pizza included four or five kinds of cheese, I am deeply sorry.

I regret also all of the buttery, melt-in-my-mouth homemade biscuits that passed through my lips. And the fried vegetables — okra, squash, green tomato slices, green beans, pickles.

Over the years, I put you through so much. And what did you do? You worked even harder. You tried. But it became too much. When the stones began forming, did you complain? Not at first, no. You just pushed them aside and kept working. But eventually, there were too many stones. Too much swelling.

And now, it's too late.

I cannot undo what has been done. I cannot stop what must happen. But your existence and your untimely end will not be in vain. I will always remember you and all of your hard work. And I will honor your memory each and every day for the rest my life. 

Moving forward, I will stick to a healthy, low-fat diet in which moderation is a key factor. No more fried foods, not matter the occasion. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean chicken and turkey, fish, nuts and oatmeal will nourish me. I will also exercise regularly in your memory. 

You, my precious gallbladder, did what you could to help me. Now I will spend the rest of my days doing everything I can to help myself in your absence. 

Had I started this decades ago, maybe you could have been saved. I will have to live with that knowledge. And while that is sad, your demise may have saved many other organs. Healthier eating and regular exercise will serve to keep all of the rest of your fellow organs working well for as long as possible. 

Thank you for all you have done for me and my body for nearly five decades. May you rest in peace with the knowledge that the rest of me is better off for having known you.

All my best,
Micki

While I'm home recovering from surgery, maybe I'll catch up on my summer experiences blogs. Before the symptoms got too bad, we did happen to make it to Zoofari and a zip line tour. 

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the associate editor of Piedmont Parent and author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 

Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
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Copyright 2016 Michele Bare

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