Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I have a dilemma...

Last fall I wrote about my galbladder going crazy and causing immense amounts of pain. A few of you chimed in, unfortnunately had felt the pain yourselves and suggested I have it removed. My doctor suggests the same thing. As does anyone else I come in contact with who has had gall stones.

The problem started in August, went to the ER, they gave me some meds (nothing touches the pain by the way) and sent me home to follow up with my regular doc. I didn't. I suffered through periodic attacks and then one day in early November about 15 minutues into an attack I felt a flutter and the pain was instantly gone. For 4 months I have not had issues with my gall bladder.

Then, Friday night I ate some spicy chinese food and BOOM ... it was back. During those 4 mos I had other spicy foods but this night something about that chinese food set off the pain. It was the worst one I had ever had. Since then I've had a couple more, went to the doctor Monday and ended up in the ER again last night - there goes 6 hours of our lives we can't get back. I did however get an ultrasound and they confirmed that yes, there are indeed stones. Not a surprise. The gall bladder itself is healthy as are all the organs around it, the ducts etc, No swelling, no extra fluids ect. Great health. But still the suggestion is to remove the gall bladder. A healthy organ, removed.

OK, I know I am a stubborn person, and I'm not big on doctors and medicine, but this sounds rather silly to me. I'm struggling with consenting to surgery when I am healthy. I've asked about options to disolve the stones with medicine, nutrition etc and the doctors act like removing it is the only option. I am not convinced yet - for a couple reasons...

Not in any particular order -

reason 1 - I have read about gall bladder flushing. Some of them use olive oil and lemon juice, some make you eat an insane amount of apples, another suggests you soak a piece of flannel wth castor oil, put it on a heating pad over the area and let it soak through your skin into the affected area, another one makes you take a bunch of supplements - lecithin, Vit E and a few other things. I have not tried any of these flushes and do wonder if they would work. There is a down side to flushing - the duct the stones flow through that leads out of the gall bladder gets smaller as it enters the next organ. So depending on the size of the stones depends on how successful the flush is. All of the flushes claim that they soften the stones so this is not an issue. I go back and forth on the risk of this vs the risk of surgery. If a stone gets stuck in the duct it complicates the gall bladder removal surgery. Not something I want to bring on myself, if in fact, I end up doing the surgery.

reason 2 - I believe in divine healing. The Bible says "my people perish for lack of knowledge". Sometimes I wonder just what knowledge we need in certain situations. Obviously I don't want to use my faith as a crutch to get out of surgery just because it scares me and then my gall bladder develops infection and then I have real issues - not that this kind of pain isn't a real issue!! Trust me, I'm ready to never experience it again. And to be able to eat normal food would be nice. I doubt I'll ever go back to red meat or add higher amounts of dairy to my diet. I don't miss them, I have no plans to bring them back to my diet. However, when I eat oatmeal and add a pat of butter I would prefer that severe pain did not ensue after a couple of hours after eating. This is what sent me to the doctor's office Monday afternoon. Yesterday a pancake eaten at 7:30 AM landed me in the ER around 6 PM when after 11 hours of pain I starting vomiting and just couldn't take it anymore. So yes, I am ready for this to be over. But I am still in doubt of surgery.

I truly do not know in this moment if I am being faithless by getting the surgery or stupid for not getting it. I am really struggling with this issue right now. Where is that line of between having faith in God and the knowledge and technology he has given to doctors and having faith in the same God for a divine healing? At what point does your faith become a crutch to get you out of something you don't want to do. Or is that nagging feeling of not wanting surgery a motivator to bring what God may truly want - divine healing. Is that what God truly wants? How do you specifically know God's will in situations where it just seems so unclear.

That's where my thoughts are today. Maybe a theologist is reading this and has some kind of answers.


Jessica said...

First, I'm sorry to hear of your pain. It struck me when I read this because 2 people I love have recently had their gallbladders removed (both in emergency situations) and since then I've just been hearing/seeing a lot about gallbladders! Maybe a coincidence... But I was going to say if you let it go too long, you will most likely end up in an emergency situation yourself where the gallbladder becomes septic and it can kill you if it ruptures. Secondly, I'm by no means a theologist. Far, far from it. I'm actually a kindergartner when it comes to God's Word. But me advice, for what it's worth would be to quit thinking and trying to rationalize your thoughts. Try praying, a lot. And then meditate, so that you can have enough quiet time in your day to hear what God has to say.

I pray that God gives you the conviction to be able to make the best choice for your health and the confidence to make it without any second guesses.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry your struggling with this. I truly hope you can come to a solution that leaves you well, both emotionally and physically. My thoughts go out to you.

Palomita said...

Shelly, I have been a lurker of your blog for a while (found your awesome work on Etsy - hopefully will order some soon). I, too, have had gall-bladder issues in the past, and also REALLY didn't want to have surgery (even though multiple memebers of my family have had it removed.) I haven't ever tried one of the cleanses, but did follow some of the advice found on this website:

Lots of good ideas for recipes/teas, etc that help to cleanse the body more gently than the full blown olive oil/juice flushes, which the author (an acupuncturist and trained in traditional Oriental medicine), does not recommend when in a full-blown attack.

Good luck - I share your faith that God can lead us to the answers to most of our health issues. Sometimes the answer is surgery, but I always think trying a less invasive approach first, when possible, is a good thing.

Praying for you.

Mary Marble