Gallstones can cause complications in the gallbladder, liver, pancrease, or the ducts around those organs - depending on where a stone gets lodged
It has been an event-filled week, without being busy. Why? Because I have had appointments and medication changes but haven't done much else - been focusing on me and what I need to do to get back to 100%.
When I wrote last Sunday, I was having a lot of issues with anxiety. It hasn't gone away completely, but it has been much better overall this week, and for that I am thankful. More on that in a minute.
I went to see the gallbladder surgeon on Monday. I talked a lot to both the doctor and the resident there, both of whom I liked decently. From their point of view it is pretty straight forward - they recommend surgery (laparoscopic) to everyone who has any kind of problem that they think likely related to sludge/stones in the gallbladder. So it didn't matter to them that my symptoms are "minor" - the only time they recommend pills (the only alternative treatment) to people for gall stones are if they are not strong enough to go through surgery.
But I became interested in the pills when I learned from a fellow cystic that she had been on the medicine (Actigall) for years and hadn't needed surgery. And I had learned from Dr. C, my CF doc, that many people with CF are on Actigall as a preventative (it's supposed to help break down stones and prevent new ones from forming.)
The drawbacks to Actigall, according to the surgeon, were 1) It's expensive 2) I'd likely have to be on it for the rest of my life. I guess surgery is supposed to seem like a piece of cake compared to these things?? For one, it's not expensive - it comes in generic and the full price for a 3-month supply was $170 (I paid $30). Secondly, has this guy seen my sheet of meds? It is literally almost an entire page of stuff...stuff that I will have to be on for the rest of my life.
So the surgeons did not convince me, at least not for now. I want to try the Actigall and see how it goes. (The surgeons weren't opposed to my proposed plan.) However, these guys did make me feel like I would be in good hands if things got worse - and they very well may - but there is just no way to tell. And I don't feel confident enough that they will to take the plunge into surgery now.
Whew! That is a load off my mind. I hope between the Actigall and some tweeks in my diet, I will be good to go.
Speaking of my mind... I went to see a psychiatrist on Wednesday. Throughout my life, starting in childhood, I have been to various councilors. But this was, I think, my first real deal shrink with a prescription pad! His name is Dr. M and he is retired from UNC in private practice. He seemed very laid back, level-headed, soft spoken. I told him about all that is going on in my life right now...I cried some...nothing abnormal.
When he was trying to determine whether or not I am depressed right now, the first thing he asked was how had I been sleeping? I laughed. Sleeping has been a complete debacle for the last two weeks in our house...I ended up on the couch about half the nights because I would wake up from Todd's snoring in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep. One is NOT getting a good night's sleep if they are 1) waking up 2) laying there for an unspecified amount of time trying to fall back to sleep, all the while (sorry, Todd) cursing their snoring partner and 3) eventually having to go make up the couch to sleep on and reset a different alarm. So yeah, I failed that question. Or passed with flying colors, depending on your perspective.
How about my appetite? Meh - been terrible, but that's mostly because of the antibiotics, I think. Have I been crying more than usual? Uh, yes. I had a meltdown in the office of the new head of our department two days earlier (don't worry - it was totally fine, she is a very caring and understanding woman. But, it's evidence that I am really overwhelmed.)
I left Dr. M's office feeling a lightness that I hadn't felt for a while; and wondering why the hell I hadn't thought of going there sooner. I also left with three prescriptions - an antidepressant (Welbutrin, which I was on for a year about 7 years ago), a new med for anxiety (swapped out Valium for Xanex), and something to help me sleep (trazadone). So much starts with a good night's sleep - I have to get that under control for my brain to normalize again.
I started the Wellbutrin on Thursday and it's making me a little *nuts* (very speedy feeling during the day) - so far I've been able to deal with it, though. I know it will get better. And it hasn't led to any anxiety, thankfully. In fact, I've not used the Xanex except to help me get to sleep, so that is good. If you're wondering why I haven't been using the trazadone for sleep, it's because when I got home and looked it up, I found out it is an antidepressant that is used "off-label" for sleep. For some folks, it's a miracle drug - non habit forming, you can take it as needed, it's cheap. But I didn't want to throw that into the mix since I am already feeling odd with the Wellbutrin and still getting used to Xanex.
So that was basically my week - interspersed with waxing and waning on needing IVs or not. My lungs are still doing pretty well, but I had a couple of "yuck" days (no fevers, though) - but I began to wonder if I couldn't remedy that with some good nights of sleep and, frankly, being less depressed. So I push on...