Recently in Gallbladder Category

At last...

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UPDATE
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Runner Susan featured my artwork in her Holiday Gift article at completerunning.com! How awesome is that?! Thank you, Runner Susan!
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I bought a new computer tonight, yay!

It's amazing how the comments trail off when one doesn't have the ability to comment on others' blogs!

I missed my two-year blog-o-versary on Nov 10!

Okay, waaay too many exclamation marks there. I'm just excited to be blogging from home at 10 pm.

It's defninte: a sinus infection. I'm on antibiotics and am feeling a bit better. I ran one day, but not the other. Am doing well.

I'm totally ready for the busy holiday season (including Ash's birthday), although I feel quite overwhelmed. I think I'm just PMSing. Running tomorrow and Friday, Christmas party Friday night, followed by a wicked-ass hike on Saturday (gotta prep for ZG's steepness!). Rest on Sunday. Another Christmas party on Tuesday, then Ash's birthday party, then Ash's birthday itself, followed immediately by our vacation, which ends on Dec 24, just in time for Ash to be whisked away to his dad's family's activities for Christmas eve/morning, then back to me for my family's Christmas day festivities, then I go back to work as Ash goes on vacation with his dad, then the New Year, then back to school for Ash. Enough running in there to have a few 20+ mile weeks, and after the new year comes major training, woo hoo!

Hello Party Photos

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As I sit here sipping my cinnamon hazelnut coffee, with the morning sun hidden behind gray clouds and my son curled up on his toddler-size couch contentedly watching a favorite movie, I am happy and grateful to have such awesome friends and family. My hello party last night was a resounding success (at least from my point of view!). Great food, great friends, great family, fun time.

Angie enjoys her newfound freedom of food!

Before the party, I managed to get the clutter around my house cleaned up, get rid of a few leftover boxes from moving, and together, Johnny and I finally hung all our pictures/artwork/photos on the walls - which feels good too, and makes our place more homey.

Kiera, Haiden and Finn came over, and Mike stopped by after work. My mom, step-dad, sister (Kate), brother-in-law (Josh), their kids (Lily, Taylor, Isaak, Kendall), friend Elaine and her hubby Nate, and Irene (Amari) and her daughter Ariana all joined Johnny, Ash and I in the celebration.

Mama makes SOS
Mama makes SOS

Irene (Amari) and Elaine
Irene and Elaine

Nate and Johnny
Nate and Johnny

Kate with Taylor, Lily and Isaak
My sister, Kate, with three of her kids (Taylor, Lily and Isaak)

An array of food

The food? In addition to the virtual food (thanks guys!), we had incredibly buttery and chocolatey brownies, my mom's SOS (hamburger gravy over rice, a favorite from childhood), Taco Bell burritos and tacos, mini mint-chocolate cheesecakes topped with chocolate, french silk pie, doritos and Nate's homebrew. Yummy. Johnny started things off by bringing me an "appetizer" from Jack in the Box - a double bacon cheeseburger and fries. What a husband.

Angie bites into a previously forbidden food

Kids galore

Ash always has a little difficultly with large, loud crowds, but it was even worse with no nap and the large, loud crowd was at *his* house, playing with *his* toys. We tried to do the whole "special toys that others won't play with" but it didn't really work. So there were quite a few meltdowns, which I was expecting. But considering this was the first time we ever had a party at our house, I think he did well! We never had room at previous places we lived; this is the first larger place. I think he'll just get better as he gets older and more used to it. He did take some great pictures of Haiden, and at the end of the night, he was really enjoying one-on-one time with Ariana. I thought it was pretty cute that within 5 minutes of Haiden arriving, they had started a band. Such musical kids!

Marching Band

The rest of the photos.

Coming up this week: I officially start training for my 50-miler and a review of Accelerade.

It's Party-Time!

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Hello Invite
The "hello" party is today! Friends and family will be gathering at my house to celebrate my new-found freedom of choice in what I can eat. Join in the fun - bring a "virtual" dish and leave it in the comments :)

This morning, Kiera and I went out for a heart-pounding, fun flying run at Sabino, followed by scones and triple mocha espresso "kiera-ccinos". Yummy. The run was fantastic - exactly why I love running. Flying over the trails, feeling my body move. On the way over, singing at the top of my lungs to Concrete Blonde, I noticed the sun beaming through the valley between Agua Caliente Hill and the Catalinas. Blue silhouettes and mountain shadows reawakened the yearning in me for a long run. Feeling my body move through the desert, up into the mountains, for hours. The peace and joy it brings. Then I stepped out of my car into Tucson's heat, and I was glad to only be going out for 45 minutes. (But it wasn't too muggy this morning - I was actually able to keep my car windows down on the way home and stay pretty cool.)

The party today marks the end of my gallbladder surgery recovery, and the beginning of my training. Time to start getting serious! Yay

(Anne posted a link to this hilariously awesome video of treadmill ballet by ok go. I loved it (as did Ash), so I'm sharing.)

Details

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The boys are up on Mt. Lemmon, and I'm supposed to be reading and/or napping. But I drank caffeine this morning (for the first time since the surgery) and my attention span is non-existent. My VCR chose this morning to stop working. I've been playing around on the computer, looking for various blog templates and I've also been attempting to create a new header. Yeah, didn't work. I'm not an artist. I can't use paintshop pro. I tried to make a cake, and it turned out really really crappy. The bread machine is almost done creating a loaf from the ingredients I put in three hours ago...let's hope that turned out okay. I did the dishes this morning, and the clean laundry sitting in my room is calling to me. Geez, can you tell I don't like to take it easy? But my abdomen is telling me I need to relax. I probably really should nap, but I just can't. So you all get an epic blog post instead.

I wanted to write out all the details of my surgery as a story, but once again, that short attention span won't let me. Here are a few of the things that are still ringing inside my head from the experience:

Spencer was a nice nurse who got my IV hooked up in the pre-op room. He joked with me and had a very reassuring presence.

I really liked Dr. Brick, the anesthesiolgist, because her Asian-American/New York accent was so melodic to listen to, and she loved running at Sabino Canyon, just like I do. Plus she went nuts over the fact that I lost weight on the anti-Aktins diet.

I hated waiting for so long, so hungry, for the surgery to start. I highly recommend getting a morning surgery!

As they wheeled me into the operating room, I remember seeing major metal appliances and a gian metal light (not turned on) before I conked out. I'm pretty sure I said something along the lines of "giant metal aliens!" a la Chicken Little.

When I awoke after the surgery, it was bad. I was shivering; I couldn't stop shivering. My body was convulsing. It was scary and didn't feel good at all. I didn't want to wake up. I think I knew where I was, but I was a little confused about why I was so cold. All I could tell the nurses was, "I'm cold. So cold." They wheeled me out of there rather quickly. It seemed like too quickly, but that meant I got to see my mom sooner.

When they brought me back out to the room where I awaited surgery, my mama was there waiting for me. I pointed to me headed a few times, and she got the point - she came over and began rubbing my head. She must have done that for hours. One of my favorite memories from childhood is her rubbing my head while I slept during the night church service.

I had no vomiting at all. I got pretty dizzy when I tried to sit up the first time, and when I tried to stand for the first time. So I just went right back down to horizontal. But still, the nurses all said I bounced back really quickly.

There was an odd blonde nurse who was a riot, and I really enjoyed. She was so strange! But she snuck my mom into the pre-op room, and made me laugh when she was taking me there and back.

I have really loved the napping I've done during recovery. Really truly loved it. I'm not normally a nap kind of person, but it has been fantastic these last few days.

I've heard lots of questions regarding keeping my gallbladder. So many, in fact, I had the following conversation with a nurse the day before my surgery:
Nurse: do you have any more questions for me?
Me: well, I have kind of a strange one...what exactly happens with my gallbladder after they take it out?
Nurse: um, well, they take it, and, um, biopsy it.
Me: oh.
Nurse: I don't know if it's required by law, but I suppose they could take just a portion to biopsy. Why? Did you want to keep it?! [somewhat incredulously]
Me: oh, I just have about 10 friends wondering about keeping it in a jar.
Nurse: um, I suppose if you really wanted to do that, I could look into it. But...
Me: uh, no worries.
Both of us: burst into laughter

I had fun watching Running on the Sun, a documentary on Badwater. Kind of cool, since this year's Badwater is in just a couple short weeks, and someone from our trail running group will be participating. Fun!

I also watched Failure to Launch, which had some funny moments (had to hold my gut to keep it from hurting while I laughed), part of Mary Poppins (with Ash, fun!) and before the surgery, I watched the Family Stone, which was good (even though it had Sarah Jessica Parker in it). Read a few novels so far, and would like to read some more (if my attention span would last a little longer...).

I'll be going in to work for a few hours tomorrow morning, then hopefully for most of the day on Wednesday. I don't know what I'm going to wear - I don't have any nice, loose clothing! It's all comfortable, but cut close to my body. Hmph.

I'm hoping to be off the painkillers by Friday.

The loaf of bread just finished, and it looks like it actually turned out (the first thing today, woo hoo!).

I've had my chocolate milk (yummy), and other than the Taco Bell and a few bites of some donuts, I've eaten very healthy. I've received many comments about making sure I don't over do it, and want to reassure everyone that I won't! I felt ready to take my gallbladder out, because I am ready to handle making sure I stay healthy all by myself, without my gallbladder or something else beyond my control calling the shots. I'm going to eat some fatty foods in this next month, because it's been so long - if I don't allow myself to eat these foods in moderation over the next little while, I'll end up binging on them and gaining all 70 lbs back - which is NOT the point! So, my strategy is to give myself the freedom to eat fatty foods in moderation in this next little while, without guilt. Then, it'll be back to my regular eating habits (which I've pretty much stuck to since the surgery anyway, it just feels better). Training for a 50-miler will definitely help keep the pounds at bay!

My new goal in life: to stay healthy and to develop as an ultrarunner. I don't have to spend my extra energy on a sick gallbladder, on making sure that wherever I go there is food I can eat. I don't have to worry about the aid stations anymore. I can focus now - focus on training, on eating what I want (without uncontrollable repurcussions).

I've already begun to look at training. I'm going to continue to walk each day, as I have been, to get myself back into the swing of things. Once I feel stronger, I'll try a run. Not sure when exactly that will be...

I'm pretty sure I had more to say, but I can't think of it.

Have fun, run strong, run long!

After two years...

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Angie's first real post-surgery meal...

Taco Bell.

Cheese.

Wow.

When the doctor came out to talk to my mom about the surgery, he told her that I had “a VERY sick gallbladder” (he said that twice). Wow! I got more details from the anesthesiologist (we bonded over love of running and Sabino Canyon) later – it was very inflamed and soft. So it wasn’t all in my head (like I was afraid of) and the part of me that thought all my extra energy was going to my gallbladder was right! It really was sick!

Surgery went well. They said I wasn’t a typical gallbladder patient. They were surprised at how well I bounced back, and also what a heathy weight I was at (most gallbladder patients are overweight – which is why they need the surgery in the first place, since obesity is the number one cause of gallbladder problems). When I explained that I used to weigh 70 pounds more (back when I was diagnosed), they were shocked. The anesthesiologist was especially shocked when she heard how I did it – all carbs, all the time.

I couldn’t sleep this morning (just not tired), so it’s 5:45 and I’m awake. Johnny and Ash are sleeping. I’m a little nauseous and definitely sore, so I took a vicodin, which should take effect shortly. I wanted chocolate milk and low-fat ice cream, but the nurses told me “no dairy” until tonight or tomorrow. Oh well.

Oh man, after they drugged me, they wheeled me into the surgery room and the only thing I remember is how metal and alien-like everything looked. I’m sure I said something before I conked out.

And that STORM yesterday!!!! I can’t even begin to describe what it was like to drive to St. Joe’s in the flooded streets of Tucson. Kept trying to find another, drier way, but every street was flooded – even the large ones!! And the water was up over the edges of the sidewalks. Real flooding. It was sort of scary. But fun. Took my mind off things!

Michelle sent me a card (thank you Michelle!!!) that I really loved. The front says, "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the rist it took to blossom." -Anais Nin That is so powerful to me! (plus the card is pink :) )

I want to give a shout-out to all my homies in da hood who have given me such love and support: Elaine (miss goddess of estrogen) for lending me the Jesus figurine (running gag in our office - when something breaks, bring the Jesus over); Paki for making me run one last time, for giving me big hugs before I left and listening to my incoherent rambling late last night after the surgery while she was at a ballgame; Kiera for an awesome recovery T-shirt (picture to come soon) and great books/dvd/videos to borrow while recovering in addition to good recommendations for authors/books; Olga, for a great conversation last week that helped alleviate my fears and for promising that she's coming out for OP50; Michelle for the "surprise" card (she e-mailed Johnny for our address so she could surprise me, but I always read Johnny's mail! Hey, it doesn't help that he set his e-mail account as our homepage) and also for giving me all the details I needed to know about gallbladder surgery; my mama for coming down from Mesa to help out so Johnny and Ash didn't have to wait for 9 hours in the hospital and also for the hours of rubbing my head she gave me last night as I woke up; my boss for giving me a great pep talk using running metaphors (think of the finish line!) before I left for surgery; my boys for all their love and support; Kimmy, who offered unlimited support this weekend if I needed anything; Laura, for giving me lots of surgery info and offering a good-luck angel; and all my coworkers for such great support. Oh YEAH - AND all of YOU for all your support and encouragement!!!

Whew! My tummy hurts, so I'm off to the couch to rest.

Ang's Surg

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Angie is done with surgery,but her mom hasn't seen her yet. The doc said she did well and her gallbladder was definitely sick. Hopefully she'll be home within 2 hours.

On the way to the hospital we got the biggest monsoon rain that I can remember. Every street was a river. Speedway Blvd, a six lane city street was over a foot deep all the way across for almost a mile, with just the outside lanes being flooded for the rest of the road. Our car now has a check engine light on and wouldn't take gas in the tank (kept spitting it back out at me as I tried to fill it up).

Ang just called and said she is hungry! Woo hoo! But she can only eat liquid food tonight :(

UPDATE: She's home after a long time, but doing well. Ate a little ramen soup and drank some juice, then went to bed. She was starting to hurt after she laid down on her back, so I asked her if she could lay on her side. She could lay on one side and it felt better. She is asleep now. She'll be online tomorrow. goodnight, johnny

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