About two years ago, I had what I thought was a kidney stone attack.

Once a month for several months, I was doubled over in pain, nauseated and throwing up. But that “kidney stone” wouldn’t pass.

Turns out I had the right ailment but in the wrong organ: It was gallstones.

Gallstones seem to be an epidemic right now. I’ve known young men with the problem, women my age, younger women, older women. Once mine is removed, my whole department at work will be gallbladder-free. I’ve heard of so many gallbladder problems it almost sounds as though it’s a trendy surgery like getting a facelift or a tummy tuck.

I finally realized I had some sort of gallbladder problem after I’d swallowed about half a bottle of over-the-counter stomach medicine one night. I could feel the pink, chalky liquid coating my stomach as it claimed it would. But I felt the need for relief about 2 inches higher and 3 inches to the right.

When I saw my doctor, I said, “I’ll tell you what I’ve diagnosed myself as having and you tell me if I’m right.”

I told her all my symptoms and she agreed that I probably had a gallbladder problem. After some testing, we found that I had several small gallstones.

“But let’s not schedule surgery yet,” she said. “Maybe you can control it with a low-fat diet.”

I’ve never controlled anything with a low-fat diet and don’t expect to.

However, I continued carrying those stones around, every now and then having what I call a severe attack and generally feeling nauseated all the time.

In a few months, I was ready for surgery but reality wasn’t ready for me to have it.

My husband began having pains that would lead to six months of suffering from, and dying of, cancer. My health was on the back burner for all that time and, miraculously, my suffering was minimal. After his death, though, the gallstones started knocking around again, and I was ready to follow my accurate diagnosis with a little home-style surgery.

Fortunately, it hasn’t come to that.

I returned to my doctor and told her I was ready to part with my stones and gallbladder.

Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. I’m as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve.

You’d think I was getting a nose job.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.


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