Tuesday, June 12, 2012

And then I turned yellow . . .

Well I guess I really need to get back in here and update my continuing health saga.

I was back to work with my broken ankle on Monday, May 28.  Then Tuesday I thought my skin looked a little yellow.  It was definitely itchy starting on Sunday or Monday.  On Wednesday my skin was definitely yellow and so were the whites of my eyes.  After work my DH and I headed to urgent care.

Urgent care finally managed to get preliminary blood results that showed my liver enzymes were elevated.  My veins are thin, deep, and they wiggle - so it took about five tries to get a good stick.  Ouch.

Urgent care sent me to the ER at the hospital in Calgary that specializes in all the abdominal surgeries (liver, gallbladder, pancreas, stomach etc).  Of course it was impossible to get an ultra sound to help with a diagnosis and we ended up discharged and back at home in bed at 3:00am. 

Thursday (May 31), I started the day with an appointment for my ankle.  Then way up to the NE part of the city for the ultra sound.  After a lot of waiting and poking and prodding we were back in the ER and then more waiting and finally admitted to the hospital.

Apparently I had a lot of gallstones and fragments that had blocked the tube from my liver to my intestines, so all the bile was leaching into my skin.

Friday I got my first ERCP (Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography).   A flexible camera (endoscope) is inserted through the mouth, down the esophagus into the stomach, through the pylorus into the duodenum where the ampulla of Vater (the opening of the common bile duct and pancreatic duct) exists.  They also trawled the common bile duct with a basket or balloon to remove gallstones and inserted a plastic stent to assist the drainage of bile.

They don’t put you under full anesthetic for it – it’s called conscious sedation – but I was fine, at first.  Later I was in a lot of pain, got some morphine, and then I was so nauseous and dry heaving until the Gravol kicked in.

Monday  I finally got surgery to remove my gallbladder.  They also inserted a camera through an incision into the common duct and removed more stones.

Tuesday they did my second ERCP.  Ugh.  My insides were still so irritated from surgery and the first procedure.  This time I was practically awake for the whole thing and I kept gagging and fighting the restraints.  

Then Friday they did a third ERCP and I was discharged.  It was still a horrible procedure.  They just can’t seem to get me sedated enough.  

After all that there is still one stone caught up high in the duct really close to the liver.  But they are giving me a break and I go back for a 4th ERCP on July 10.

Now I have 5 small incisions that are healing well along with a drain that is still helping to clear the bile from my system.  It is weird to have a tube coming out of my body.  

I am not taking any pain meds, just finding it hard to get comfortable at night and sleep.  It is nice to be able to eat food again.  I had two days of clear fluids in the hospital (Wed and Thurs) and one night where I got to eat toast with jam (Sunday) - but other than that it was only IV fluids.

Cast clinic appointment on Thursday morning.  Appointment with the surgeon on Friday and hopefully he removes my drain.


  1. Oh my goodness you have been through a bunch. Prayers that everything clears up and you are good to go!

  2. OMG... that is a huge old mess of suckage! I'm so sorry that you're going through all this, and I'm praying that things improve and you heal quickly.