Merry Christmas to me? A Health Update


I’m collecting donations of gently used running shoes, clothing, and gear for the track and field athletes at Rhodes Hall High School in Hanover, Jamaica. Donations can be mailed to: Danielle Cemprola, PO Box 26101, Greenville, SC 29616. If you would prefer to donate online, please visit my GoFundMe page! All funds raised will go directly to the team. You can read more about the kids and their incredible stories here.

You may remember that about a week before the Route 66 Marathon, I started feeling really sick and having bad stomach problems again. After having surgery to fix a fault pyloric valve (and cure my chronic acid reflux) back in February 2013, I’ve been fortunate enough to pretty much live issue-free where my reflux and stomach pain is concerned. That surgery was a total game changer for me and completely cured the nausea and reflux I dealt with on a daily basis – until recently. When I started feeling sick again, I put off calling my surgeon for a week – after all, it might be a fluke or go away. It didn’t go away, and he was concerned that the “wrap” (the surgery they did to fix my valve) had burst, so I started undergoing a bunch of tests to see what was going on. I also started eating super conservatively and managed to make it through the Route 66 Marathon none the worse for the wear.

I’m just going to start undergoing monthly full body scans at this point

The first tests showed that my wrap was still in tact – great news, because while the wrap will have to be redone eventually (every 10-15 years is the standard), it’s not a fun surgery and I didn’t really want to experience it again less than 3 years later. I had to postpone a few more tests until after I came back from Jamaica (but let’s be honest, who would choose a medical test over a trip to Jamaica?), but I was able to finally get some tests done on my gall bladder in mid December. Since my wrap wasn’t the problem, my surgeon felt certain that my gall bladder was, based on the symptoms I was describing and the fact that both my dad and my younger brother have already had to have their gall bladders taken out. I’m so glad that I inherited every single bad gene possible from my family!

Long story short – yup, it’s my gall bladder, and it needs to come out. My surgeon called to deliver that news on Christmas Eve…Merry Christmas to me!


Of course, there is no such thing as a “gall bladder emergency,” because a faulty gall bladder has never killed anyone. It’s really a matter of how long I can deal with the discomfort and pain and how frequent the attacks get. For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling better, and that’s in line with these kinds of issues; you have attacks and then get better, then have more attacks. Therefore, surgery is only as imminent as I want it to be. I don’t have to have it taken out tomorrow, or even next month. It’s up to me to choose how long I feel like living with the situation, and who knows? I might stubbornly stick it out for years just because I’m sick of hospitals and co-pays. Meh, who am I kidding?

…but still. Still, I find myself frustrated and annoyed. Despite my best attempts to beat my genetics back with the stick of healthy eating and exercise, I have failed. It’s hard to explain, but I also feel guilty in a way. AJ never has any kind of health problems. Now, granted, he never goes to the doctor, so he may have problems we don’t know about, but aside from allergies, he’s fine. Therefore, we spend no money on keeping his body in working order. Me on the other hand? That’s a different (and much more expensive) story. No matter what kind of surgery you’re having, it’s never cheap, even with good insurance. I hate the idea that we’re spending money that we’re working so hard to save on me…again. Yeah, I know it’s a medical issue, and yeah, I know it’s not my fault. I guess I’m just sick of being the one with all the problems all the time, and I was really hoping I could make it just one year without a major health issue. So close, 2015, and yet, so far.

Yeah, who could have seen this coming? GEEEEZZZ

I’m trying not to feel too sorry for myself, though. It’s not an emergency, and right now, I feel ok. I will probably have the surgery sometime in the spring, mostly because I don’t want to have gall bladder issues while I’m on any of my big trips for next year (that post is coming soon!). It’s a short recovery, so it will be ok. Maybe 2017 will be the year of total health? UGH. In the meantime, I’m just grateful it’s not something worse and that my wrap didn’t burst. Knowing what the problem is means that the problem can be fixed, and that’s a huge blessing. Who needs a gall bladder anyway?

16 thoughts on “Merry Christmas to me? A Health Update

  1. Have you seen the Scrubs episode with the guy asking about his gall bladder? If not, watch it immediately, and you will have something to laugh about. In short, you will be saying “gwall blaaadddah” henceforth. I’m sorry that you are dealing with this, but I’m glad that it appears to be fixable. You and I both inherited all the fun cards from our families. But we have mean poker faces and we will win in the end. Cliche, sure, but get over it (the fact that it is a cliche). I’m giving up Boston, after all of this–I’ve reinjured and so will be on crutches for the forseeable future. But we’ll get through it all.
    We don’t have any other choice, right?

    1. I have not! I have watched embarrassingly few episodes of Scrubs, but it sounds like I need to check it out. I have been given a lot of hilarious gall bladder-related humor recommendations, which is a niche I did not know existed until now.

  2. I totally get what you’re saying … only in our family it is my poor wife who has GI and bone and allergy and other issues – but is generally OK. But we hate having to spend so much money – my thyroid issue requires a blood test every year, which is money. And the full cardiac workup a couple of years ago? More money.

    I think what bugs us the most is that when we were having kids we had amazing health care that simply doesn’t exist anymore … when Chris was born he had two trips to the NICU, and Lisa was in the hospital for 2 weeks including visits with the chief of surgery and so on. We never even SAW a bill … let alone paid a single $.

    Now I go for an annual physical and between co-pays, blood work and so on I am paying at least $50! For a wellness check … ugh.

    Anyway … I am GLAD it is ‘just’ the gall bladder and not something related to your other surtgery.

    1. Ugghhhh that is crazy! I know everything used to be cheaper, but it just seems like insurance gets worse and worse every year. I’m very fortunate to have great insurance (relatively speaking) but no matter how good your insurance is, it seems like nothing is cheap anymore!

    1. Very true! And I love and trust my surgeon so I know I am in good hands. Just annoying that it has to happen in the first place!

  3. I had my gallbladder out when I was 16. Those attacks were the worst pain ever! The surgery is super easy though and shouldn’t put you out of commission for too long!

    1. Thank you! That is good to know! I can’t believe you were so young when you got yours out – that is crazy! I thought my brother was young at 27.

  4. No, you don’t need a gall bladder. My son was 18 when he began having terrible stomach pain and after many trips to the ER, no doctor ever thought his gall bladder was the problem since he was young, fit, slim and very healthy. Unfortunately he also had bad genes, both my parents had their gall bladders removed. The surgery was SO fast and he has no scars whatsoever, (laser surgery). He was back on the mountains, snowboarding 3 days later. Don’t suffer with the pain. <3

    1. That’s crazy that he had to have his out when he was so young! I think my dad was in his mid-30s and my brother was 27. I just turned 30, so I guess right in the middle! I’m not too worried about the pain or recovery, just more annoyed that I have to have it out in the first place, haha!

  5. BALAARGGGGGGG. That is so so frustrating. BUT, I suppose the silver lining is that you’re not having any of your old issues flare back up and instead are having new issues. In my sad state of affairs, that is indeed good news. PLUS, gall bladders are pretty useless anyway, so good to have it out!! (My definition of useless is if you can not have it and just take a pill instead.)

    1. That is definitely true – gotta look on the bright side! I totally agree, gall bladders seem pretty useless. It’s kind of like you don’t even know that you have one until it hurts! I guess your knee isn’t getting any better 🙁 I’m so sorry, I really wish it was.

  6. If you need to get the gall bladder out, it’s better to do it when you’re not having symptoms. Laproscopic surgery is simpler when there’s not inflammation and the gall bladder is less swollen and tender. I’d you still have your appendix, the surgeon will probably take that also. Good luck and hope our paths will cross soon!

    1. Funny you mention that – I do not have my appendix anymore! I got appendicitis back in 2008 and it had to come out. Too bad, I could have gotten a two-fer!

  7. New blog look! I like it.
    I had my gall bladder out in 2005 after spending 6 months in extreme pain if I ate anything other than plain yogurt. I think I took a week off from running for my recovery. The laproscopic surgery was pretty easy to deal with. All in all, it wasn’t a very traumatic event. Good luck with the surgery and recover quickly!

    1. Thank you! I am still working out some kinks which is why I hadn’t officially announced it yet, although I guess it kind of announces itself!

      Thank you for sharing your story! That sounds absolutely awful! I’m not so worried about the recovery, just more annoyed that yet another thing has failed in my body, haha! I am not sure yet when I will do the surgery, but probably some time in the next few months.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *