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A Fairly Unreliable Medical Primer

I knew that we were kindred spirits when I sent out a tweet asking if anyone knew how to exorcise an anti-Christ gallbladder and Stephanie from Talking Is My Primary Function, reached out and said:

“Kim, I know.”

She had one too.

Don’t worry, they’re not catchy like herpes.

I met Stephanie through #PPDChat, a live support group for women with postpartum mood disorders. She is a warrior mom, hilarious, a gifted writer with a heart of gold and has been such an amazing source of strength for me and so many other women.

I am so honoured to have her here today sharing her story of the evil gallbladder.


The first rule of Gallbladder Club is you don’t talk about  Gallbladder Club.  That’s because any talk of gallbladder dysfunction  leads to talk of ‘bathroom’ dysfunction, and no one but your  gastroenterologist and the internets want to hear about that.

Anyway, Gallbladder Club is a terrible club.  You do NOT want to join, but  gallbladders are insidious, and you cannot stop them from their evil  plan to keep you away from popcorn at the movies.  (This was one of the  things my evil gallbladder tried to deny me.  It did not work.  I’d  rather eat popcorn while watching a movie like a normal person and then  bitch about the pain later.)

As you may or may not know, dear  Kimberly is but one more unwilling member of this club.  She has the  added distinction of having a tumor on hers, so she gets a free t-shirt.


No, it is a tumor. God, you never listen.

When I had my gallbladder removed, it was basically the only thing the idiot gastronenterologist could think to do to get me to stop coming to his  office.  He had already put my gallbladder through a testing program  more vigorous than what they put astronauts through before shooting them into space.  I had of course had an endoscopy (tube down my throat) and a colonoscopy (tube up the other end).  I actually had them both the  same day, and I asked the doctor to please do the one in my mouth first, for obvious reasons.  Doctor Asshole told me he found some polyps and  just removed them but not to worry.  Okay, sure.  But it still hurt when I ate anything more exotic than white rice.

I had taken medicine  for ulcers just in case that was the problem.  It wasn’t.  I had this  freaky test where I had to drink approximately 458 gallons of liquid  chalk and then some dude watched it inch its way through my digestive  system.  The only thing I got out of that one was a broken toilet and a  day off work.

My least favorite test was the MRI.  It was actually what I call an Extreme MRI because it required them to shoot nuclear  waste (Or something, I wasn’t listening.) into my body via an IV.  My  veins are bigger jerks than my gallbladder, so this required multiple  stabs before the IV was in place.  Once I was on the table with a needle in my arm about to be shoved into the machine, the nurse tells me that I will have to also hold my breath.  Multiple times.  While not moving  and staring at 2 tons of medical equipment hanging over me.  Also?  My  arms were strapped down over my head.  Being a somewhat wayward  Christian, the only prayer or hymn I could recall was the Our Father,  and I said it in my head 210 times until the Extreme MRI was over.  I’m  pretty sure Doctor Asshole made up that test because he hated me.

Now, I’m sure Kimberly has asked many questions and is fully prepared for  dealing with the aftermath of a gallbladder exorcism.  I did not and was not.  My mother had asked me what would happen after it was removed,  and I told her that I’d be able to eat chicken wings and cheesy fries  again.  She was skeptical.  And smarter than I.

Turns out your  gallbladder is not exactly like your appendix. (Just a little FYI, I  don’t have that anymore either.  Some day I’ll tell you a story of how  it ended up in a bucket with about five inches of my intestines.)

Here is what WebMD says about your friend the gallbladder:

“The gallbladder is a small pouch that sits just under the liver. The  gallbladder stores bile produced by the liver. After meals, the  gallbladder is empty and flat, like a deflated balloon. Before a meal,  the gallbladder may be full of bile and about the size of a small pear.

In response to signals, the gallbladder squeezes stored bile into the  small intestine through a series of tubes called ducts. Bile helps  digest fats, but the gallbladder itself is not essential. Removing the  gallbladder in an otherwise healthy individual typically causes no  observable problems with health or digestion yet there may be a small risk of diarrhea and fat malabsorption.”

Um, how about you change that to a 100% chance?  For six months I lived as I had before, terrified of fatty foods and always on the look-out for the nearest bathroom.  It’s like the ghost of my gallbladder was haunting  me.

Eventually I was able to eat a more regular diet and get back  to shoveling crap into my gaping pie hole to both celebrate the good and cope with the bad.  I can do this with only twice the normal dosage of  antacids, a huge improvement.

I hope this surgery gets Kimberly  back on her feet and downing fatty foods again.  I hope she pees fast  after the procedure so she can get the catheter out.  I hope they give  her good pain meds.  I hope I haven’t cost her more than one or two  readers.

So, I was going to wrap this post up with another Fight Club reference, the “I am Jack’s raging bile duct” quote, and a picture of Edward Norton.  Then I saw this picture of Ed and got distracted. You’re welcome.


See…she is totally amazing.

You can follow Stephanie on her blog Talking Is My Primary Function and on Twitter.

PS. Again Stephanie, so sorry for the mix up on this post. xoxo


  1. Oh boy Stephanie, I knew you were funny, because of twitter but this..
    You had me laughing out, though I completely think it’s inappropriate fro me to laugh about this.

  2. Lindsay Lindsay

    Gallbladder free for 11 years. At 18, I was the youngest patient my doc had ever removed one from. Where’s my gold star? Can I be the secretary of the club?

  3. I have a really strong stomach (not bragging) but I can eat anything without much of a problem. BUT, I will say that with my strong stomach comes a weak tolerance for pain so on the off chance my stomach does feel anything less than perfect, I’m a whiny BEAST. Soooo, my sympathy for you is off the charts!

    Sidenote: My sister in law had a c-section May 13th. Five days later, she went to the ER with severe stomach pains. They told her it was gas and sent her home. Three days later she couldn’t walk, had severe diarrhea and vomiting so she went back to the ER. They did a CT scan and rushed her into emergency surgery removing her appendix, gall bladder, right colon, and a few feet of her intestines. Scared the living shit out of our entire family. I thought of you the whole time. She seems to be doing okay now, but after all you’ve been through, I’m not breathing a sigh of relief for her just yet.

  4. mmmm…edward norton.

    wait. what was this post about?

  5. I didn’t think I’ll ever say this – but you made a story about gallbladders freaking funny, Stephanie!

    Get well soon Kim!

  6. Claire Claire

    oh I had the pleasure of having that test! something about fluorescent dye…that came from a fish or an eel..oh hell, I dont know exactly how the storyline went before they strapped me in and made me hold my breath. fun times though.

  7. Just came back to say, that I am not an idiot. I can type..really I can..Lol!

  8. I’ve had all those tests, the MRI I have annually and can now sleep through them…and I’d never heard of Edward Norton. Thank you for the introduction.

    I’m a member of the no gallbladder club, but my eating doesn’t “end” quite like yours, so hopefully Kim will be back to eating all she has mourned before long.

  9. love edward norton, love fight club… so, how was the surgery anyway, do you feel better?

  10. The photo was so distracting I feel like I’ve forgotten what I was going to say.

    Oh yes, that sounds AWFUL. I never ever want to be a part of your club. I prefer to eat my immense amounts of fatty foods and only be punished by my expanding waistline.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  11. This made me snort with laughter; thanks Stephanie. Kim, hope you recover quickly.

  12. Amy Amy

    I must admit… I laughed… out loud! looking forward to checking out your blog.

    P.S. If I were to EVER get googly faced and Ew ah wala wala bang bang… it would be over Edward Norton… thank you 🙂

    Kimberly, wishing you a speedy recovery!

  13. I had my gallbladder removed. You tell it in a very funny way!!!

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