the Gus that keeps on taking

I wasn’t going to write about this, but something happened this afternoon that brought up some stuff for me today.

So, if you’ve been reading my blog, you probably know that I had emergency surgery around Easter.  My gall bladder (Gus) had decided to throw a hissy fit, and welp–I was in extreme pain.  I’d been in a lot of pain and discomfort for a while.  I think it was going on for years, to some degree.  In any case, it was an emergency surgery, and my doctor said it was the worst gall bladder he’d ever seen.

Yep.  I’m even an overachiever when it comes to infected gall bladders.

Since then, I’ve had lots of side effects–but, mostly, I’ve weathered all of it surprisingly well.  I actually feel better now than I have over the last four years (no joke).  My entire relationship with food and, well, everything has changed.  It’s kind of ridiculous.  But all of it?  Things I desperately needed to happen.  I’m so stubborn that I had to have a near-death experience to make me “come to Jesus.”

I’m much healthier now, though I keep having strange things happening.  Things I never dealt with before.  When I think I know what’s happening and how to make things okay, the rug is pulled out from under me.  I’ve mostly taken it in stride.  But some things just flat-out suck.

Recently, I started getting ridiculous migraines like clockwork around 2 pm every single day.  We’re talking the type that makes you go to bed to get away from noise and light and everything.  I also started getting really terrible acid reflux and nausea.  Now, these two things are old hat for me.  Keep in mind I was taking every stomach remedy known to man before my surgery–just to live without constant pain.  So, this stuff is actually nothing to me.  But it was happening every damn day.

I just had a bunch of tests done because of my rapid pulse and weird BP readings at my doc’s the last few visits.  Everything–even my thyroid (!)–came back normal.  I’m literally in the best health of my life according to my blood work.  So what the heck is going on?

I don’t feel bad, really.  Just amazingly tired.  Still.  I get bursts of energy, but then I have to rest.

I started thinking about how my body processes things now.  When they removed Gus, basically it all landed on my liver’s lap.  I did some research, and as best as I can tell, my liver’s congested.  Literally, every single symptom on the list?  I have them all.  That freaked me out.  My father died because his liver gave up.  I don’t get a do over if I mess up my liver.  So, for me, it brought home–in really short order–that I need to baby my liver.

I did more research and came across some stuff on aruyvedic medicine–something I’m a little familiar with.  I’m Pitta, and all signs point to me being way too Pitta right now.  Which makes absolute sense to me.  I think, after my surgery, I was really low on Pitta.  I started craving things that increase Pitta big time.  And like always, I overdid it.  I knew I overdid it, too, because there was a big shift–and the headaches/nausea started.  So, now, I seem to be too Pitta–which means my liver’s congested and I’m out of balance.  The advice?  More sleep, exercise, and cooling foods.  Avoiding things that increase pitta like spice and acid.  I need to soothe myself.  My body, always on it, was already craving exactly what I was supposed to increase and completely rejecting what I was supposed to decrease.

I’m going to start swimming once my thumb is more healed, and I see my naturopath on Monday.  So, I’ll likely be doing some acupuncture, and I’m planning on a trip to the mountains after my appointment–with some back to nature embracing.  All of these things should bring me back to balance.

But the stomach stuff was not the cause of my freakout today.

Nope.  It was my hair.

Now, I’m not vain about most things.  But I’m totally proud of my hair.  I have great hair.  I finally got it back to my natural color, recently.  It’s finally a decent length after that unfortunate pixie.  And it’s thicker than anyone I know.  Hair stylists always comment on it.  I have a huge head of hair.  It’s something that, honestly, has always defined me.  It’s also a security blanket and a way to express myself.

I started noticing some “shedding” after my surgery.  No one tells you about this.  Especially if you’re a woman.  Because sometimes, it doesn’t happen.  Why worry the girl?

And it wasn’t much.  But today, as I was adjusting my ponytail, I literally came up with a palmful of strands.  And then I saw more next to me.  They weren’t there overnight.

And every time I ran my fingers through my hair, more–dozens more–came with it.

I panicked.  I must be very ill.  Only very ill people lose their hair like this.  I remember Mama saying she had really thick hair as a girl, and as an adult, her hair got very thin.  Was this my genetics coming for me?  Did I dye my hair one too many times?  Was it stress or my liver?  Maybe I’m vitamin deficient.  But I’ve been eating pretty well.  It’s not the thyroid.  The tests would have come back abnormal.

So what is it?

Like I’ve done probably a million times over the course of the last two months, I took to Google and entered “hair loss and gallbladder surgery.”  And, bingo–there it was.  Apparently 2-3 months after surgery, most people have pretty significant hair loss.  It’s called something specific–but, basically, it’s due to severe trauma and stress.  And it lasts 8 (!) months.

Holy crap.

I read, with increasing worried, as woman after woman talked about how the worst was six months in.  How some of them almost felt bald.

Now, I have a lot of hair, but–if I lose this much hair every day–I will be bald by Christmas.

Luckily, if that’s the only thing wrong with you, the hair eventually comes back.  And given how fast my hair grows, that’s comforting.  I can take iron.  I can see my dermatologist (my check-up’s coming due soon anyway).  I can mention it to my naturopath.

It’s not cancer.  It’s not some awful disease.  It will get better.

It’s hair.

But it’s MY hair.

It’s one of the things that make me “me.”  It’s one of the few things I’ve always felt confident about.  Something that makes me pretty.  I’d be a really sad bald woman, though bald women are amazing and beautiful.

Yep…I am that vain.

I decided to go into denial that it was happening.  I just won’t comb my hair.  I’ll just wear it in a pony and wear many hats until this whole thing stops.

And keep a mini-vac handy.

God, this sucks.

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2 thoughts on “the Gus that keeps on taking

  1. Ooooh, girl. When I had the brain aneurysm coiled, the one side effect the DID NOT tell me about was that the entire SIDE of my head was going to lose hair. What the hey-hey?! Why don’t they tell us these things before surgery?? Finding out the hard way makes it a MILLION times worse. Here’s to feelin’ better and healthy livers!

    • I’m glad mine seems to be all over my head, but–man–it’s disconcerting to see your hair fall out like that. I’m feeling better every day, but I think it’ll be a while before I feel normal. I’m glad to know I’m on the other side!

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