Day 24: Galling gallbladder (Monday 21 November)

Finally, an uneventful day.

My day consisted of little more than drops, KLT and HiFU on a third tumour. We were ‘home’ by six.

There was some more discussion today about my inflamed gallbladder.

Yesterday I was informed that the HiFU was likely to have caused the inflammation in the gallbladder thus causing my back and shoulder pain on the right side. This seemed fairly logical as the tumours are heated to around twice body temperature and one would expect that the excess heat has to leave the body somehow and would be likely to cross paths with other organs along the way. Plus, if SPDT and HiFU are killing off cancer cells as they should be then it may be possible that the cells are dying faster than they can be excreted, thus contributing to toxic-overload and possibly impacting on the gallbladder that way. Of course, I am not a doctor, have no medical training and could be completely wrong. Just trying to make sense of it all.

Today during the ultrasound that precedes the HiFU treatment (used to locate the tumour to be treated prior to treatment each day) the doctors saw my gallstone. I have one and have had it for a number of years without complaint. After seeing the gallstone (which was reported on my ultrasound, CT and PET that I provided before coming to China) a new hypothesis about the inflamed gallbladder arose ie that the gallstone is causing the inflamed gallbladder and this is independent of the treatment I am receiving. Medically, this is a likely scenario. However I have had no trouble whatsoever in all the time I have had the gallstone and it is fairly large so I believe it is not at risk of blocking the duct which is generally what causes problems and ultimately the surgical removal of gallbladders. I think my logical deductions could also be true.

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong. I’d like to be right, just because I like being right. I’d also like the doctors to be right because I’m paying them a lot of money to be super-human lifesavers. They will monitor the situation, have given me drugs for pain in case it flares up again and I have been warned off eggs and have had a ‘light’ diet recommended. Brad and I laughed out loud at the last part. I don’t think we’ve been served a meal anywhere in Xian that hasn’t been laced with chili and oil. Possibly the lightest thing I have come across is the dumpling broth at the hospital cafeteria, but even that has a big layer of oil on it. On the two occasions we’ve ordered plates of fresh cut cucumber from menus with pictures that we could point to the dishes have arrived at the table swimming in oil. I’m having enough trouble being understood when I say “thank you” in Mandarin, let alone trying to ask for “dressing on the side.” As for the eggs, they provide me with more protein than anything else in my diet here so I am very reluctant to give them up. I am going to have to look into this a little more.

Brad’s keeping it clean

There were more shenanigans today on the laundry front. Brad decided to go and brave the local whitegoods stores and buy a small, portable clothes washing machine. Julia told us that they were about 500RMB ($75). The ones Brad found were so small that they couldn’t fit both a pair of jeans in them as well as the water to do the washing. Plus there was no spin feature so he couldn’t see that the machines could do any more than we could already do with our bucket. I haven’t told you about the bucket. It’s so good, we’re thinking of bringing it home! It’s far better than the 89c ones from Bunnings. But I digress. As you might expect, the larger washing machines require specialised plumbing which we don’t have in the hotel room so they are not an option. Scooter sent through an excellent link today for a manual-churn camping washer available online for $50. I might buy it for Brad for a special present J.

So given that the washing machine purchase was abandoned Brad enlisted Allison’s help to see if we could get the local laundry to simply wash our clothes, not dry clean them. Although we’re still not exactly sure what they’ll do to our clothes we paid in advance for the service and they accepted them. Tomorrow we’ll see what comes out the other end.

We had to laugh today when Brad found the laundry section in our borrowed Lonely Planet guide (thank you Amanda):

Almost all tourist hotels have a laundry service, and if you hand in clothes one day you should get them back a day or two later. Hotel laundry services tend to be expensive and you might wind up doing what many travellers do – hand-washing your own clothes. (Lonely Planet, China 8th Ed, p97)

You got that right!


3 Responses to Day 24: Galling gallbladder (Monday 21 November)

  1. Laurie Dolan says:

    Good Morning My Friend!

    I am reading you daily entries with ever increasing respect for your resilience, your courage, your humor, and of course, your writing skills! This will make a great book when you and Brad are healthy and well, and needing money to actually take a fun trip instead of medical tourism!

    I constantly wish there was same way to share some of the pain of all of this, so you didn’t have to do it all alone.

    Also, is there a fund established someplace that we can help a bit??

    Love to both of you. I am continuing to expect a miracle!!


  2. Jessica says:

    wow, I hear you loud and clear on the gallstone thing! I had my gall bladder removed thru keyhole surgery a few years back now & haven’t felt better! Apparently when the surgeon went in the gall stone had moved away from the opening. Go figure but to be honest, I think the gall stone was moving on and off over about 10 years. I looked up reasons for them and they have two types of gallstones, pure fat ones and calcified ones. Not sure which ones I had nor do I care but, with the sound therapy and shattering of the body, it may we moving calcium around, and I spose the gall bladder is the first spot that you would notice the build up of calcium deposits as it is such a small area, no wonder they have formed into stones over only a few weeks, it really must be working!

    I think it’s great that your so on the ball with all the medico stuff, but don’t forget to stop that thinking once a day and go within, allowing yourself to let go of this, listen to your body, and create a knowing between your body mind & soul that it has all it needs to recover. Visualize each day the end result, know that is end result has already been achieved, and as you do, continue to listen as you move thru the journey.

    Jaye, you may like to add a PayPal donate button on your WordPress site? It seems we would all like to contribute, listen to the people man and add that donation button!

    Thanks for the updates xxx

  3. denise T says:

    Re the laundry: if you can get wool wash (eucalyptus) or get some sent over, it would be a boon because you don’t have to rinse. This would make the bucket sessions less arduous!

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