November 1999. I woke up thinking I was very hungry, and knowing that I had to travel 2 1/2 hours that day to play a soccer game. It was a different type of hunger feeling, I thought, a slight bit of pain. I wasted no time getting out of bed, ate a bowl of “Oreo-O’s” (remember that dumb cereal? I didn’t even really like it but I ate it), and proceeded to get prepared for my away soccer game while still having that slight pain. We were to meet at a local McDonalds to carpool with my teammates. As dedicated to the game of soccer that I was and my love for playing, the onset of intensifying pain didn’t cause me to do more than simply mention it to my parents as I was getting into the car for them to drop me off to meet my team at McDonalds. This is when it began to hurt. And now it was excruciating. By the time we were getting ready to exit the neighborhood, I told my dad that I didn’t think I could go to the game. He knew something was wrong. Now our destination was the hospital.
They gave me an x-ray, didn’t expect to see something in the location of my gall bladder because of how young I was (15 years old), thought there was something on the lens so they cleaned it and gave me another. Sure enough it was still there, so I got an ultra-sound to confirm that I had gall stones, stayed over night so they could monitor my food intake so that early in the morning they could inject me with a radioactive substance reactive to the machinery to read if my gall bladder was infected and needed to be removed entirely rather than removing just the stones. It was a bad one! I got scheduled to get a laparoscopic cholecystectomy two weeks later. NEVER wait that long to get your bladder removed if you can help it. That period of time was during Thanksgiving, which ended up being my demise. Funny story about that night was that after dinner, I walked over to my girlfriend’s house who lived a block away from where my family were gathering for Thanksgiving. We were young and it was complicated to get together so this was a good time to meet up…so I thought. Soon after I got to her house I could tell the pain was coming again, and I knew I needed to leave for sake of not rolling around on the floor with sudden pain, fever, and erratic yelps of terror in front of her parents. It had happened a total of two times prior, that first morning before soccer and another after eating buttered popcorn at a movie (the butter did not occur to me as a problem for some reason). I remember it really starting to hurt as I was trying to formally make my exit without anything seeming strange. As soon as I left, I went back to my family’s Thanksgiving, and found a couch to roll around on, grimacing in pain. All the while knowing that the knife in my gut and my high fever would subside within about an hour (the gall stone would finish making its way through a duct).