Thursday, January 5, 2012

Entry 137: gallbladder ATTACK!!!!!!

Oh, hi. I didn't see you sitting there. It's okay, you're not bothering me. Sure I'll tell what's up with me.

Well, you see, it all started about 6 months ago. I was sitting there at my desk in Periscope Studio one bright Portland afternoon drawing my little heart out when out of the blue I was struck with the worst pain I've ever felt in all my life. At first it felt like a gas pain just under my ribs, but within no time the pain had grown to consume my whole abdomen through to my back. I twisted and stretched trying to undo the pain. I paced, I pressed my muscles onto the corner of the wall for a deep massage. There was no escaping it, there was no massaging it away. At that time I was under a very tight deadline. I was stressed. I had been working long hours and not sleeping much. I was essentially running on caffeine. I figured I needed rest.

That episode did pass within a couple hours and I went on with my life not thinking too much of it.

Months later it happened again. The circumstances were similar. Deadline, stress, tired, caffeine. This time it happened just as I was waking up and this time I threw my guts up. And I threw them up hard. Nachos. That's what I had eaten the night before. A big plate of cheesy black bean covered nachos with sour cream and jalapenos. And after a whole night of being in my stomach it was still recognizable. Gross, I know, but clearly my digestive system wasn't working right.

A friend of Lauren's had said she had had the same kind of pain happen to her and that it had to do with the gallbladder. When I had had only the one attack, I thought the gallbladder thing was a possibility but I didn't think much more about it. After the second attack, I took the idea more seriously. Then Travis Charest posted on his blog that he just got his gallbladder removed after a trip to the e.r. due to what he could only describe as "unspeakable pain".

That's when I realized, "oh shit, this could get real". And, my friends, REAL it did get.

2pm on New Years Eve- I was struck with that horrible gallbladder pain and what was a nice day became the crappiest of crappy times. I twisted, writhed, gritted, threw my guts up, whimpered, meditated, achieved a state of calm, threw my guts up again, decided to believe in god for someone to beg to, dry heaved, started sweating, felt the need to remove my clothes and climb onto the ceiling like some kind of gecko. At 6pm we decided to go to the hospital. Why did I wait so long? Well, I don't have health insurance, plus, I really wanted to wait it out so that I could go to Steve Lieber's New Years Eve party.

Lauren and I had our new years kiss in the e.r. while my head was swimming in dilaudid. I was in the hospital for 4 nights. I didn't eat during that time (unless you count a little chicken broth one night). I had a lot of pain meds, i.v. fluids, and watched a good deal of junk t.v. They found enough evidence to cut my gallbladder out and that's just what they did.

I hurt now. I'm spending a lot of time in bed. I'm catching up on seasons 1-4 of Doctor Who. (I've only seen seasons 5 and 6) And I'm really looking forward to hitting the drawing board again.

The piece at the top of this entry is the cover I recently did for Astonishing X-Men #48. I was working on the Astonishing X-Men #49 cover when this all happened to me. I was really happy with how it was coming out. I can't wait to finish it up so's I can show it to you.

Hopefully we'll qualify for financial help with the medical bills. You might see me start to sell off a bunch of artwork in the next few months. We'll see.

Now back to my aching abdomen, oxycodone, bed, maybe some tea, and Doctor Who.


blogged and blogged

Oh, here's the sketch I did for this cover.


  1. My Gawd! What a nightmare! You've given me a new fear to add to the list. This sounds even worse than passing kidney stones. Any suggestions from the expensive Doctor on how to prevent this sort of thing? I hope the Good Doctor heals you right up. Gorgeous cover!

  2. Wow, sorry to hear you went through that man, especially on New Year's Eve. I've experienced kidney stones - which I don't wish on any but the most vile - but the gall bladder thing is a whole different level.
    Rest up & stay well. Sending PM.

  3. What a way to start 2012. Glad you made it to the hospital before it turned worse. Good luck in the recovery. Amazing sketch and cover too.

  4. Aaron- I had never heard of this gallbladder attack thing until it happened to me. You hear about kidney stones but you never really get told what the deal is with gall stones or what can happen with the gallbladder. Strange, since gallbladder problems are really common. There are a lot of people walking around without gallbladders. It's also strange that you don't hear about it because it is really horrible. Yeah, add it to the list o' fears.
    As far as avoiding gallbladder problems, I would imagine drinking a lot of water would be a good thing. I also read that radishes and cucumbers are good for good gallbladder health. Also avoiding fatty, greasy, spicy, and cheesy foods, beans, I don't know what else... Avoid pretty much everything from the food carts.

  5. Thanks, Frank. I'll be trying to avoid putting myself into those super stressful, no sleeping, poor eating, deadline situations again. I appreciate your kind words.

  6. Thanks, Simon. And thanks for the comment on the piece. I know it's just the ol' "heroes jumping in the air and looking cool" cover, but I had to do it. It's a cliched kind of image, but I've never gotten to do one. It's was fun for me.

  7. Wow - so sorry to hear about this. I really hope that you get the financial assistance that you need! If not, let your fans know and maybe we can try and raise some money for you. Hope that you feel better soon!

  8. Thanks, Jay- This really means a lot to me. Telling myself that I have a lot of art I can sell and that fans could help me raise money if I need it has been a big comfort to me during this ordeal. We'll see how it pans out, but I appreciate the sentiment.

  9. ouch, here's hoping for a speedy recovery! That sounds like a true nightmare.