About the Author
Mass Effect
Final Fantasy X
Batman:Arkham City
Borderlands Series
Weekly Column
Champions Online
World of Warcraft
DM of the Rings
Good Robot
Project Frontier

Worst weight loss system EVER

By Shamus
on Thursday Jul 19, 2007
Filed under:


Tomorrow, someone is going to knock me out, slice holes in me, and remove one of my internal organs. Then he will bill me.

About two months ago I mentioned that my health was failing and that I’d been to the hospital to have some tests done. Since then my health has remained poor, and I’ve had many more tests. The doctors have finally concluded that my gallbladder is not working right. It’s no longer under warranty, which means the best thing to do is to have it out. Yes, the gallbladder is an optional organ. I did not know this. I guess I’ll find out how “optional” it is after the surgery. I’ve been reading a great deal about this here and there on the web, but everyone is a little different and I won’t really know what it’s like until the time comes. Great. I just love surprises.

The surgery is tomorrow. I have Friday’s DMotR already complete, but I strongly suspect that this weekend I’m not going to be in the mood to make with the funny. In fact, I’ve been pretty short on funny lately to begin with. During my Fear the Boot interview I mentioned I had about three or four weeks of lead time in the comic. I’ve been slowly chipping away at that lead time since I got sick, and now it’s gone. Lately I’ve been cranking out episodes at the last moment. The upshot is that I’m just not going to have episodes ready for next week.

To avoid missing updates entirely, I’ve pulled out a few funny screenshots that should fill the void until I’m on my feet again.

When I warn of missing updates, the most common response I get from readers is, “You don’t owe us anything! Take time off and don’t feel guilty!” I want to make it clear that keeping up with updates is something I impose on myself. It’s just something I want to do. As the comic has grown I have increased my expectations and goals for the project. This started off as a bit of fun, and has become a sort of personal challenge. I want to see if I can pull it off, and see it though to the end. So, don’t feel like you’re being too demanding. The harshest taskmaster I have right now is myself.

Comments (149)

1 2 3

  1. Jeremiah says:

    Hope the surgery goes well and you manage just fine without that pesky gallbladder.

  2. Mavis says:

    Good luck, get well soon, and lets hope it’s as optional as an appendix…

  3. I hope you feel better soon. From what I understand from the people I know of that have had gallbladder surgery, you have to watch what you eat afterwards. The gallbladder stores bile that helps your liver break down fat or something like that (pardon my off-the-cuff inaccuracies), and if you don’t have backup you may have a hard time digesting really heavy food.

    From what I understand, though, it’s a relief to get rid of it if it is causing you problems.

  4. Lebkin says:

    Take care of yourself and we will patiently await your return.

  5. SRH says:

    Most of my current fam is sans bladder de gall at the moment, so I will give you the quick run down. It will take some time for your system to start processing fatty foods efficiently agin. During that re-adjustment time get used to multiple trips to the toilet. Other than that, everyone I know who has had the offending sack of bile removed has really been just fine.

    Good luck on the surgery, and thanks for the commitment to posting the comic regularly. many a lurker out here who love the comic. Damn! I just de-lurked, didn’t I?

  6. AJ says:

    Regardless of who your taskmasters are in life, if you try to do anything that puts your health at risk I’d bet more than I own that your wife will prove the strongest of the taskmasters as she drags you by the scruff of your neck back to resting :-D

    Good luck with the surgery and recovery Shamus, you’re in our thoughts and prayers.

  7. Mike says:

    Best of luck with the surgery, Shamus.

  8. phlux says:

    Mavis: It’s slightly less optional than the appendix, which serves no function at all except to occassionally become inflammed and infected in some life-threatening manner. The gall bladder does actually serve a purpose in digestion, but you can live without it, particularly if it’s already become blocked in which case you’re ALREADY living with out it, and removing it will just make that permanent, as well as get rid of your symptoms.

    I assume Shamus is having this done laproscopically, so there are many fewer complications, less scarring and quicker recovery time.

    If you’re lucky you don’t even have to go under general anesthetic. They just knock you out and administer local anesthetics to keep you from feeling anything for a while afterwards. I had that done with some elective surgery, and when I woke up, within about 30 minutes of waking up I had eaten, drank and been to the bathroom, which apparently meant I was good to go. I would have walked out, had the surgery not been on both of my big toes to correct chronic ingrown toenails. I could stand, but not really walk for the better part of 3 days.

    The good news was that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time had just come out, so I was thoroughly entertained for the entire duration.

  9. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    Damn thing just isn’t galling right is it.

  10. Brian says:

    I can’t believe you’re doing this to us. You should feel really guilty and stuff.

    *cracks the whip*

    Hope you feel better soon.

  11. Mari says:

    You’ll be fine, Shamus. I had the ol’ rock factory out over a decade ago and I’m still ticking. It took me about three days to get over the surgery completely even though I was out of the hospital that day. No fuss, no muss. Minimal scarring. And I don’t miss my gallbladder at all. Granted, we had drifted apart over the year or two prior to its leaving, but still, I really don’t even notice the absence these days.

    So wishing you a successful surgery, a speedy recovery, and a healthy life without it.

  12. Elton says:

    Best of luck, Shamus. I have no plans this weekend, so perhaps I’ll have my gall bladder cut out as well as a gesture of solidarity. Will you be keeping yours in a jar?

  13. Knastymike says:

    Good luck with your surgery, your schedule and everything else. See if they’ll let you keep your gall bladder in a jar!

  14. Gary's Friend Jim says:

    There’s got to be some way to use the removed organ in some kind of horrible prank.

  15. proteusguy says:

    So if the guy asks “Where do you keep your treasure?” before he opens you up are you going to a) assume he’s just a reader or b) get up an run out the door sans clothes?

  16. Mike says:

    Had mine out several years back. I was back to work a few days later, but in retrospect, I should have rested a couple more days at least. I felt so much better without it, but it was in pretty bad shape. I had an appointment with the surgeon to have it out but didn’t even make it that long; I ended up in emergency when a gallstone hit my pancreas (and I thought it was horribly painful before that). Ends up it was gangrenous and worse than they thought. Ever since I have felt free to use the phrase “By my gangrenous gut…!” in normal conversation, so that’s been a plus. Life has been wonderful without it and I can actually eat anything now, more than I could before I had it out.

    Good luck with it. I hope it all goes smoothly.

  17. Matt` says:

    The phrase “optional organ” amuses me.
    Anyway, good luck in surgery, let’s hope they don’t leave any tools in you :)

  18. Gropos says:

    Gallbladder to Shamus: “Im in ur systems messin up ur comix”

  19. Dan says:

    Oh no. lolDM.

    This can’t be good.

  20. Deoxy says:

    “I want to make it clear that keeping up with updates is something I impose on myself. It's just something I want to do. As the comic has grown I have increased my expectations and goals for the project. This started off as a bit of fun, and has become a sort of personal challenge. I want to see if I can pull it off, and see it though to the end. So, don't feel like you're being too demanding. The harshest taskmaster I have right now is myself.”

    I admire that greatly. Good luck on the surgery and recovery.

    Oh, and Gropos… LOL!

  21. Tym says:

    The hardest part of gallbladder surgery – if you are having the incision method versus the laproscopic method – is when, post-surgery, the medtech comes to remove your abdomen drain line.

    Major Ouch.

    (Though quickly over)

  22. Zaghadka says:

    Darn! You’re on the cart twice.

    Why does your gall bladder hate the strip? Has all the bile within put it in a poor humour? ;^)

    Feel better soon. My jokes probably aren’t helping.

  23. Daktylo says:

    Yes, Shamus, keep your gall bladder in a jar. Better yet, in a phylactery so that you can regenerate after fatal damage.

    Have you considered cybernetics? Half man, Half machine?

  24. Locri says:

    Good luck and I hope you start feeling better soon!

  25. Ian says:

    I hope your surgery goes well and that you feel better soon.

    Also, after your last paragraph I don’t think that you would even listen if anyone told you to take a break, so I’ll just sit here and shut up. ;)

  26. Be Strong man!

    I know how it is trying to keep up with updates while under the weather.
    I have never had surgery, but I have had some nasty flus that will put me out of it.

  27. Alan Post says:

    i wish you a speedy recovery shamus!

  28. Anachronista says:

    My guy had his gallbladder out last February – even though it was done laproscopically, he still had a great deal of soreness in his abdomen for a few days following the operation. You’ll probably want to hire a sexy nurse for the first few days to help you get through. On the plus side, he lost about 20 pounds of beer gut.

  29. Lynx says:

    You don't owe us anything! Take time off and don't feel guilty!

    Hey, somebody’s gotta say it… :D

    Good luck!

  30. Mark says:

    Good luck Shamus, and don’t worry about not posting:P

  31. Seracka says:

    Get well soon Shamus, (yes I am a lurker who posts very occasionally)

    honestly, we will all survive with out the DMotR for a couple of weeks…will give us all reason to go back and re-read old ones.

  32. Gothmog says:

    Hope all goes well- good luck to ya, Shamus.

  33. Javaboy says:

    Hope all goes well.

  34. Deathblade_penguin says:

    i love the fact we have optional internal organs.

    i want to know how they worked out what we needed and what we dont to live?

    good luck SHamus, sorry for my morbid thoughts.

  35. Cat Skyfire says:

    May your surgeon have a +2 in Optional Organ Removal, and may you not fail your saving throw.

  36. Chris Curran, Crazy Chainmailler says:

    just remember shamus to get better, and remember the house rules of DMotR; No Monty Python references… lol :D

  37. Don says:

    I hope that the procedure goes smoothly and you don’t have to spend one minute longer than necessary in the hospital.

  38. craig says:

    I think modern medicine adds a lot of +2 conditional modifiers to the throw.

  39. Madjack says:

    Best of luck man. Take as much time off as you need, and then one day more. Rushing back to things when you feel “good enough” might just make things worse, and then you’ll end up losing more time than if you had just spent that extra day resting.

    Enjoy putting your feet up for a while, use the time to come up with an arsenal of witty ripostes to phrases like “You don’t have the gall” or “the unmitigated *gall*!” etc.

  40. BlueFaeMoon says:

    I know you’ll feel better when this is done. :)

    Also, this is an official THANK YOU from my family to you. We all love to read your blog and DMotR comic every week. You are a bright spot on the web. And the source of so many smiles. Thanks.

    Heal fast, Shamus!

  41. ShadoStahker says:

    Yep. Hospitals add a good circumstance bonus.

    Aides … er… aiding.

    And since you can’t critically fail a skill check, I think we’ll have a healthy comicker in no time.

  42. Ingvar says:

    The gall bladder is, indeed, mostly optional (it acts as a storage facility more than a gall production factory). Not that I’ve had mine removed, but close family has (in the early 870s, if memory serves me right).

  43. -Chipper says:

    Gropos Says:
    “Gallbladder to Shamus: ‘Im in ur systems messin up ur comix'”

    lolDM – I’m not sure I want to see the pic of the gallbladder that goes with that.

    I’m an engineer for a company that makes laparoscopic surgical instruments – some might be used on you! I have learned that removing the gallbladder is routine even laparoscopically (thru 3-4 small incisions that allows instruments in, but not surgeon’s hands), so much so that our company trains its engineers & salesmen on the use of the instruments by having them remove a pig’s gallbladder.

    One minor thing to be aware of is that laparascopic surgery can have a weird side-effect- aching shoulders for a day or two after the surgery. The gas that is used to inflate the operative area (to allow room for the instruments & a field of view for the camera) can migrate to the joints. I understand it can be uncomfortable, but not terrible & some doctors forget to mention it. It doesn’t always happen, but thought you might appreciate a heads-up.

    So: (1) routine – don’t be anxious; (2) don’t be surprised if your shoulders ache.

    Hope you recover quickly & are soon asking why you didn’t have this done ages ago.


  44. baac says:

    Think of how much faster you’ll be able to run without it… Less weight and gall bladder-related drag.

    God speed, John Glenn. Get well soon.


  45. Dev Null says:

    Be more better. Here’s wishing you a skilled surgeon and plenty of happy drugs for afters.

  46. Maddyanne says:

    Best wishes, Shamus. I hope it goes as well as it possibly can.

  47. Melfina the Blue says:

    May it go well, and recovery be swift and aided by happy painkillers.

  48. Nazgul says:

    Good luck with the operation and best wishes for a speedy and full recovery!!!

  49. Rolld20 says:

    Yeah, I have 2 relatives without GBs, and they’re fine and kicking. A more distant relative should have had it removed, but it wasn’t done in time… :(

    Anyway, good luck, we’re all pulling for you. Post us some funnyz next week if you can, so we know you’re recovering; and in a few days we’ll start complaining about wanting *real* DMotR again. :D

    Take care of yerself!

  50. pseudosilence says:

    Good luck. You know we’ll all be missing you and pulling for you to feel better soon.

  51. Namfoodle says:

    Good luck and Godspeed Shamus! Hope your recovery goes smoothly.

    One of my employees had her GB out before she started working for me. Like other posters have said, she hasn’t had any problems now that it’s gone.

    I’m all for optional organs! Redundancy is good, just ask NASA! I read this cool SF novel where one of the characters was a cyborg who could pass as human externally but was totally redesigned and “over-clocked” internally. She ran through some machine gun fire, takes a bunch of hits and thinks “okay, I lost 2 out of six kidneys, those are acceptable losses…”

    Wish I could remember the name of the book – the next book in the series should be out by now…

  52. ShadoStahker says:


    Yeah, redundancy is very good.

    Now, if only the gall bladder was actually redundant for anything.

  53. SimeSublime says:

    Best of luck for the surgery.

  54. Dave says:

    Hmm.. that’s the organ they were concerned about with me.. I thought those tests sounded familiar.. I’ve moved enough times of late that I haven’t had one doctor .. so I keep going down different paths as to why I have fleeting, shooting pains.. can’t digest stuff for .. er.. digestion is off.. etc.. I’m thinkin’ my Gall is not being contained properly in its Bladder.. But, I’m obviously not to the stage you’re at!! You’ve gotten enough good luck wishes from everyone .. but I’ll add some more for ya.. and since you are the one that pressures yourself the most for DMotR stuff.. then a mine wont matter.. HURRY UP AND GET BACK TO WORK… thanks.

  55. MintSkittle says:

    45 -Chipper Says:
    July 19th, 2007 at 11:20 am

    So: (1) routine – don't be anxious

    Routine doesn’t mean anything. My sister nearly died from a “routine” opperation. She bled internally for two weeks before we knew there was anything wrong.

    Shamus, keep in touch with your doctor, and know the quickest route to the nearest hospital. An ambulance trip is expensive.

  56. Shandrunn says:

    Take care, Shamus.

  57. Tacoman says:

    Good luck, Shamus! I look forward to your new comics post-gallbladder. I wonder if it will change your style at all. I’m pretty sure the gallbladder does have something to do with creativity and humour. Pretty sure, yeah.

  58. roxysteve says:

    Before my doctor (and this is why he is now my doctor) stepped in at the 11th hour and diagnosed pancreatitis, they were about to do the same surgery on me.

    I’m reliably informed that the surgery is usually marked by relatively little post surgical pain, although the air they inflate you with during the op has to escape and that can be disconcerting and uncomfortable. I was advised that mint tea helps the body dissipate the air as quickly as possible. Why this is I don’t know.

    Don’t worry Shamus. Your Common Duct will take over most of the Gall Bladder’s job once the nasty thing has been removed. In the case of a bad gall bladder, “better out than in” is the watchphrase.

    Feel better.

    Oh, and you don’t want pancreatitis. It cranks the pain up to 11. It makes the doctors think you are alcoholic and they won’t believe otherwise until several days have passed without DTs showing. It means lifestyle changes that are not enjoyable at first. If you or someone you know starts showing high triglyceride counts, tell them to ask their doctor about omega 3 fish oils before it damages the pancreas. They are the magic bullet for me.



  59. StereotypeA says:

    Good luck, brother. Come back to us when you’re ready.

  60. Maia says:

    I hope you feel better soon! My step-father had his gallbladder out a year ago and hasn’t had any recurring issues since then. Good luck!

1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *


Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>