Gall Bladder Removal - UPDATE: HAD SURGERY POST #32
I am having surgery this Wednesday (2nd) to have my gall bladder removed. I am also having my 2nd surgery due to my endometriosis at the same time (only going under once!)
I have read so many different experiences regarding the actual surgery, recovery, and life after. I have several friends/co workers who have their gall bladders out and for the most part, all is well. Then of course you read the horror stories and get kind of worried.
LONG, long (did I mention long?) story short, since I was 11 I have had intense periods and finally after having many visits to the ER due to intense pain in my left flank, this test and that test, read about endometriosis, found a reproductive endocrinologist, started 24/7 BCP (no sugar pills at all), had surgery 9/1/10, and things have been great. After getting my hormones in check and having the surgery, I lost over 30 lbs in 5.5 months doing absolutely NOTHING (currently at 45lbs down in a year). Still eating the not so great way I do. Doing my same barn/horse stuff. No gym, etc.
Xmas eve comes, I have horrid pain in my UR under my rib cage going to my back and shoulder blade. I thought it was a certain chicken wing I ate b/c 2 months later, it happened again. Havent eaten them since Feb and everything was ok until May when hubby made a hamburger with 27% fat ground beef and I had another "attack". From what I read, it was my gall bladder. I was staying away from most fatty foods and everything was calm for the most part. However the pain was so bad that I vowed that if I ever even thought I was going to have another attack, I was going to the ER. Well that happened in Aug while visiting my brother in San Antonio. CT scan revealed nothing. Gave me pain meds and suggested I see a GI DR when I got home. So I did.
Gall bladder functions perfectly but I have gall stones. WTH. What are they and why do I have them? So I read and realize that because Im a woman, on BCP, and had what they call "rapid weight loss" that I was more susceptible to getting them. GI Dr recommends taking it out. After the last attack and the amount of pain I had, I agreed - take that sucker out!
Go back a few months and my endo started flaring back up so saw my R.E. and surgery is the only thing so I now have them scheduled together to zap the endo and basically harvest my organ! lol
Not nervous or anything. Ive had 4 surgeries since I was 13 (broken R femur, removal of screws in the femur, a lift , and the endo last year). But Ive never had something removed. So many people post online that they wished they had taken 2-3 weeks off of work. Complaining of this or that. Now I know my body handles surgery and pain very well. But I know this is different than other stuff I have had done. I work for a dentist and am concerned about long procedures where I will be sitting for a long time, leaning over, etc. I am off from Wed until Monday - so 5 days. Hoping that is enough. Ive got items on the Bland Food Diet list ready. I have a wonderful friend taking care of my barn until next week when hubby gets off work. But Im still not 100% certain of what really lies ahead. I read about "dumping syndrome" and wonder how many people actually get it? And what if I do and Im in the middle of a surgery or something at work and UH OH gotta go?! And of course how long before I can clean my barn.. do normal stuff.. RIDE?! Like most Drs, mine doesnt get the barn work and riding thing. He just says "oh just use your knees when cleaning the barn and dont lean over". Right. They also seem to think the riding is just putzing around (nothing wrong with that btw) even when I explain. They say to listen to my body but my body deals with pain very well and I worry I might over do it and not even know.
So I would love to hear anyones experiences, good and bad. What can you eat? What cant you? Were you having pain? Why was yours taken out?
BTW whats weird is that its not a KIND of food that sets my gall bladder off (like mexican or fried or greasey) but specific food items. For instance, the breaded fried hot and spicy chicken wings from our local grocery - two attacks from them. The high fat hamburger. And lastly, Im guessing the hamburger I at on the River Walk in San Antonio? I can go to Chilis and eat their hamburger. Or fried chicken anywhere. Pizza. etc etc etc. Dr's agree and say its weird but thats all.
Whew. So thanks for letting me share and reading. Hopefully some of yall have been through this and can offer experiences, etc.
Last edited by KrazyTBMare; Nov. 12, 2011 at 05:38 AM.
Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!
I had mine out about 7 years ago...I had gallstones and a couple of bad attacks - the curled up on the floor unable to do anything type of attack. Surgery was easy - had it out on a Wednesday and back to work the next week. Haven't had any problems since having it out, no matter what I eat. Hopefully yours will go as well - good luck!
Its probably fat, that tends to irritate your gall bladder/pancrease. I had mine removed in February, feel good now but it took a few months to get my body used to not having it. I still have to becareful about really fatty things, but all is pretty good now.
I had mine out a few years ago and it was a breeze. Honestly, the worst part for me was the gas they blow into your abdominal area for the surgery and the pain meds they sent me home with. Actually, the pain meds weren't so bad, but I was not able to sleep while taking them, I actually did much better with just AdvilPM. Anyway, I only ended up taking a couple of days off from work and then arranged to work from home for the week following the surgery. I was able to start walking for exercise pretty much right away and was running again in a couple of weeks. I had been having gall bladder attacks for a few months and the pain was excruciating. When it was all said and done, I wished that I had had the surgery after the first attack, not after the 6th (or however many I had). Now, 3 or 4 years later I have no ill effects from life without a gall bladder. I can't even say that I really even have any scars left from that surgery.
I had mine out a year ago, after ending up in the ER one Sunday night.
Boy, those attacks let you know something is wrong, don't they.
The surgeon said mine was very diseased, should have come out ten years ago, almost had to open me up to keep it in one piece, but made it thru the little hole after all without breaking up.
I only had that done, not the other you are having and I think the gallbladder is a walk in the park, you are back fine right away.
The other, I would be more careful, more blood vessels involved, you don't want them to leak from doing too much too soon and then also, you can end up with hernias if you don't wait to heal well.
I think you will be able to tell what you should do or not, not because of the pain itself, but you will feel your innards complaining if you overdo it.
I too do fine on Advil after surgery, no other is needed.
IF you need pain pills, DO take them.
Being in pain has been shown to interfere with healing.
I have not had any problem whatsoever from the gallbladder being gone, as most people don't.
Maybe you won't either.
I had mine out this past February and I took 4 days off. I really should have taken more but my job is physical using a lot of abdominal muscles. If you have a quieter job you would probably be ok back in a week. FWIW my surgeon told me to take 3 weeks off completely and for my first week back to not do more than 2 treatments a day.
I was very sick after the anesthetic for about 12 hours, and the drugs they gave me for pain didn't help but once I got through the puking (ouch on the incisions!!!) it got a lot better.
I had very weird trigger foods though. My absolute worst ones were cucumbers and carrots :S I was living off of homemade chicken broth, plain rice, and applesauce for almost a year before I went for a routine ultrasound on my liver and noticed the gallstones. I had had an up and down scope that year trying to find out what was wrong with my digestive system because it didn't seem to matter what I ate I was getting sick.
Life with no gallbladder has been good so long as I don't eat foods that are really fatty or have lots of preservatives.
I had mine out last April. I have a desk job, so I had mine out Wenesday and back to work the following monday. I wish I would have taken one more day off work. My dad is a doctor and he was staying with me while I had it out. He insisted on getting me up and moving more than I wanted to the first few days after the surgury, but I do think it helped with the recovery.
I was doing everying but riding with in three weeks. I have a big mover, so lots of abs are involved in riding. It took me six weeks until I felt completely able to goet back into riding. I did get on and walk before that however.
As for eating after, I haven't had any trouble. Good Luck!
I had mine out years ago and just took a week off. You still won't be able to tolerate fatty foods (most likely). And be aware that you might not want to be too far from a bathroom after you eat for about an hour or so ESPECIALLY if there is fat in it. How much fat you can tolerate will vary but be ready for baked Lays, LEAN meats, no dark meat, no alfredo sauce, you get the idea...
Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.
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You can have residual attacks after the surgery, they are very small, but it can happen. I was really weak after the surgery (the small "lap" surgery) I had no muscle tone in my abdomen, and while I could sit, and then crawl around on the floor, I could NOT get up without help. Have someone help you to ladies room and help you get up.
It's great not to have those attacks, mine would cause gas to push up on my heart and the symptoms are like a heart attack.
I didn't eat a lot of fats, and one theory out there is not eating fats regularly causes the bile to sit and create stones. I don't know how valid it is, but I just put it out there.
I took half the pain pill they offered after surgery, my roommate took two and promptly threw up. So follow your knowledge of your body.
It was SO NICE TO EAT after surgery, I lost a lot of weight prior to the surgery. Enjoy your food (sensibly) post surgery.
I had mine out when I was 19. I seem to get all sorts of things only "old" people get very early, I'm hoping im just getting it all out of the way...
Ok back on topic, I was having terrible attacks, almost weekly. I remember once getting done a riding lesson, felt an attack coming on and left my horse in his stall with his saddle on while I drove back to my dorm to take a scalding hot shower. For about 5 months all I ate was plain english muffins, low fat nilla wafers, plain cheerios, plain toast and dry biscuits. Now thats good eatin'! haha NOT. Sometimes I could eat fattier things or things with a bit more substance and then other times I couldnt. I decided to not take the risk anymore and just stuck to what I knew was ok. I couldnt even eat fruit bc that would send me into attacks (who knew canalope and honey dew were hard to digest?).
Mine was taken out (obviously) because I was having intense attacks and I had gallstones and sludge. The surgery was a breeze. I stayed the night in the hospital just to be on the safe side as I have a history for not handling anesthesia well and it was taking me awhile to pass gas. They pump your stomach full of air to seperate everything so they can get to the little sucker easier, and then the nurses help you walk around to pass this gas to make sure everythings moving ok. If I remember correctly they also made sure I pooped before I leave, I was pretty drugged so I dont remember completely. After I left the hospital I was sore for the next few days but within a week was eating papa johns pizza and within 2 weeks was back on my horse.
My only regret with the whole thing? Shoula done it sooner! Depending on what you do for a living you may want to take a full week off just to heal and relax. I never got the dumps after wards thankfully. From everyone I've talked to this doesnt seem to be too common. Just ease back into fatty foods slowly and eat lots of fiber! I remember I ate a fiber one bar at almost every meal. That helped a lot. Best of luck, please post and let us know how you are doing!
I had mine out just over a year ago. I was only 7 weeks out from having a c-section, so I did experience some pain with my surgery that most probably don't experience unless they had recently had another major abdominal surgery.
The surgery itself was easy peasy. Recovery went quite well. I didn't take the pain meds aside from a little motrin because I was exclusively breastfeeding and didn't want to harm my DD. I felt back to my regular self after about 5 days. I experience "dumping" symptoms, but I also have IBS and the same foods tend to trigger that and my old gall bladder attacks, so it's hard to say what is causing the problem.
As for foods I stay away from since having my gallbladder out, eggs, certain types of wheat, certain types of rice, hot dogs, some cheeses, pizza, chicken (unless grilled for some reason), and most types of pasta.
I had mine out 10 years ago, when I was 20. The attacks were awful--keeled over not able to move awful. Not something I would wish on anybody. I had emergency surgery on a Friday morning (went in at about 3 a.m. and that sucker was out by 10). I was back mucking stalls the following Wednesday and back riding and running within 2 weeks. DISCLAIMER: I am a moron and get really mad when I'm in pain, like "f* you, pain, I'mma do what I want!" bad. You probably shouldn't listen to me on that one.
I don't have any issues with eating anything now, but I stayed away from fatty foods for probably the first year. Then my love of butter won out. The only thing that changed with my digestive system is that instead of my stomach growling when I get hungry I sometimes get heartburn-like pains. I could just be weird like that, though.
And as far as the bathroom thing....yeah, make sure they're handy. Or that you go before anything important.
Whats interesting is its not fatty foods that bother me. Lord knows, as well as my friends and family, that I dont have a great diet. But I can go to Mc Donalds or BK or Wendys and eat a greasy hamburger and fries and have NO problems. Thats what the Drs thought was weird too. Who knows.
Yes the attacks are AWFUL. They have gotten worse every time I have one. The one on Xmas eve was like really bad gas. I certainly was not going to the ER for gas. The 2nd one was pretty bad for about an hour. The 3rd however woke me from a dead sleep at 3am and I was having cold sweats and chill bumps and curling into every position I could to try to get relief. I had some percocets left over from a neck issue and it took that over 2 hours to kick in. That was the last one where I vowed I was going to the ER if it happened again. The last one in TX I had been feeling "full" and sick to my stomach but I also tend to get air sick when the cabin is pressurized on the plane so thought that was it. Then my right side of my back right below my rib cage was hurting but again, I had been on a plane and cant sit in one place for long and figured that was why my back hurt. It was half way through dinner where I was starting to think... oh sh!t. My mom asks if I need advil and a heating pad for my back.. I tell her to take me to the ER. By the time I got there, it was starting to kick in. It waxes and wanes. I was trying to fill out the paper work and my hand was shaking. That one was the WORST. I dont cry or anything when in pain. I get very quiet and somber. I was at one point almost hyperventilating from crying so much, waiting for the CT, before they would give me meds. Tordol did nothing. They had said my gall bladder was spasming. So I asked for an anti spasmatic. Gave me some clear pink liquid and finally I had relief. I was done after that. No more attacks.
It is good to hear a lot of people are doing well afterwards. I can, like I said, basically eat anything I want, except for these particular chicken wings, and I havent tried anything else spicy as I think that may be a trigger.
Im interested to know if any of you guys noticed weight gain or loss? I am not having a problem eating so Im not wasting away or anything. Last year with the endo surgery and getting on the BCP, I started losing weight like crazy doing nothing, and I was actually eating more than I was before the surgery. The endo pain had me to the point of thinking about eating made me sick. Ive read where a lot of people have lost a lot of weight but still eat fatty foods (obviously not as the base of their diet).
That is interesting about the fiber. I would think that you would want to keep things low key in your digestive tract at first and I know fiber really makes things work as it gets broken down. I was told to avoid high fat dairy, whole grains, high sugar foods, chips, etc anything with substance that the body has to work to break down. So I have soup, white bread, animal crackers, low fat american cheese, sprite (no caffinee), etc. I think its the only time Ive ever been told to NOT eat whole grains lol.
I guess its good that my gall bladder in and of itself is fine. No diseased tissue or anything. Its just those medium sized stones blocking the bile ducts here and there. Oh and I do remember the gas from last surgery as it was larposcoptic as well. I did walk around the next day (got home around 6pm after surgery) and the gas moved on pretty quickly. Again, as this surgery is a little more involed, with taking out an organ and also being more aggressive for the endo, I am a little more concerned but have a feeling I will be ok.
Thanks for sharing everyone!
Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!
I had the same thing as you with certain foods setting it off that weren't always the typical foods. My favorite burger place in town serves super greasy burgers and fries and they are so yummy! They never make me sick. But a burger from Applebees left me feeling like I was going to die. I can still eat greasy food since having mine out, I just now know which foods I can get away with and which I can't.
Had mine out in '95. Had a lap chole - the easy way. It was great. Do you know if they will do it that way or do it another way since you will have another procedure?
I had one giant gallstone the size of a golfball that would never have passed. I suffered for a couple of years before I got it checked out. I thought I was having a lot of indigestion. When it got to the point that it was nearly every night and I could do nothing but walk the floor, I went to find out what it was. Most of my triggers involved dairy products, but one of the worst attacks was on an airplane after eating the airplane peanuts. I thought I'd die strapped in the airline seat.
After the surgery, I could have gone to work after one day, but I didn't because I had so much sick time saved up.
I did have, on occasion, what I called "fake gallbladder attacks." Same pain only not as intense as before surgery. Strangely enough these occurred after eating salad for lunch. For some reason I could not take salad at Noon, but it did not bother me at the evening meal. Strange. Just lasted for a while. That is now history.
I'm sure you'll feel so much better after it is done. There was very little pain after the surgery at all. Mainly just the sick feeling from being put under, but that passed quickly. I stayed the night in the hospital because my surgery had been late in the day. If I'd had it in the morning, I would have been good to go home in the afternoon.
I had mine out 11 years ago, at 19 y/o. I'd had bad "stomachaches" for awhile, went to the ER doubled over in pain one day - ER doc told me it was gastroenteritis and sent me home with something (can't remember what). It didn't help, but it didn't get WORSE until about a year later when I couldn't stand up straight at all. Checked myself into a different ER, where they ran the full battery of tests and discovered I had gallstone pancreatitis. Got admitted quickly, kept in a room (no eating ) for a week and then they did the laparoscopic surgery. My gallbladder had a TON of It hurt badly for the first few days, but honestly by the end of a week I was (against doctor's orders) working a new job at a barn.
I was told to avoid spicy foods and fatty foods - and of course I didn't I was 19!
I don't miss it these days Plus, googling "gallstones" makes me realize how truly gross and horrific they are!
I had mine out two years ago via laparoscopically. I recovered on only Advil, was back to work in a week, and never once had to change my diet. The worst part of recovery was trying to find a sleeping position, since I couldn't sleep on my stomach for several weeks.
It was a huge, huge relief to have it done. I'd been having back pain in the middle of my ribs, right side, for YEARS. I thought it was cramps, maybe from bad posture while riding. One of my Facebook friends mentioned that the symptoms sounded like when he'd had gall bladder attacks. Sure enough, there it was.
I'm only sorry I waited so long before finding out what was wrong!
Last edited by Paragon; Nov. 1, 2011 at 12:07 AM.
Reason: I can't spell. Psh.
Well its reassuring to hear everyone is glad they had it done.
Champion, at least we both arent crazy! lol
nuts, yes I am having it larposcopically. The endo surgery is larpo as well. They will make 2 incisions on the left and right side above my bikini line as well as the bottom of my belly button, inside. These are the 3 same incisions from last time. There are only 2 other additional incisions for the endo as its more "aggressive", using the robotic arms, and there will be two TINY little incisions midway up my torso, near the middle, kind of near the bottom of my rib cage on either side. The gall bladder will have 3 (I think) incisions on the upper right quad of my torso.
I keep joking around that Im going to wake up and look like someone took a bird shot from a shot gun to me and peppered my stomach! LOL
Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!
I was getting very bad attacks that would last about 2 days of not being able to eat and drinking fluids resulting in puking more. I went to a surgeon after the second attack.
I was terrified of surgery, and did not want to schedule surgery even though my gallbladder was done. I took the surgeon seriously when he said maybe I could avoid it by never eating fat again (or something like that). He was a nice guy, and he was trying to make me relax.
Well, I left (told him I'd call him to schedule the surgery when I talked to family) and went 3 weeks without eating fat. The night of my last attack I ate broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts as my dinner. I was in the hospital the next day. Surgeon direct admitted me. However I had to wait from monday until thursday for the ERCP. Had the gallbladder out friday.
Meanwhile, when I got to the hospital on monday they couldn't get a decent vein (dehydrated). They blew so many veins and my veins would only hold for about 10 hrs before the fluids would start seeping under my skin. I ended up almost getting a central line put in. I left the hospital with completely black and blue arms, wrists and hands. I am always happy to hear others aren't making my mistake and waiting it out until it gets to that point.
So my only complication from surgery was extremely low blood pressure after (65/30 at one point).
As far as dumping, I don't normally eat high fat, and I know if I'm eating something very greasy/unhealthy that I better be home or somewhere I don't mind going to the bathroom.
Oh my surgeon also told me he had gallbladder issues and only hot dogs set it off so he simply avoided hot dogs. He said it can be triggered by certain foods.
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I have gall bladder "issues", apparently from being homeless so didn't eat regularly; the gall bladder didn't empty regularly (for digestion) so the gall (fluid) crystallized into gallstones. Had some pretty terrible attacks, but couldn't afford medical care, so learned diet. My regular diet was fine, actually; my worst attack was from being polite and eating someone else's greasy pork chops. Pork fat triggered both of my bad attacks. Animal fat (even ice cream) triggered the rest, especially on an otherwise empty stomach.
Now that I have more control over my food, there's been no problem, except from a Subway meatball sandwich.
When I DID have an attack. I learned to stop it by throwing up, since the problem was from the gall bladder trying to secrete its digestive fluid (gall) and being unable to, so it tried and tried, spasming in the process. I don't know how to make myself throw up; just knelt over the toilet and it happened.