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Scheduled surgery to have gallbladder removed this Friday...help
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Scheduled surgery to have gallbladder removed this Friday...help

I am scheduled to have my gall bladder removed this Friday and I am very uneasy about it. I have had 2 attacks - one in Feb 2001 and another this past October 2002. I was in pain for a good week each time, 24/7 and couldn't eat or drink anything. Both times a gall stone was blocking my bile duct. All I could do was stay in a lying down position, sitting was unbearable. I also didn't pass a bowel for 8 days. But, after they pass I feel fine and I don't have any more problems. The ultrasound found several stones in my gall bladder and my surgeon says it has to be removed? But, how do we know this is the problem? Wouldn't I have more attacks then 2??? I am reading about all of these post - op problems after having the gallbladder removed and I am really thinking of canceling the surgery because, it sounds like I could have more serious problems once it is removed. And, if I decide to go ahead with the surgery how long will it take to heal enough to engage in sports and exercise?
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11 Comments
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There are options, if your gallstones are small sand size stones, you should be able to flush them away with the flushes you see posted around. There is also a procedure that uses laser technology to break them up and let them pass naturally. Please look into your options, you dont have to have surgery as a first resort, make it the last resort. However, the surgery is virtually painless, except for the first night when the gases ecaping your belly hit your shoulder blade with a stabbing force that knocks you breathless. But it goes away.
Good luck and let us know what you decide to do and how it goes.


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Typically, gallbladder surgery is done "laparoscopically", if it is done that way, the recovery time is 1-2 weeks. In the past when the "open" procedure was performed, recovery time was more like 6 weeks. I would agree that surgery is a "last resort". However, you may want to have the gallbladder removed now for 2 reasons.
1. If you have it removed when your symptoms are minimal, you will more likely be able to have it done lapariscopically.
2. If the gallbladder does become very inflamed and/or the pain gets unbearable ... or worse yet, if the gallbladder ruptures you are more likely to have the "open" procedure. If the gallbladder ruptures when inflamed ... you can develop perotinitis which can be life treatening.

I typically give my patients options. I have not seen great success with just "letting them pass" or with procedures aimed at breaking the stones up. I certainly understand NOT wanting to have surgery, however I am concerned that your next attack may be accompanied by complications.

I hope this helps!
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I often wonder if having my gallbladder was the right thing to do.  I've continued to have problems since April 2001.  If you are really uneasy about having the surgery, ask your doctor what he thinks about Actigall.  This is a medication that is used on people who are not good candidates for the surgery.  Of course it won't be as quick a result as having your gallbladder removed, but if stones are your problem maybe you can take that to reduce the size of them until it is gone.  Just thought I would pass that suggestion on to you.  Best of luck with what ever you decide.
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hello everyone,
i was diagnosed with gallstones about a month ago. It all started when I started feeling bloated and my period was late about a month. So the doctor thought I was pregnant, as it turned out I was not. Besides, I had a tubel ligation seven yrs ago after my fourth child, all by c-sections. Then I was still bloated and one day I ate a sandwich and tried to drink a chocalate milkshake. Only got four sips down and then got severe pain in my stomache when i drank. My stomache hurt to the touch and also so bad I had to take my underwear off. All I could do was lay in bed and cry. Finally I went to the ER bloated, and hurting. The doctor done a pap smear and female examination and blood test and told me that my white blood count was high. And told me that he thought I had a bacterial infection or that my period was trying to start and when it did i was going "to flood", that was his exact words. And i asked him if he could do an ultra sound or catscan and he told me that there was no need to and it would take too long and there was nothing wrong with me, then sent me home with anibiotics. I thought he was retarded so I went to see my regular doctor who said he thought
it was my gallbladder. And sent me for an ultrasound that proved to be correct, gallstones.Then after I was diagnosed with gallstones.then I got sick to my stomache after eating. That went away after about two days, been fine since, cut back on fat sugar carbohydrates drink alot more water and lost about 15 and a half pounds which is good for me. im trying to lose about 70 pounds. i am overweight the only problem i have now is i'm starting to have a pain under my lower right rib when i touch.
and when i sit down.went to my regular doctor and he told me it was not my gallbladder. he did no tests to confirm no infection. My back also hurts in the morning when i wake up and goes away as the day goes on. Starting to feel less pain on my bavk as the weeks go by. Gonna see a different doc monday just to make sure nothings wrong. i dont feel comfortable with my doctors now.I've also seen two surgeans that told me i dont need to take out my gallbladder right now without looking at my ultra sound results but one of the doctors told me that eventually i would have to take it out but not sure when. i dont know whats going on or what to do or where to go. im 28.i live in mississippi. i dont know what kind of doctors they have down here. i do have money so i could go somewhere else if that needed to be done. And i would like to know if i can instead of the surgery do the shockwave treatment and disolving medication instead of the surgery. i know that it is not 100% accurate and the stones can come back within in 5 years but i plan to stay on a diet and never go back to my old diet. and besides if they docome back couldnt i just the shock again? and if not possible when where and do you recommend any doctors to do my surgery?
yours truly,
southerndaisy
you can email me at ***@****
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When I had the first gallbladder attack in 2001 I had read to eat apples because of the ingredient "Pectin" which is supposed to help dissolve stones.  So, I ate lots of apples, and apple juice did wonders when I had heartburn.   I tried to watch what I ate, I avoided deep fried foods and especially pizza.  I did fine watching what I ate for a good year and a 1/2.  I didn't have a single attack. And, I could probably go another year or so but, will the cycle ever end?  Will my gallbladder keep forming new stones?   But, you have to avoid certain foods permanently and there are so many, such as mayo, and salad dressings or sauces (because of the oil content), cheeses & dairy products, white flour products, coffee etc...   2 weeks ago I had some ice cream and I had a terrible attack which lasted for 8 days.  I lived on apple juice and pain pills.  I do believe that if you watch what you eat you might be able to avoid surgery.  But, I opted to have mine removed because both times a gall stone was blocking my bile duct which if not resolved could lead to pancreaitis which is life threatening.  Since I have many stones this could happen again.   I was just reading all of the things that have went wrong as a result from gall bladder surgery to many people who have posted their comments here.  Which I know doctors are "human" and they do make mistakes just like the rest of us.   Thank you   DrTomasello,  I appreciate your input about my options.  I believe you when you say that "open surgery" would be far worse than laproscopically done.  Southerndaisy, I wish you well and good luck.  Your symptoms resemble mine and although I am not a doctor I do believe it sounds like your gallbladder.   Prior to the stomach pain I found it very difficult to get up and out of bed because of severe back pain.
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I just want to let you know that I know exactly how you feel.  I am also scheduled to have my gallbladder removed this Friday.  I also am quite nervous, especially when you read about all these people having problems afterwards and regretting it.  I am just doing my best to think positive about it.  Both my parents have had their's removed and neither have had any problems since.  All I know is that I do not want to go through the rest of my life worrying about what I eat, when it is going to happen again and what could happen if I left it untreated.  Hang in there, remember that you are not the only one going through it and best of luck to you!
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Thank you for words of encouragement.  I hope all goes well for you as well.
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Best wishes to both of you with your surgery.  

I know a large number of people who have had their gallbladder out and never looked back.  Unfortunately I had mine removed in July and have never been able to look forward.  

I did not have gallstones, but developed pancreatitis.  Because I ignored the attacks I was having once they passed I could have literally killed myself.  I ended up at the ER with extreme difficulty breathing; severe pain and just basically feeling like I was going to die.

After a series of x-rays; blood work; urine tests and sonogram they ended up admitting me because my amylase and lipase (pancreatic enzymes) were extremely high.  I spent 4 days with nothing to eat or drink - I wasn't even allowed to have ice chips.  Trust me it gets old fast when they only want to you brush your teeth once a day and you can't have anything to drink or eat.

I had more tests done than I can list here, but basically my gallbladder was enlarged and the wall was thickened so it had to come out.  The doctors never really came up with a good solid reason for the pancreatitis, but I was told had I been 50-60 years old I would have only had a 50/50 chance of survival with levels as high as mine were.

Unfortunately I continue to have problems but am very, very lucky to have two wonderful doctors (surgeon and gastro) who have listened to me tell them I don't feel well and they are sending me on to a specialist.

My gastro told me that they now feel that my gallbladder was a "red flag" for whatever my true ailment is (unknown as of yet -sphincter of oddi dysfunction is a suspect).

I guess my point is, be careful!  I know I still have problems, but consider myself lucky to be here to have problems.  I could have just as easily continued to ignore my attacks (they were only happening every couple of weeks) and who knows if I would have been able to survive the pancreatitis.

Again, I know a large number of people who haven't had any problems post surgery - my brother and sister-in-law included.  The number of "no problem" people far out weigh the number of "problem" people.

Also, remember people on here are looking for answers to problems.  Those without problems most likely won't be posting here.

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I had my gall bladder removed when I was 28 years old. They didn't have the laser surgery yet. I am much better off without my gall bladder but I do occassionally still get the same gut aches I got before surgery and I don't know what causes that. After I eat, food goes right through me and I read somewhere else in this forum of another person who has the same symptom I do, if I bend forward I feel like something is bulging up in the right side of my ribcage... kind of like a muscle spasm or something. Bottom line though.. I am still glad I had my gall bladder removed. Good luck to you!
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Hi I had my Gallbladder out in 1991......I had attacks also where I would be bawled up and felt like I was having a heart attack. It seemed that fried foods set it off the worst. The Dr. thought I had an ulcer at first until an ultrasound was done. My surgery was supposed to be Laparoscopic but because I had stones stuck in my bile duct and had many large ones, I had to have open abdominal surgery. It was a breeze for me, the 1st 24 hrs are tough but I have never had any problems with it after....maybe the people who are having problems had something that wasn't actually gallbladder related, I am no Dr but thats what I would think...something like pancreatitis that is chronic. I am in nursing school and actually observed a gallbladder surgery. The stones are about the size of a beebee or a little bigger, perfectly round and green. They are all lined up in rows perfectly...I was so facsinated when the surgeon showed us students. It was really cool to see what it looked like and to think something that small can cause so much pain.....I would do it..don't put it off.Nowadays you go home the same day anyways....unless there are problems which is extremly rare. You will feel better after...believe me. I was in for 5 days because of the open surgery and had to have a drain for the bile...it looked like a hand grenade pinned to my gown....but this was 11 years ago too so things are even more advanced now compared to then....I don't know where you are from but I am from Mass. Boston area and I went to a Dr.Richard Paulson from Park surgical assoc. in Stoughton Mass, he is THE BEST for this stuff and is a down to earth Dr. He was with Cardinal Cushing Hospital, which is now Good Samaritan. I don't know which hosp he goes to now but if you are from around here , thats who I would go to. I trust my life to that Dr, and would again without a question. Good Luck!
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I had laproscopic gallbladder surgery January, 02.  Easiest surgery I ever had.  I only had one attack, was advised gallstones that are symptomatic, even once need to come out.  I was not convinced.  I never wanted to have surgery again.  I was thinking surgery in a couple of months.  Then a lady at church who had offered to help me post-op had this under emergency conditions.  I learned from her experience that if the stone gets stuck in a duct, open surgery is the only option.  So, I got busy and made appt. with a surgeon.  Of all the folks I have talked to, the ones whose pain is in an odd area and don't get diagnosed for 1-2 years, or who let it go are the ones who have trouble.  Both my parents had the open surgery under emergency conditions.  I knew I did not want that.  Very little pain, and dull at that.
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A related discussion, what is the best food to eat after gallbladder surgery? was started.
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