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Hi, just some background on my situation: Female, 48. Gallstones for at least 10 years, with several attacks lasting between 1 hour and 2 weeks. Several ultrasounds showed 1 large stone, from 6.6cm to 2.9cm at various times over the years. Was in 2 minds about having the gallbladder out, but put myself on a waiting list here in Australia and finally got it taken out a week ago, after 2 years on the list.
Operation went well, it was keyhole and I had a drainage tube in afterwards. The surgeon said my stone was probably the biggest he's seen. Turns out it was 8cm, with "several" more large ones, including one sitting on top of the bile duct entrance. He said the stone was virtually taking up the entire gallbladder, and was definitely due to come out. I've taken from this that ultrasounds are not very accurate in testing the size.
The only hiccup was that I vomited once right after, but it was the best vomit of my life! No pain and no tensing of the body, it just kind of forced its way out without any help. I wasn't given anti nausea meds prior, but will in future, as I did feel a little sick prior to the vomiting, which cleared some fogginess and the sick feeling instantly.
I was back on the ward at 6pm and due to a clotting disorder I had inflatable booties on, so stayed in bed in the one position overnight. I've only had 2 doses of pain meds since, and one of those was so I could get out of bed the next morning to walk around the ward. I was discharged that day, after proving I could move. I also had a piece of toast that morning too, with no ill effects. I was concerned about eating anything as I wasn't sure how my gallbladder-less body would react, as eating had become a well planned event, as I'm sure most of you will understand. The drainage tube was also taken out before being discharged, and honestly, that was the worst pain of the whole experience. There was probably about 20-25cm of tubing in me, which just got yanked out, but it was short lived, only the few seconds it was coming out.
I am now 7 days post op, and did struggle with moving the first 2 days, but I'm sure that would have been easier if I'd just taken pain meds. I am almost back to normal, just not lifting anything too much. My next shift at work (in a physical job) is next week, and I plan to go in for a few hours to see how I go. I have lost my appetite (not a bad thing) but make sure I eat enough. I've still maintained eating the few meals that haven't been a problem for me with the stone. It will take time for me to get back to a normal diet, mentally more than anything. I have had a bit of diarrhoea, but also solid stools (sorry, TMI). No food related cramps or pains. I did find that for about the first 5 days I was tired and groggy, with brain fog. I had trouble concentrating and just felt a bit out of it. I didn't need to drive until about day 5, and I'm not sure it would have been a good idea on day 2 or 3. (I was told no driving for 24 hours post op)
Scars are healing nicely and I have a follow up appointment in about 10 days. All up a positive experience and I'm glad I did it. I hated living with the fear in the back of my mind that everything I ate could be the next culprit, or that the gallbladder was about to burst without my knowledge. My biggest concern with the whole thing was that I may have it taken out and still have a heap of issues, like you read about here. Just remember, people like me don't often come back and post the success stories.
Good luck in your journey and if I can help, feel free to ask questions.
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