Feeling awful mentally after Gallbladder surgery!

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What no one tells you about gallbladder surgery..

My name is Tara. I am a Registered Nurse. I would like to tell you my recent story.

I began having debilitating anxiety attacks in 2000. I would say prior to the attacks, I would be classified as a "worrier", but this was very different. Fight or flight at its finest. I, as so many are, was placed on SSRI's and managed the best I could. I also developed acid reflux around this time and noticed that the two went hand and hand in regards to the severity of my attacks.  I led a relatively normal life, getting married, having two children, and achieving an Administrative role in a large Cardiology practice. In October of 2016, the bottom fell out.

In October of 2016 I had one isolated, extremely high blood pressure (210/120). I had eaten high fat foods for the two days prior to the HTN episode.  I had no previous history of HTN. I was treated with IV Labetalol and started on a  PO Beta Blocker. I failed approximately 5 beta blockers, as I did not have any further instances of HTN. For months I underwent cardiac testing, blood work, CT's, Event and Holter monitors, etc. No significant findings. My only symptoms post the hypertensive crisis was a vibration under my right breast. It was present almost immediately after the one episode of HTN and did not cease. I finally asked for a HIDA scan and found that the EF of my gallbladder was 2%. I thought I had finally found out what had been causing all my trouble. It was approximately 5 months after the initial episode of HTN. I never had a gallbladder attack or any other GI symptoms out of the usually IBS like symptoms I have had for as long as I can remember. Over the years, my fight or flight response became more and more sensitive and I could not explain why.

This is when it all fell apart. At the time of my surgery, I was taking Trintellix 10mg for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It seemed to work up until October of 2016, when my anxiety, once again, became out of control. I underwent a lap choley on 3/24/17 and did fine surgically. About 3 weeks post op, I entered into a CONSTANT state of anxiety. It was debilitating and I was very seriously contemplating an inpatient stay somewhere. I had NEVER had feelings like this and was starting to believe it was my new station in life. I was depressed, extremely anxious, detached, became a hypochondriac regarding what could be wrong with me, and truly believed I was going insane. All for having my gallbladder removed. I often wish I would have never had it removed. I still have some physical response to certain foods: headache, bloating, RUQ pain, right arm pain etc... Despite the physical symptoms, the mental changes have been the most overwhelming and devastating.

I sought advice from my PCP (almost weekly) about my condition. She increased my Trintellix and it made all symptoms exponentially worse. I underwent a Head CT, MRI of the Brain, CT of the abdomen-all negative. I was living on Ativan and wondering if I would make it. I was then taken off Trintellix and placed back on Effexor XR which I had taken for 8yrs and only asked to change because of unwanted side effects. I was very hopeful this would help me. The exact opposite happened. It was as if my body was rejecting this medication which I had depended on for so many years. Severe feelings of detachment, feeling like i was going to lose control, constant anxiety and extreme fear. Absolutely  no help and certainly no symptoms I had ever experienced before. I asked my Doctor if I could stop the medication and see what happened as I was unbearably miserable. Very very slowly, the symptoms have started to lift. I would not say I am even 70%, but I feel more hopeful than I have in the 10 weeks since my surgery. I have begun taking Prilosec OTC and that has helped, but is not a long-term fix. It is hard to describe, but I feel more intact to my life and much less anxious about things that would have always been a trigger for me.

I have some questions, but am trying desperately to be at peace that there may be no answer. Just that time passes and some of these things resolve.

My gallbladder did not get to 2% overnight. Could this have been the source of my anxiety all these years?

Does feeling so awful now on SSRI's/SNRI's mean my gut could be healing and keep Serotonin regulated as it should be?

What can I continue to do to help my gut heal and restore my neurotransmitters to the appropriate function? I stay hydrated, take a high quality organic multivitamin, try to get enough sleep, practice relaxation and have been working with a counselor using EMDR therapy. I don't know what is helping, but I certainly know it started in my gut.

I am convinced that we are going about this backwards and I feel the past 10 weeks of my life are proof. Your gut has a brain! I am not looking for a diagnosis. I just want my life back

Tara

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  • Posted

    Hi Tara, I had my gallbladder out 6 years ago, prior to that I never had any anxiety or depression symptoms in over 40 years. Since the op I have had similar problems, developed migraine with aura (never had in my life before) and still get digestive problems despite an extremely strict diet. Dizzyness, vertigo, all I never had before. Strangely though I used to have a fear of heights which I totally lost after the op. Gall bladder must do a lot more than is currently understood!
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  • Posted

    Let thy food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be thy food. I went through something very similar to you and I'm still am in he process of healing. I 100% believe that the food we put into our bodies has a role in all our bodily processes. Also, proper bile flow is needed to assimilate the nutrients from our food as well as alkaline pancreatic juices.

    A well balanced Mediterranean with small amounts of healthy fats would be beneficial. Not processed, hydrogenated oils. All fresh, plant based with lean meats. This has to be a radical lifestyle change in order to heal your gut and make your liver happy.

    Your liver processes all your hormones so when it is congested with sludgy bile it can't do it's job.

    Best of luck on your journey to wellness.

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  • Posted

    Hello Tara

    You have done amazing to fight back as you have.

    My daughter is 21 & having a terrible time after GB removed Jan 2017, unable to work, eat drink, can't go anywhere due to pain & sickness that goes with the pain.

    She has tried free from foods , dairy free, tiny amounts & nothing works.

    A&E think she is an addict after a morphine fix when we have to take her for the really bad ones & refuse to treat her, but one A&E nurse has the same & she is on a medication that works issue is we can't get it prescribed as it's addictive as well but sadly everything that stops the pain is.

    They say she has Sphincter of Oddi 3 and There is no cure for it .

    Like you she has terrible thoughts and just wants her life back, on Sat night in A&E she asked me to just let her go as she can't do it anymore, safest thing to hear. People don't understand the severity of the pain and all of you are suffering so badly.

    The gallbladder is underestimated and my daughter has asked can she go on a transplant list to have one put back in, you can't so she cried.

    You are right about the gut but when you can't get food in or go without the painkillers it's one vicious circle sadly.

    We are waiting for the experts report but he didn't call us back tonight after I left an emergency message so not holding our breath .

    More needs to be done to help & I will share what comes back in the report.

    Wishing you all but good things and happy thoughts xx

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your kind words Carol. Believe me, there were many days I thought I could not go on. Tell your daughter to stay the course and keep her head up!
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  • Posted

    Hello Tara, my husband is also a nurse and I cannot believe the similar symptoms you have descibed to that of my husband over the years. Firstly he is a non stop worrier, he suffered atrial fribulation a few years ago and we found that was due to taking atenalol as when he would get worked up sort of fight or flight mode, the atenalol would cause his heart rate to go bonkers. Anyway, he came off that and was put on something else which has suited him. He also has IBS and has  had this for numerous years. Over the last year or so he started having pains and put it down to IBS as you do, but it started to become unbearable with the contant pain and bloating. So, off to the GP again and this time after tests and ultar sound found a thickened lining of the gallbladder and a soupy cloudy substance which you couldn't see through. So was fobbed off  and carried on for a few months more thinking that maybe it was IBS and stress of job as you yourself will understand, but symtoms just got worse. So had another moan at the GP and this time he said another ultra sound was necessary this proved that there were stones so an op was sorted. He had the op last Friday and the surgeon couldn't perform keyhole as he had adhesions due to previous car accident,so went in through the front. The surgeon stated that he had had to cut through adhesions to get to gallbladder. He was discharged on Tuesday and suffered chronic agony on Wednesday to the point were he cried ( it takes alot to do that) I phoned 999 and got him hospital again and the surgeon there said he needed to go for another op that was last night . He is so fed up and down atthe moment and at this time of writing I will be off to see what the doctor has done ,as there were alsorts of things floating around that the surgeon said may have caused it from a blockage to twisted bowel in which case a piece would have to cut off and re connected due to loss off blood supply to that area,and possibility of a stoma to rest the bowel. He feels the same way you do his exact words to me the other day was that he felt like he was being punshed for something. He too wants his life back. I really hope we can all get this sorted as as you say they never said that this could happen after what is supposed to be a routine op. Good Luck Tara hope you can get sorted soon.

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    • Posted

      I think what your husband is suffering from has more to do with the adhesions and long-term effects of his accident than from his gallbladder removal.  I had my gb removed 7 years ago.  About 3 months ago I started having digestive issues such as bloating and pain with anything I ate, alternating diarrhea and constipation, and frequent nausea.  My GYN said that my symptoms sound like gallbladder disease and could be caused by not following the right diet for one who no longer has a gallbladder, or it could be IBS.  He also said, however, that my problems could be caused by the many adhesions I have littered throughout my abdomen from my multiple open surgeries.  My GI doctor said the same.  I've been told that, while the adhesions cause these problems, having surgery to remove or detach the adhesions could cause them to become worse as it would cause new adhesions in addition to the old ones reattaching and growing thicker.  

      I know that there are ways to thin and loosen adhesions so that they don't cause as much pain and pulling, such as deep tissue massage, so once your husband's incision is fully healed I would look into that.    

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  • Posted

    Oh no!!!! This is not what I want to hear!! Firstly I am sorry that you have been in such a bad way, this is truly awful. I however have only just (yesterday evening) received the news that I am going to have my gallbladder removed, my story (sorry if boring) is that early this year I started to have terrible trouble digesting fat - any fat, after ultrasound scans there was no evidence of gallstones but that a malfuntioning gallbladder, hence the recommendation to remove it. I have started to suffer some horrible pancreatitis symptoms and generally feel unwell - like you have huge spikes in my bp, all the gp wants to do is to put me on medication.  But overwhelmingly through all this I have felt a horrible feeling of anxiety and depression - so unlike me, I don't want to take any more medication but I am hoping that the correct flow of bile through my system will help in the future but I am now doubting the decision to go ahead with the operation?!!!!!! God bless.

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    • Posted

      Just like you I don't want to hear all this !! I am having my op next Thursday. I know people and of people who had their gb out and all successful. They haven't looked back. The only thing that was painful was the gas they have to blow you up with needs to escape from your body !!

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    • Posted

      Hi hedy, Yes, all this stuff just scares me!! Like you have I have spoken to loads of people who have had their GB removed and after a couple of weeks are back to perfect health and never look back, lets hope that we are those people!! Good luck on Thursday and do let me know how it goes, thinking of you.

       

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    • Posted

      Hi I am now just over 2weeks from my op. I have never felt as well. I woke from my surgery feeling so much better than before. I have not experienced the pain and soreness as others. hopefully I will not have that to come !!
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  • Posted

    I just had my gallbladder removed 3/29 and I feel the exact same. I just can't get back to a normal life!

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