My gallbladder experience

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So I came here before my surgery absolutely terrified from everything people were saying. I tried to convince myself only people with bad experiences will come back to the forums as people who recover well move on from the problem. So I thought I'd share my experience so far.

I am 22 and have had gallstone attacks for 2.5 years. Only one has sent me to hospital due to severity and that one time was enough to decide no matter how painful the surgery, it couldn't be worse than that pain. So I did it. I'm on my third day post op today.

On attacks:

My Gall bladder attacksusually start early hours of the morning and usually very dull. The pain is most easily explained as similar to period cramps but under your rib cage and radiating to you back. It also consistent, it doesn't go away and come back like cramps. When they got that bad it was like the cramping where you can't stand up, but it lasts for hours at a time.

Surgery

Went in for an afternoon surgery. Everything happened pretty quickly. Had a shower with special soap, put on the gown and had an injection in the stomach to prevent clotting. Sooner than I realised the nurse came to take me to the theatre where I met the anesthetist who went through everything and then bam - asleep.

I woke up and this was the worst part. They hadn't given me enough pain medication and I felt everything. It took about 4 hours for them to get the doses right and the pain to subside. Definitely have a caring person around for when you get out and before you go in as this is by far the most stressful time.

I stayed over night as it was a late surgery but I was glad as a the hospital beds are very comfortable in terms of changing position and bathrooms designed for disabled people ect. I was taking endone every few hours which worked an absolute charm. The pain was mostly around the ribs but the endone doesn't take long to work.

I never sleep on my back so this had to be overcome as sleeping on your side feels really yuck. On your side you can feel everything and feels really uncomfortable.

My shoulder began hurting on the second day but I've read about that and the endone also helps this disappear. I am sure painkillers are not great for you but At this point I couldn't care less. They work.

Th night I came home I ate quite a lot of food and the person caring for me accidentally gave me too many panadol. I was vomiting for about 3 hours and brought back everything I ate. I think this was a reaction to the panadol as I haven't felt sick before or after that. The meal was also low fat so it wouldn't be a reaction to the fat. It could also just be that I over ate (it wasn't more than a standard dinner, but it was my first proper meal).

Today I had a look at the incisions. They use this transparent glue stuff to stitch the skin together. Unfortunately I noticed they have pus in them so I called my surgeon who told me to see a gp and get antibiotics.

Although I don't care about painkillers I'm not the biggest fan of antibiotics so that was a bit of a bummer. But again, infection is far more serious than side effects of antibiotics.

Today i am also feeling a lot better standing up and walking around. Sitting up at he table is very comfortable and a relief from lying on your back all day and night.

I was also getting worried about not having any bowl movements as apparently painkillers can cause constipation but I have finally had a healthy one. I nearly resorted to laxatives.

Anyway, so far it's been very up and down but the painkillers work so effectively that the pain usually doesn't last longer than maybe half an hour.

Will update if anything changes.

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Lou!

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I've had gall stones for about a year now, had an incident where I went to hospital as I had jaundice due to a stone blocking the bile duct, I was so ill.

    I changed my diet completely cutting out all dairy products and meat and I live on steamed veg, fruit, brown bread and rice etc, I've lost 2 and a half stone.

    I have an appointment to see my consultant tomorrow but I think they will say that I have to have my gall bladder removed as its full of little stones... I'm so scared, I'm petrified of vomiting again, I'm trying so hard with all the food and being as safe as I can...... I'm scared of complications after my op..... ?? xxxx

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    • Posted

      I'm leaving for a 2 month trip away in 3 weeks time and I was so scared of the idea of an attack in a country far from medical help or English speaking people that it was enough to accept the surgery.

      Reading all the things on this forum is terrifying. My surgeon told me though that anyone with ongoing problems probably didn't have gall stones to begin with, or didn't have a good surgeon.

      As long as your doctors are absolutely concinced you have gall stones and not something else I think it'll be fine. Also I'd try to see if you can find out their experience ect.

      Having jaundice sounds very serious and I think you are definitely doing the right thing by removing them. Plus what kind of a life is living on just steamed veg. That sucks. But from what I've read the complications involve still not being able to eat fat so you haven't really lost anything if you're already eating fat free...

      Anyway goodluck with it! I was terrified before I went in and so far it hasn't been that bad. Xo

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    • Posted

      Hi Lou,

      Thanku so much for your reply! It really helped..yes I was scanned twice and I've been told my gall bladder is packed with little stones... I hope they can put me on a cancellation list as I just want to get this op over and done with now xxx

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  • Posted

    Im getting my gb removed next week and im terrified about getting put to sleep!!  Can you talk me through what they did to you to put you to sleep? And how did u feel when u woke up? How long did it take for u to come round from being put to sleep. Im scared that i will wake up feeling awful sad xxx

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    • Posted

      I've had surgery twice before so I know I'm not allergic to it and I've been fine before so I wasn't too worried. Being your first time it's pretty normal to be worried but you shouldn't be. They inject you and 10 seconds later you're asleep and then next thing you know you're in the recovery room. They are legally obligated to tell you all the risks and it makes it scary but the chances of anything going wrong are really small and they're so highly

      Qualified that they know what to do even if they did go wrong.

      To be perfectly honest, I was in pain when I woke up but I wouldn't say anymore so than a full on gall bladder attack. And they will give you morphine as soon as you're awake. I'd definitely be more forward with how much pain you're in rather than put on a brave face. The meds work wonders, I just thought at first they would only reduce the pain but they totally get rid of it.

      Don't stress too much about it. You're not alone and it's a very common procedure.

      Xo

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    • Posted

      Awww thanks hun.....ive never been in sever pain with my gb, just lots of tummy issues....i do get aches in my right shoulderblade and feel brusied and tender where my gb is....also get alot of nausea too sad

      Did u feel nauseated when u woke up? xxx

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    • Posted

      Are they 100% certain it's your gall stones causing the problem? That's the biggest thing.

      When I woke up my stomach was very sore but no nausea. In fact I was able to drink water and stand up as soon as I got back to my room without feeling sick.

      I only had nausea the night after surgery. I think I ate too much or something cause I was vomiting for a couple of hours. I'd take it easy with the food... They say eat what you like but definitely eat small quantities

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    • Posted

      They have done other tests to rule out everything else and they have said its not normal for someone to have thickened gallbladder walls and it is tender when my gb area is pressed on.
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  • Posted

    Drink mineral water. Trust me it's the one thing I found that helps. Good luck and lemme know if it helps please

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