Pain after Galbladder removal. Help please!

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I wanted to share with you a story about my wife who had her galbladder removed. She is experiencing consistent aching pains in the RUQ which has been extremely limiting for her. Every doctor we have visited either thinks we are crazy or tries to refer us to someone else who also is of no help. We have practically lost faith in the entire medical system. I wanted to share with you our story and hopefully find someone on here who has had success, if that's even possible. If you have a doctor you could recommend, that would be fantastic.

We got married in June of 2015. Everything was perfect. We just bought the house of our dreams together in hopes we would someday have our own family. Then life threw us a lot of lemons....

Sometime in the beginning of August she became sick. It all started with her feeling fatigued, lathargic, and nausious. She would hardly eat anything and she never seemed hungry. This went on for months and I knew something was wrong. Between the months of August to October, she had lost almost 20 pounds without exercising or doing anything. She is 26 years old and 5 feet tall weighing in at around 110 her normal body weight. It got so bad that normal household chores were too much for her. Doing simple things like folding her own pile of laundry or going out to the grocery store with me became very challenging tasks for her. This is very different for us because we have always been the type of people on the 'go'. We are always active and doing things. A typical weekend for us would be spending 10 hours straight doing DIY house project stuff which is drastic considering now she can't even dedicate more than 1 hour at a time. I have basically been watching my wife deterioriate in front of me just only a few months into our marriage. I have had to become a caretaker and do everything else that she is no longer able to do. All she can do is literally sit on a couch and watch tv all day. Our active lifestyle has completely changed because of this. During these months we have been seeing numerous doctors, all of who had no answers and was the biggest waste of time and effort.

Then sometime in October she started vomiting uncontrollably and hadn't eaten for days. So I brought her to the ER and they had no clue what was going on. They gave her fluids and anti-nausea meds and sent her home. Her vomitting was under control for 1 week.

One week later, we are sitting on the couch watching a show on Netflix and she starts having her lunch which consisted of some pasta with olive oil. Not even 15min later she is on the floor screaming in pain. I thought she was having a heart attack. So I took her to the ER and the doctors had no clue what was going on. They ordered an ultrasound and a cat scan, both were normal. They put her on Dilauded which seemed to help temporarily. She was admitted into the hospital for 5 days while the doctors ordered test after test and got nowhere. Everyone thought we were crazy and started telling us that she needed pain management help and a psychiatric evaluation. I fought with them to keep her in the hospital and was the most stressful time of my life. She hadn't eaten in 5 days and the pain was not subsiding. She was shaking and couldn't stand, I thought she was dieing. They finally ordered a HIDA scan and found that her galbladder was functioning at 0%. They had the galbladder removed on October 15th and she was sent home the next day.

Everything seemed to finally be looking up. She was dealing with her recovery pains from the surgery and after a few days she started to get her strength back. She asked to go on short walks with me and started to get her appetite back. She was on a low fat diet and followed her orders from the doctor. 

Two weeks later, the day after Halloween she comes down with this sharp pain in the RUQ. She described it as a band that wrapped around to her back and then up to her upper right shoulder. It was a stabbing pain similar to her galbladder pain, except this time the pain lasted for a few hours. It's the type of pain that drops you to your knees and takes your breath away. Thankfully, her followup appointment with her surgeon was the next day so she just took some narcotic pain meds and rode the pain out.

The surgeon said that it could be Sphinker of Oddi, but in order to do anything about it you would need elevated liver and pancreas enzymes in your blood tests. She had her blood tested and everything was normal. So he referred us to a gastroentrologist.

While we were waiting for a month just to get the appointment, she had two more attacks similar to the one she had the day after Halloween. They would eventually pass but then she was left with this dull aching pain in her RUQ that is consistent and is always there. We told the gastroentrologist all of this, and he gave her Bentyl and urged us to wait until her next attack and get her blood tested immediately. He also ordered a gastric emptying study be done to rule out other issues but the study was normal.

Another month goes by, we are in the beginning of January now and she did not have another one of those attacks. She has this constant dull ache that will not let up. It limits everything that she does. Our lives are on hold right now, she cannot be active and cannot do anything other than sit in a chair. She sleeps in a recliner at night because it's the only position that makes her comfortable. She operates on 3-4 hours of sleep per night because she is in pain. 

We saw another gastroentrologist for a second opinion and he said that her pain could be caused from gastritis or sphinker of oddi. He prescribed her Carafate and Welchol. He also said that it's unlikely that anyone would do an ERCP without elevated liver enzymes. I asked him if it would be possible to do a Botox injection and he told me that it's unlikely that anyone would do that. I read an interesting research article on PubMed here: but he didn't seem to buy it. So he then referred us to someone else who specializes in ERCP's for sphinker of oddi. We are in the process of getting that appointment. The medicine she is on now doesn't seem to be helping, although it has only been 5 days. 

We are running out of options here. I have done all the research that I can think of for SOD and Gastritis. I was hopeful that a Botox injection would at least be a significant clue, but I keep getting turned down by it. This has put our lives on hold and there has to be a reason behind why she is in so much pain all of the time.

If anyone has advise about what treatment options worked for them or anyone has a great recommendation of a doctor, please let us know. I want a doctor that will fight to figure out what is going on and won't just pawn us off to someone else, while we wait another month or two to get an appointment. Time will not fix this. 


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10 Replies

  • Posted

    I am so sorry to hear of your terrible health issues of your wife.  Have you heard of meridian testing?  If you can find a natureopathic doctor that does it. It could show if your wife may have virus, bacteria, fungus, parasites or metals in her system.  These things dont show up in regular doctoring testing.  Its worth a try.  I also, had my gallbladder removed 3 weeks ago.  I experience some aches in back and liver area. But is minor to the attacks and infection I experienced before surgery. It is frustrating when our health is compromised. Prayers and thoughts are sent your way.....
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  • Posted

    I am so sorry to read your post.  I feel for you both I really do.  I am in the same position as your wife.  I won't bore you with the whole sorry saga but will give the edited highlights!  I had my gallbladder removed in August 2013 and I nearly died in the surgery.  I recovered reasonable well but after a year or so, I have spent the last year of my life slowly worsening to the point where I don't live I just exist taking 7 different prescribed medications daily.  I have a post operative mass in the gallbladder site.  It is not known, what it is, what caused it and if it is the cause of all my issues.  I am having this removed tomorrow.  I don't know what type of operation it will be or how long I will be in hospital for, or even if the surgery will work.  But it is my only hope.  I cannot continue with this life.  Like your wife, I'm lucky to have an incredible husband.  I'm 20 odd years older than your wife and it is bad enough for me so I can only imagine how terrible it is for her and how she must be feeling.  I've had nine different scans and test the past year and I'm still no further forward.  Sometimes they just need to go in and see what is happening there.  I hope your wife at least gets some comfort from the fact that she is not alone.  Although of course no one would wish all this on anyone.

    Good luck to you both.

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    • Posted

      Hi All, I sympathise with you all and know exactly how you feel. I can only add to LittleMissDolly's post. GB removed 2 years ago after many years of pain, US so bad a 2 week referral was made but against the radiographers suggestions of seeing a Heptabi
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    • Posted

      please littel miss dolly let us know how you get on. im so sorry to read this news. you didnt tell me about and said you would not bore me with the details. believe me im not bored. i really really feel for you and hope that it gets removed and that everything turns out well for you. your in my prayers. god bless you dear. 🙏❤️xxx
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    • Posted

      Ah cheeky, you are very kind.  Well I got to Hospital this morning and was all ready to go and 3 hours later they cancelled.  Just like that.  I was so upset as you can imagine.  Speaking to my GP tomorrow to discuss it and decide whether to change Consultants at this late stage to allow surgery to go ahead sooner or stick with the original guy.  So, lots to think about and digest. It's just another tale of woe in an already long list of disasters that my health has become!!!!  I will keep you posted.  Please take care xx
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    • Posted

      for goodness sake. its unbelievable, they cancelled it. what a cheeky they'v got, going to hopsital is a big thing and getting all worked up and the proper mindset and everything is a big emotional turmoil for us as it is. i dont know what to say.i just wish you well and keep us lot in the forum in my prayers. i hope you you'v got company and help and support as its very hard on your own if your ill or have children as well it must be really  hard for the mothers. im on my own so its much better.i just have my pet to look it can be a debilitating illness. i now got a hernia as well and thats just with stretching,,speak soon, cheeky❤️💐
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    • Posted

      Oh no LMD that completely sucks. I so feel for you and the OP :-( I think all of us pre ops are eager to get our survey out of the way hoping it will be ok. To find out that it might not be is dreadful but at least we have the nugget of positivity that the balance is in our favour and it will be fine. I honestly don't know how I would cope in your situation. To have such a nasty condition and then made worse is unimaginable. I can't do much I know but you have my sympathy at least. I am so sorry you are going through this. Keep in touch xx
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