Post cholecystectomy day by day diary of recovery

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Hello everyone.

I recently put a post on this site expressing a concern with some pains I was having along with gallstones which had led to severe acute cholecystitis. The response and support I had received from so many different people was absolutely wonderful and really helped me. If not to take the pain away, but to support and really show a concern. I have since had my surgery to have my gallbladder removed and am home recovering. I want to share my experience with anyone having the same problems which can hopefully help when you are in the same situation. I am doing from day of op up to my recovery stage I am at now.

Day of op: I must admit, one of the scariest operations I have ever been booked in for. My surgery took longer than normal, 2 and half hours, due to my gallbladder sadly being quite bad beyond repair. Recovery in hospital was long but I was allowed home the same day. I was given some relaxant medication before I was put to sleep so you have option if you are nervous or anxious. Don't be scared to express if you are worried. Surgery wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Day 1 post op: I felt extremely sore, uncomfortable, gassy (from carbon air blown into the tummy) this was more uncomfortable than anything. I had a severe sore throats from tubes down there during surgery. Take pain killers regularly for at least the 1st 3 days. Even if you don't feel pain. I also experienced quite bad diarreah but didn't have a tummy ache with it. Felt slightly emotional and pain in my right shoulder. Again, this was from the air blown into my tummy. Just rest and sleep when possible.

Day 2 post op: the aneaspehetic had completely worn off by today so pain killers were really needed. Still experiencing sever diarreah but still no tummy ache. Gas is reducing and tummy is shrinking making wounds feel tight and sore. Pain in my shoulder is still there but slowly easing the more gas is released from my stomach. The worse pain at the moment is the bloating from the gas. Still please rest and sleep when you can.

Day 3 post op: pains are now more localised as gas is almost gone. So around the area of where the gallbladder was and wounds from surgery. My stomach still is very grumbly from the gas but not as much. Pain in the shoulder has now gone. Still experiencing diarreah which doesn't seem to get any better at the stage and had bowel movements up to 5 times in the day. Feeling tired of resting as I'm used to being active so I was getting up and moving around a little. I.e. To make a cup of tea or a sandwich. Still needing pain killers but now just for the pains from surgery.

Day 4 post op: the pains are still there but nowhere near as bad as day 1-3. I am up and moving around a little more, I tried bending but I suggest you wait a while longer that as it was painful. My pain killers are reducing and I am finding I only need them when necessary. I find I can't stand up for longer that 20 minutes. I am getting a bad pain/ achy back which I can only think is because I have done very little for days. I am now sitting mostly instead of laying and managing stairs much better but still please take things easy and at a pace you can manage. Today I went to visit the in laws and by the time I got home I was ready for bed. Energy is still very low but felt amazing to get out of the house for a while. I've only had 2 lots of pain killers today and that was more because I was going out.

Day 5 post op: last night was my 1st night back in my bed. I had my bed on the sofa because my toilet is downstairs and I was struggling getting up and down. Also reduced movement meant I'd have never made the toilet in time. I was very restless till around 3.30am as I couldn't turn around to sleep on my side which Is how I would normally sleep in bed. Eventually fell asleep and woke around 1pm 😳 I felt very lazy but bare in mind it was broken sleep. Today I feel loads better and recovery seems to be getting quicker. I'm not going to lie, I still feel pains but this is now more when I move and again only from wound areas and where the gallbladder was so I still recommend you still take things easy. Diarreah has now cleared and bowel movements are almost back to normal. I still feel sore but again it's much better than it was and also much more bearable. I haven't yet had pain killers and want to take them only when I need them. I am visiting the nurse tomorrow due to a naughty wound that won't stay closed so I'm hoping that's better than it was. More so because I would love to have a soak in the bath. Sadly I've been forbidden from showers and baths until it's closed enough to handle water. So flannel washes are what I've had to deal with. I am still on day 5 of recovery but want to share my experience now as I thought I would be laid up much longer. I am still resting but doing little bits when I can. I am proud to have started managing my stairs and finally had a proper night in bed. My pains are now only from where the gallbladder was, the belly button wound (which is my naughty one) and one wound in the top of the tummy between my rib cage. All in all, I am so thrilled with my surgery and so glad I no longer need to suffer the attacks I was having. I do feel achy and feel I have run a marathon at times but that's my own fault at pushing myself too much. I hope that my day by day diary has enough information to help anyone who is having or has just had surgery. If there are any questions anyone has I would be more than happy to answer. I am sorry the post is so long but the more detail the better. Please post a reply if there are any other symptoms you may have had that I haven't included. I can't wait to be back on my feet and back to normal health and although it seems ages away, it's nothing compared to the nightmare of having a not well gallbladder. I still feel very tired and can still only do very little but as for the pains they are easing more and more as each day goes on. Please remember that the recovery does take up to 6 weeks so even if you still don't feel right after 2 weeks you are still recovering from a major surgery. Please still only eat light meals as your body is adjusting to the gallbladder not being there. And although we can live a perfectly healthy life without one, it still done quite a lot for you. Don't suffer in silence. I wish anyone having the surgery a speedy recovery and lots of love and please make sure you rest. All the best.

Sonia

Xxxx

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  • Posted

    Ok, so I have just in the last hour posted this. And I was slightly wrong about the bowel movements being almost back to normal. I had just had some quite bad cramps in my stomach and felt I needed to rush to the toilet. I just made it and now feel clammy and hot sweaty like. Maybe this will take a little longer than I realised. I also just weighed myself, and although my diet has been pretty normal I have lost 7 and half lb since Tuesday. It's now Sunday so that's quite a bit considering my movements have been very limited. Something I think I will need to keep an eye on maybe. I don't think my gallbladder would have weighed that much haha. I will add a post each day to continue letting all interested, how my recovery is going. X

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    • Posted

      Hi Sonia Im a year ahead of you I still suffer The dreaded bowel movement problems but only when I eat certain foods it might be worth keeping a food diary as I cant eat greasy fatty or high fibre foods at all now and avoid at all cost , something I noticed was it was worse on an empty stomach so when I went back to work I took crackers and tried to eat them regularly so as not to leave my stomach empty this did help. Sadly life will not be as it was ,but on a plus I now eat a much healthier diet and know what foods not to touch . Hope this helps and good luck to you
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    • Posted

      Hi Lisa,

      Oh wow really?? 1 year on!! I'll be honest I've been sticking to salads more to give my whole stomach a rest I know it's only 10 days post op but at the minute nothing is helping. Literally, within 20 minutes of eating anything im finding myself running to the toilet. But it comes on so suddenly. I will get stomach cramps like bad IBS and need the toilet instantly! Does that make sense to you? This morning, all I've had is a coffee, I've stopped using milk and started using powder but again even that is just going straight through me! It is becoming ever so slightly draining and feeling like I'm going one step forward and 3 steps back! I'm sure things will get better, or at least I hope they do. I will start keeping a good diary though, thank you for your advice x

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    • Posted

      salads can be hard to digest, I have had to avoid most rawe salad and veg since all these issues as they trigger my IBS, I only eat limted cooked veg now, mainly greens, maybe the salad isnt helping? I have been told its actually hard to digest salad and raw veg, it ferments (which is a good thing in normal people but not for those with IBS) Also no dairy at all.

       

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    • Posted

      since I cut all my huge healthy plates of veg and salad, my IBS is controlled and no more running to the loo ( along with excess nuts)

      I would be eating baked chicken and bone broth with a small amount of cooked veg and maybe a little rice for now, if your gving your stomach a rest or even leave out the chicken and make a cooked veg broth?

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    • Posted

      Oh dear I e tried everything. I have been eating salads more because I find it lighter than most other foods to eat. I also suffer with IBS but in all fairness haven't had any symptoms from it for ages. I take buscopan anytime I feel cramps coming on. I've not eaten a single thing today again but absolutely nothing is settling in my stomach. It's become a routine now after so many days, I eat and around 20 minutes later I get a sharp pain in my stomach and literally have to run to the loo!! I don't have stomach ache as such with it just the slight sharpness which is telling me get to the loo quickly! Sorry for the TMI. I didn't get an appointment with the dr but am going to try and get one on Monday for when I see the nurse. It may just be a side effect of the gallbladder removal. I've read that the bile that would normally be stored in the gallbladder now goes straight into the intestines and maybe it's that causing severe diarreah. I've now lost a whole stone in weight since the day I had my op 10 days ago. Well 11 days ago now, I'm not even sleeping properly! It just seems one problem after another recently and it's draining! Argh I need sleep 😴 I talk too much when I'm tired I can feel myself waffling again!

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    • Posted

      sad I hope you figure something out, but lettuce is supposed to be awful for IBS, lots ofnus cannot tolerate it and it was one of the first things I rmeoved, casues me heaps of issues now since my gallbladder went too pot. Ate it previously fine.

      I would get some healing bone broth personally, I use it all the time and its great for gut healing. Make it yourself or buy a good quality one. Bile salts/ox bile are supposed to be essential after galbladder issues or removal, but can cause diorrhea if your producing to much bile, so other meds are needed. I think Lynda is pretty knowledgable on this If I remeber name correctly? Take care of yourself and hope you feel better soon xxx

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    • Posted

      Well thank you for that information. I never knew that about lettuce. I will lay off that for a while and see if things change. someone suggested I keep a food diary which I will start when I next eat. But so far nothing has worked. I will give that broth a go too, thank you my lovely for your advice! I feel like I've been a right miserable old bag the last week! Been in a bit of pain so have taken some pain killers which have now made me feel drowsy. Thank you again for your help I will let you know if anything works xxx

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    • Posted

      Hi, Sonia,

      Sorry to learn you're going through this!  If your stools are surrounded by yellow fluid, the fluid is bile, so the last thing you need are ox bile supplements or digestive enzymes.  

      Bile is released directly into your small intestine by the liver after your gallbladder is removed.  The gallbladder acted as a holding tank for your bile--but if you've had it removed your digestive system has to learn to recallibrate, if that makes sense.  

      There is a hormone produced by the body that allows the bile to be reabsorbed at the end of the digestive process, sometimes, the body stops doing this.  

      IBS is a catch-all diagnosis, and often includes bile acid malobsorption.  It results in diarrhea after eating.  The stools are surrounded by bile, which is a caustic yellow acid.  

      There is medication that can help you deal with this, it's called cholestyramine in the states.  Lots of doctors aren't familiar with this.  And a diagnosis of IBS-D, often means something isn't working well, but they don't care or can't figure out what it is!  

      Hope this helps! xx

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    • Posted

      HI Lynda

      I am completely aware of the most of what you said. I think because I am losing weight dramatically, I mean 1 stone in 11 days is a hell of a lot, it's more the fact the no sooner am I eating, I'm finding myself running to the loo! I thought this could be a wide effect to have to surgery but is it normal to last this long? And to lose so much weight with it? The yellow side of things, I've not paid a great deal of attention if I'm entirely honest but there are times when stools have been very very dark, almost black! Im sure things will get better maybe I'm just being impatient. Thanks for the advice

      Sonia xx

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    • Posted

      Hi, Sonia,

      Sorry if I am repeating myself.  I think that it might take about 6 weeks for your tummy to settle.  Your body might be having a difficult time sorting itself.  But, if it continues, say for another week,I think that you should see a doctor. 

      Losing that much weight that fast isn't good for you. xx 

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    • Posted

      Hi Sonia, sorry to hear you're going through a bad patch again. I know my stools were really dark last night but I'm putting it down to the operation so I wonder if yours is too. Don't forget we've had a big operation and the body takes time to heal but I understand its worrying. When you left hospital did they give you any numbers to ring, they gave me a day time and out of hours number that goes through to people who deal with GI problems after surgery for my hospital, the nurses recommend to call them rather than the GP as they have limited knowledge of this specific area.

      when I showered last night, looking in the mirror at my body was frightening, even my husband was shocked after not eating for 2 days. 

      Take care xxx

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    • Posted

      Yes I was given some numbers come to think of it. I can't remember what I'd done with them but maybe I should find them and give someone a call. T really is probably just me worrying over nothing but sort of feel I need the reassurance. All the swelling has near enough gone right down now but the weight loss has slightly worried me! It's just not healthy to lose that much in just over a week. I'm not big I'm average size and weight! I'm just a worrier haha I'm sure it's absolutely nothing.

      Xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Lynda, no please don't apologise I appreciate the advice you have. It isn't good at all that is why I have gotten slightly worried. I will give it a while longer and if I don't see an improvement then I will definitely seek medical attention. Thank you.

      Sonia xx

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    • Posted

      If you're worried then call someone. I know I didn't eat for 2 days, I have lost weight but not that amount so please just get it checked out, for peace of mind if nothing else. xxx

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    • Posted

      Hi Lynda, I don't think it's as bad as needing to visit a&e but I will leave it a little while longer. Over the weekend I have collapsed a few times due to my blood pressure having dropped. I tried to get an appointment at the drs this morning along with seeing the nurse but there wasn't any available. I currently have a bruised eye and fat lip from hitting my face falling from collapsing so really feeling it right now. I'm not sure if I feel worse now or before surgery. I'm ok just feeling absolutely exhausted. I've arranged with clients to return to work on Thursday but I'm unsure if I'm actually fit enough right now. I think I may spend the next few days with my feet up and do minimal things. I'm not too sure what to do at this precise minute.

      Xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Katherine

      How are you getting on? Sorry I hadn't replied sooner, had a bit of a rough weekend.

      I do hope you're recovering well and relaxing because I know you said you find it hard sitting still for too long haha fingers crossed the colouring book is helping.

      Sonia xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Sonia,

      When you called the doctor, did you tell them that you have collapsed a couple of times? I think that if they had that information they should have worked you in.  Having low blood pressure can be as dangerous as having high blood pressure.  

      I think that you might need to see a doctor to get this taken care of....but you need to do what you think is best for you.

      Please let me know how you're getting on! xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Sonia, oh no poor you, did you hurt yourself badly? Thats the last thing you need. Too be honest I think my blood pressure is a bit low at the moment as I'm getting dizzy if I stand up for too long but when I looked it up they say if your resting after surgery that can cause low blood pressure so to take care. With the weight loss that you've had as well that wouldn't have helped. 

      I weighed myself for the first time since they weighed me on operation day and I've lost 8 llbs which is quite frightening as I'm not very big anyway.

      I wouldn't push yourself too soon, I know you're worried about your business and can totally understand but you don't want to do back too early and make yourself worse. See how you feel on Wednesday morning I'm sure your clients will be understanding. My husband brought a boxful of work home with him at lunchtime for me to do today but I've only managed to do the wages and pop a few invoices into envelopes then I felt worn out so I'm now resting.

      No I haven't managed to do the colouring in yet, my mum kindly brought me a book about a cat as I'm a cat person, that lives in a railway station in Huddersfield, based on a true story about the lives that the cat has changed.

      Take care of yourself and don't push yourself too hard and if your fainting anymore you really should go to your doctor and get them to read your blood pressure, just for a reassurance if nothing else. I know mine in the hospital went down to 100/62 which is the lowest I've ever seen in me, I could see it dropping so they wouldn't let me go until it started rising a bit but they put it down to the drugs.

      Take care xx 

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    • Posted

      Hi Lynda. Yes they are aware of me collapsing. Unfortunately it's regular thing for me and has been for several years now. I have orphostatic hypotension so low blood pressure is a normal thing for me. It's been very low the last few days hence me collapsing. Sadly I am being refused treatment for this as they keep saying I am too young and hope that in time my blood pressure will rise with age. Its never been something they have taken seriously with me no matter how much I stress at them about it! It always drops more when I'm stressed and run down, when I had surgery it had dropped dramatically and I didn't end up getting home until gone 9pm! My toilet trips are becoming more frequent though, I've been awake since 5am and been 6 times already! Just had some dry toast but nothing seems to be helping. I've decided I'm going to give this a little while longer and phone the doctors on Monday morning then I've given it 3 weeks since surgery. Not sure what more I can do it's just a struggle to deal with!

      Thanks for your help though

      Sonia xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Katherine.

      No ive done worse haha I've broken ribs before from collapsing. My blood pressure is currently at 86/54 which is stupid low but I've had lower. I'm so used to handling it when it's low so best thing for me is plenty of fluids and salt!! I'm trying not to push myself too much but sometimes it's easier said than done 😞 I've also just finished my err, ladies once a month, so that didn't help one bit!

      I know the exhaustion side of things doing just the most minimal things is so draining. Try not standing up for too long and only move around when you need too. I learnt the hard doing the complete opposite. I'm on 14 day post op today and apart from the severe diarreah which actually seems like it's worsening rather than getting better, I'm have only minimal pains around surgery area but at times forget and move awkwardly and disturb it. Still have an insicion dressed up too as it's still not closed properly. Again my own fault for not sittin down when I should!

      Other than what you are experience at that moment how have you been? Are you in pain or Managing it ok? Aww I like a good book, the one you're reading I've not read but have heard of the story.

      I do hope you're resting up though even if you feel much better still don't over do things!

      Sonia xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Sonia

      I find it hard to believe that they're not treating your low blood pressure. Some people are fit and healthy and have low blood pressure but when your having issues as you are, whatever your age you need some help, breaking bones because of it isn't acceptable in my book. Yes having your period will make it worse, mines coming up and I'm dreading it.

      I've taken my dressings off and the ones that irritate the most are the 2 along the ribs. I left the steri strips on one as when I took them off the other I took off some of the scab so cleaned it and put a normal plaster on it with some antiseptic cream as its really itchy. 

      I'm not sleeping very well as I can't get comfy and I've started getting the pain again in my back and shoulder blades which was really painful last night so I had to take a cocodamol which I haven't taken since the operation so I'm a bit worried. I know they warned me that it may not all go away but I just hoped it would.

      Yes the book is lovely, I read several chapters yesterday, its very well written and easy to visualise this kitten, having cats myself I know how they can put a smile on my face.

      I'm still taking it easy as I'm still not moving that well but I think you need to do the same as I think you've been doing too much! You need to take some of your own advice and really relax so you can get better. Personally I would speak to your doctor before Monday so you can get some advice. I know they say that this is a common problem as it takes your insides a while to adjust to the changes but they can give you medication to help.

      Now rest up and I'll speak to you soon xxx

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    • Posted

      Oh, Sonia, I'm so sorry to learn about this!  I know that you're being as careful as you can!  I'm just concerned about you!

      Please continue to give us updates! xxx

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