Should I have my gallbladder removed?

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on November 23rd, 2015, after surviving stage 3 colon cancer, surgery that removed 20 inches of rotting colon and 6 months of chemo (Ended March 2015) I had a pain episode in my abdominal area that put me in ER. I was in Disneyland for my daughters wedding which was the following day. After getting hauled out to an ambulance and arrived at ER, I had to wait for medical staff to diagnose me. Long story short, the pain dropped to 0 after 3 hours of agonizing pain worse than the cancer. I left without being seen since it appeared ok and I didn't want to take away the joy of my only daughters wedding. I have gone to ER once since then. 10 hours of the same pain, vomiting, heat flashes. Doctor said it was due to a constriction in my small intestine. I don't agree that is the root of my issue. I have been keeping track and controlling my diet. I have had about 30 episodes of pain ranging from 30 minutes to 3 hours average and will just go from a pain level between 4-9 to 0 within minutes and nevber returns immediately. Doctors ruled out gallstones based on ct scan and XRays.

I ONLY get this pain after I eat, sometimes up to 3 hours after a meal. Usually it's within 2 hours. It's always after I eat something like a bacon cheesegurger, ribs, fried chicken, ect. However, sometimes large cups of coffee will also trigger it.  I have been controlling my pain episodes by avoiding these foods and I have only had 3 in the last 6 months that last maybe 30 minutes and never go above a pain level of 7.

I am currently scheduled to have my gallbladder removed this Wednesday. It was not my doctor but me saying I want it out not realizing what it's like to live without one. I assumed I could back to my yummy bacon cheeseburgers without the pain. From my research this morning, that does not appear to be the case. 

From my current perspective that I gained from the forums here, it would appear I will just be causing more problems. It's a life changing experience that I need to be more informed before I have it removed if that's even neccesary. I'm going to cancel my surgery tomorrow and further my education on the subject.

 I am 55 and in great shape, no drugs or alcohol, no medications. and I used to have pain 3-4 times a week until I discovered what triggered it. out of 4 CT scans in the last 3 years, only 1 showed 2 gallstones and that was spring 2015. 

I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts or regrets of having theirs removed. Should I just keep my surgery Wednesday? 

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20 Replies

  • Posted

    You may already passed the stones if you only had 2.

    After removal, pretty much say good bye cheeseburger. I mean you can have it, but be near a washroom!

    I am glad you are going to do more research.

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    • Posted

      Can the same stones produce multiple occurances of pain? Since Sept 2014, I've had about 80 pain episodes with 60 of those severe enough to put me on the floor. It took many months to relate to the pain noit just to eating, but eating specific foods. I've had cheeseburgers in the last 3 months that did not produce pain. 

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  • Posted

    I suffered for 2 years and all GB tests were normal. Have you had ultrasound, CT scan and Hida?
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    • Posted

      No ultrasound. Just CT scans and bloodwork primarily as my cancer followup. My second trip to ER for this pain was after 10 hours on the floor, vomited trwice, dry heaved 8 times after that. After I arrived at ER, my pain level went to 0. All bloodwork, CT scan and xrays showed no gallstones. I was told I had a constriction in my small intestine. I was kept 32 hours until I had a BM even though I had one during the 10 hour pain ordeal. They would not feed or let me drink during that 32 hours. I felt at the time they don't know what caused it. I disagreed with the small intestine being to root of the pain. 

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  • Posted

    Hi there!  I think it's an over simplification to conclude that you will be exchanging one set of problems for another.  You don't know how your body will react to the surgery.  If your gallbladder's diseased, it will only get worse. 

    Those who are happy with the results and aftermath of their gallbladder surgery usually don't contribute to sites like these.  

    I am happy that I had my gallbladder removed, because I didn't want a diseased organ in my body. I have had to be on medication since mine was removed, and I can't eat whatever I want, but I wouldn't change my decision to have surgery. At the end of the time period I had my gallbladder disease, I had lost over 30 pounds and was existing on gatoraid and bread. That was no life at all.  

    You have survived a catastrophic diagnosis and illness!  I know that you will make the decision that's best for you!

    Good luck, and let me know how you get on!  

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    • Posted

      My doctors are not recommending I get my GB removed.  I had a pain episode that lasted about 90 minutes just before Christmas. My poor wife, she feels so helpless seeing me in so much pain. I refuse to go to ER because twice now, the pain stop before I get there and I do not feel confident they can help me. They keep looking back at an XRay from my first trip there and saying it's a small intestine that may need surgery. Would this small intestine create pain when I have had none for 3 weeks and decide to eat 2 pieces of KFC? Within 2 hours of eating 2 pieces of chicken, I may  (or may not) by in full abdominal pain for 30-60 minutes or longer. 

      I scheduled this surgery so my wife no longer has to see me in so much pain. I am now on the fence that is really what I want to do. 

       

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  • Posted

    I'm so sorry to hear that you've been through so much. I was sick for over a year. Mainly nausea and vomiting, but the pain started later. I did not have any gallstones. My gallbladder just was not functioning. This was found through a HIDA scan that showed my gallbladder only contracted 21%. Best decision I've made! I feel so much better!! I eat pretty normally and don't restrict my diet, except bacon unfortunately. It's actually a pretty simple surgery. You can YouTube videos if your curious. I hope your recovery goes well! So happy I had mine done!

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    • Posted

      I currently do no noit have any issues I deal with daily regarding my GB. As long as I avoid certain foods, there is no issue. Sometimes I can enjoy small quantities and everything is ok. I had a Turkey Clubhouse Sandwich last night that had 4 pieces of thick bacon on it. I ate half, then 3 hours later ate the other half, and no pain. I'm going to cancel ,my surgery later this morning and look into better eating habits. I sometimes fast for days which may be causing some or all of this. 

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    • Posted

      Please reconsider and push for an ultrasound which gives more GB info than a CT scan. You've been through so much. I spent 2 years in pain with all normal testing results. There was no test that indicated GB trouble. I refused to have it removed without definitive testing that indicated surgery was necessary. The most recent CT scan showed a large lesion on my GB. This prompted additional testing with MRI that shows lesion on liver. GB removed 1/13 and biopsy results pending. Your symptoms sound like they could be GB related. HIDA scan will also give you GB functioning percentage. Best of luck.

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    • Posted

      I understand, I always rush to the worst conclusion! sad  I got diagnosed and had sugery for endometrial cancer last year.  Even though the prognosis was good and my surgery went fine, I'm still struggling with being afraid, no matter what I do!

      I'm here for you!  xx

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    • Posted

      Thx Lynda for sharing and reaching out. No one knows the anxiety like someone who has been there. The good news is that the GB lesion looks like adenomyositis. The better news is that the liver lesion is so small it was not picked up on CT. MRI caught it. So if it's bad, I am hoping it is early bad. At this point, one day at a time, right? The fear and anxiety can be crippling so the only option is taking one day at a time. It's all we're ever really given anyway, right? Listening to spiritual prayers on utube has helped calm my worried spirit.

      Thx again for reaching out. God knows when to send a friend.

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    • Posted

      You're so right, Joys.  All through my illness I had "fortuitous" happenings!  For instance, someone cancelled her surgery, so I was able to have mine done 9 days after my diagnosis, instead of having to wait another 6 weeks.  I was so blessed by my family and the medical people who cared for me!

      The best news is that the liver is the only organ that is capable of regenerating itself!  Please do let me know how things go for you! 

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    • Posted

      Same fortuitous happenings here as well Lynda! I was in the process of scheduling testing and surgery with another surgeon which would have taken weeks. When the pain became unbearable, one trip to the ER resulted in a new surgeon, a ultrasound, CT scan. MRI and surgery, all within 24 hours. Without the MRI, the liver lesion would never have been identified. I had excellent care for which I am grateful. So thank you again for your kind words. Please let me know how things go.

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    • Posted

      You must have felt as if you were in the middle of a tornado while it was all going on!  The result was good, though!  smile

      I'm doing okay, trying to be more active.  I have other issues that I deal with, which isn't surprising (I'm 68 this year).  

      Please let me know how you get on!  (((BIG HUG)))

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    • Posted

      (BIG HUG BACK) 62 here....some other issues here as well...fighting everyday to get a good walk in....winter here so using the indoor malls as my track....the post choley diet is something I'm working through as well. Now I thank God for the extra weight I was carrying as eating has become a chore. Staying positive and handing everything over to Him ..... waiting for biopsy results. Prayers for us all through this journey.

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    • Posted

      My dearest friend wrote something to me a couple of days ago, "Realize that you are loved."  It took my breath away.  Sometimes I forget that, in the middle of doing all my "coping strategies."

      Both before and after my gallbladder was removed in 2009 I have had to juggle what I eat, take medication and be mindful of the location of bathrooms wherever I am.

      I haven't been walking due to the weather.  We have a mall here, but don't want to drive a half hour smile.  So, have been rather lazy.  If I walk around the block by my house, I can get in a half mile or so.  Was doing really good until it got to be winter!!!

       

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    • Posted

      You are so welcome!  Isn't it beautiful?  The word "realize" is what makes you sit up and pay attention!

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