The whole gallbladder story!

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Hi, 

If theres anyone new here that is still trying to get your hear around gallbladders and gallstones i hope my story will be able to help you. 

Im currently 21 years old, healthy as the average person, exercise daily with my job. And finally figured out that theres a long family history of gallstones. 

It started 5 years ago, i had the worst pain ever around the bottom of my rib cage. Stabbing, aching, all the different pain you could imagine. I remember being at my grandmas writhing in agony, crying for hours. There was no comfy postion that would ease the pain and no amount of painkillers would even remotely help. I went straight to the doctors who on examination put it down Chostochondritis. She told me it was where the cartilidge around the ribs would become inflamed for no apparent reason. It was common in young adults and would sort itself out in 6-8 weeks. They put me on codine which was then swapped for co-codamol as i was being sick. Then naproxen, but pain killers worked better than anti inflamatories for me. 

The doctor refused to send me for a scan as she said because the pain always kept coming and going there was no guarentee the imflamation would should up on the scan and it would be a waste of time (looking back i really should of put my foot down!).

So 8 weeks past and i was still in agony. The pain was reducing but i was still on prescription painkillers. 1 year went on and still pain. Then 2. Then i gave up going to my GP as they wouldnt help. They didn't have a clue unfortunatly. 

I learned to live with the pain, it would come and go in waves, mostly hitting me on my right side i would feel it and know nothing would be done so i chose to try and ignore it and get on with life. I struggled, it was horrible, but i felt like i was getting on everyones nerves.

Fast forward to 21st November 2016. A week before i had told my family my ribs were starting to flare up again. It hadn't happened in a few months so i knew this episode might be quite painful. But on that night the pain was excruciating and i decided to drive myself to an urgent care centre. (At the time i thought i was over reacting if i went to A&E). They were concerned with my heart so they took bloods and an ECG and some painkillers. (please roll your eyes, we all know simple painkillers dont help at all!). They didn't have a clue what was wrong with me as normal but by chance and a little bit of luck my bloods came back abnormal, and by procedure they had to keep me in overnight to moniter me.

This is where i met the brilliant doctor who took his time and explored the different possibilites of where the pain could be coming from. He identified that the pain wasnt coming from my ribs but actually below and immediately sent me for an ultrasound and xray. I was FINALLY told that i had a 3cm gallstone and my gallbladder was incredibly thick. They Ultrasound lady recommended i have it out as soon as to stop all this pain. They gave me liquid morphine and i was in bliss for the first time in 5 years. 

Unfortunatly living in the UK we have to rely on the NHS, which i love, but can be very unreliable with scheduled operations. Fortunatly i have private health care with work so i decided to follow that route to get this sucker out. I recently had an Endoscopy as they wanted to make sure it was just the gallbladder making me ill... it wasnt! I also have a Hiatus Hernia! :-( 

Im finally scheduled in for my operation next week (22nd Feb!) and i have my pre-op today. I'm absolutly terrified but after reading this back i think surgery is going to be the best option! 

If you're having pain that you think is to do with your gallbladder and your symptoms fit, dont ignore it just because a doctor says no. You know your body, you want to get better!

Good luck to everyone!

Katie xx

 

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Katie

    What a journey you have been on ! You seem like such a positive person smile

    I'm booked in also next week to have my gallbladder removed laparoscopically. Such a relief but also very nervous about it. However I look forward to a life without the attacks ! Very best wishes and good luck !

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  • Posted

    Me too!! That's 3 of us so far.. pre-op next Thursday for me... cant wait... hate the pain that I've been put through... totally understand where you're coming from Katie... it's excruciating at times. Good luck ladies... here's to many more pain free years ahead... 😂 x

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  • Posted

    Oh Katie you poor thing-what a horrible journey for you so far- so glad that you finally got to the bottom of it.

    Don't worry about the op, I had mine done on Monday and although I'm still sore I know it's going to be better in the long run.

    Good luck with everything and let us know how it goes!

    Anna

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  • Posted

    Hi Katie

    Thank you for sharing my daughter is 20 & has had 3 years of hell. Last September one Dr listened we went private, she had a hiatus hernia, acid reflux & her gallbladder was only functioning at 16% but no stones so all repairs done and gallbladder removed 3 weeks ago.

    But she is still having severe pain in & out of A&E looking like sphincter of oddi disfuncction now as well, so we are like you hopefully getting there but you will be so much better once fixed, I hate to see young people suffering.

    Keep us posted xx

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    • Posted

      Hi carol! 

      I finally had my gallbladder out last week and my recovery was going so well! but now im in severe pain like an old GB attack, but the worst attack i ever had! its horrendous! I'm scared it might be Sphincter of Oddi! The symptoms all fit, should i consult my surgeon or my doctor? What did you do? My parents think that going to A&E is an overreaction but this pain is unbearable!

      Thank you xxx

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    • Posted

      Hi Katie,

      I'm so sorry you are experiencing the pains again.

      Don't be scared, my daughter went back to the surgeon & he referred her to a specialist in London, But before that I took her to A&E when she just couldn't take the pain. Only you know your own body & how severe the pain is, when they attached her to the monitor in A&E they could see it was high pain, so they treated her right away.

      If it's pain you can handle but need to calm it dow Buscopan is good to try.

      Are you vomiting? When the pain is high?

      Also have you been keeping to no dairy & free from foods that really helps people that are more sensitive.

      Some people think the diet doesn't help & they are truly lucky as others really can't just eat normally but you don't know until you try & peppermint tea helps her loads.

      she had her appointment on Thursday with the London specialist. & he does think it is Sphincter of Oddi Disfunction & issues with her bile ducts as well, lots of blood tests being done & she is having the MRI ERCP scan on Monday.

      Not everyone ends up with SOD after gallbladder removal so try and see your surgeon or GP or if it's really bad go to A&E & tell who you see your concerns.

      She was back in A&E 3 days after the removal so it seems to happen quite fast, and it is all about digestion so the free from & dairy free is better for people who are struggling.

      If it were SOD there are injections & a few other things prior to surgery depton the need which you don't know until after the scan.

      Try and change diet Buscopan & talk to GP see if that helps .

      Shout if you need to know more xxx

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  • Posted

    Oh wow - what you have experienced!  As any surgery seems scary, so does livign with the symptoms you have, plus a hernia to boot.  Wishing you all the best - you'll be in my thoughts and prayers - just give yourself time to slowly heal from the surgery, even if it is touted as outpatient, it still IS major surgery, taking up to 10 days for some people to feel on the mend, eating low fat for awhile afterwards as your body adjusts- what wil lthey do for the hernia part?

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  • Posted

    Hi Katie,

    Dont be scared about the op, 

    I had mine removed on 7th Decemeber 16 . I am in the UK too and even though mine was done on the NHS i was sent to a private hosp. In and out in a day .

    Fantastic care , slight pain afterwards for a few days as to be expected but wä given good pain relief.

    Healed very nicely ..

    You will be fine xx

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    • Posted

      Glad you posted Gill, puts my mind at rest. Not looking forward to more surgery tbh, only had mesh hernia repair in 2015..but I'm lucky to get to 61 without ever being in hospital!! Haha... I've got my pre-op on Thursday - just hope I don't wait too long after that... glad your on the mend.. 👍

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