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Old 01-11-2008, 08:46 PM   #1
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Scared and confused

I am a 54 year old male who has had digestive problems for the last 90 days...bloating, gas, diarrhea, cramps. About 45 days ago I awoke with an intense pain on my right side, under my rib cage. It lasted 4 hours...I was miserable. This has happened two additional times...the last an excruciating night, of intense pain, vomiting, sweats..etc...etc. I was terrified.

A Dr. visit yielded the gall bladder diagnosis. An ultra sound followed and noted sludge and stones. I was referred to a surgeon....who after a 10 minute visit says I should have it removed.

The post removal issues were discounted...and the procedure was generally noted as "having the risk of any surgery...death, infection, bleeding, damaging other parts of the body in the procedure" but simple and routine. In in the morning out in the afternoon. Some pain...no big deal.

Since this attack I have gone on a fat free, low calories diet with no further attacks.

Frankly I am terrified of the procedure, potential after effects, anesthesia. It just seems they are so quick to remove it..without any concern of future issues.

I travel in my work and am afraid to leave town for fear of another attack....and I am under pressure to get back on the road.

I wonder if any one else has had these conflicts and what methods, (mentally and physcially) they used to resolve them and find strength to make a decision and appropriate resolution.

Fear is a tough thing to resolve. Thanks for allowing me to vent

 
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:57 PM   #2
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Re: Scared and confused

hello schristo,
i too, had gallstones and suffered debilitating attacks that sound just like yours. Some were so bad, i went to the er for morphine. I was so terrified of getting my gallbladder removed that i suffered for two whole years, watching every little thing i put into my mouth. At first it worked, but then i started having attacks when i would eat bland foods. Finally, i threw in the towel and decided to have surgery. I really cannot tell you how much i want to kick myself for not doing it sooner. I feel like i wasted 2 years of my life, not being able to eat the things i wanted. Yes, the surgery isn't the easiest thing i've ever done, and yes, the recovery wasn't great, but i promise you, it will be the best thing you've ever done. I was also terrified of the anesthisia, but that actually turned out to be the easiest part! I would be more then happy to walk you thru any thing you need to know, as i just had my surgery in july, so everything is still fresh in my mind. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

 
Old 01-12-2008, 05:46 AM   #3
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Re: Scared and confused

Well, what is worse: having it out or dying from it rupturing? After all, that is the possible end result of not taking care of the problem. Most people have a very easy time with this procedure. It only takes about 15 - 20 minutes to do the procedure. I looked at the clock as I was going under and when I woke up enough to read the clock in recovery, only 40 minutes had passed. I was home in my bed 2-1/2 hours later. Off work for 2-1/2 days (day of and day after, then went in for 1/2 day on the 3rd day). Jogged 2 miles a week after having it out. Watched what I ate for about 4-5 weeks and slowly started back with fats. So if you ask me, it's easier than a lot of surgeries.

If you wait too long, you may end up in ER having it out the old-fashioned way whic will put you on your back for a month. Lap surgery done at a time of your choice is the best way. I don't mean to scare you but people just do not understand how bad this can get. Have it out and go about your life feeling great. I did!

 
Old 01-12-2008, 12:13 PM   #4
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Re: Scared and confused

Thank-you for your words of encouragement. I cannot tell you how much it means to hear of some positive outcomes. It seems the boards are filled with troubled cases and unstatisfactory outcomes which certainly have alarmed me.

One quick question...do you believe that with my ultra sound results (sludge and stones) and 3 attacks that that is adequate evidence to proceed? Thank-you again.

 
Old 01-12-2008, 02:10 PM   #5
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Re: Scared and confused

I don't really think you can NOT have it out. The pain was horrible from the attacks, I do remember that. But I had mine out 2 years ago and have been in misery ever since. So I put a msg up "before gb removal or after"....that's my story. Good luck with it. The surgery itself was pretty easy, and an easy recovery.

 
Old 01-12-2008, 04:38 PM   #6
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Re: Scared and confused

I do think the next step is to get that sucker outta there. Three gb attacks is one too many and why do you want to live your life wondering when you will have another? Everyone recovers differently from surgery. For me, it took a few months and for others, a few weeks. But lemme tell you, nothing is worse than the pain of gallstones. Let us know what you decide. We are here to help!

 
Old 01-12-2008, 06:50 PM   #7
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Re: Scared and confused

Quote:
Originally Posted by schristo View Post
Thank-you for your words of encouragement. I cannot tell you how much it means to hear of some positive outcomes. It seems the boards are filled with troubled cases and unstatisfactory outcomes which certainly have alarmed me.

One quick question...do you believe that with my ultra sound results (sludge and stones) and 3 attacks that that is adequate evidence to proceed? Thank-you again.
I know a few people who have had gb attacks and yes, I think this is evidence to proceed. My boss had 1 attack, they found stones, and they admitted him that night for surgery the following day. I think in your case, you are hard pressed to ever be free from this problem for the rest of your life. On the road as much as you are, how difficult must it be for you to eat fat-free foods? And as time goes on, it will likely get worse.

I wish you much luck in whatever decision you come to.

 
Old 01-12-2008, 08:01 PM   #8
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Re: Scared and confused

Did you review the ultrasound results with a GI doc, did they do a HIDA scan? Remember surgeons get paid to cut.

My GI doc has me on Ursodiol in an attempt to dissolve at least one stone and sludge. So far it has been pretty successful. I'm sure some folks on this board are tired of hearing me talk about it, but it can be an alternative in some cases. The caveats are that Urso is expensive, the treatment usually lasts at least one year and w/in five years many folks have symptoms return.

Choosing the date/time of surgery does give you some sense of control. It is a common surgical procedure with relatively low risk. I note that you did pick up the fact that around 25% of those who have gallbladder surgery, have continuing problems of varying degrees afterward.

 
Old 01-14-2008, 04:11 PM   #9
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Re: Scared and confused

Thanks again for words of advice. Surgery set for next Monday at 9:30 AM. I will let you know how it goes. Thanks all.

 
Old 01-25-2008, 03:56 PM   #10
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Re: Scared and confused

Quote:
Originally Posted by marnb77 View Post
I do think the next step is to get that sucker outta there. Three gb attacks is one too many and why do you want to live your life wondering when you will have another? Everyone recovers differently from surgery. For me, it took a few months and for others, a few weeks. But lemme tell you, nothing is worse than the pain of gallstones. Let us know what you decide. We are here to help!

I had my surgery Monday at 10AM. There comes a point in the emotial roller coaster of fear of the unknown that you just reconcile to "it will be what it will be". That said, I proceeded.

I awoke to severe pain but was medicated quickly and seemed to manage the pain reasonably well for the first 36 hours. Thereafter it has gotten worse...hard to sleep, constipated, pain, nausea. The Dr. increased the pain meds, however this increased the nausea.

I have heard these stories of people back to work in 2 days..traveling in 5. I am far even being in control of the pain. What can I expect from the future days and what is a reasonable time frame to be able to resume a normal life.

Four days out and discouraged!

Thanks for the input.

 
Old 01-25-2008, 05:59 PM   #11
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Re: Scared and confused

Sorry to hear that your not doing that well. I had a very easy time. I had talked to several people before my surgery that had at least 1 full week of misery before they felt better and then needed 1 more week to get back up to full speed. But they always did feel better.

Definitely try to walk as much as possible that certaintly helped me. Even if it is a little uncomfortable (not extreme pain). Walking through that uncomfort made me always feel better.

Best of luck - Lori

 
Old 01-28-2008, 04:29 PM   #12
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Re: Scared and confused

Quote:
Originally Posted by schristo View Post
I am a 54 year old male who has had digestive problems for the last 90 days...bloating, gas, diarrhea, cramps. About 45 days ago I awoke with an intense pain on my right side, under my rib cage. It lasted 4 hours...I was miserable. This has happened two additional times...the last an excruciating night, of intense pain, vomiting, sweats..etc...etc. I was terrified.

A Dr. visit yielded the gall bladder diagnosis. An ultra sound followed and noted sludge and stones. I was referred to a surgeon....who after a 10 minute visit says I should have it removed.

The post removal issues were discounted...and the procedure was generally noted as "having the risk of any surgery...death, infection, bleeding, damaging other parts of the body in the procedure" but simple and routine. In in the morning out in the afternoon. Some pain...no big deal.


Since this attack I have gone on a fat free, low calories diet with no further attacks.

Frankly I am terrified of the procedure, potential after effects, anesthesia. It just seems they are so quick to remove it..without any concern of future issues.

I travel in my work and am afraid to leave town for fear of another attack....and I am under pressure to get back on the road.

I wonder if any one else has had these conflicts and what methods, (mentally and physcially) they used to resolve them and find strength to make a decision and appropriate resolution.

Fear is a tough thing to resolve. Thanks for allowing me to vent
Hi Christo, I had my gallbladder removed last February and some of my symtoms are gone. My gallbladder was functioning at 25% which is not good. If you had a Hida Scan done, find out at what % it's functioning. The surgery was quick - maybe about 20-30 mins. Should you decide to have it taken out, be careful of your fat intake and eat small portion of food while your body gets use to not having the gallbladder to help brake down the fat. I wasn't told this, and I ate what ever I wanted and now I'm sick with stomach problems. goog luck - feel better.

 
Old 01-30-2008, 02:11 AM   #13
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Re: Scared and confused

schristo-
do not feel discouraged. You just had an organ removed and your body needs to heal. I had my gb out in July and did not feel 100 percent until september! Everyone is different. Just listen to your body, rest as much as you need to and remember to eat low fat!

 
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