I had my gall bladder removed by lap just over a week ago. They sent me home the next day. Everyone said I would feel better immediately, and my dr. said I could be up and around again in 3 days. I only had 1 gall bladder attack. It was painful, and it lasted 5 hours, but I didn't think it was worth removing an organ for. They said the ultrasound showed I really needed the surgery. After the surgery, they said I had many small gall stones, a huge one 2.5x2.x2, and another one .6 that was lodged by the duct. They said I would have been in for emergency surgery that week.
The night they released me I was back in the ER with pain and tenderness. They thought it could be a wound infection and sent me home with antibiotics. At this point it was revealed that even though my operation had been done by lap, because of the size and severity, they had had to displace a lot of tissue, and I could expect a more difficult recovery.
2 days later, I was back in the ER with the worst pain by far I have ever had in my life. Much, much worse than the 1 gall bladder attack. It was like a knife stabbing me in the back everytime I tried to breathe. At first they thought it was kidney stones, but they ruled that out. They admitted me.
I was in the hospital for an additional 4 days. They did ultrasound, ct-scans and MRI's. They did every blood test under the sun. Even on morphine, I was still in pain if I breathed too deeply. They thought the pain might be caused by 'impaction' because I had not had a bowel movement since the surgery, (I had been taking Kolace, to no avail). They gave me an enema, which obviously moved my bowels, and insisted I had to eat the hospital 'house diet.'
For 2 weeks before the surgery, they had had me on a no-fat diet, then this house diet was heavier and fattier than anything I would normally eat. (Beef with broccoli, chicken marsala,meatloaf and stuffing) I plead with them just to let me eat some sick peoples food- chicken noodle soup, or rolls, or jello, but no go. After I would force myself to heat the house meals, I would get terrible diarhea- yellow, like a baby's.
I started lieing about eating the meals, and stopped requesting pain medication as much as I could, because I just wanted to be home with my 6 mos. old son, and I no longer believe there is anything they can do for me. They sent me home yesterday, saying there was nothing wrong with me, I was just 'sensative'.
I am still in great pain, which is excruciating whenever I take a deep breath. Is there any hope this will improve? Any idea when? I am supposed to leave on a trip to see my m-i-l, who is mourning the loss of her husband, and my grandmother who is dieing and wants to meet my son, in 3 days. I feel like this is a very important trip, but can't imagine being able to make it. The surgeon says it is fine.
Last night I had a low-fat meal- a very small piece of grilled chicken with Tahini and rice, and was in desperate pain, although it passed within the hour. I haven't had any bm's since I stopped eating the hospital house food, but I am still taking the kolace.
Also, I read on-line that deep breathing and walking are important, they never said that to me. Why is that?
I am in much, much worse pain than before the surgery, and wish I had never had it done. Please help me.
Well, first of all, am sorry you are having this issue. From the sound of the condition of your GB, you needed to have it out. The lodged one could have killed you. The father of a friend of mine died last year from a ruptured GB. But since it sounds like they haven't given you much direction, I doubt you knew that. The only pain you specifically mentioned is the back pain. That's probably from the gas they used to blow you up in order to remove the GB. If they don;t get it all released, it can be exremely painful. However, it will dissipate over time. And walking and deep breathing will help do that. Additonally, some of the soreness can be internal bruising. They had a devil of a time getting mine out as I'm very small. The internal bruise next to my belly button was sore for a month. Sounds like that may be part of your problem too. Good thing you had it out. If you had ended up with emrgency surgery, theywould hav done it the old fashioned way - a huge cut all the way under your right rib cage. Two weeks in the hospital, 4 more flat on your back at home. And forget holding that baby...not happening.
Next, can't believe you ate tahini! Please don't do that again for at least a month. It's very oily. NO OIL, no fat, nothing greasy, nothing spicey...that means no mayo, too. No butter, milk, cheese etc, etc, etc for one month. Then start slowly introducing it back into your diet. Give the bile duct a chance to start working properly. And since there was a stone lodged by it, that may take longer than most. Be very, very careful here. Plain turkey/chicken sandwiches, plain baked potatoes, plain veggies, bread, etc.
As far the GB condition goes, it sounds like you were very lucky. I jogged 2 miles one week after having mine out. But I was sore...but to me sore and painful are not the same. To some it is. But I do recommend you walk as much as you can, eat a very bland diet. Good luck!
Titchou- thank you. I had no idea Tahini was bad for me. They said I could have hummus, so I thought it was the same thing. Dumb me! I will avoid it now. No butter, no dairy ect., I've been doing that, except at the hospital where they forced me to eat it.
They talked about the gas thing at the hospital, but gave me the impression that it should all be out by now. Do you know how long it took to work your gas out? I am burping and passing gas *alot*, which is pretty painful in itself. I will try walking more, although it's hard because I am breathing so shallowly. Breathing deep is impossible- that is what really hurts.
Well, I was lucky in that they apparently released all my gas while I was on the table. I never had the problem. Some people don't. My offhand thought is that it's the skill of the surgeon but that may not really be it. Maybe just because I'm so little. Most of the people I know personally who complained of the ggas pain were much bigger than me so maybe it's harder to release in bigger folks. Just a guess. But do keep walking....and no hummus either! Yikes...read the recipe if you are unsure of what's in something...Good Luck!
It took me a LONG time to get all the gas out after surgery. Like almost a month--and I am not a big person either--only weigh 103 lbs! They say that walking around alot moves the gas out quicker--ya right! Sorry I don't have any advice, but the gas will all move out eventually JUst keep burpin' and fartin' LOL!
They make it sound like if we take it out end of problem. It is the end of that problem. I had mine out over a year ago and it has taken me a long time to feel well. For a while the only thing I felt well off was bread and ice cream.
Not to sound gross, but if I don't eat cheese or ice cream, my bowels will not move since the surgery.
It does get better. Some people say no problem, but a lot of people I know ate a bland diet for a long time. I can't eat much tomato based or greasy foods.
Take your time and introduce foods to yourself one at a time and see what works, but go lightly. The body needs time, and sometimes a lot of time to adjust to the fact you do not have a gall bladder. It is definitely not like getting tonsils out, heal and go on.
Hope this helps and know it won't last forever but it did take a while for me and I still just eat what I know goes well.
Take care and we are here to give support!!!!!
Thanks so much for your support! It helps to hear things will get better. It would help immeasurably to know things will be better by _________, and then I could start counting down. I feel like if I knew the endpoint, I could make it, it's not knowing that's so hard.
Today, the steady level of pain was lower. I still can't breathe deeply, or it's incredibly painful, but the steady level of pain being less helped it feel more like I could make it through this. I know it may seem rediculous, but even low level constant pain, feels insurmountable.
Okay, maybe TMI, but I haven't had a bowel movement since thurs (4 days ago), when I had diarrhea. Maybe a little bit of fat would help, but I had that very painful episode after the tahini, so I'm scared to try that. I am taking Colace 3x a day, to no avail. If this is the most commonly performed operation in america, why isn't there more info available about recovery? I have learned much more from all of you on this board than I have from my dr's. They specifically suggested humus as an alternative spread on bread, and now I hear that's a no-no too.
I am pretty confident it is gas now, because even though I've lost 15lbs, I still seem bloated. Some of it may be swelling, but a pair of pants I could slip over my hips just before surgery, when I'd lost 10 lbs, is now comfortable loose and not falling off at all, even though I've lost an additional 5 since surgery.
I think this is also discouraging because up until 2 weeks before my surgery, I never had restrictions on what I could eat by what I felt. I've never had indegestion or heartburn, rich foods never bothered me. And, all of a sudden, I can't eat anything. It's like al food is a trap just waiting for me.
It will be 2 wks past surgery tomorrow. I wanted to report that I am doing better, although certainly not as well as I expected from what they told me before surgery. I am glad I still have another full week before school starts up again, because I couldn't make it through a full day of teaching and afterschool activities at thispoint.
The turning point for me was having a bowel movement. I am still taking the colace, and it is still difficult, but I am no longer in constant pain. I only have pains when taking a deep breath, or trying to do something too strenuous. I can get myself out of bed, and can move around pretty well once I'm up.
I am still not really eating anything. Breads, and fruit, -last night I had a bite of chicken. I still feel very bloated, and am uncomfortable, but not generally in pain. I have lost 16.5 lbs in the last month, since the problem was discovered.
I still regret having the surgery. The pain and inconvenience post-surgery is so much worse from any problem I had before hand. I know the dr's said there was no real alternative before hand, but they also told me I'd immediately feel better, and be able to eat an unrestricted diet. In retrospect, I would have liked the opportunity to try and control it through diet, or at least come to terms with there being something wrong with me.
I wish I had done more research.
i just want to clear up some misconceptions that people seem to be having. I work inthe hospital, I'm a student nurse and will be an RN by next year and i just had my gall bladder out 8 days ago. the gas they talked about in the hospital to blow up you abdomen with does not come out by burping or farting, its absorbed by the internal organs in the body withen just a couple of days, movement increases the absorption, and if you don't move it won't make you bloated, it could however casue some pain in right shoulder, some people describe it as the same pain you feel in a minor heart attack, but just getting up and moving is the way to deal with it. Also, deep breathing is a BIG DEAL! DO IT! The reason why you are told to breathe deep is because after an abdominal surgery people tend to breathe shallow becasue it hurts, naturaly to take deep breaths, but if you don't you can't expand the lower lobes of the lungs, and the alvelor sacs stick together-end result, pneumonia, something nobody wants. Basicly, the best thing to do to feel better is get up and move around, its thursday now and I have felt better since friday of last week. There is no right or wrong thing to eat, its all indivual nad the best way to find out what your tolerance level is, is to slowly bring things back into your diet one by one. If your constipated you should never take laxatives for long periods of time becasue your body builds up a tolerance to them and it could cause tears or lesions in the rectum, the best way to regulate your bowl habits is to exercise, drink lots of water and increase your daily intake of fiber, don't rely on steatorrhea ( diarhea casued by to much fat or fat in the stools) to have a bowl movement. If your still chronicly constipated, CALL YOUR DOCTOR, this could signify an obstuction of the bowl caused possibly by adhesions which grow in the abdominal cavity usually after abdominal surgery or severe infection.
I hope this little bit of info helps. Thanks!
I could cry. They told me to take the colace, are you saying I should stop?
I don't know what to eat. I don't want to eat anything, I had such a bad experience with the fatty food they made me eat in the hospital.
Is the bloating swelling then, if it's not the gas?
No one ever said anything to me about breathing deep. It was pain while breathing that landed me back in the hospital for an additional 4 days. And when they finally discharged me, they told me it was gas.
I feel completely unprepared for any of this. I'm sorry if I sound like a whiner, but I didn't want to remove an organ because I'd been in pain one night, and all everyone kept telling me was how easy it was and how much better I'd feel, and that then I could eat what I want. I want to make long term dietary changes, but the surgeon said it was totally up to me.
Why wouldn't anyone tell me any of this? I don't know what to think. I can't believe I let anyone do this to me.
The laxatives that you aren't supposed to take a lot are stimulant laxatives (ex-lax). Colace is a stool softener, which does not cause dependency with extended use. That's why they told you to take that one specifically.
Actually, colace IS a stool softener and not a laxative, but excessive use CAN still lead to dependancy. The way a stool softener works compared to a stimulant laxative is a stimulant laxative irrates the mucosa of the intestines, causes a bowl movememnt. A stool sofetener pulls water into the fecal matter making it easier to expell, which makes it effective for someone with an impaction or someone that should not strain to have a bowl movememnt, such as after a myocardial infraction or recal surgery. The important thing to know is that it CAN lead to dependancy, and the most healthy way to have normal bowl habits it to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day, get plenty of exercise and increase fiber in your diet, both soluable and insoluable. Also, if you DO TAKE colace (docusate sodium), you should take it with a full glass of water to get the intended results, you can administer on an empty stomach to get more rapid results and NEVER take it withen 2 hours of other laxatives.
the bloating may be regular flatulance, that is a common side effect of gall bladder problelms, or it may just be swelling. what your doctor meant when he said that you can resume a normal diet if you want to is, that unfortunatly there is no way to tell for sure what a persons tolerance for fat will be. Some people will be able to eat exactly like they did before their surgery with no problems, and some people will never be able to tolerate fat agian. I can tell you that myself, I can tolerate only small amounts but that may get better or it may not. I don't know yet. The important thing is to have well balanced diet, if you are having trouble finding things that you can tolerate you may want to speak to a nutritionist. Generally speaking, foods that are high in carbs and low in fat should be okay because they are digested differantly than fat which uses the bile stored in the gall bladder to be broke down. Carbs don't need bile to be digested becasue they are much more simple foods chemically. Just take it slowly, and try one thing at a time to see what you can handle and what you can't. And remember, don't be afraid to call your doctor if you think something is wrong-the patient knows more about themself that anyone else, and if you feel like there is a problem tell your doctor about it and don't hold anything back. You would be surprised how many people don't mention really important things because they think their doctor will feel like they are just whining.
something you said in your original post has been bothering me. You said that they thought your pain was from an impaction, did you have an impaction check? This is going to sound really gross, but the way an impaction check is done is laying the patient on their left side, and inserting a gloved finger into the rectum to feel for hard feces in the rectum.
Amberjean, thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions!
No, they never checked me that way. They just gave me an enema, milk of magnesia, and colace. The results were fairly humiliating. They did have me on my left side to administer the enema, so I suppose they could have done it then without telling me, but I don't think so. I should probably be drinking more water, but I really hate it. I drink a whole lot of herbal ginger tea.
Here is what I am eating, or what I try to eat. I often only have 2-3 of these 'meals':
breakfast: whole weat bagel & marmelade
morning snack: an orange, or a couple slices of apple
lunch: either plain brown rice or pasta cooked in lowfat chicken broth w/ garlic
snack: 2-3 lowfat organic gingersnaps
dinner: 2-3 bites of plain chicken, and more of the rice or pasta
sometimes desert: lowfat lemon sorbet
I have an appointment in late April with the GI specialist, to discuss diet in re: the fatty liver they found, but that's not for a month. Should I try to find a nutritionist before then? Is there a guide on how much or what fats to try to eat? I miss veggies, but they gave me terrible gas in the hospital, so I have been too frightened to try them again.
I am avoiding my dr. and surgeon because I am so angry right now. I need to get a little distance before I can deal with them in a professional manner. You are kind to share your knowledge with me.
From what you say that you eat, it doesn't really sound to me like you are eating enough to produce a stool everyday/every other day (whats normal). I would think that a nutrionist would be the best choice for you right now. If you really feel that your surgeon or doctor have mislead you, then you may want to see someone else. However, if you had an obstruction, there really was no other choice than to have your gall bladder out. If not, you could have had serious liver problems or you could even have had something "burst." untreated unobstructions can lead to alot of serious problems and as much blood flow as there is to the liver, it could have been life treatening very quickly.
Hi, K. I am so sorry to hear about your troubles. I had my gall bladder removed four years ago. My doctor told me I would feel better in no time; he said his partner had the same procedure and was back to work the next day. Well, I was expecting the surgery to be a piece of cake and that I would be better in no time.
I have learned from my gall bladder surgery and other health problems that every body heals differently. My gall bladder removal wasn't the piece of cake I thought it would be. It was painful to stand up straight for a couple of weeks (how in the dickens did this doctor go back to work the next day?), it hurt a lot to breathe deeply, and my abdomen was swollen for a couple of weeks (I couldn't fit into my pants for awhile). Recovery was a process, and at times it seemed slow. I didn't fit the expectations my doctor had told me, so that made it more frustrating. Be patient with your self; your body is on its own time line.
It also took me a couple of months to return to a normal diet (a low-fat one, though). One thing that has helped me and a friend who had her gall bladder removed is digestive enzymes. You can buy them at a health food store. They are pills you take before meals that help you digest your food. A specialist at the health food store should be able to help you select the right ones for you. Before starting any herbal treatments, though, you should probably check with your doctor.
I wish you the best! Hang in there. I know how you feel. With time, you will get feeling better.
Jennio & Amberjean- Thanks so much for your replies. It is comforting to have people to talk to about this.
I am going to see if my insurance will cover a nutritionist as soon as I get back (We're at my mother-in-law's). I am back in diarhhea he**, and as I have been eating so little fat, I don't know what else I can do.
Our spring break ends next monday, and I am really nervous about going back to school with such digestive problems. Yikes!
Today is officially a month since my surgery, so I thought I would post my progress. I am certainly much better than I was when I first started posting on this board, although not as well as I would have expected.
I still burp and fart much more than I ever did. It's humiliating, but it seems to be the new normal.
Although I still spend much more time and energy worrying about my bowel movements than I ever wanted, it's mostly pretty normal. I can very easily get off track and be miserable however.
I'm trying to push myself to eat more fat, but it's really slow going. I probably eat about a quarter to a third of a serving of protein a day. I still eat very little in both amount and variety.
I am seeing the GI dr in another 2 weeks, and hopefully a nutirionist shortly thereafter.
The good news is I have lost 18lbs, and gone from a size 20 to a size 16 jeans.