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Old 01-30-2009, 12:57 PM   #1
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Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

I had my gallbladder removed on Nov. 23rd, 2008. I felt okay up until Dec. 24th when I had a very painful attack that felt just like another gallbladder attack but my galldbladder was gone! This was extreme doubled over, hard to breathe pain. I went to the emergency room and they did an ultrasound on me and said my gallbladder and pancreas looked normal and they saw no remaining stones but my liver enzymes levels were six times higher than normal. So they put me on pain pills and sent me home. Christmas eve night I spent the entire night throwing up dark yellow liquid. Next I went to a gastroenteroligist for further evaluation. He took my blood again and said my liver enzymes were back to normal. He then scheduled me to get an MRCP exam. The night before I was supposed to get that done which was about 3 weeks after the first attack I have another attack. Again so painful I was doubled over and could barely breathe. So I once again go to the emergency room. They did xrays on me that night and still saw nothing wrong except that my liver enzymes had shot up again. So it seems my liver enzymes shoot up while I'm in one of these attacks. They put me on a morphine IV and sent me home and again I went home and threw up dark yellow liquid. The next morning I go to get the MRCP and it showed nothing was wrong. Then my gastroenteroligist sent me to get an endoscopic ultrasound. They went down my throat and still saw nothing wrong. No remaining stones or anything. That doctor told me I still needed to get an ERCP done since my liver enzymes keep going up and down. I told my best friend this and she freaked out and said she has a close friend that got an ERCP done and she developed severe pancreatitis from it and was hospitalized for months, lost all her hair and almost died. Well this scared me so much I called the doctors office and canceled the appt. immediately. I was just wondering if anyone would know what could be causing me to still have pain when I have no remaining stones? I've read about sphincter of oddi, but I figure they would have detected if I had that or not when they were inside me doing the endoscopic ultrasound. I don't get sick every day but when I do it is unbearable. I do alot of times feel a dull burning sensation or dull ache in my upper right ribs section. It's almost like I can feel where my gallbladder was and it feels like it is burning from where it was removed. I have only gotten really sick like that when I ate something fattening, like a McDonalds filet of fish and french fries, so now I am only eating steamed vegetables, wheat bread, etc. Has anyone else had this experience? Do you think I could just be getting these attacks because I ate something fattening and my body is not ready to process that fat without my gallbladder yet? I am scared to death to get this ERCP test done and only want to do that as an absolute LAST resort. Is it normal for me to still have these pains and vomiting after surgery when I have no stones or anything? Also I am thin and have always exercised and ate healthy 90% of the time so I wasn't unhealthy before this operation. Any help, info, insight, similar experiences would be so appreciated! Thank you!

 
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:16 PM   #2
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Re: Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

OMG, you ate a McDonald's Fish Filet and fries within a month of having your gallbladder out?????? Did your doctor not tell you to eliminate fat from your diet for several weeks after? I can;t imagine how bad it would have been if I had done that! The chicken soft taco I had at 10 days out was bad enough! It very well could be that the bile duct has not adjusted because of what you've been eating. Or it could be SOD. Try a fat free diet and see if that does it.

 
Old 02-14-2009, 08:45 PM   #3
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Re: Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

Your tale scars me to death. I have to find away around the gallbladder removal. After five spine surgeries that have left me in cripplin' pain, I don't want to end up on another road of suffering even though I all ready suffer what one thinks is due to "stones."

Man, I hope you find an answer quick.

It's odd. We are told that gallbladder not necessary; yet, we are told needed to digest fats. Well, then don't we need it?

I see the day coming that technology we'll afford folk suffering with stones away around the removal of gallbladder and instead a treatment to remove stones in some way.

 
Old 02-17-2009, 10:50 AM   #4
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Re: Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

Chemval, I have a couple of friends that had their gallbladders removed and they have felt fine since. So don't let me scare you that badly. Not everybody that has the surgery has these problems.

Titchou, how long has it been since you had your gallbladder removed? I'm wondering if I have to stay on this strict diet forever? Honestly I am scared to eat anything the least bit fatty now. My husband keeps trying to get me to go to the chinese buffet with him and I keep turning him down even though that is my favorite food. The surgeon that removed my gallbladder told me I should be able to go back to my normal diet within two weeks. So I believed him! Even now, 3 months later, my gastro doctor is still telling me I should be able to eat whatever I want to since I do not have a gallbladder anymore. I flat out asked my gastro dr. if me eating fatty foods so soon after surgery could cause me pain and he said NO. He said once the gallbladder is removed that would eliminate all pain. I have of course quit listening to them. I have been eating nothing but very low fat foods and I have been feeling better. I still have twinges of pain here and there, but have not had to make a trip to the emergency room since January. I tried drinking some iced coffee a couple of weeks ago thinking hey it's just liquid, it won't hurt me. Boy was I wrong! I ended up having to leave work to go home and had the dreadful burning, stabbing pain for a few hours but it eventually went away.

So far I am still avoiding getting the ERCP procedure done. I did actually meet with the surgeon and I just told him that if I have another 12 hour excruciating pain episode like I did in January that I would get it done, but until then I am just going to wait it out. I am praying it is not SOD because I just do not feel good about that ERCP procedure at all. So all in all so far, I feel better not eating anything fatty but I still feel kind of run down and tired all the time and I have noticed my asthma is getting a little worse lately. I'm sure it's probably not related to this though.

 
Old 02-17-2009, 03:50 PM   #5
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Re: Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

I had mine out 4 years ago and have had no real issues once I got regulated afterwards. I would say that one should stay on a fat free diet for a month and then SLOWLY introduce fat back into your diet. Like start with one pat (not tablespoon!) of butter on a piece of bread over the course of a whole meal. and you should be ableto eat Chinese - just nothing fried - stir fry should be OK because their isn't that much fat in it. Just get take out and get lots of rice!

 
Old 02-21-2009, 02:57 AM   #6
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Re: Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

Quote:
Originally Posted by angelarenees View Post
Chemval, I have a couple of friends that had their gallbladders removed and they have felt fine since. So don't let me scare you that badly. Not everybody that has the surgery has these problems.

Titchou, how long has it been since you had your gallbladder removed? I'm wondering if I have to stay on this strict diet forever? Honestly I am scared to eat anything the least bit fatty now. My husband keeps trying to get me to go to the chinese buffet with him and I keep turning him down even though that is my favorite food. The surgeon that removed my gallbladder told me I should be able to go back to my normal diet within two weeks. So I believed him! Even now, 3 months later, my gastro doctor is still telling me I should be able to eat whatever I want to since I do not have a gallbladder anymore. I flat out asked my gastro dr. if me eating fatty foods so soon after surgery could cause me pain and he said NO. He said once the gallbladder is removed that would eliminate all pain. I have of course quit listening to them. I have been eating nothing but very low fat foods and I have been feeling better. I still have twinges of pain here and there, but have not had to make a trip to the emergency room since January. I tried drinking some iced coffee a couple of weeks ago thinking hey it's just liquid, it won't hurt me. Boy was I wrong! I ended up having to leave work to go home and had the dreadful burning, stabbing pain for a few hours but it eventually went away.

So far I am still avoiding getting the ERCP procedure done. I did actually meet with the surgeon and I just told him that if I have another 12 hour excruciating pain episode like I did in January that I would get it done, but until then I am just going to wait it out. I am praying it is not SOD because I just do not feel good about that ERCP procedure at all. So all in all so far, I feel better not eating anything fatty but I still feel kind of run down and tired all the time and I have noticed my asthma is getting a little worse lately. I'm sure it's probably not related to this though.
Hi Angelarenees

So sorry to hear about your pain.Know what your
going through.
I had my gallbladder out in my early 30s.I had no
problems at all.Until 4 years ago.Severe pain and
vomiting,with visits to local hospital for pain relief.Which
made me feel worse after a few days.I had so many tests
done in one year,my final one being the ercp,and guess
what I ended up with pancreatitis.Noone else who had it
done was sick.So then a 4 day stay in hospital.The test
was clear and specialist suggested low fat diet.
I was so tired and run down after this,I decided to see
a naturopath.He gave me vitamin tablets,suggested
mintec for pain(peppermint oil capsules),no drinking,,little dairy or low fat,no
coffee and watch my diet.I cut down on meat,and being
winter had lots of soups.After 3 mths I was feeling better.
By the time a year was up,I was feeling my old self.This
year I have had no pain.Its great to feel well again.I feel
so happy about the results. Now I try to watch what I eat
and have a treat once a week.
Also I sought the advice of my local doctor and she was
happy to let me make this choice of an alternative option.After nearly 3 years I was well again.
Be postive and keep turning every stone over til
you get the results you need

 
Old 02-24-2009, 06:39 AM   #7
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Re: Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

Jazkat, I'm wondering how often did you have painful attacks? Did you say you had them for over a year? For me I have one about every two weeks, the last one being last night. I have been eating nothing but grilled fish, vegetables, rice, oatmeal, etc. I don't eat any meats other than fish anyway. Last night I had the severe stabbing pain in my upper right ribs area and threw up half my dinner and then the pain went away. I am afraid I do have the sphincter of oddi disfunction and whether I like it or not I'm going to have to get the ERCP done. I don't want to continue on with these attacks. Every day I wake up worried if I'm going to have an attack at work or somewhere far from home. I have heard quite a few people say they still had pain after the ERCP was done so that scares me as well. I definitely don't want to live like this the rest of my life. I was healthy before I had my gallbladder removed. Now I feel tired all the time and can look forward to painful attacks atleast twice a month! Jazkat, thank you for sharing your story with me. I am leaning toward getting the ERCP done now because it has been 3 months since I had my gallbladder removed and I'm still having pains and vomiting. I shouldn't still be in pain after 3 months! I just pray if I do get the ERCP done that will eliminate the pain! If not, the naturopath option sounds like a good idea to me.

 
Old 02-25-2009, 08:57 AM   #8
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Re: Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

Quote:
Originally Posted by angelarenees View Post
Jazkat, I'm wondering how often did you have painful attacks? Did you say you had them for over a year? For me I have one about every two weeks, the last one being last night. I have been eating nothing but grilled fish, vegetables, rice, oatmeal, etc. I don't eat any meats other than fish anyway. Last night I had the severe stabbing pain in my upper right ribs area and threw up half my dinner and then the pain went away. I am afraid I do have the sphincter of oddi disfunction and whether I like it or not I'm going to have to get the ERCP done. I don't want to continue on with these attacks. Every day I wake up worried if I'm going to have an attack at work or somewhere far from home. I have heard quite a few people say they still had pain after the ERCP was done so that scares me as well. I definitely don't want to live like this the rest of my life. I was healthy before I had my gallbladder removed. Now I feel tired all the time and can look forward to painful attacks atleast twice a month! Jazkat, thank you for sharing your story with me. I am leaning toward getting the ERCP done now because it has been 3 months since I had my gallbladder removed and I'm still having pains and vomiting. I shouldn't still be in pain after 3 months! I just pray if I do get the ERCP done that will eliminate the pain! If not, the naturopath option sounds like a good idea to me.

I've been away. Yeah, the pain in, um, I'll just say "gut" to refer to the pain that is digestive related, became more than intolerable. Emergency visit to gastro didn't help any. He said have your gallbladder removed and if it doesn't reslove digetive problems, then it doesn't. Nice. Gave me some sample meds to try as I await my meeting with general surgeon. Nice.

I return here to find info looking for, info written by others that I need to print, and I find other posts about gallbladder problems--problems that arose after, even it is years after, gallbladder removed. Yeah, I want to have something removed that a gastro can't say is the problem of pain and digestive dysfunction. Why does he say that? Because there is this general belief that one doesn't need gallbladder. I don't know.

Anyway, yer the angel I was talking to about the withdrawl and kickin' legs, right? I still have to return to your, or another angel to reply and print for doctors to see that I'm not the only one.

 
Old 02-25-2009, 12:42 PM   #9
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Re: Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

Chemval, no I didn't say anything about kicking legs? It must have been someone else. Just to update, I have had two painful attacks this week and vomited. Once while at work and I had to leave. So with it being 3 months after my surgery and I'm still having pain and nausea, I went ahead and scheduled the ERCP for next Tuesday, March the 3rd. I did wait 3 months to see if this problem was going to pass and it obviously isn't, so I am almost positive I do have the sphincter of oddi dysfunction like my gastro doctor has suspected all along. I have tried eating a very low fat diet and I still keep having episodes so obviously this isn't going away on it's own. I've noticed I'm continually having this bad taste in my throat that was not there before. I am wondering if this has something to do with the SOD problem? With me eating so lightly, I have lost like 5 pounds and I was only at 107 pounds to start with. My size 3 pants are very loose on me! I don't want to lose anymore weight! I feel really unhealthy and am scared to even eat anything anymore for fear of it causing an attack. I am praying this ERCP is what will resolve all this and relieve these painful attacks for me. I will post next week and let you guys know how my procedure went. Thanks for all the help and advice!

 
Old 02-26-2009, 06:38 AM   #10
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Re: Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

Hello,

I too have had very similar symptoms to yours - pain, vomiting, diarrhea & YES that dreaded terrible taste in my mouth! Sort of sour, bitter metallic - sometimes my tongue even burns. Anyway, I still have my gallbladder - all tests were negative. I have had extensive testing - and the only thing that is abnormal is my amylase & lipase (pancreatic enzymes) I have been suffering with this since November - close to 4 months. Doctors have no answers. One suspected SOD, but since ERCP is risky & he is not 100% sure - he does not want to do the procedure. Told me to wait it out or shop around for another pancreatologist in Boston who might agree to the procedure. I am miserable & have 0% quality of life. Currently on vegan diet (no fat/no animal products) for 3 weeks, but no difference. No caffine, no alcohol, too. What should I do? I believe I am developing chronic pancreatitis with all of this "watchful waiting". Please let me know what your ERCP shows - please know that to accurately diagnose SOD you will need an ERCP with manometry ( that is the part that measures your ducts pressures) very critical - without that part of the test being done there is no way they can truly diagnose you with SOD - Also ask if they will do a sphincterectomy at the same time if pressures are high. That apparently, other than stenting, are the sole 2 treatments for this. If it will not be done at the same time - you may be looking at 2-3 more ercps in the near future. Be sure to ask questions... Good luck!

 
Old 02-26-2009, 06:54 AM   #11
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Re: Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

Microsludge,
I am sorry you are going through this! You do sound just like me. I hate to say this but I do really think you have sphincter of oddi dysfunction as well. If they have done extensive testing and found nothing else then that has to be the cause. I waited three months and I too feel like my quality of life is suffering so I am willing to take the risk with the ERCP. The surgeon I am going to is a leading expert in the US in this procedure. He does over 500 of them a year. He assured me that less than 3% of his patients even get pancreatitis after the procedure and even if they do it is normally mild. I am very confident this surgeon knows what he is doing since he does up to 6 of them a day. I know it's scary to think about getting the ERCP but if you have had all other testing done and you are still sick and miserable the ERCP could be final relief for you. I would go to another doctor. You can't just continue on with pain and vomiting and not do anything about it. I think continuing to have pain like that and high pancreatic enzymes is not good for your pancreas and would eventually have an adverse effect on you if you don't get it taken care of. Don't sit around and suffer any longer. Go to another doctor and get another opinion. I think you'll be glad you did. I have waited 3 months and now I am ready to take my chances. I am tired of having attacks and I have two different drs. telling me I need this ERCP so I'm listening to them this time. I really do feel pressure on my right side, which seems to coinside with the SOD syptoms. I want this pressure relieved and if getting an ERCP is the only way to do that then I'm ready! Good luck to you and PLEASE don't keep sitting around and suffering. I will let you know how my ERCP goes next week.

 
Old 02-26-2009, 12:22 PM   #12
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Re: Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

Angelarenees,

It sounds like you are in good hands with your doctor. Hopefully the procedure will put an end to your suffering. I think there is not other word for it. I had been 100% healthy until October 24th 2008. Yes, I remember the exact date! I went to see my GP on the 5th of November & things have just gotten from bad to worse. I have seen numerous doctors, but everyone is baffled and I feel as if no one is listening to me. I very recently came under the care of a very skilled gastroenterologist in Boston. He is not a pancreatologist, but he has been the first doctor to actually treat my syptoms. He, too, feels I may have SOD, but there are few things he'd like to try before he sends me off to his colleagues for an ERCP. Unfortunatley, for me - he has come to this a little late in the game - as I had seen 3 experts before him - one of which is a university expert on SOD who has essentially refused to treat me. The docotr in Boston is my 4th opinion - and the 2nd to suspect SOD. The difference with him is that he wants to help me. The frustration is in the timeline. Anyway, the plan for me has been the vegan diet & 3 weeks on nortryptaline a low dose tricyclic antidepressant to regulate the spasms. I am completely week 2 & no measurable difference. He has said that it may take up to 3 if anything is to happen. I will have my enzymes retested at 3 weeks. If no improvement, we move on to MRCP-S to check the funtionality of my pancreas - look at my ducts etc. & increase medication dose. Not certain how long I will be on increased dose, but probably another 2-3 weeks. Then if still no improvement - ERCP with pancreatic duct sphincterectomy.

To give you some more background....

It has been suspected that I have gallbladder disease without stones. I have been symptomatic since November of last year - without a drop dead attack, but with all of the telltale symptoms of a bad gallbladder. Feeling of fullness, bloating, food intolerances, diarrhea (bowel changes) w/some malabsorption & cramping and sometimes pain under my rib cage both right & left sided. Also constant terrible taste in my mouth...

Anyway, all of my tests have been coming back negative. Negative ultrasound & CT, etc. etc. etc. I have been thoroughly tested and the only interesting finding is that my serum amylase & lipase levels have been consistently elevated in the 110's-130's during this time with only one exception when they were "high" normal. I have had my blood drawn no less than 15 times since November and a HIDA scan which should a gbEF of 87%; high, but no one can make sense of it.

Back in December I had an EUS when it was still suspected that gallstone crystals or sludge might be causing my symptoms. During the exam I had a bile apsiration which turned out to be negative for crystals. So since then the doctors have basically offered no answers for the pancreatic enzymes & physical symptoms. I am miserable. They are telling me to just wait it out & it might go away... Crazy, isn't it???

Anyway, during the course of my research, I have read that the absence of crystals in the aspirate does NOT rule out microlithasis. Apparently, it all depends on which area the sample was taken from, how quickly it was processed and the color of the bile itself. Based on this information, I am wondering if I may have had a false negative reading.

I am afraid that I am developing either chronic pancreatitis or may may have already developed SOD at the pancreatic duct (stenosis) because of undiagnosed microscopic gallstone disease. Both apparently are related to this condition...

Angela, what did the surgeon say about your gallbladder when it was removed? Was it diseased? Did you have stones?

 
Old 02-27-2009, 12:52 PM   #13
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Re: Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

Microsludge,

Yes the just waiting around to see what happens approach does seem a bit crazy to me. I really don't know if my gallbladder was diseased or not. I never saw the surgeon that removed my gallbladder again after the surgery. After surgery, he went to the waiting room, told my family I was fine and left, so I didn't get to ask him any questions or anything. I do know that I had several gallstones because I got an ultrasound before surgery and they did tell me that much. I too got an MRCP which detected nothing abnormal. The endoscopic ultrasound found nothing either.

I would tell the doctor when you go back for your 3 week exam that I didn't want to wait any longer that I want to go on and get my MRCP done. I wouldn't wait another 3-6 weeks for that. My doctors weren't wanting me to wait around around like that. If the MRCP comes back negative, like mine did, I would say you will have to go through with the ERCP like I am doing.

I'm sorry you are having to go through this and wait. I know how you feel and it's very frustrating. Especially when you felt healthy to start with! For me I felt healthy until Nov. 23rd last year. My advice to you is don't keep sitting around after your next visit. I would kind of insist that they go on and do the remaining tests you need done. Sitting around and waiting to see if it gets better or goes away isn't going to cut it ,so to speak. I know!

Please keep me updated on your next appt. I truly do hope you feel better soon! I don't wish this pain on anybody!

Angela

 
Old 03-02-2009, 07:02 AM   #14
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Re: Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

Can anyone who thinks they have SOD tell me if you have constant pain even after drinking water ? I have pain for over 2 years upper right hand quandrant which also radiates to my back. Have had every test except an ERCP. Been told I have IBS-C. Nothing helps with the pain. I have had my gallbladder reoved in April 08 it did not help. All bloods have been normal. Liver and pancreas enzymes are normal. I have been to 3 GI doctors and USF. I do not have pain at night when I sleep. It begins after I drink anything or eat.
Sisty

 
Old 03-02-2009, 11:12 AM   #15
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Re: Pain after Gallbladder Surgery and ERCP

Hi Angela, I am very interested in hearing about your ERCP experience this week... please post afterwards as soon as you are able! I have been sick with very similar symptoms for 3 years now. The first two years, I was misdiagnosed with IBS and my doctors wouldn't listen to me that my pain and nausea was on my right side, where my gallbaldder is located. Finally after almost 2.5 years, I did my own research and went back to my gastroenterologist and demanded to be tested for gallstones. Ultrasound was negative. Then I asked to be tested for gallbladder function. Turns out my gallbladder is not functioning properly -- I only had an 18% ejection fraction (35% or 40% and above is normal). Doctor recommended a few more tests (for acid or stomach emptying) and then gallbladder surgery... I said no. I KNEW it was something to do with my gallbladder and biliary system, not acid or stomach related, because it hurts RIGHT there and I have all the symptoms... and I didn't want an impaired digestive system the rest of my life as a result of not having a gallbladder - I like all my organs right where they are! Then I saw a TV special on a girl that had SOD (it's on U Tube -- The Girl Who Couldn't Eat) and her symptoms sounded very similar to mine! I started doing research on SOD and I really think I may have it, and who knows it could even be causing my gallbaldder to malfunction if all the bile is backed up since the sphincter won't open properly. I'm getting pretty desperate for answers and have even been considering having my gallbladder out because I'm just so tired of being sick. (I had to drop out of college, work from home, and my husband has to come with me and drive me if I ever want to go out... I'm THAT sick, and have been for years!). I've tried all sorts of natural remedies and talked with naturopaths about it, and I think I could really get well on a strict health plan (juicing and vitamins and such), but I just don't have the energy to do it by myself. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome on top of everything else and it just leaves me feeling exhausted 100% of the time. (I overcame CFS many years ago but it came back in the last few years since I haven't been able to stick to a healthy lifestyle of eating well and exercising because of all the gallbladder pain and nausea!). I'm not sure if I have SOD, or just a low-functioning gallbladder, or BOTH, but I've been thinking I would rather get tested/treated for SOD before having my gallbladder out just in case that is the root of the problem. The only dilemma is, of course, the ERCP test and how RISKY it is! I've heard such horrible stories, and that up to 40% of patients develop pancreatis because of it. So I just don't know what to do. I'm so tired of being sick... I'm just 22 and I feel like I've only been half alive for the last 3 years. Anyway, please let me know how your ERCP goes... I hope it goes well! I'd love to hear about your experience and the results.

Last edited by abeautifulash; 03-02-2009 at 11:15 AM.

 
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