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  • Gallbladder - Remove It or Live With It?

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    Old 09-30-2004, 01:06 PM   #1
    99Rayne99
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    Gallbladder - Remove It or Live With It?

    Hi there. I posted back in March or April about my gallbladder troubles. Haven't had an attack since then - until last Sunday when I had 4 short attacks back to back from 1 pm Sunday until 10 am Monday! (My white blood cells and liver enzymes were both up but slowly went down by Mon evening and I was released from hospital.)

    I am 37 weeks pregnant right now (thus I haven't yet had it removed). An ultrasound in March (when I was 11 weeks pregnant) showed lots of stones. My liver enzymes and white blood cell count were up when I had a bad attack at 12 weeks.

    I have been controlling the issue with a low fat diet (only 20% of my daily intake is fat). I honestly hadn't had a pain or twinge or anything from 12 weeks to 37 weeks (until (as I mentioned) last sunday).

    I blame that on the fact that over the past month, I have been "cheating" here and there - I might eat half a chocolate bar, a 12-oz decaf coffee with cream, some theatre popcorn (no butter topping - but still popped in oil), or some cookies. But I never am crazy enough to eat fried foods, I don't ever touch cheese anymore, and I don't cook with oil or margarine - just a teensy bit of cooking spray.

    The surgeon I saw back in March when I had 2 12-hour severe attacks within a week of each other said that the goal was to get me through the pregnancy, deliver the baby, and then get rid of the gallbladder (presumably after my body has several weeks to recover from child birth - at least I hope so!)

    Anyway, I have been reading about your experiences, and I must say that I don't feel too confident about having the gallbladder out. (Too many stories of post-op complications, late life complications, and gallbladder pain when no gallbladder is present!) On the other hand, I am very fearful about having a stone pop out and head to my pancreas!

    Although it sucks to not be able to eat certain things (I have a real sweet tooth, love food in general, and hate to give up the things I enjoy permanently), I wonder if it is best for me to continue on my low-fat diet for life, and deal with the occasional gallbladder attack.

    I have found that after 7 or 8 months of not eating a high-fat diet, I CAN do it with willpower, and really, I don't think I've ever eaten healthier. Hell, even though I'd love to have fries with gravy or pizza once in a while, they are ultimately not good for you, so really what am I giving up?

    I'd like to hear any advice or comments on this - what do you think? Live the healthier lifestyle and deal with the occasional attack, or go ahead with the surgery?

    Thanx!

    Last edited by 99Rayne99; 09-30-2004 at 01:09 PM.

     
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    Old 09-30-2004, 01:48 PM   #2
    cheer up
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    Re: Gallbladder - Remove It or Live With It?

    The big question is: where do you want to be when your next attack hits? On a trip? On a plane? Away from a good hospital where you could go for emergency treatment? Also, how many plans do you want spoiled because of an attack?

    I agree that toughing it out until your baby is born is a decent idea. But afterwards, I'd definitely have the surgery. I had one bad attack and several smaller ones over a one year period. I also had food intolerance and some really weird stomach-ache symptoms that were probably also related to the gall bladder.

    Only a small percentage of people have bad problems after the surgery and there ARE remedies for all of them. Yes, you may still want to watch your diet, but I eat chocolate like it's going out of style and have no problems. I have even eaten a few greasy things with much success.

    Many people DO continue to have various pains and digestive problems later, but you already KNOW you have stones and it sounds like your symptoms are "classic" for gallbladder disease. In those instances, chances of success are greatest.

    I am 55 yet had the laparoscopic method (tiny incisions) and was on my feet immediately and back at work within 10 days. Sometimes when the condition turns really bad they have to resort to the old fashioned long incision and then you're looking at a miserable and long recuperation. The lap. method is GREAT in my opinion.

    Do I feel perfect at just four months post-op? Not 100% of the time -- I will admit to the occasional pain somewhere in the abdomen. But, there are reasons for these things and remedies, as mentioned above. A number of people on these Boards have have the surgery and are very very happy despite post-op problems.

    No one can tell you what to do -- you will know when you are ready -- but doing surgery planned in advance is FAR BETTER than going in as an emergency, that's for certain. You don't want pancreatitis, right?

    After a year of watching my diet to avoid more stone formation, I had another ultrasound done. Guess what -- STILL more stones! So...I gave up and had the surgery since I was feeling even worse than the previous year.

    I have not been sorry -- not a bit.

    Let us know what you decide. Many more here will be happy to share their own experiences...

     
    Old 09-30-2004, 04:39 PM   #3
    dianne12315
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    Re: Gallbladder - Remove It or Live With It?

    Thanks to my doctor I was lucky enough not to have an actual gall bladder attack. I had the ultrasound done and as soon as he saw the results I was scheduled for surgery before I did have one. I'm not sorry I had it out. It was the best thing I could've done because I couldn't stand the constant ache I had in my back between the shoulders. I'm not advising you to have surgery because that's a personal decision only you can make but I would reconsider it. I had the "belly button surgery" and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

    Please let us know what you decide.

    Last edited by dianne12315; 09-30-2004 at 04:43 PM.

     
    Old 10-01-2004, 09:18 AM   #4
    99Rayne99
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    Re: Gallbladder - Remove It or Live With It?

    Thank you both - you have actually made me feel better about the surgery. The problem is that I read so much conflicting information, it is really hard to know what to do!

    I am thinking that the benefits of having it out outweigh the possible risks. And I am pretty sure that once I have the baby, my surgeon is going to heavily recommend that the gallbladder comes out too.

    Thanks again - I will try to keep you updated!

     
    Old 10-01-2004, 12:41 PM   #5
    Katie G
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    Smile Re: Gallbladder - Remove It or Live With It?

    Just another thought too - I was in the hospital having my GB out the same time, my friend was having hers out - and she was pregnant! Her attacks were so bad the doctor didn't want to wait until her baby was born, and her baby and she suffered no ill effects from anesthesia or the surgery.

    I suffer from bile salt diarrhea now that my GB is gone, but I can control that with medication. I'm so glad the darn thing is gone - I was in so much pain and nauseated 24/7 by the time it came out. If you can live with the attacks - good for you! But for me, life was just too miserable with it in. I didn't have stones - just a severely inflamed GB covered in scar tissue.

    Good luck to you,
    Katie G

     
    Old 10-01-2004, 04:42 PM   #6
    sivyaleah
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    Re: Gallbladder - Remove It or Live With It?

    Not all gallbladder removal stories are nightmares. Mine was taken out about 2 years ago and I didn't have one single problem with the surgery or recovery. I had the lap done, and was walking around several hours after surgery, albeit somewhat slowly and gingerly. Within a few days I was almost back to normal, tho I took a whole week off from work just to be sure. I've had no pain since and the scars are so minimal as to be nearly unnoticeable.

    I do find there are some foods still left best avoided, high-fat cheeses and cashews for instance but there are many foods which my body still processes just fine. Actually, having to cut back on fat intake turned out to be the beginning of taking my weight more seriously. I now eat much healthier than I did prior and have lost quite a bit of weight in the process. But I can still eat things such as pizza occassionally with no ill effects (but - I've also only had 1 piece in about 5 months so that might be helping LOL).

    I think dealing with a newborn will certainly put a different spin on your recovery, but if you have family and friends to help out for a week (minimum) or two, I'm sure you'll be fine.

    Best of luck deciding what to do!

    Laurie

     
    Old 10-04-2004, 01:14 AM   #7
    Cieras_Mommy
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    Re: Gallbladder - Remove It or Live With It?

    Hello all... I went to the hospital at 17 weeks gestation for what turned out to be a blood clot behind the placenta, but at the same time I found out I had gallstones, but they never gave me any trouble. Until now. Although, the pain I am having seems like what everyone has described (ie. back pain, abdominal pain and cramping... ) I also have diarrhead and nausea. I am not quite sure if this could be caused from the gallstones or because I am under a lot of stress right now (I am trying to finish school, raise my 2 month old daughter, and get a divorce all at the same time) I had a C-Section with my daughter and also wondered if that could be the cause of anything. I have not yet made it to the dr. for lack of time, but I need to go. I am getting woken up every night and staying up for at least 3 hours because of pain. Percocets have helped eleviate the pain for awhile before but I am almost out of them and have no refills so I am afraid of running out and then still having attacks. My stepfather told me (not sure if he was joking or not) that after you have your gallbladder removed you will have diarrhea for the rest of your life... is this true?
    Faith

     
    Old 10-04-2004, 06:08 AM   #8
    Katie G
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    Smile Re: Gallbladder - Remove It or Live With It?

    Hi Faith. Not all GB patients have diarrhea after surgery. In fact, only 5-10% of patients (like me) end up with bile salt diarrhea. Now, since my D is under control with medication, I am very glad to have the GB gone. I had diarrhea before it was gone and was very sick from it.

    So take heart - 90-95% of patients have no negative effects from GB surgery.

    Katie G

     
    Old 10-04-2004, 08:13 PM   #9
    lorilu2000
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    Re: Gallbladder - Remove It or Live With It?

    Hi There! Needed to add my two cents since I have no gallbladder either. Did everyone know that gallbaldder disease can be hereditary? My Mother has 8 siblings and 7 of them have had their GB's removed. I have 6 siblings and 3 of us so far have had ours out. I had attacks off and on for years not knowing what the heck was going on. My mom would say maybe it's your gb? Went to Doc and had all the GB tests, ultrasound ect. Everything was neg for GB. I was sent home to take Zantac as needed. 6 months later I had an attack so bad I couldn't even walk. I ended up in ER at 3 am. They ran a huge amount of tests and came back saying if I was a 65 year old man the tests were highly suggestive of pancreatic cancer. He said he knew better though and even though all my tests from 6 months previous said no GB disease he said he would bet the farm on it. He admitted me and the hospitol spent the next 3 days trying to figure out what I had. I was kept on an IV and pain killers during this time. Finally after some sort of nuclear die test that took 2 hours they said my Gb was not emptying and filling properly so they decided they should take it out. I had a lap procedure done which went very smoothly. Doc said my GB was full of scar tissue from being inflamed and infected for most likely years. No stones though! I guess this is more than two cents LOL but I just wanted you to know that I felt amazingly better after it was out and as far as my two siblings and everyone on my mothers side of the family. No-one has ever complained they wished they still had their gallbladders!
    Good luck to you and take care!
    Laura

     
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