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    Old 11-17-2005, 10:09 PM   #1
    mmeero
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    Gallbladder removal

    I just found out I have gallstones and my doctor wants me to have gallbladder surgery. I am having unbearable pain and want to have it done, but I've been reading some bad stuff about it and I was wondering if anyone reading this has had this surgery, and the effects of it afterwards. I don't know what to do please help! Thanks

     
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    Old 11-17-2005, 10:21 PM   #2
    kehorner
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    Re: Gallbladder removal

    Try not to worry too much about it. Just get it over with, and you will feel better soon. Sure, maybe 5% of the people can have issues with diarrhea afterwards, but there are medications to help with that if it does happen. Most people will be completely back to normal with no problems at all within a month or so (you'll be back to work in a week if you want... just not eating fatty foods for a while).

    My surgery was scheduled for 1:00. I got to the hospital at 11:00 and checked in. Then they take your blood pressure and pulse and ask you all kinds of questions, then have you change into the hospital gown. Then they come in and start an IV, and the anesthesiologist and surgeon will come by to make sure you don't have any questions or concerns. I was feeling nauseated, so I told the anesthesiologist and she gave me some meds for that. I was also worried about feeling sick when I woke up, so she promised to give me some meds throughout the surgery and before I went into recovery.

    They do have to insert a breathing tube, but they do that after you go to sleep and take it out before you wake up. That's because they inflate your abdomen with gas, which makes it hard for you to breathe on your own. But the anesthesiologist's only job is to take care of your breathing and heart rate and medications, so you will be well taken care of.

    The surgery took 45 minutes. I woke up in the recovery room around 3:00. I was in pain, so I got some drugs through the IV. The nurse checked my incisions, and then my mom came in. Here is a key thing: They gave me some pain PILLS at that point, with some juice and graham crackers. Before the pills kicked in, the pain came back and I got another shot through the IV. But by the time that shot wore off, the pills had kicked in. Be sure that you get pills and that the pain is under control from the pills before you leave. And then take the pills on schedule, before the pain gets bad. If you let the pain get bad, it will be harder to get it under control with the pills.

    So then I went home and I was on my couch by 5:00 (just 4 hours after surgery). The first day I didn't feel too bad, because I still had all the anesthesia drugs in my system. I think the third day was the worst in terms of pain. I actually felt okay the second day, and I stayed awake all day and actually went over to somebody's house and visited with them for a few hours. The third day was the worst, because I overdid it the second day. So I just laid around and took my pills, which made me sleep a lot. The pain wasn't really sharp, just the feeling that I had been run over by a semi truck or stabbed multiple times in the abdomen (which really wasn't too far from the truth!). I had some pain from the incisions, but I found that ice helped that (a bag of frozen peas works well). But even with the surgical pain, I could tell that the pain I had been feeling from my gallbladder was gone.

    I had my surgery on a Thursday, and I went to one class on Monday. By the next Thursday, I was able to teach and go to some classes, but I was still in some pain and tired. By two weeks I felt pretty good, and by a month I was pretty much back to normal.

    You will want to try to get up and walk a bit each day (as much as you feel like) because it will help speed up your recovery. The first day I went for one very short walk (down to the mailbox and back). The second day I walked twice. After that, I started doing some longer walks (around the block) two or three times a day. Just whatever feels okay. You might not be able to walk far at first. I went to the store with my mom the second day, but I used the little electric cart because I was tired and walking was slow because of the pain.

    And stay away from fatty foods. Your digestive system will need to adjust to fats, since the gallbladder is used in digesting fats, so you will want to introduce them slowly to avoid major diarrhea. The first week I didn't really eat anything with much fat (I mostly ate soup, salad, toast, graham crackers, etc.). I slowly added it in.

    Also, you'll want to have some nice comfy pants to wear, and some that look decent. I couldn't wear pants for nearly a month, because although I wasn't really in much pain, the incisions were still tender, and the one at the bellybutton hurt when I wore jeans. I also couldn't wear a bra for a month or so, because the band went over the midline incision. I ended up wearing snug camisoles (without a built-in bra) to keep things in place.

    I think my biggest problem in the whole recovery was just that I was bored and crabby. There wasn't anything on TV, and I was tired but not sleepy, and I wanted to get up and do something but I couldn't, and I wanted something to occupy myself but I didn't feel like doing anything. Word puzzles, a silly novel, or other stuff you can do while laying on your back are a must. I tried to do a jigsaw puzzle one day, but sitting up and leaning over hurt. So prepare some activities that you can do in any position. But nothing too funny, because it hurts to laugh.

    So no worries. Unless you have some reaction to the anesthesia (very rare) or they end up doing the open surgery (also very rare) you will be going home the same day, and you will be fine. You will be much more comfortable at home, anyway. You will be up and around in a week, feeling pretty good in two weeks, and pretty much back to normal in a month. I have had other surgery, and I would rather have my gallbladder out 20 times than have my ankle surgery again. It's scary, but it really isn't a big deal (once it's over with, and it's somebody else that's having it!). Just try to relax. :-) Oh, and if you're into that sort of thing, your doctor will probably take pictures for you and print off a copy, if you want a souvenier.

     
    Old 11-17-2005, 10:29 PM   #3
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    Re: Gallbladder removal

    Also, you might want to either do a search or look back through the digestive disorders board... there are lots of threads there on gallbladder surgery that you might be interested in reading.

     
    Old 11-18-2005, 07:42 AM   #4
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    Re: Gallbladder removal

    I had it done in may and felt no pain from it. Not sure if it was cause I had it in combo with another procedure that hurt really really bad...

     
    Old 11-18-2005, 10:33 AM   #5
    mmeero
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    Re: Gallbladder removal

    Thank you so much for your replies you have helped alot!

     
    Old 11-18-2005, 11:52 AM   #6
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    Re: Gallbladder removal

    I had it done. Was a breeze and solved my problems pronto.

    I did have diarrhea after eatting some foods but my doctor told me to make sure I ate those foods anyway to help my body build up a tolerance for them...I did and now I can eat them with no problem at all.

    You'll do fine.

     
    Old 11-18-2005, 12:56 PM   #7
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    Unhappy Re: Gallbladder removal

    I had my gallbladder removed last week and I am still having problems. The little incision under my navel is infected so I'm taking antibiotics for that and have been for 3 days but it isn't looking any better yet. I still have a lot of pain, have no energy, usually feel nauseated and just feel yuky all over. I had to stay over night when I had my surgery and my surgeon wanted to stay another night but I was so anxious to get home as I had been in the hospital 3 days before surgery that I told him I wanted to go home so he finally released me. I wish now that I would have stayed for another night.

    I didn't have gallstones but my gallbladder was infected.

     
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