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  • I'm 21 and was just told I need my Gallbladder out. Summary & I have some questions.

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    Old 05-16-2008, 02:24 PM   #1
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    I'm 21 and was just told I need my Gallbladder out. Summary & I have some questions.

    A Summary of My Years of Symptoms, Bear With Me
    I'll start off by saying that I have a ridiculous family history of gallbladder removals without gallbladder stones. My mom just had hers out, my aunt had hers out a few years ago, my grandmother's had hers out, and my great grandfather had his out. The only reason my doctor suggested an ultra sound and HIDA scan due to my weird stomach pains and reactions to food was because of my mother's recent gallbladder removal. I'm 21 and otherwise healthy.
    I feel like I have been putting up with these pains for a long time and because of my high pain threshold from being an athlete and stuff my whole life I just never noticed them all that much. Since I was 15 I can remember having this feeling in the center of my stomach between my two ribs. An unexplainable feeling of fullness or something after I would eat. I would also get pains in the center of my stomach, slightly to the left side however(i know this is unusual for gallbladder isn't it?) These dull pains have persisted and my doctor thought they were from an injury I had as a baby where my rib ended up dislocated and is slightly higher and sticks out more than the other one (I'm sure I do get some pains from that injury) however I knew they had to be from something related to food because they would ALWAYS come after eating (sometimes they would, sometimes they wouldn't, sometimes it would be a few hours after, and it was hard to pinpoint WHAT foods caused them).
    In my freshman year of college I believe I had my first gallbladder attack (I didn't know what it was at the time though.) I laid in bed all day long. I came out of bed to heat up some soup and every time I swallowed it I felt sharp deep pulsating pains in the center of my stomach and ribs, slightly left, and I felt absolutely nauseated. It would get better if I laid on my one side (i forget which one though). After enduring this pain for hours I finally walked to the nurse, and the pain dwindled away. They had no idea what to do and pushed on various spots on my stomach forever and I left with no diagnosis.
    All summer long, after that year of college, I kept getting chest pain which I thought were cardio-related. I've had a history of PVCs so my doctor sent me to Johns Hopkins. After a stress test and a 64 slice Cardio-MRI they said my heart looked perfect, so, the result was that it must be acid reflux and/or heartburn. The next year of college I made it without any major ailments. The summer following however, was the threshold.
    I was on birth control pills all summer which I stopped because they caused me extreme anxiety. However, I didn't stop them til September. I was working a job 6 days a week and my schedule went something like this: nightshift, nightshift, nightshift, day off..., dayshift, dayshift, dayshift, day off...., nightshift, nightshift, nightshift, day off...., dayshift, dayshift, off.... etc etc etc...
    My sleeping patterns, my eating habits, and everything were completely thrown off. I had severe acid reflux every single time before I went to bed whether it was 5am(when working nighshift) or 10pm(when working dayshift). I was taking pepcid AC all the time and I couldn't go out to eat with my boyfriend or my family anymore because food just made me sick. Especially all the food you get when you go out to eat like greasy steaks and bacon and eggs. It really took a toll on my relationship for a while because I was always complaining about feeling sick. I would CONSTANTLY have pain in the center of my stomach. It would happen every day.
    Going into my third year of college, I had quit the birth control, I tried to have normal sleeping/eating habits that were on a strict schedule. This worked out really well and I felt good for a while. Occasionally the dull gnawing pains would come back with certain food but besides a few bouts of reflux I had that under control. I was still concerned about the pains though, and started to search online. I finally concluded that I MUST have a stomach ulcer since my pains were slightly to the left and aggravated by food. I scheduled an appointment with a gastroenterologist to explore this further.
    One night, recently, maybe a month ago, I had a feast of a frozen bag of family size shrimp alfredo. Yes, I ate the whole thing. I was studying before bed on the computer, having a cup of tea, when suddenly my stomach went absolutely crazy. I was having sharp pains in my lower ribs, and also into my chest. This was exactly like it had been two years ago. I felt nauseated, and I had pains in my back. I endured this from 11pm to 2am when it finally subsided and I finally got to go to bed. This time it hurt me to lay down so I stayed awake hunched up on my computer trying to take my mind off it. I was also feeling pains, I noticed this time, on my right side under my ribcage. When I woke up in the morning I looked/and felt like crap. I was still having small pains, was pale, I was nauseated, I felt traumatized. The pain was just so horrible the night before that I almost drove myself to the emergency room. Even though the morning after was a Thursday, and I had class the next day, I drove myself home from college to make an appointment with my doctor at home. On the way home I was hungry so I stopped at McDonalds (bad idea, right?) I tried to get the healthiest food possible that wouldn't aggravate my "ulcer"... what I thought at the time. I got some crispy chicken wraps with ranch dressing (FAT!). I ate them while I was driving home. BAM! There the pains were again, right in the center. I felt dizzy and I was clenching the steering wheel so hard because the pain was just throbbing deep in my stomach. Also, again, duller squeezing pains on my right side under my ribcage) I was so relieved when I finally got home. I tried to eat something bland for dinner and my stomach agreed with me.
    The next morning I went to my doctor, explained the pains, location of them, the reaction to food (pains/nausea/feeling of fullness/burping/reflux), the Crispy Chicken reaction, etc. Even though my pains are slightly to the left... he said... "hmm typical of gallbladder problems.." He sent me for an ultrasound based on my mom's recent removal. They saw nothing (just a question... does this rule out pancreatic problems/cancerous issues? I'm kinda scared). So I went for my HIDA scan this past Wednesday. When she showed me the screen, before I even received the enzyme injection, she showed me that I was having reflux. Which, I noted, that I could feel. When she injected the enzyme I felt kinda dizzy and confused at first. She said "OK it's 65% in, here goes the rest of it" and all the sudden my palms were sweating, I was clenching my fists, I got those pains on both my left and my right lower ribcage, and I felt like I was going to hurl everywhere. My mouth even started salivating (you know that feeling?)
    The next day, around noon, I get a phone call from the doctors office.
    "Hey how are you Cyan!?"
    "Good! How are you?"
    "Good. Well here, your test shows, from the HIDA scan, that, it looks like you're going to need your gallbladder removed."
    .................................and so on and so on.
    But I was absolutely shocked. My ejection fraction is 40%. My mom's ejection fraction was 50%!!! I feel that I am nowhere near in the amount of discomfort that she was in. (but maybe I am, with high pain threshold and all) She did have adhesions though which were making her pain worse.
    So anyway... I'm 21, referred to a surgeon in June, and I apparently need my gallbladder removed.
    Now, I'm not upset, because for years I have felt like I was dealt an unfair hand with all the pain I've been putting up with. I'm glad I can hopefully get all my symptoms resolved in one clean fix. I am, however, somewhat in denial I think. I just keep considering that maybe the HIDA scan was wrong. Or thinking about how weird it is that I get pains on my left side also. Is that very weird? like... right below my left breast area.
    Does anyone know how accurate HIDA scans are? Could my ejection fraction be better one day than it is another?
    Ugh. I just ate breakfast and I have that fullness feeling and small pains on my right. It feels as though my stomach wants to growl, but it won't. I then burp, and it feels relieved until it builds up again. And these pains under my right rib! Although not severe, they're aggravating.
    What sort of foods are good to eat for the next two months? My appointment with the surgeon is not for a while and I am scared to eat because I don't know what to eat. I just had 3 eggs and 2 turkey burgers for breakfast. Good, Bad?
    Most concerning, I ask again, these pains on my left, are they normal with gallbladder problems??? I guess I just want some support because I'm scared of being thrown into this whole "you need surgery" deal. I cried tears of joy though, because after 6 years of searching, I finally know why I feel like hell all the time! I finally know that I'm not a hypochondriac, I'm not suffering some rare unknown PAIN disease. I actually have a diagnosis. woo hoo.

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    Old 05-16-2008, 05:26 PM   #2
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    Re: I'm 21 and was just told I need my Gallbladder out. Summary & I have some questio

    I don't understand how those ejection fractions are bad. Anything over 35% is considered normal. That doesn't mean there isn't a problem but basing surgery on those numbers seems odd.

    As far as eating, I couldn't/can't eat more than 6gm of fat per meal. I typically eat a low fat frozen dinner for lunch and something light for dinner. If I snack it has to be low fat... even now 5 months after removing my gallbladder. By the way, my EF was 0%. I didn't have any stones, just inflammation (says the path report from the surgery).

    I had all left sided pain, but the surgery didn't really fix me. I was worse after surgery until recently and now I feel like I'm back where I was pre-surgery (maybe slightly better). Again, all left sided pain which they said was probably referred pain. On the side you describe is also your pancreas, stomach and spleen. Although I've read spleen problems are typically due to an injury, like a car accident or something.

    With your EF in normal range, I'd ask about it and probably get a 2nd opinion.

    Old 05-16-2008, 07:37 PM   #3
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    Re: I'm 21 and was just told I need my Gallbladder out. Summary & I have some questio

    I don't have the actual report but when I asked the doc on the phone i said, "what was my functionality level" and he said 40%. So... that's probably not the same thing as an EF, or is it? I thought it was. I only asked because my mom always talked about her "gallbladder is functioning at --%"

    Old 05-16-2008, 08:34 PM   #4
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    Re: I'm 21 and was just told I need my Gallbladder out. Summary & I have some questio

    Your family of gall bladder victims sounds like mine altho' being the latest member of my family (mom, dad, sister, niece #1, niece #2, niece #3--all with different symptoms)...I just had mine removed at the end of April. I hope you're seeing a good gastroenterologist. You don't have to have a gallbladder filled with stones to need your gb removed. Mine only had 1 stone but since my gastroenterologist knew I had a family history of gb problems, she ordered the hida scan which showed that my gb was inflamed and could only contract 12% (as opposed to 50% which is normal). We all have different symptoms, histories--even within families. If tests are showing your gb is not functioning properly, get it removed and be glad you are avoiding a possible future episode(s) of horrid pain (I've heard all the horror stories of endless hours of excrutiating pain & misery which is why I said "OK! get it out" when they told me about my gb being inflamed). Certain organs in our bodies pick different times to conk out (my appendix had to be removed at age 10, tonsils at age 27)...they don't care how young you are...they just want OUT!! Take care of yourself and remember, outpatient surgery (for things like gallbladders) is wonderful and much less uncomfortable than the original surgery...but you still need to take it easy postsurgery, don't rush back to your normal schedule and most importantly (as I'm learning) stay on a lowfat diet (if you don't your body will let you know very soon that it is not happy and misses your gallbladder

    Old 05-17-2008, 04:54 AM   #5
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    Re: I'm 21 and was just told I need my Gallbladder out. Summary & I have some questio

    Thank you park. yeah... all i can say is that i am in some pain, not excruciating yet, but pain. The doctor said I am having "symptomatic gallbladder contractions"... and I'm soooo glad it's summer when this happened because I'm home from college now and hopefully can get it taken care of before I return!

    Old 05-27-2008, 12:34 AM   #6
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    Re: I'm 21 and was just told I need my Gallbladder out. Summary & I have some questio

    I am 35 and I have gallbladder issues too without gallstones. My ejection rate is only 7% and I breakout a sweat right away if I eat any fatty food. I have no gallbladder pain, however, and have researched and found this symptom "chronic cholecystitis" can cause many different issues, including pancreatitis and even diabetics. I experienced severe diabetic symptoms untill I discovered that drinking apple juices through out the day calms the symptoms.

    After drinking apple juice for 2 weeks constantly, and losing 10% of my weight (unintentionally), my diabetic symptoms are gone. If your gb ejection rate is still around 35% and above, it might be worth a try.

    Apple juice is supposed to soften the gallstones, but they have not found any gallstones in my ultrasound.

    Old 12-10-2008, 01:18 PM   #7
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    Re: I'm 21 and was just told I need my Gallbladder out. Summary & I have some questio

    Hello Im a 23 yr old and have been havin some simular pains for about 4 months now. pain on the left side of stomach andi too thought ulcer but test did not show any. I have also had discomfort my abodominal area all over it started with the left side. There was one time i went to the er becuz i was in pain that i can only describe as it felt like my stomach exloded it was the worse pain of my life. anyways now i get pain on the right side of my ribcage were my liver would be.

    I have already had a ton of test done all which turn up normal and have a ton of bills stacking up.

    well i just found out that a few of my relatives have had there galbladders out and now am thinking about goin to get a HIDA scan? I was wondering if u have already had the surgery and if all your symptoms have gone away

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