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NWR - Gallbladder Sergery

So I found out that pain on the right side under my rib cage is my gallbladder- I had an ultra sound and found out that my tiny gallbladder is full of stones & they like to party… I was trying to ignore and control the attacks with diet, but it was strongly suggested I have the surgery done to avoid potential issues … So I have Surgery set for 5/9 (wedding 10/11) was told 2 weeks recovery time is the normHas anyone gone threw it? I would rather not have surgery in the 5 months before the wedding and it is kind of freaking me out….
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Re: NWR - Gallbladder Sergery

  • bruna29bruna29 member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited April 2012
    I have had my gallbladder removed. I had it taken out about four years ago. I am so glad that I got it removed because I was having terrible gallbladder attacks. The pain I was experiencing I was told is likened to the pain experienced in child birth, so I am so so glad I got the surgery done. 

    I actually was having terrible stomach pains for months and the doctors had no idea why. They kept doing ultrasounds and found nothing. Then one night I was sobbing and rolling around on the futon in my dorm, so my roommates called 911 and got an ambulance. They took me to the hospital, did an x-ray, and sure enough found gall stones. It was the weirdest thing. I was scheduled for surgery the very next morning.

    I had the laparoscopic surgery done. They only made three small incisions in my stomach (one right below my chest, one on the right side of my stomach, and one right by my belly button. Waking up from surgery was really hard, but I had never had surgery before, so I didn't know what to expect. Recovery wasn't too bad. They get you up and walk you around once you start to wake up, and I actually went home that night. I got sick once I got home, but that's because either the IV or the medicine made me sick. 

    I had surgery Friday, had the weekend to recover, and Monday was MLK day, so I had that day off of school. Then we had a snow day on Tuesday at college (thank goodness), so I went back to classes on Wednesday. I was able to walk around slowly, and I was still taking pain meds, but I couldn't miss class for various reasons, so I made it through. Three weeks after the surgery I was in the gym working out (but not because of the gallbladder issues but for other issues they found during surgery).

    I would recommend getting your gallbladder removed. If it's not causing you too much pain right now, it will. So just do it and get it done. Good luck!

    PM me if you have any other questions.
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  • You'll be fine.  When I had mine out, I was pretty much up and about within a week.

    Good Luck!
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  • I had mine out over Spring Break in college.  If you were having the surgery within 5 weeks of your wedding I would say you could worry, but 5 months before you should be fine.  I also felt so much better after having it out.  It is a surgery, and such things shouldn't be taken lightly, but this one is fairly common and the recovery time isn't bad.  I was just about back to 100 normal after 2 weeks, and I had a normal recovering, but on the difficult side of normal.  (EI I had no real complications like infection, but I don't handle pain meds well and my back was sore i think from the gas they use to inflate your abdomen.)

    If you think it is causing issues now, just wait until the stress of the wedding gets you as it gets closer.  The worst pain i had was the days before the surgery due to anxiety over the surgery. 


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  • achiduckachiduck member
    5000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited April 2012
    I had my gallbladder out exactly 3 weeks ago this Thursday and it was fine. Here is what to expect based on my experiences (FYI, this is pretty detailed so if you're super squeamish maybe don't read it. But I like to be as informed as possible and since you have to go through it soon I assume you'll probably want to know what to expect).

    My surgery was scheduled for 3:30 pm and I had to be there at 1:30 pm. They check you in, take your vitals, ask you a bunch of questions (like when was the last time you ate or drank anything), etc and then they get you in a gown. FI was allowed to stay with me until 3 pm when they came to get me. I was left alone in my bed in the hallway for about 10 minutes and then the anesthesiologist came and talked to me, started my IV and asked about my family history of dealing with being put under. They walked me into the OR, had me lay down on the table and then stuck the heart monitor things and blood pressure cuff on. They had me breath in a bunch of oxygen while the anesthesiologist was injecting my IV with whatever they give you to put you under. The last thing I remember was feeling super sleepy and then the anesthesiologist said "this might burn a little" and 2 seconds later I was gone. 

    What they didn't tell me was I was going to be intubated. I should have guessed looking back now since the anesthesiologist wanted to look down my throat, etc but I just figured it was part of the process. When I woke up I still had the tube in and had a hard time breathing for about 10 seconds until they pulled it out. I remember being confused that I was having a hard time breathing but then it passed and I was fine. After they took the tube out I immediately felt super sick and all I could say to the nurse was "sick, sick, sick" and then I threw up A LOT. So much that they had to get a second bucket thing. The other thing they didn't tell me was that your gallbladder dumps most of it's bile as they remove it and then you need to throw it up. It tastes disgusting - the worst thing I've ever thrown up. I remember telling the nurses that I had a disgusting taste in my mouth but they couldn't give me anything until I was out of recovery and back in the day surgery pre/post-op care unit. Then I asked them if the surgeon was able to do it laprascopically and they said he had and then I passed out and went to sleep (FYI, in case they haven't told you being overweight gives you a higher chance of complications and the surgeon having to convert to an open procedure and I was terrified that this would happen to me but I was told that it maybe happens twice a year at the hospital I was at so it is still very rare). 

    Once I got back to the post-op care unit I started to wake up more and FI was able to come see me. I was SO tired and all I wanted to do was sleep. They gave me another unit of IV fluids and told FI that it would "wake me up" but an hour later I was just as sleepy. They finally gave me some apple juice to get rid of the taste in my mouth but the apple juice tasted gross to me and I couldn't drink much. I kept telling FI that I just wanted to go home and go to bed but until you can prove to the nurses that you're more awake they can't release you. I was so annoyed I just pretended to be awake long enough to be released. They also make you go to the bathroom before you leave. The nurse sat me up and that was the first time that I hurt - but it wasn't excruciating or anything. I am a pretty private person, but I was so out of it that I didn't care that the nurse was in the bathroom with me. Just walking from the bed to the bathroom (less than 10 feet) was enough to make me throw up again. After going to the bathroom she said it was time to get dressed and I thought to myself "I have no idea how I'm going to dress myself" but the nurse dressed me which I was pretty greatful for. 

    FI drove me home and walked me into the house, which was enough to make me throw up again (thankfully the last time though), helped me get into some pjs (I layed out a nightgown in advance for this purpose - avoid wearing anything that is constricting around your waist) and put me in bed. He went to fill the prescription for painkillers while my Dad stayed with me and I fell asleep pretty quickly. 

    The next morning FMIL came and stayed with me (you're supposed to be supervised for 24 hours because of the general anesthesia) but I pretty much slept all day. By that night I felt like I wanted something so FI made me some chicken noodle soup. I had pre-made jello the day of surgery but I wanted nothing to do with it. The soup tasted "off" still but I think that's because of being put under. For painkillers they gave me percoset, but honestly it didn't really do much for me other then make me tired after about 48 hours I stopped taking it. The pain was only really uncomfortable while I was moving. I found sleeping on my side was helpful, but I put a pillow under my stomach to support it so the incisions weren't being pulled on. I put another behind my back so I wouldn't roll much in my sleep. I had so many pillows that poor FI spent about a week sleeping on the couch until I was back down to just a pillow or two. Also, the nurse said to breathe out anytime you move since it relaxes the muscles and won't hurt as much. By about 48 hours afterwards I was able to eat solid foods (FI made me some plain pasta with a bit of tomato sauce) but was still really tired and slept on and off a lot. 

    The first time I showered (about 36 hours after) I had to have FI dry off my legs since I couldn't bend over. When you have to cough, hug a pillow - it cuts down on the pain. Because I was intubated my throat was very sore for a few days so I coughed quite a bit.

    I was off week about a week and half since my surgery fell on a Thursday. Every day I woke up the pain was noticeably less and less. I took short walks around the block and even went for a short drive 4 days afterwards and it was fine. I found that I was tired easily and usually napped around noon but it was nice to have a week to just veg out. 

    Now the gross part. A week afterwards I was sitting up petting the dog and when I stood up FI noticed that my shirt was wet. One of my incisions was oozing in a major way. It didn't hurt and my RN neighbour was out so I couldn't talk to her, and it was Good Friday so nothing was open so we went back to the hospital. By the time we got there it was really bad and they took me right away. Turns out that it's totally normal. I had a really massive (like black) bruise on top of my biggest incision and as the bruise breaks down normally your body reabsorbs it, but because of the surgery (until the incision is totally healed) it has an exit point. Also the ER doctor said because of the surgery any stomach fat gets "interrupted" and can also liquify and leak out. It took about 2 hours but it stopped eventually. It happened again 5 days later (for about an hour that time) and a third time 3 or 4 days after that (for about 30 minutes). The bruise 95% gone now, but it still leaks a little bit throughout the day so I've been keeping that incision bandaged so it doesn't get on my clothes. Just in case it happens to you, the fluid is kind of a yellow-ish orange colour and can be a bit red sometimes but it is very clearly not blood. It doesn't have a smell and it's a bit sticky. 

    I found that it took about 2 weeks before my pants fit normally again since they pump you full of gas and it takes sometime for your body to absorb that. It's also normal to feel pain in your shoulder or your shoulder blades since where they pump the gas in presses on a nerve that leads to your shoulders. I felt it in my shoulder blades for about 3 days and it was worse if I layed on my back. 

    At this point, almost three weeks out I'm eating normally, and can essentially do everything I could before. I found my first few days back to work very tiring but as long as I don't overexert myself I'm fine. Ok- gross part again. I'm sure your doctor has told you already but I was told by my surgeon to expect "loose stool" for about 6 months. Most days I'm ok, but if I eat something with a lot of fat or sugar I have to go to the bathroom about 30 minutes later- like urgently. I had Subway for lunch last week and my coworker was in the womens bathroom and I had to URGENTLY go so I ended up running into the mens b/c I was going to crap my pants if I didn't go right away. FSIL had hers out about a year ago and says to just take Immodium if you're going to be eating a fatty meal. Takes care of the issue. 

    Ok, so that was really long and hopefully it helps you know what to expect. Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions!
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  • I agree with achiduck about the loose stool bit. In fact, I still have some pretty lose stools even 4 years later. I was told this was normal, so I guess that's something to look forward to *sarcasm*.

    I don't think I was intubated for the surgery, and if I was, I don't remember it at all. I also didn't have any issues with my incisions, so I think I'm pretty lucky. I do agree with a lot of achiduck's remedies (sleep on your side, if you cough then hold a pillow, etc.).

    Oh, I would like to just let you know that I do get phantom pains. I was told this is normal after any major surgery, and a friend of mine (she also got her gallbladder out) also has phantom pains. The pains are nowhere near as bad as gall stone pain, but it's still bothersome. You might get these pains or you might not. Just don't be surprised if you do.

    Best of luck to you.
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  • Oh yes, phantom pains. I haven't had any but my FSIL has had 2 phantom attacks. She said they weren't nearly as bad as a full-on attack but they can happen.
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  • Thank you so much ladies---  thank you for the tips I would have freaked out if my pants no longer fit and would have been crying and that sounds like it might cause more pain as well... the FI says it should be a forced vacation cause i am too go go go right now with all the prep. THANKYOU I do feel better
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  • I had vomiting and dry heaves the next morning, but that was my reaction to the pain medicine. no vomiting right after surgery for me.   Also look out for constipation the first few days.  I had a breathing tube but don't remember it being too bothersome. 

    I didn't have any leakage, but i was smaller back then.  Also, definitely didn't have a horrible taste in my mouth after surgery.  I had to eat a normal meal before they would release me from the hospital.  I think it was fish and potatoes.  If you have a particularly fatty meal, be prepared for looser stools.  Over the long term I don't think it stayed that way, but i have since been diagnosed with IBS and lactose intolerant, so maybe they are playing off each other some how. 

    I did have the shoulder/back pain from the gas, but don't remember if I thought my pants were tight.  I probably wore sweats the first week.  I'm glad you are feeling better about it, you will feel so much better afterwards.  I would do it again.

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  • I had mine out 3 years ago.  By the end (right before surgery) I was having attacks every single day, even if I didn't eat anything.
    I had same day, laproscopic surgery.  I had no complications, just a hard time moving after waking up from the surgery and getting out of the bed.  I was up and walking the next day. 

    I went on vacation 3 weeks later and had no problems, and this was including a 2 hour plane flight.  As other ladies have said, be prepared for the *ahem* bathroom problems...a couple years later I still had problems here and there.  Just make sure you know where all the bathrooms are whe you're out-and-about!

    I was soooo happy after the surgery because I had been in so much pain everyday....it was worse than giving birth...and I had a 10lb 7 oz. baby, all natural, no drugs.  LOL!
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  • I also had mine removed, about three years ago. This was after having attacks for about six months. I too have had, uhm, issues in the bathroom area and phantom pains every once and a while. I had my surgery on Thursday and by Monday I was back in school and at work. I was worried it was going to be longer. But it was only a few days. Best of Luck!!!

    PS. Apparently you can make necklaces out of the gallstones if they are small enough, not that I did, but that could be a unique weeding favor. Just Kidding :)
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