Galbladder surgery UPDATED in 1st post! (no surgery for me!!) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 08-04-2010, 12:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I started having gallbladder attacks in June. It happened a few times and my symptoms were nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. After a day or two, symptoms went away and I thought it was a virus.

Fast forward to July. We are on vacation and I got sick again. I had to go to the ER because of my symptoms, but again, no pain. They did some tests (not an U/S) and sent me home with a Rx for Cipro. I followed up with a doctor when we got home and she ordered an abdominal U/S.

U/S results show that I have "innumerable gallstones", according to the surgeon I was referred to. I have no idea how big they are so I am not attempting a cleanse. The information I got from the surgeon had nothing to do with pros/cons or side effects to surgery. I wouldn't let someone operate on my kids without getting all the information, so why is that acceptable for me?

I am really on the fence now. I am scheduled for Tuesday and my Mom will be here to help w/the kids. She lives out of state, so I can't just re-schedule whenever I want her to be here.

I have had not been sick since I went to the ER. Sometimes I have excessive belching that is disgusting and smells like rotten eggs and tastes like stomach acid. No more nausea/vomiting/diarrhea.

I am going to call the surgeons office tomorrow and ask some more questions. I don't know why I NEED surgery. I am concerned with the possible side effects of diarrhea after surgery. Some people have it long term. I don't want to be worse after the surgery, the point is for me to feel better!

I have not been given any patient information on after care like diet and exercise. They want to remove an organ and I have no idea how to take care of myself post-op. From what I understand, clean eating will have to be a way of life. I need that anyway, but I feel like it is irresponsible for a surgeon to cut and not educate. I guess that is why I am a fan of Eastern Medicine.

Any ideas would be great. I am not 100% sure that surgery is the right course of treatment for me.
================================================== ==

UPDATE: I called the nurse and asked about my labs when blood was drawn yesterday. My liver function, white blood cell count are normal. I feel fine, have no symptoms and at this point it would be an elective surgery.

I am going to control the symptoms with diet, exercise, acupuncture, then follow up in 3 months. Hopefully, there will be no surgery at a later date.

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#2 of 10 Old 08-04-2010, 12:55 AM
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Hey Onlygirls!

I had my gb removed in 2002. My situation was much different -- I had been in acute pain for a couple of days before I went to the ER and by then I had a fever of 104 and a nice case of pancreatitis (I'm guessing the doctor talked to you about that?). I was so sick --- I don't really remember what was happening in the hospital, I was very out of it, but I do know that once they removed it, I started to get better quickly.

I've not had some of the unpleasant symptoms that some people have. I was very careful about my diet for a couple of years after surgery (you have to watch fatty/rich foods), but i'm less so now -- but to be fair, I eat a pretty healthy diet so I didn't have to make many changes.

I do have to be aware of what I eat -- if I have some cake at a party, for instance, I will have some abdominal cramping if I eat a whole piece, but a bite or two is fine.

Like you, I wouldn't want surgery unless I was convinced I needed it. Even if it's done lacroscopically it's still surgery! I may be wrong, but isn't there a way to get rid of the gallstones without surgery? My inclination would be to try to least invasive route and go from there.

I know in my case my dh signed papers because for surgery because he just didn't think he had a choice -- by that I mean, he felt like only the surgery would allow me get better. It doesn't sound like your case. You can always get a second opinion.

Joy, mama to Aquaboy (10), Goldilocks (8), Squidge (4)
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#3 of 10 Old 08-04-2010, 01:32 AM
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In your case I think that a gall bladder cleanse and diet alterations could really help. If I were you, I would not have the surgery unless the cleanse and diet changes didn't help. I have seen many patients with more digestive issues post surgery. Many people need to take bile salts for the rest of their lives after gall bladder surgery.

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#4 of 10 Old 08-04-2010, 01:44 AM
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I don't really have too much information except for my own experience. I was diagnosed with gall stones after one HORRIBLE time with them... severe pain and such. They kept occurring, and my symptoms were mainly severe pain and bloating. The diarrhea and vomiting not so much, but I did feel very nauseous. Anyways, it got to a point where I was having attacks twice monthly, so they recommended I get the surgery done. I hate surgery. I have only had my wisdom teeth out. Needless to say I was NOT happy. However, unlike you, I am not a huge fan of Eastern Medicine either. I think it is too unregulated lol. I know, I know, what am I doing on Mothering then?

Anyways, I go to meet with the surgeon, and when I asked for alternatives, he basically said there were none and I was going to be suffering in pain for the rest of my life unless I did the surgery. Lucky me. I asked about possible problems after the surgery... supposedly none except scarring if the laproscopic surgery ended up not being an option which is supposedly rare in someone slim. I told him I would think about it (I found him pushy and rude, so I was thinking of just finding another surgeon) and left. After all, I couldn't have the surgery for another few months anyways, since I needed a week to recover at least and I was in school at the time. I figured I would wait for summer break.

I had one more gall bladder attack after that appointment, and haven't had one since. I had changed my diet dramatically while having the attacks, but since then have gone back to my old habits (unfortunately). I am sure they will rear their ugly head once again especially when I am pregnant or something, but it has been 2.5 years without an issue. I still get bloated sometimes, but like I said, my eating habits are horrible.

I am not advocating for you NOT to get the surgery, but I figure if you aren't in immediate danger (jaundice and such), then take some time to think about it. I am glad I did!
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#5 of 10 Old 08-04-2010, 04:09 AM
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I don't know how much help I'll be but this was my experience: I had my GB removed 3 years ago. I had been having what I thought was "indigestion" for a few years prior (looking back, it was GB attacks). The U/S I had pre-op showed a GB filled with stones. After the surgery, the surgeon told my husband that my GB stopped working years ago and was "very sick". I was TERRIFIED to have the surgery but I was more terrified to deal with the pain and not knowing when the next attack would be.
A year after getting my GB removed, I had another "attack". I was sick with diarrhea and severe pain for a few days. I went to the Dr. and my liver enzymes were through the roof! (They weren't that bad when my GB was still there). Supposedly, I had gotten a stone stuck in my bile duct. It passed without any further incidents but it was really scary. The same thing happened to a woman we knew and she wound up in the hospital with pancreatitis and a damaged liver.

I don't blame you for being cautious and not wanting to jump into the surgery. I also know that surgeons tend to be very cut and dry. My surgeon told me I wouldn't have to watch my diet, etc afterward and wouldn't have any "side effects". He was wrong and once again I found myself having to research this stuff on my own. I think you need to figure out what is best for you and your family. Is your GB even working anymore? How big are the stones that are in there? I know citric acid and ACV (even Epsom Salts) all work to cleanse the GB and liver of the stones....but there is a chance one of them could stuck in your bile ducts....if that happens, you can have further complications and be in a situation like one of the previous posters.

I'm not trying to sway you one way or the other....these are just some things to consider. Believe me, I am not an advocate of just doing what the Dr. says

Good luck and keep us posted. If you have any questions about the actual surgery/recovery/etc, let me know

Here's me I married then we had dd15 , dd11 , ds10 , and then and now we and I blog!
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#6 of 10 Old 08-04-2010, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
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There are a lot of links on the internet for natural remedies and I am not sure that any of those will work for me, because I don't know the size of my gallstones. I found a document from the American College of Surgeons on patient education for a cholecystectomy that seems pretty reliable:

Treatment options: Surgery

Non Surgical: Stone retrieval

For Gallstones w/out symptoms: watchful waiting, increased exercise, diet change

If gallstones are seen on your ultrasound but you do not have symptoms, watchful waiting is recommended. Gallstones only w/out cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder): Increase your exercise to 2-3 hours a week
Eat more fruits and vegetables, less carbs, alternative medicine options are available.

Wow! I can do all of these things, and I should be doing them already!

There are references to each of these suggestions. Here is the abstract to a medical journal for Alternative Treatment of Gallbladder Disease:

I still need to call the surgeon and ask some questions, but I think I am going to cancel the surgery. I told my husband that if I was still sick all the time, I would feel like I need to get it removed. But since I have felt better for a few weeks, I am re-considering it.

Thanks for your input on your experiences!

Mama to 3 amazing girls
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#7 of 10 Old 08-04-2010, 01:40 PM
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My story. When I was about 24 I was having a lot of tests done trying to figure out what was wrong at the time. Ended up being lyme. Anyhow they did an ultrasound and I was told I had a ton of stones. They said no big deal. If they do not bother me then leave them alone. I generally eat healthy. Now and then I might have something on the greasy side but it was rare. I found too much sugar is more likely to cause me problems then too much grease.

Fast forward to 30 and my first pregnancy. I had the stereotypical shoulder pain. I had little feet kicking my gall bladder. It hurt. I was warned that the hormones from pregnancy can cause more gall bladder stones and more pain and upset. After my DS's birth I went through two gall bladder attacks which put me on the floor in pain. They were pretty horrid. I did my research and decided to get my gall bladder removed before my next pregnancy. My fear was that since I had had an attack that a stone could make it out and cause more serious issues while I was pregnant. I preferred an elective day with the surgeon of my choice when I had a babysitter lined up etc. I did not want an emergency with an unknown doctor.

When my DS weaned himself I made an appointment to have it out. I was home that night, though I admit that was too soon. I should have stayed the night but the other family visiting in the room was too much. The surgery itself was 20 minutes. Three tiny incisions.

Eight years later I do not regret having it out. I have not changed my diet at all. A really greasy bunch of mcd's french fries might give me diarrhea but like before sugar is more likely to bother me. I never had any issues afterward like I have read others experiencing.
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#8 of 10 Old 08-04-2010, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I have heard that pregnancy can be a factor. I have had 3 children and we are not having any more (vasectomy) so at least I don't have to worry about that.

I wonder if I had attacks when I was pregnant. Upper back pain, between my shoulder blades, level 9/10 and then it would be gone. Weird.

I feel much better knowing that I did not have the surgery for now. A wait and see approach makes me feel in control of the situation. Also, my surgery would have been outpatient, where I go home a few hours later and my family would have to take care of me.

Mama to 3 amazing girls
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#9 of 10 Old 08-04-2010, 11:45 PM
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I read about an MDC mom on here who was having gallbladder attacks and she did the opposite of what the doctors said and ate a HIGH natural fat diet because she saw the recommendation from the Weston A. Price Foundation and it worked and she had no more gallbladder attacks. Its supposed to work because when you don't eat enough fat, the the gallstones can form so when you're eating enough fat, that helps flush out the stones. There are also liver/gallbladder flushes that you can do. I've never had any gall bladder attacks before, but I've done Dr. Hulda Clark's recipe for liver/gallbladder flushing and it cured my chronic acne (it took me 8 times of doing it) and getting out about 2,000 stones.

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#10 of 10 Old 08-05-2010, 02:51 AM
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I've also had recurring gallbladder trouble and found the above to be true regarding fat from real food being good... as my natural-minded doc said "don't eat the white glue" meaning flour and sugar... also any foods you may have a sensitivity to (allergens cause liver/gallbladder trouble)... and I swear by chanca peidra, I get mine from whole world botanicals. Since I have horrible food cravings and don't keep up the diet I should, I believe the chanca piedra is why I still have my gallbladder. You don't have to use it all the time, just initially for a gentle cleanse, or when you've been "bad."
Try the herb to break up the stones and flush them out that way... doing a liver flush (like Hulda Clark's) can cause an impaction/emergency. That happened to my sil and she ended up in the ER, then having her gb removed.
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