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DW had her Gall Bladder Out
Old 05-07-2012, 11:25 PM   #1
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DW had her Gall Bladder Out

My DW was having some general abdominal pain on her right side for a couple of weeks. Last Sunday we took her to urgent care and they did a CAT scan. Negative for everything. No infection. We went home. Wednesday the pain localized in her upper right quadrant. Two minutes on the web told me it was her gall bladder.

Another trip to urgent care and an ultrasound and negative. We got referred to a surgeon by the EC doctor (great guy who diagnosed my diverticulitis, quickly and might have saved my life or at least saved me from emergency surgery and three months with a colostomy bag). Surgeon got us in at the hospital to have the gall bladder test (don't remember what its called). Positive! DW's GB only emptied 8%, should be at least 30%. Half hour later we had surgery scheduled for the next day (Friday).

Surgery went well and she's resting comfortably at home getting better everyday. I had no idea how common GB surgery is. There isn't a person we've told that hasn't had theirs out or has a close family member who has. I also didn't realize how utterly useless your GB is. A leftover of evolution from when we used to eat meat and lots of it all at once.

I'm just impressed how quickly it all happened. Same when I had diverticulitis. When you have a real emergency, or just something serious, is when you really appreciate our healthcare system.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:38 AM   #2
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I am sorry that she went through this and happy for you that it worked out. But, you are incorrect the gallbladder is extremely important as it is required for the injection of bile which contain bile salts into the intestines so as to emulsify fats. Without the bile fats cannot be absorbed correctly and will ferment in the intestines and cause flatulence and a large shift in the microbial flora. One negative aspect of this is that most carcinogens which cause colon cancer are produced by the bacteria in the gut so removing the gall bladder can increase cancer risk. Additionally, fats must be removed from the body as well as all toxins and these are done via the gall duct from the liver. Normally the surgeon leaves that intact so what is now missing is the mechanism for timing the injection of bile so as to occur when the food leaves the stomach. Anyway, she will need to take supplements with each meal to make up for the bile which may not be sufficient to effectively break down fats. I am curious though what the cause of the problem was. A CT scan or ultrasound will easily reveal gall stones which are common in nearly everyone past a certain age. These stones are made from crystallized cholesterol. I am wondering if she was on statins prior to this episode? I believe statins negatively alter the fat metabolism in the liver resulting in increased incidence gall stones which is not a side effect reported in the literature; however, this may be because it occurs slowly and after the study period of the clinical trial. Additionally, statins cause a significant increase in cataracts (happened to me as I was on high dose lipitor) so clearly they are altering fat metabolism in an unnatural way. For these rest of us out there I recommend not using statins as they have not demonstrated any significant decrease in mortality, are expensive, and alter fat metabolism in ways we don't fully understand and cause some pretty bad problems such as cataracts and in my opinion gall stones. My wife being Russian is a devotee of the Norbekov method Dr. Mirzakarim Norbekov Self Healing System of Secret Russian Health Improvement Technologies which I poo pooe'd early on. However, she also had gall stones. I brought home from work one of my ultrasound units and counted over thirty 6 mm sized gall stones (it was packed and very enlarged as was the bile duct and her liver had evidence of fatty liver disease). She was already scheduled for gall bladder surgery and was to have the surgery the next day. However, she worked hard using the Norbekov method to mentally relax the bile duct which had a stone lodged into it and it was very weird to watch as you could her the stones release from the gall bladder and I could actually see and hear it happening. Her gall bladder was also very large and easily palpable and after she released the stones it reduced to it's normal size and I couldn't find any stones using the ultrasound. The next day she went to the hospital for the surgery but asked them to re-check the gall bladder and they found no stones and tested the gall bladder and it was fully functional. We both have since stopped using all statins and neither of us have gall stones any longer. Yes, it sounds weird but I believe that a person's body is under full control of the mind and that things like this are possible. I am still skeptical about other things but she also treated an adrenal tumor the same way and avoided surgery a second time, so I have to keep my mind open to this kind of alternative therapy.
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:01 AM   #3
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Glad it went well, Flyfishnevada. Mine was removed after sudden severe pain and a trip to the emergency room twenty years ago. I was surprised at my complete lack of subsequent adverse effects, which is apparently more common than not. The worst part of the experience was the pain I experienced from gall bladder attacks during the 36hours before the surgery. I was back at work soon and MUCH happier with my gall bladder gone.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:31 AM   #4
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I had problems for 9 months, it was diagnosed as indigestion...till I finally went to the ER (2nd time) told the Dr, this isn't #$#$#@$ indigestion. Had it removed, the only side effect is that I don't digest heavy/fatty foods well.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:43 AM   #5
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Also had mine removed while on vacation in Savannah last month. Gallbladder (gall stones) attack started at 9:00 p.m. on 04/03/12, went to ER early 04/04/12. Surgery on 04/05/12.

Its been a month and I can still feel the wounds (incisions), minimally invasive procedure with one large incision due to my gallbladder wall harden and was unable to fish out through the small incision.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:28 PM   #6
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I am glad your wife is recovering nicely. My mom had hers removed (after a visit to the ER due to unbearable pain). Her sister had hers removed too a few months later after she started developing symptoms similar to my mom's and proactively visited her doctor. My mail carrier had hers removed too - although, in her case, the enormous stones in her gall bladder were hidden behind belly fat and couldn't be imaged so it took a while before doctors could come up with the proper diagnosis.

Oh, and my mom got diverticulitis too.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:38 PM   #7
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I had no idea how common GB surgery is. There isn't a person we've told that hasn't had theirs out or has a close family member who has. I also didn't realize how utterly useless your GB is. A leftover of evolution from when we used to eat meat and lots of it all at once.
What a scare. Glad everything worked out.

Every time I've heard a gallbladder story, it's only become the focus of the troubleshooting after everything else has been eliminated. I guess the diagnostic tools aren't able to see when it goes bad.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:34 PM   #8
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Actually in my case, everyone (including me) diagnosed gall bladder from the get go. I suddenly started having right side pain. I looked up some stuff and saw it was highly likely to be gall bladder, went to see my physician who about 5 minutes later sent me to see for some tests to confirm.

After the tests, he sent me to a surgeon who removed it. I was surprised at how much of a non-event the surgery was. I had surgery in the morning and left and went out to eat (I was starving). Never had any problems from the removal at all...
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:28 PM   #9
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Every time I've heard a gallbladder story, it's only become the focus of the troubleshooting after everything else has been eliminated. I guess the diagnostic tools aren't able to see when it goes bad.
Ah, but now you have heard a case in which nothing else had to be ruled out; mine. I was clinically diagnosed within 20 seconds of arriving at the ER. Then they did some tests to confirm it. No other possible diagnosis was ever uttered.

A blood test clearly showed huge quantities of pancreatic enzymes in my blood stream, as well as evidence of some consequent liver damage, both a dead giveaway that I needed my gall bladder yanked.
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:40 PM   #10
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I had my gall bladder removed five years ago during my whipple surgery to remove a malignant tumor in my pancreas. In addition to the gall bladder I lost half of my pancreas, one third of my stomach and several inches of my small intestine. I must take pancreatic enzymes to help digest my food, prilosec for bile reflux and insulin to supplement my reduced pancreatic function.

I'm not complaining because most of the folks with my diagnosis did not make it out to five years.
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:45 PM   #11
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I had my gall bladder removed five years ago during my whipple surgery to remove a malignant tumor in my pancreas. In addition to the gall bladder I lost half of my pancreas, one third of my stomach and several inches of my small intestine. I must take pancreatic enzymes to help digest my food, prilosec for bile reflux and insulin to supplement my reduced pancreatic function.

I'm not complaining because most of the folks with my diagnosis did not make it out to five years.

Congratulations on hitting the five year mark and hope for many good years to come !
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:51 PM   #12
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Ah, but now you have heard a case in which nothing else had to be ruled out; mine. I was clinically diagnosed within 20 seconds of arriving at the ER. Then they did some tests to confirm it. No other possible diagnosis was ever uttered.
A blood test clearly showed huge quantities of pancreatic enzymes in my blood stream, as well as evidence of some consequent liver damage, both a dead giveaway that I needed my gall bladder yanked.
Good to know.

About 15 years ago my spouse served with a lieutenant who lost 25 pounds in a few months, weight that he really couldn't stand to lose in the first place. During this time the doctors eventually finished dozens of inconclusive tests and said "What the heck, the only thing left is your gallbladder. Let's take a look."... and they turned him over to the surgeon. Sure enough, it was blatantly obvious as soon as they saw it. And a few hours later his appetite (and digestion) was right back to normal. An amazing recovery.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:32 PM   #13
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Good to know.

About 15 years ago my spouse served with a lieutenant who lost 25 pounds in a few months, weight that he really couldn't stand to lose in the first place. During this time the doctors eventually finished dozens of inconclusive tests and said "What the heck, the only thing left is your gallbladder. Let's take a look."... and they turned him over to the surgeon. Sure enough, it was blatantly obvious as soon as they saw it. And a few hours later his appetite (and digestion) was right back to normal. An amazing recovery.
Wow! I'm glad they figured out what was causing such dramatic weight loss and digestive issues. That's almost scarier than my experience, because he had no way of knowing what was going on.

Gall bladder problems do sort of "sneak up" on some people. I, of course, just had to be different... My daughter had mild gall bladder trouble for years before it was deemed bad enough to justify surgery.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:41 PM   #14
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My DW was having some general abdominal pain on her right side for a couple of weeks. Last Sunday we took her to urgent care and they did a CAT scan. Negative for everything. No infection. We went home. Wednesday the pain localized in her upper right quadrant. Two minutes on the web told me it was her gall bladder.

Glad your DW is OK. I have just returned from vacation and have been getting pain on my lower right side for several days. Today, I started to feel it in my back as well and now have an appointment with the doc this afternoon.

I am curious how you were able to diagnose this via a few minutes on the internet? Seems, pains like this could be attributed to several possible causes including appendicitus, gall stones/infection, kidney stones, aneurism, or even a muscle pull or hernia.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:01 PM   #15
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Don't forget gas as well. It is common for people to mistake that for other things. Simple gastritis is also a possibility.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:05 PM   #16
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The doctor knew it was her gall bladder after the second trip to EC. The ultrasound just didn't show any thickening. They said that happens quiet often. Sometimes they just stop working.

@borschelrh - You are partially correct according to what I was told and have read. You need the biles, but the gall bladder only stores the bile. Bile is produced in the liver. After surgery, the bile ducts drain directly into the intenstines. The only reason you need the gall bladder is to store enough bile to digest large amounts of fat. As the doctor explained, if you were a wolf or a lion and killed and consumed a belly full of deer or gazelle, you would need a large amount of bile stored to digest that. Human's don't eat that much fat in one sitting (hopefully) and the liver can produce enough to digest what we eat. I could be dead wrong, I'm not a doctor and only going off what I was told.

We were sent home with no diet instructions other than to lay off high fat foods for a couple of days. After that it should be business as usual. Everyone we've talked to says they have few if any side effects and eat normally. But many people have related all these wife's tales about not eating spicy food, low-fat diets and a dozen other variations.

Same with my diverticulitis. After I was out of the woods as far as the initial infection, I chose to have surgery. I lost 10 inches of my colon, but it was really clean. The surgeon said I very few diverticula (the little pocket that form and can get infected) and I must have been lucky enough to have a pocket that was highly susceptible to infection considering the severity and my history of intestinal problems.

But prior to that, everyone, including nurses in the hospital, told me that in order to live with diverticulosis I needed to stop eating seeds, fat, vegetables, fruit, you name it. One nurse gave me a restrictive diet she printed off the internet that she swore would prevent further attacks. My surgeon told me that seed and some other foods are thought to cause infections since they are small and can get lodged in the pockets, but he has preformed hundreds of colonectomies and he has never seen a seed lodged anywhere. It's all conjecture but everyone it seems has an opinion.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:34 PM   #17
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I am glad your wife is okay . I had my gallbladder out at the age of 23 . I am happy to say I have had no problems since then.
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:03 PM   #18
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At Dr visit this afternoon they took blood, did xray, urine test and some poking around the abdomen and concluded its most likely gall bladder. Have sonogram scheduled for Friday morning. Get to drink 2 bottles of magnesium citrate, yummm.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:53 PM   #19
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At Dr visit this afternoon they took blood, did xray, urine test and some poking around the abdomen and concluded its most likely gall bladder. Have sonogram scheduled for Friday morning. Get to drink 2 bottles of magnesium citrate, yummm.
Sorry to hear that. My wife didn't have to drink anything for her sonogram. For the follow up test, the HIDA scan, they inject the radioactive stuff and watch it for an hour. Then they inject a chemical your body produces when you eat fatty foods and your gall bladder contracts. Hurts like hell according to my wife, though I assume a normal gall bladder wouldn't hurt at all.

Hope the sonogram is positive to avoid the other scan.
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Old 05-10-2012, 04:11 PM   #20
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Sorry to hear that. My wife didn't have to drink anything for her sonogram. For the follow up test, the HIDA scan, they inject the radioactive stuff and watch it for an hour. Then they inject a chemical your body produces when you eat fatty foods and your gall bladder contracts. Hurts like hell according to my wife, though I assume a normal gall bladder wouldn't hurt at all.

Hope the sonogram is positive to avoid the other scan.
Thanks. The xray revealed I was a bit plugged up with you know what, so they wanted me to clear that out before the scan. I must admit the pain eased some today after that cleansing. Hopefully they can get to the bottom of this soon. I am also wondering whether its possilbe to treat milder cases without surgery, since my pain was not really that severe.
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