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gallbladder op for 27th Oct and I'm terrified of post op problems :-(

(138 Posts)
ZingOfSeven Sat 04-Oct-14 11:55:00

I had biliary colic in August. I had pain in my liver, stomach & back infection and got jaundiced, so after I was admitted to hospital on the 29th August and given lots of painkillers I had a scan which confirmed gallstones.
had an MRI as well which showed no obstructions, so I must have passed the stone, but they said I need gallbladder out urgently.
I had two previous attacks. the one in March, when still pg with DC7 was considered indigestion, the one in July, when BabyZing was just 10 days old, was explained away as gastritis.

I was discharged on 1st Sept and on a low fat & non-dairy diet (well I have some low fat dairy as I bf) and been absolutely fine since, so I question if I should even have this surgery.

I'm terrified of having it out then ending up with constant pain, indigestion, recurring D&V and having to be on a very strict diet for the rest of my life. I really worry what I will do if that happens. we have 7 children, baby's only 2.5 months and I can't face a life of being obsessed about food and having diarrhoea every day.
because I spoke to relatives and friends and the reality is that these things could easily happen to me.sad sad sad

I can't stop crying. I don't know what to do. I feel like I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't.
I'm painfree now and have no toilet issues - which other have before op. I might never have any problems again. or is it likely that I will because I've already had biliary colic& jaundice?
what the hell should I do? I think I will go ahead with op because potential risk of pancreatitis and other complications frighten me to but I so worry that "my quality of life" will be ruined, everything will be worse than it is now and that I will regret having op done.

This is driving me nuts and makes me very upsetsad

ZingOfSeven Sat 04-Oct-14 11:57:06

I had back pain and infection.
not back infection.

soaccidentprone Sat 04-Oct-14 12:12:14

I had my gall bladder out about 16 years ago. I take lansoprazole every day now (and have done so for about 10 years now).

I don't follow a fat free diet, but if I eat too much fat I get heartburn. I have not had any other problems, but I remember after surgery I couldn't pick anything up for quite a while - a number of weeks, and couldn't drive either.

I has traditional surgery though, not keyhole.

So if at all possible I would wait until your baby is a bit older (unless you have someone who can be with you 24/7 for a couple of weeks after).

ZingOfSeven Sat 04-Oct-14 12:25:46

Thanks for reply.
mine is a keyhole surgery and as I understand the recovery from surgery in terms of driving and lifting etc is similar to having had a C-section (which I did with DS4)

my mum is coming for 4 weeks as I will need a lot of help - I was advised I wouldn't be able to lift my 2yo for a few weeks and there's just so much to do I wouldn't cope.
DH doesn't have many days left to take off work as we moved in May then had baby in July. he will try to work from home and his boss is a fab & understanding guy. I also have my PILs & friends organised who will help with school runs (my mum can't drive) and clubs, so I don't worry about the child care side of it.

It's not even the surgery itself that bothers me. It's how my life could change for the worse.
I have not heard many stories of "everything was peachy very soon".
so I'm really worried.

anyone out there is ok now? painfree? no need to run to loo? can eat ok?

Stewedcoot Sat 04-Oct-14 12:39:01

Hi Zing, sorry you've been ill.

I think you need to get an appt to speak to the surgeon before going ahead with the op; so that you can be reassured.

Find out why they recommend taking out your gallbladder if your scan was clear?

You also need to speak to him about after effects of surgery. From my dh's experience, it doesn't necessarily follow that you will be in "constant pain with indigestion, d&v, and have to be on a strict diet".

My dh had his gallbladder out by keyhole surgery after one serious attack (he had a huge stone). The doctor said "oh don't worry, the surgery is very straightforward nowadays, it's nothing really" and we were highly dubious and a bit worried tbh! However, dh went ahead and it indeed everything went extremely well. I think he was only in hospital for a day and a half! He surprised me by coming home himself by tube the day after surgery! He felt absolutely fine, with just a little soreness around the entry points and a bit of tiredness from the anaesthetic.

A year on and he hasn't restricted his diet at all and wasn't advised to do so. He eats normally. He does have to go to the loo slightly more frequently if he eats something enormously fatty, but otherwise has had no problems at all.

We live abroad where the health care is excellent, but I don't see why it should be any different where you are. I think it is a much more invasive operation requiring more recovery time if you don't have it don't by keyhole surgery though.

Try not to worry! Good luck!

Stewedcoot Sat 04-Oct-14 12:40:15

Forgot to mention that my sil had her gallbladder out a few months after dh, and she was absolutely fine too. It took her about 4 days to recovering and has been eating an unrestricted diet ever since.

Redhead11 Sat 04-Oct-14 12:42:38

My DM had her gall bladder out via keyhole at 70 and had no problems whatsoever. She continued to eat and drink as normal thereafter.

sanfairyanne Sat 04-Oct-14 12:49:07

you dont need to do anything if you dont want to
make a list of questions then see the gp (or consultant if you can)
eg risk of reoccurence
can you just go back on the waiting list if it reoccurs but wait and see before then
to make an informed decision

DPotter Sat 04-Oct-14 12:51:55

I had my gallbladder out on 1st April and the relief was instant in term of pain & nausea. I had keyhole surgery which left me with 4 small (less than 1.5 cm) scars (one in the tummy button, one similar level to the right, one above this and one central high - arranged in a sort of square. The scars all healed well. I left hospital the day after the operation.

I can honestly say hand on heart I have had no adverse effects at all - honest. For a week or so after the op I was tired and needed a daytime nap of about an hour, but after this my energy levels just soared and I feel so much better now. With little ones I'm sure you will need help lifting etc, but you should be fine to cuddle. I took paracetamol for pain relief for about a week.

I don't follow a diet- haven't changed my eating at all, I don't have pain or nausea or indigestion and I most certainly don't have diarrhorea (never could spell that word). I am drug-free. The whole purpose of the op is so that you don't have to follow a strict diet, be in severe pain etc. Please go for the op and stop listening to the 'doom' merchants. The improvement to your life will be so worthwhile. With gallstones you will have recurring bouts of cholecystitis at seemingly random intervals so whilst you feel fine at the moment (and long may this continue), you have a high chance of other bouts.

I maybe speaking out of turn (and if I am please forgive me) but could it be that you have a touch of post natal depression ? You sound so anxious for an operation that has such a good record of success that it made me wonder if there is something else going on as well ? Maybe a chat with your GP might be a good idea.

Bottom line - have the op, don't look back and very best wishes

scarfaceace Sat 04-Oct-14 12:53:48

I had mine out in June, keyhole surgery, went down to theatre about half four, home by ten that night. Very straightforward. Before I left I asked about diet, what I could and couldn't eat, and was told I could eat anything, no restrictions at all. I eat what I like and I've been absolutely fine. Hope that helps OP.

lotsofcheese Sat 04-Oct-14 12:58:45

I'm in a similar position, OP: only had 2 attacks of biliary colic, I don't get pain from fatty foods (not that I'm risking it by eating stuff like that) & am trying to weigh up the pros & cons of surgery - hopefully guided by my surgeon.

I am seriously considering doing nothing, as I have an 18 month old & 5 year old, no family nearby & a DP who travels away for work.

I haven't heard too much about things going wrong post-op, but am worried about doing nothing & needing emergency surgery - at least if it's planned it can be worked round in advance.

I think I'll just leave it to the surgeon to decide......good luck with whatever you decide.

ZingOfSeven Sat 04-Oct-14 13:52:59


the scan showed more stones than in Bob the builder's backyard!
it's the MRI that came back "clean" and showed that the stone wasn't there anymore (if it had been they would've removed it by using endoscopy).
there was definitely a stone stuck somewhere between gallbladder & liver because I was jaundiced and in a lot of pain.
I did speak to surgeon last week, he explained that they want to do it urgently to avoid a reoccurrence and any complications which would be harder to fix with potentially more serious consequences and longer recovery (particularly because we have so many children including a small baby and they wanted to help us).

I'm reading through replies, thank you all for posting

soaccidentprone Sat 04-Oct-14 13:57:25

I have not had any problems since having my gall bladder removed. I was 31 at the time.

I had a few weeks off work, then just went back full time. My dm and aunt also had theirs removed, and had no problems afterwards.

Kundry Sat 04-Oct-14 13:59:29

I had mine out last year laparoscopically. I was entirely back to normal after 10 days (out and about after 6 but with tugging pain from the stitches).

Since then - no dietary restrictions, no weird bowel symptoms, just getting on with life as usual.

Having it done is v much not a big deal. Leaving it in is a life of misery.

ZingOfSeven Sat 04-Oct-14 14:07:37


I think the prospect of potential problems do make me feel depressed, but I don't think I have PND as such, if that makes sense.
I'm glad you asked because it's something that I had thought about.
But I had a good talk with my HV, who has known me for years and who knows the current situation (and that I had counselling for panic attacks & anxiety after DS4 was born) and she doesn't think that I have PND either. I'm delighted with baby and happy in general, but I can't help but feeling scared about my health, potential problems and how they would effect me and everyone who depends on me.

I think I worry more because, if anything goes wrong, with a big family like ours everything is so much more complicated and stressful.

I am really happy to hear positive stories. Thank you for the encouragement.

shobby Sat 04-Oct-14 14:07:43

I've had my gallbladder out as well (keyhole) and also have been fine since, no dietary restrictions or bowel disturbances. So much better than the two years of back pain, diarrhoea and nausea I had before the op! You do not have to consent to any treatment you are unsure about of course, but it might be worth asking for an appointment to see your consultant to discuss your options before you commit to the operation.

ZingOfSeven Sat 04-Oct-14 14:23:51


love your name! I wish....

I admit that I have had a small amount of fatty food (like a few chips, or a slice of buttered toast or a bite of DD's burger) most days in the last 2 weeks as an act of rebellion. [bad Zing]

I have a friend who is a nutritionist and she advised to avoid animal fat but instead eat small amounts of plant based fats like olive oil, coconut oil, almond butter, nuts & seeds, avocados and foods like oily fish are ok too.

I have a list of things I should eat/drink in increased amounts and things I need to avoid. it's not that difficult so I'm following that mostly, with the occasional "sod this, I'm having proper milk in my tea"

so I'm in no pain whatsoever. which makes me think if I just followed the diet I have now maybe I'd be ok without the surgery? but I can't risk it, can I. I don't want emergency surgery either.


I'm seeing them again for pre-op assessment on Wednesday. I am likely to breakdown and cry. I wonder if they are used to that.

ZingOfSeven Sat 04-Oct-14 14:37:38


thanks and I'm glad you are ok.
yes, I saw surgeon on the 24th. he was very reassuring and said that because I haven't had years of problems and infections the op should be fairly straightforward and recovery fast.
a "nip it in the bud" attitude if you will. DH is actually more worried about anything that might happen to me if I don't have op or delay it by months or years.
so I get why it should be done and done asap.
but it's the not knowing what will actually happen to me that freaks me out. nobody can tell. and if I do end up in the smaller group of people who do have trouble I can't go back and change a thing, I'll be stuck with misery.
that is what makes me feel so upset.

he also explained all the things that could go wrong during surgery (but obviously they will try to avoid) and weirdly that doesn't bother me at all.

Kundry Sat 04-Oct-14 14:52:37

Following a fat free diet is mindnumbingly boring. Even Rosemary Conley who built her empire on the diet she invented when she had gallstones, actually had her gallbladder out. It's just impossible to do day after day.

Gallstones, especially if they move - which yours seem to do, can be lifethreatening. The surgeon's view will be that your choices are 1) have your gallbladder out or b) be miserable. Once you've developed the stones, a lot of 'choice' is actually taken away from you.

Stewedcoot Sat 04-Oct-14 15:18:08

Zing completely understand your apprehension esp when you have so many los depending on you (I'm a hospital/doctor avoider) But when you said,

>"I did speak to surgeon last week, he explained that they want to do it urgently to avoid a reoccurrence and any complications which would be harder to fix with potentially more serious consequences and longer recovery"

you are basically choosing between the possible complications described above and an operation that most people seem to come out of pretty well (and you have an excellent chance of that given your youth and not having a long history of infections etc)

Hope it goes well on Wednesday and that you get all of your questions answered then. Don't worry, I'm sure they are used to people being very panicky/upset at pre-op appts! If you are very nervous, write down a list of questions that you need answering in order to feel reassured.
Good luck!

DPotter Sat 04-Oct-14 15:41:04

Pleased you've ruled out PND - that can really knock anyone for 6.

If you're not worried about what will go wrong during surgery, why are you worried about things going wrong after surgery. It's the things going wrong during which will cause the things going wrong after - if you see what I mean.

AlpacaMyBags Sat 04-Oct-14 16:00:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChaosK Sat 04-Oct-14 16:51:36

I had my gall bladder out 16 years ago after several attacks of biliary colic - leading to pancreatitis. Keyhole surgery. Out of hospital next day.
I follow a low fat diet through choice - but still have a fried food, cheese, etc occasionally. Absolutely no problems from the op or lack of gall bladder. And I'm sure it made me thin!
Have a look at all the other gall bladder threads where mumsnetters are desperate for the op - but can't seen to get it. If you want my advice - have it out!
Good luck

ZingOfSeven Sat 04-Oct-14 19:09:00

you are all so sensible and reasonable, I really do appreciate your posts and advice.
and of course I'm so pleased for all good results.

I keep on thinking what I would say if it was a friend or family member in this situation.
and I would truly advise them to get on with it because I would be worried more about a potential life threatening situation occuring later, as one of you said it so boldly. (thanks for honesty. I had to hear that! )

and I didn't know that 95% of people experience no problems or difficulties beyond the immediate first few weeks of recovery. that is very reassuring so again thanks for that.

I've been talking to a friend and my aunt who both said they have had a lot of trouble afterwards (and still do occasionally, 5 years on and 20 years on respectively) but interestingly both of them had sensitive stomachs and digestion issues way before the gallstone problems, so it seems logical they would be more prone to problems post op.
luckily I never did, so if that's any indicator I might just be ok.
I will ask if there's a known/proven connection between those.

I asked DH what he'd do for himself and what if I wasn't in a position to make a decision. he said he'd go for it in both cases.
he totally understands why I'm worried, but he thinks it's a blessing they are rushing this as an urgent case instead of me having to wait for months during which anything could happen.

I feel a bit better, thank you all for the wise words. smile
but any more stories or advice please don't hold back!

offtoseethewizard64 Sat 04-Oct-14 20:54:19

DH had his out by keyhole surgery last year after a couple of painful attacks.
Apart from Paracetemol in the 1st 24 hrs he needed no pain relief. He came home the same day as he had the op. Was told not to drive for 7-10 days (he drove after 9) and no heavy lifting for 6 weeks ( no lifting at all for 1st few days - not even the kettle).
He went back to work after 10 days as he was so well. Noone could believe he'd had surgery.
He has always been a cheese lover and is delighted that he can eat his beloved cheese to his hearts content with no side effects. He has had absolutely no after effects from the operation. Life is normal - without the worry of his bile duct getting blocked and him turning yellow. He put off his surgery hoping the problem would go away of its own accord (needle phobic and had never been in hospital prior to this) but after havong it done, he wished he done it sooner.

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