Goodbye Gallstones!

I finally said goodbye to my gallbladder and the horrid gallstones. Goodbye to being in pain. I had gallbladder removal surgery via Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy after getting some back and abdominal pain.

This pain started earlier in the year and I often shrugged this pain off by taking some Ibuprofen and using a hot water bottle. However, the pain would get worse…


You are likely thinking what are Gallstones?

Gallstones are small stones, usually made of cholesterol, that form in the gallbladder. In most cases they don’t case any symptoms and don’t need to be treated. However, If a gallstone becomes trapped in opening (duct) inside the gallbladder, it can trigger a sudden, intense abdominal pain that usually lasts between 1-5 hours. This is know as biliary colic. Refer to NHS website for further information.

As the year went on, I had several attacks till the point where nothing would help. Strong painkillers hot water bottles and limited foods but nothing kept the pain under control. This time I ended up being taken into A&E as I was that ill. I had a CT scan in which that it was confirmed I had gallstones into one over 4cm which was causing the pain. It was agreed the best thing to do would be to have my gallbladder surgically removed. At this point I was referred for surgery and told would be within 2 months. 

Waiting and waiting….

I ended up being on the standard waiting list for over 6 months. It was only when I lodged a email to the NHS that I was given a date within 2 weeks. I don’t normally like to complaint but the pain was uncontrollable I’d had enough. Sometimes the only way to get somewhere is to complain! After being given a surgery date I was nervous but anxious of what awaited me as they don’t share or give you many details on pre-assessment. A pre-assessment is something they do to ensure that surgery is right and your healthy enough to proceed with an operation. 

I was fortunate enough to have surgery last month (November 2016).  I had laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery which leaves you with 4 incisions in your abdomen.

Gallbladder surgery is actually straightforward, and its surprising how many people have theirs removed each year. I started talking to friends on social media and alot of people I knew came forward to say they had it done, every single one of the went on to say how it was the best thing they had done and how much better they are without it. Whilst the gallbladder does perform a function in our digestive system, our bodies can manage without it.  The only slight complication with this surgery expect the common ones is that it can be done via keyhole, but sometimes it had to be done with open surgery. The surgeon cannot tell you which until they start. You are made to sign a consent for both operations, and will only find out which one when you come round. Waiting around the hospital is the worst before your surgery. I waited hours for them to call me upon arriving one the ward. While waiting you are given a robe to wear which shows your bum (yes your bum- I felt sorry for the people in hospital that day) and some lovely white compression socks. Make sure you have a dressing gown – something I stupidly forget.

The operation was a success!

I was in hospital overnight due to oxygen levels being low. Waking up from the operation was not pleasant experience but that soon passes. I left the hospital in my mickey mouse PJs looking like a right state and made journey home in the car- that itself was a task! I was finally home and in my own bed. 

Digestive system not working…

In theory I’m supposed to now be able to eat anything, although I understand this can vary from person to person, and it’s wise to re-introduce fatty foods gradually. So far I tried to eat cheese, but this seems to make me bad afterwards and I’m wondering if I might just give it up completely. I love cheese but I am thinking of going without as certainly not worth being in pain for or risk to my health– perhaps a cut down will do me good in the long term?

I soon discovered that our body has no way of processing fat without a gallbladder- something they never told me and warned me about. After a few weeks I’ve had no option but to follow a strict diet of very little fat. A ‘Parmo’ (refer to my about section if wondering what this is) is defiantly a NO go on my meal list or even a McDonald’s breakfast. I guess its spurred me on to have less of the Christmas chocolates and eat fruit instead. 

For the first few days I felt quite sore, and hobbled around like an invalid, but after the end of the second week, I felt able to walk pretty normally, and now four weeks on I feel pretty much back to normal. I’m not going to be doing any strenuous exercise for a while, but I’m walking normally, and able to get around without pain. The scars are healing slowly but much better than when I left hospital. 

After new year, it is time to be back at the gym and back on the healthy eating. I’ve set a goal of losing 5 stone over the next coming year. I know what you’re likely thinking, everyone says that at new year and sets new resolutions right? Not me! Nat is motivated to do something to shift the weight which can be viewed on here over the coming months…

I am please to say that I am finally recovering and my scars are looking great.

Hopefully that is the end of the pain and can now move forward. Best of luck to those of you scheduled for gallbladder surgery – I’d recommend the surgery. I have never felt better for having it done! So that’s the story of my gallbladder, and here’s to a pain-free future!

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