Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Gallbladder Disease Forum

For those who are scared/worried about gallbladder removal:

I was diagnosed with gallstones in January, and tried my hardest to avoid surgery. I changed my diet and even found a doctor to prescribe URSO to dissolve the stones. Nothing helped, and I finally decided to have the surgery. I was tired of being in pain every day. I had the surgery on Friday, was in at 7:00 am and home by 11:00 am. The pain was uncomfortable for 2-3 days. Today (Monday), I am 90% better, almost no pain, and almost back to normal activities. I had no complications from the surgery and don't expect to. Reading all of these posts did nothing but scare me and made me terrified of the surgery/side effects. Remember, 95% of people will likely have no complications or side effects from surgery. Complications increase with an inexperienced surgeon and with emergency surgery. Don't wait until it is an emergency, schedule surgery with an experienced doctor. Don't waste your time with "Natural" cures. They are proven not to work, and some can even be dangerous.
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First Helper tshilah
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replied May 4th, 2011
I agree 100%. I wish I hadn't read all of the forums before my gallbladder removal because all it did was freak me out. I think most of my recovery symptoms were caused by anxiety!

I had my gallbladder removed three months ago. I had an ultrasound that showed I had at least one stone and I was experiencing chronic nausea. I never had a 'gallbladder attack' but the nausea was really depressing.

The first week after the surgery wasn't great. I was in pain but painkillers (Advil/Tylenol) helped - I only took four prescription painkillers the day of and the day after my surgery. The first two days after surgery were mainly pain with no other symptoms. After the second day, I started experiencing a little lightheadedness. I truly think this was anxiety and possibly not eating enough. A week after the surgery I started feeling nauseous again and I thought "Oh no, the gallbladder removal didn't help my nausea." I was tired and nauseous for three days and then lo and behold, my husband came down with the stomach flu. The next day I felt fine, so I really think I had a little bug. I haven't had any nausea since.

I went back to work (an office job) after a week (I work part time) and after 2.5 weeks I really felt just fine. I went skiing in Colorado five weeks after surgery. I can eat whatever I want and have no digestion issues at all.

I just thought I'd share so people will hear that not everyone has a bad outcome.
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replied June 8th, 2011
I also read all of the horror stories and almost backed out of the surgery. I am glad I read the horror stories, because it enabled me to make a decision fully knowing all of the risks. I also read about what could go wrong if I left my gallbladder intact. In the end, the risks of not having surgery outweighed the risks of having it, so I went through with it.

Today, I am 7 days post-op and I just got home from going out to dinner and having Chicken Parmesan, with cheese and buttery garlic bread! Granted, I am very careful about what I eat, I do not stuff myself and I take digestive enzymes to help out my rearranged digestive system, but overall, I think I'm doing great Smile
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replied July 22nd, 2011
When a Doctor told me about the need of gallbladder surgery, I asked other Doctor for confirmation; everyone agreed on the need of surgery. I went to surgery on a Saturday morning, left the hospital on Sunday; went back to work on Thursday (half day) and on Monday I resumed my regular activities.

I had no major disconfort.

My surgery was on las October (2010); now in July (2011) I still try to have light meals and if I have a very hearty meal I feel some disconfort, but I have been able to lose 30 punds and 4 inches. I'm now running 3 -4 miles 4 timeas a week.

I'm certain that the health risks and disconfort of gallbladder disease are much worse that any disconfort after surgery.
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replied October 11th, 2011
Gallbladder Surgery
I had my Gallbladder out laparoscopically just over 2 weeks ago, and wish i hadn't worried as much as i did beforehand. Scans had shown many stones in my Gallbladder, and was referred to a specialist by my doctor even though my pain was infrequent.

Luckily my health insurance covered it so I was able to have it privately done at a time that suited me. The surgeon booked it for a few weeks after I saw him.

I was most worried about waking up from the general anaesthetic and digestion of meals afterwards. I have had panic attacks in the past so thought I might wake up and have one post surgery.

I didn't even notice when they put me to sleep (weird but don't remember being put to sleep), and when i woke up I knew where I was and felt fine.

I was taken back to my room soon after and given a cup of tea and a few cookies to eat. At the time I thought to myself...cookies?!?! I thought I wouldn't be able to eat any 'bad' food for a while.

No nausea, or sore throat from oxygen tubes, and my pain at surgery site was only a 1/10. Getting period pain the week before had been a lot worse than that. I was given only Panadol with Ibuprofen for pain, and took it for a few days even though I didn't have much pain or discomfort.

I had one night stay at the hospital then the weekend off. Back at work 3 days after the surgery and the first day i finished 2 hours early. From the Tuesday I was back fulltime.

So far I have been able to eat as normal. I've been careful with not eating too much fatty and fried food and haven't reacted to anything as of yet. They gave me yoghurt with breakfast the next morning after surgery at the hospital, so generally dairy is tolerated well by people who have their Gallbladder out.

My scars are small (only one that is a cm long is noticable), and as the largest cut was done inside my belly button you can't see it at all. The stones they gave me to take home were impressive. Around 30 pea sized stones.

Just letting you know my story in case anyone else is worried about upcoming surgery Smile
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replied October 13th, 2011
Hi
I would like to post as well. I had SEVERE Pain in my right side and went to the ER. They did an ultrasound and told me it was my gall bladder. I got on internet and read all these horror stories.

I had my gall bladder out at 6 pm on October 6, 2011. I went to sleep from all the drugs they give you during surgery (lol) and woke up at 3 am the next day (October 7th). I had NO PAIN. I got up and started walking around. The nurse commented on how well I was doing adn asked if I wanted a percocet. I declined.

I went back to sleep. I woke up at 7 am, and ordered 2 scrambled eggs with 2 pieces of wheat toast. Ate them no problem. They released me from hospital.

It has been 1 week. I eat whatever I want (I will say that I was dieting before the surgery and havent had sugar in 4 months anyway, so still eating anything but sugar). I have not had cramps, no diarhea, and did not have to take a single pain med since I have been home.

I feel WONDERFUL. No pain. I used to have lower back and shoulder pain. NONE!!!!!! I didnt realize it was gall bladder related.

Not everyone will feel bad or need pain meds. I am proof. I had an amazing surgery. I got my staples out today and I only felt 2 of them (out of 15). AMAZING!!!!!!!!

Good luck to all of you. I had 2 c-sections and the pain I felt from my gall bladder was way worse than the pain I felt from labor.
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replied October 15th, 2011
Just the opposite for me. This morning, I went into the whole surgery thing thinking it was going to be a walk in the park. It wasn't.
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replied February 20th, 2016
My positive experience of gallstone surgery
Hi there,

I wanted to add my experience to help anyone feeling anxious about the surgery...

I went into the hospital at 7am on the day of my surgery (no food and drink allowed beforehand) and had my operation at 11am.

I'm in my late 20s and this was my first experience of key-hole surgery. When I woke up I felt discomfort and pain in my stomach and shoulders (I'd say a 5 out of 10) but the medication provided dulled that down.

I stayed overnight, had breakfast the following morning and went home. I was given some strong painkillers (oxycodone) and paracetamol. I continued to take the strong painkillers the following day but they caused more problems then they solved (drowsiness, vomiting and constipation) so I stopped taking them and found the discomfort manageable without taking anything at all.

I spent the next couple of days in bed and was up and about by the weekend (4 days after the surgery). I continued to take it easy (no heavy lifting or stretching and frequent naps) for the following week. I returned to work after 2 weeks.

I looked online for post-op diets and there seemed to be little consensus about what to eat. My surgeon said it really depended on the individual so I started with plain high-fibre low-fat meals and then gradually started to introduce meat, dairy and vegetables. Three weeks later I'm still having problems digesting some fruits (blueberries, strawberries, oranges) and food with a lot of butter (croissants, rich sauces etc) but I feel myself getting better every day.

It's been a positive experience for me. Even when I was experiencing pain after the surgery - it was a trifle compared to the pain of having a gallstone attack.

Tips I would give to those awaiting the surgery:

- Take a good book, slippers and eye mask into the hospital.
- Stock up on plain high-fibre foods before the surgery.
- My partner was able to work from home the 2 days following the surgery - this was particularly helpful as I was too drowsy to make meals. If someone can't stay at home with you I'd reccomend making 1-2 days meals in advance.
- Have a hot water bottle handy - I found it helped with the ache in my shoulders.
- Have an upbeat TV series waiting for you. I'm unashamed to say I powered through 4 seasons of Parks and Recreation - and it was GREAT.
- Manage friends expectations that you won't be immediately available to speak over the phone or have people around for 3-4 days. I'd reccomend having a point of contact who can update friends and extended family on your behalf if they're worried.
- It's easy to say now but try not to worry too much about the surgery and aneasethetic. I spent hours trying to find out how many people had died every year from the procedure/ what the alternatives to surgery were/ what would be the last words I said to my partner and family etc. All very dramatic in retrospect! It's a huge relief not to worry about my gallbladder anymore and I wish the best of luck to anyone awaiting the surgery.
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replied March 22nd, 2019
I see this thread as being quite a few years old but here's my gallbladder story too. For a long time, I did not have health insurance. I'm young and really healthy so it was never a big deal until it was. Pretty much for a year and a half I was feeling the severe gallbladder attacks so bad that they almost put me in the ER or urgent care. However, in not having health insurance, and having been treated for a kidney stone in the ER in the past, I was unwilling to do that again with the financial costs. So seriously, every time a gallbladder attack happened, I just had to ride it out in moaning pain until it passed - usually about 8 hours.

I FINALLY got health insurance this year and today is the second day after surgery of having it removed. I will be so grateful and thankful when I feel comfortable enough to eat again.

yesterday my surgery was at 11am and I was out of the hospital by 2:30 having had a laparoscopic procedure. However, when they did take it out, I didn't have a bunch of little stones, just one seriously massive one so to get it out, they had to slit my belly button hole because the stone was THAT big. I felt ok yesterday because of all the high grade hospital pain meds that were in my system.

Last night I knew if I tried to lay down, I wasn't going to be able to get back up because of the discomfort and pain and tightness on my tummy. I originally thought they were going to do the surgery right beneath the rib cage but obviously they couldn't because of the massive stone I had.

The irony of that is that I'm athletic and had recently started a toning program for my core so I had done a lot of exercises leading up to the surgery that my core was already sore. So I think people should probably know that before going into surgery.

I got lucky with really professional, compassionate nurses and doctors so never did I feel ignored or treated badly. That's another important thing about the surgery. It's already traumatic so for them to be extra compassionate, especially never having had surgery before was just what I needed.

I was really nervous and scared leading up to surgery, because even of the slight risk of something going wrong that I would die but now coming out the other side, I was worrying for nothing. Gall bladder removal surgery is much easier than having a root canal done.

Stay close to a toilet. I havent eaten very much yet but I know one of the symptoms is diarrhea while the body is adjusting. Mostly it's just been me peeing rivers of ungodly amounts of fluids.

you'll need someone to lift you up and down because of the tightness and soreness and pain. And dear god, make sure you stay on top of your pain pills. I fell asleep in my chair last night because I would have never been able to get out of bed and a sufficient amount of time had passed, too long, that when I woke up my whole body was shaking in pain. I'll be setting an alarm every four hours now to make sure that doesnt happen again.

My doctor told me I could eat grilled cheese today if I wanted but that seems so counterintuitive especially because for the past 6 months, I have not had anything fattening at all. If I hadn't had the surgery, that would tear me up regardless.

So follow your instincts and intuition. If you're not ready to eat yet, listen to yourself. You know your body, you know your pain levels, you know what you intrinsically need for your own healing process and ask a friend to come over and check on you and help you out if you're not living with family.

day 2 is even more painful than the first day because the meds they gave me while at the hospital are now wearing off. Also before surgery in the future for anyone else, make sure you ask for anti-nausea medicine as that's a huge side effect from anesthesia. Good luck to everyone else going through this!
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