Food · Healthy lifestyle

Life without my Gallbladder

I am two days post-op from my cholecystectomy—gallbladder removal. But four weeks ago I was in extreme discomfort and could not get comfortable for the life of me.  It was then that I had my husband drive me to the nearest emergency room. I thought ‘is this a heart attack’?  My chest pain was super intense.  I am not a young cookie anymore so that was the first thought that crossed my mind.  Then I thought it could be severe indigestion/heartburn that would pass. But is was in fact pain from gallbladder polyps, gallstones and an infection surrounding the one wall of my gallbladder. It never dawned on me that I could have a serious medical issue but in hindsight I had it over the last year; I just assumed it was my hiatal hernia giving me issues. It typically lasted less than two hours and I would simply lay down and breathe through it. The fevers I had a few weeks ago was probably a dead giveaway that my body was fighting an infection of some sort.

After my ER visit I was advised to have my gallbladder removed ASAP.  Timing was just a bit off for this to happen.  I have a 4 month old and a 4 year and a husband who was about to have a 2nd shoulder surgery.  So once I was referred to the General Surgeon, he pretty much got me set up for the following week’s surgery (which was the same date as hubby’s surgery).  Then he looked at me crazy when I asked if I could delay it for a few weeks.  I further explained that with my husband’s surgery that next week there was no way we could care for our 4 month old.  Neither one of us would be able to pick him.  That wasn’t an option.

So I delayed it for 3 more weeks.  Not that bad of a delay.  I had pain and few more episodes.  But the pain was tolerable.

The majority of gallbladder polyps are harmless — composed of cholesterol buildup, not cancer cells. But, gallbladder polyps may actually be small tumors — some of which may be cancerous while others are benign growths. These small growths can poke out from the inside of the gallbladder wall.

When it comes to gallbladder polyps, size definitely matters: The larger the polyp, the greater the risk of gallbladder cancer. Polyps that are larger than 1 centimeter are most likely to be cancerous, while those smaller than that are unlikely to be — or to eventually become — cancerous.  Mine were 2cm so naturally I was advised to get them removed ASAP.  Now a days they don’t just remove the polyps or stones, they just completely remove the gallbladder.

IMG_7045
My incisions (covered)
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My Gallbladder

Now for the adjustment.

My Dietary Adjustments

It’s important to carefully follow your doctor’s instructions about your diet after gallbladder surgery. If you’re recovering at home, you’ll need to introduce foods slowly, and consume mainly clear liquids, like broth and gelatin, at first. If you feel ready and are not nauseated, you can slowly begin introducing solid foods back into your diet as you start feeling better. But you may need to avoid certain types of foods for a while. More than half of people who have recently had gallbladder surgery report problems with digesting fats following their surgery. This is because your gallbladder is no longer there to control the release of bile into your intestines after eating a meal. Instead, a small amount of bile is now directly “leaked” from your liver into your small intestine at a slow, constant rate. It can take a few weeks for your body to get used to this change, and you may experience bloating, diarrhea, and gas after eating fatty foods during this time. But most people can return to a normal diet within a month after having gallbladder surgery.

Foods to Avoid

High-fat foods include:

Foods that are fried, like French fries and potato chips

High-fat meats, such as bacon, bologna, sausage, ground beef, and ribs

High-fat dairy products, such as cheese, ice cream, cream, whole milk, and sour cream

Pizza

Foods made with lard or butter

Creamy soups or sauces

Meat gravies

Chocolate

Oils, such as palm and coconut oil

Skin of chicken or turkey

High-fiber and gas-producing foods can also cause some people discomfort after gallbladder surgery, so you may want to introduce them slowly back into your diet.

These include:

Cereals, Whole-grain breads, Nuts, Seeds, Legumes, Brussels sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, and Spicy foods may also cause some gastrointestinal symptoms for a short time after gallbladder removal.

Dang this sucks!!  I love all of these foods!!

If you need help devising a diet plan after your surgery, ask your doctor to refer you to a registered dietitian.

So here I sit…scared to eat anything for fear that I might get sick.  As much as I want the donut….I dare not! Whatever you do…don’t delay getting this kind of pain checked out.  Better to be safe than sorry.

~Magic

 

2 thoughts on “Life without my Gallbladder

  1. Hi Marcy,

    I am not sure if you remember me, my name is Demetria and we were deployed together in Saudi. It was ironic that I saw your article on Facebook, clicked on it and saw your picture.
    I want to say thank you for the information about your gallbladder because tomorrow they are testing mine and may be removing it as well. You gave me an insight on what to expect.

    Liked by 1 person

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