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Gallstones, surgery waiting lists, Gallbladder removal &recovery Lock Rss

Long story short:
I have multiple calculi in the gallbladder (gallstones) and am having very frequent and painful gallstone attacks. In the last 18 weeks, I have had 22 attacks. They are NOT fun!

I have been using a bile salt dissolving medication for about 3 years to try and dissolve them or at least reduce the size, but it isn't working - In fact the attacks are more frequent and more painful.

I go back to the surgeon on the 8th Jan, to discuss surgery to remove my gallbladder, and to be placed on the surgical waiting list.

I understand that if things go straightforwardly, with no complications, I could be in surgery, and home again later the same day

For those who have had the surgery -
*For Public patients - how long was the wait for surgery (in non-emergent cases)?
*what was the after pain like?
*How long did it take to fully recover?
*How long to do normal activities again (laundry, make beds etc)

*Any tips to making the attacks as painless as possible? I am sick of taking morphine!!!

Thanks for any advice...

[Edited on 01/01/2009]
I had gallstones while I was pregnant and had attacks nearly every week from about 25 weeks pregnant until about 2-3 weeks after DS was born..
I was a public patient, and it wasnt an urgent case. The only wait I had was to wait until after DS was born and I had recovered from giving birth. So, I had my gallbladder removed when DS was 2 months old.
My case was a bit different though, because DS was so young and still having EBM, he stayed in the hospital with me so the nurses were able to help with him, and I stayed in for 5 days, partly because I still had some pain, and I had to be confident enough when I left that I could physically look after DS. Generally though, I think most people only stay in overnight.
The pain wasnt too bad after a day or two, and with keyhole surgery, after about a week and a half - two weeks after surgery I was pretty much back to mormal, and doing all normal activities. The only other thing about the surgery.. I had a drain tube put in to drain excess fluid and that was in for nearly the whole time I was in hospital. When they take it out, they pull the tube out, because its kind of right up inside. They didnt check mine and after they tried pulling it out really hard, they realised that it was stitched in, so the had to cut the stitches and try again, and that hurt a lot.
I was told when I was having regular attacks, although most of mine were because I was pregnant, attacks can be controlled through diet, and they were going to send me to a dietician to tell me what to eat and what not to eat, but they didnt really get around to that....
Fatty foods should definately be avoided especially sausages. They said that thats one of the worst foods to eat, I had them for dinner one night and I was in hospital later that night with an attack!!
Um.. thats all I can really think of, so hope it helps!!

I had my gall bladder removed on the 12th December 08 at 1:30pm and was home by 1pm on the 13th December.

My doctor told me that the first 3 days would be the most painful but I only needed to take the pain medication once an hour after I got home from hospital - I think that the trip home was the cause of it more than anything. I don't really have much of an ability to handle pain and it wasn't too bad for me, although I'm still bf so wanted to limit the amount of meds I was taking as they would pass through to my daughter.

I saw the doctor on the 19th December and he said that everything was looking good, removed the patches over the wound sites and said that I just needed to leave the steri-strips in place for another week for support.

Within 1.5/2 weeks I was back to doing most things like normal, although I've been making use of the fact that my husband has been on holidays for some things lol.

All the best with things.

oh, I was also told to avoid highly acidic foods eg tomatoes etc to help manage the attacks.

thanks girls.
the diet has been pretty bland for ages, fats, spicy stuff and acidic stuff are out...have been for ages...
I have found that I get more attacks when I sleep on my left side, as opposed to my right.
My stones are floating, so different positions see the stones move quite easily (on the ultrasound especially)

Good to here that recovery shouldn't be too bad... I really don't want to spend the night in hospital if I don't have too, I have 4 kids, one being 4 months old, that I need to look after. I will have HEAPS of help at home and feel more comfortable here.
I am usually pretty good with pain... hopefully the aftermath of the op wont see me need too much pain relief..

Let's hope I can get the surgery soon!

Thanks again girls
anyone else have any experience they'd like to share?
i had my gallbladder removed when i was 16 (im 22 in 13 days) once they worked out what was wrong with me after 3 trips to 4 dif hospitals i was on the waiting list for about 6 months, having frequent attacks. i come out of hospital 2 days after the op, the only prob i have now is any fatty foods i have problems with my bowels now Soz TMI. HTH

Im gonna sound really silly h ere, but i have been reading alot of people have this and have operations to remove them....what causes gallstones????
Types of gallstones and causes

*Cholesterol stones
*Pigment stones
*Mixed stones- the most common type. They are comprised of cholesterol and salts.

Cholesterol stones are usually yellow-green and are made primarily of hardened cholesterol. They account for about 80 percent of gallstones. Scientists believe cholesterol stones form when bile contains too much cholesterol, too much bilirubin, or not enough bile salts, or when the gallbladder does not empty as it should for some other reason.

Pigment stones are small, dark stones made of bilirubin. The exact cause is not known.
They tend to develop in people who have cirrhosis, biliary tract infections, and hereditary blood disorders such as sickle cell anaemia in which too much bilirubin is formed.

Other causes are related to excess excretion of cholesterol by liver through bile. They include the following

*Gender. Women between 20 and 60 years of age are twice as likely to develop gallstones as men.

*Obesity. Obesity is a major risk factor for gallstones, especially in women.

*Oestrogen. Excess oestrogen from pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, or birth control pills

*Cholesterol-lowering drugs.

*Diabetes. People with diabetes generally have high levels of fatty acids called triglycerides.

*Rapid weight loss. As the body metabolizes fat during rapid weight loss, it causes the liver to secrete extra cholesterol into bile, which can cause gallstones.
i am high risk of gall stones... its dominant in my family, almost every women dating back to my great great nan has had them

Some more info:

Many people with gallstones have no symptoms. These patients are said to be asymptomatic, and these stones are called "silent stones."
Gallstone symptoms are similar to those of heart attack, appendicitis, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, hiatal hernia, pancreatitis, and hepatitis. So accurate diagnosis is important.

Symptoms may vary and often follow fatty meals, and they may occur during the night.
* abdominal bloating
* recurring intolerance of fatty foods
* steady pain in the upper abdomen that increases rapidly and lasts from 30 minutes to several hours
* pain in the back between the shoulder blades
* pain under the right shoulder
* nausea or vomiting
* Indigestion & belching

Ultrasound is the most sensitive and specific test for gallstones.

Other diagnostic tests may include
* Computed tomography (CT) scan may show the gallstones or complications.
* Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). The patient swallows an endoscope--a long, flexible, lighted tube connected to a computer and TV monitor. The doctor guides the endoscope through the stomach and into the small intestine. The doctor then injects a special dye that temporarily stains the ducts in the biliary system. ERCP is used to locate and remove stones in the ducts.
* Blood tests. Blood tests may be used to look for signs of infection, obstruction, pancreatitis, or jaundice.

Course of illness
Bile-duct blockage and infection caused by stones in the biliary tract can be a life-threatening illness. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, the outcome is usually very good.

The obstruction caused by gall stone may lead to Biliary colic, Inflammation of gall bladder (Cholecystitis). Other complications may include
* Cirrhosis- Cirrhosis is the result of chronic liver disease that causes scarring of the liver (fibrosis - nodular regeneration) and liver dysfunction.
* Cholangitis- Cholangitis is an infection of the common bile duct, which carries bile (which helps in digestion) from the liver to the gallbladder and then to the intestines.

Surgery to remove the gallbladder is the most common way to treat symptomatic gallstones.
The most common operation is called laparoscopic cholecystectomy. For this operation, the surgeon makes several tiny incisions in the abdomen and inserts surgical instruments and a miniature video camera into the abdomen. The camera sends a magnified image from inside the body to a video monitor, giving the surgeon a close up view of the organs and tissues. While watching the monitor, the surgeon uses the instruments to carefully separate the gallbladder from the liver, ducts, and other structures.

If gallstones are in the bile ducts, the physician (usually a gastroenterologist) may use endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to locate and remove them before or during the gallbladder surgery.
Thanks riki
Another dumb question....i have read that u have been into hosi for morph shots for the pain, if they are that bad wouldnt they do something sooner rather than later, didnt tysmoo have them and they were taken out asap?????
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