Gastroenterology and Me II: Red, White & Blonde

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Just got a call from the doctor. They noticed dyskinesia from my HIDA scan yesterday. Guess what the preferred treatment is?

Cholecycstectomy. In plain language: yanking the damn thing out.

The first part of the scan went really well. Things moved through my liver fantastic. My review: “A++. Would use this liver again!”

During the second part of the HIDA scan, where they give you the meds to make your gallbladder contract, I experienced little pain and thought that I was stupid to push for the HIDA scan. The doctor did it to appease me and make me feel better. I watched the screen and noticed that things weren’t moving too well. Toward the end, I could see some of the material in my bowels, but there was still a lot of glowing around the gall bladder. The tech said that they typically look for a certain percentage flow from the gallbladder and that anything under that percentage was an indication of problems. So I spent most of the 40 minutes trying to decide the percentage of nuclear material that had made it out of my gall bladder. After the test, I didn’t feel too badly, but after being home about 20 minutes, I felt like crap. I couldn’t blame any human or canine creature for feeling badly. It was due to the scan.

My appointment to meet with a surgeon is on May 23rd.

  • cndycream

    I just had this same surgery on Nov 13th then 3 days later had to have an emergency appendix removal. I’ve heard of people bouncing back after 3 days of the surgery it took me longer but I think that was dude to the additional surgery.

    The upside is that your job won’t fire you when you finally get back to work like mine did!!

    Good luck and wishing you a very speedy recovery.

  • Stu Mark

    It should be called the Cinnamon Bile Duct.

  • wonderchris

    WOW, nice to have an answer and a solution!! I hope surgery goes well and recovery is smooth.

  • wonderchris

    WOW, nice to have an answer and a solution!! I hope surgery goes well and recovery is smooth.

  • Sarah R. Bloom

    Yikes. Getting anything removed doesn’t sound fun, but at least it seems to be an answer! Hopefully a simple surgery and a fast recovery.

  • Kristan

    Ditto what Sarah said!

  • heather

    hey! i get to see my future surgeon on the 10th to consult on this very same surgery.

    back in february, i had such a major attack i ended up in hospital where an ultrasound showed so many gallstones they didn’t even bother counting them. ooh… we can compare scars! ;)

    i just hope this is the cure to all your symptoms!

    • minxlj

      Crikey…if you had an attack of gallstones that bad, back in Feb, why the hell haven’t they treated you already? :( sounds very painful, hope you get sorted soon

  • Shantelle Perry Argyle

    OMG you can get the alien surgery (laproscopic) and look like you’ve been probed! I’m glad they figured it out! I look forward to more drunk Jon stories from Heather.

  • katherine_at_grass_stains

    Ooh! Ooh! I think I diagnosed you months ago in the comments of another post! I had mine out in 1998, and I had immediate improvements with the things that had been bothering me. A few side effects even today (GI wise) but SO much better than the pain I’d been having for months at that time. Good luck meeting withe the surgeon, and keep us posted!

  • Stacia Sidlow

    The gallbladder is totally overrated. You’ll be fine without it.

    • Anonymous

      No shit! Good thing for you, Jon, that you’re not rushed to the hospital 1 month after giving birth to your first baby, having to nurse while high on morphine, both before and after surgery! Look on the bright side!

  • labradoris

    Called it. ;)

    In all seriousness, though: it’s a common surgery (my general surgeon said he did 3 a week, and that was back in 2001).

    My father (52 y.o.) just had his out 2 weeks ago. He was fine, and he was actually on a flight to Norway for business about 5 days later.

    Sorry you’ve been dealing with this for so long. It hurts!

  • Lauren

    Woooo a solution to try, good news! My sister and my friend are both sans gallbladder, and they both had easy surgeries and feel infinitely better now.

  • Groovymarlin

    Aren’t you glad you made them humor you? Reminds me of when Kaiser finally let me make an appointment for my two-week-old daughter because she had stopped eating. They let me see a nurse practitioner with her “if it would make me feel better” and turns out she was in supra-ventricular tachycardia because she has Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome! That was almost five years ago and she’s fine now, but my point is, ALWAYS trust your instincts. I hope you’re well on the road to recovery soon.

  • blurb

    Thanks everybody! I’m not sure I can wait three weeks to see a doctor…

    • wonderchris

      I don’t know if you are already doing this – but maybe there are foods that will help ease your pain while you wait. Three more weeks of pain and suffering sounds awful. Perhaps no fatty foods? I don’t know – just trying to help. I really hope you’ll feel like a whole new you after the surgery…sounds like you will!

  • Valarie

    Had mine out shortly after I had my son. Really was a piece of cake. I could have gone home that day but I was still a little stupid from the anesthesia so they thought it was better if I stayed over and slept it off. I was certain I was having a heart attack the first time it ever “acted up”. Man, that sucked.

    Good luck meeting with the surgeon – keep us posted!

  • minxlj

    Huh, so after all that you’re having the same surgery my mother had after similar initial symptoms! (I’m not sure what they decided exactly was up, they just diagnosed as ‘gall bladder problems’ and scheduled her surgery)

    But anyway…the surgery is fairly easy, according to mother’s surgeon, and it was certainly quick for an op. She recovered well but it did take a little while. You can sometimes get stomach problems relating to the gall removal, which she ended up with, but it was way minor compared to the gall bladder pain and she said she was glad she had the surgery. She lost a LOT of weight prior to surgery – over here, hospital referrals aren’t always that speedy, and after a lot of to and fro with the hospital her doctor had to step in and demand her surgery immediately as it had been 6 months and she got a lot worse in that time, losing so much weight that the surgery couldn’t have been done at all if they’d waited any longer – so that made it difficult for her to pick up her appetite and eating right after. There were a few things she couldn’t digest well without the gall bladder – sometimes bread, usually milk and definitely fatty foods, so she had to learn what to stay away from and to eat little and often, eventually putting the weight back on. Stomach problems relating to it seem to have stayed away for the past few months, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    Evolution needs to pick up on this darn gall bladder and appendix nonsense and start kicking them out. Oh, and wisdom teeth ;)

    Will stay tuned for news, hope your surgery gets sorted soon!

  • MontanaJen

    Yeah…yank that sucka out right quick. The only appreciable difference in my world is that i have to be close to a restroom after I eat fried food or eggs in any plain form (sorry – imagery)

    I took a bit to recover, couple weeks before I could stand all the way upright and walk, but others bounce back quickly – my nephew wanted to go to baseball practice 4 days after surgery.

    ALSO – on the waiting*, my father-in-law is a surgeon who happened to be spending a month in Sedona, AZ when I got sick (yeah, the life…). I was scheduled to wait four days, and he called the hospital and surgeon and lit a fire. I’d heartily suggest getting that little thing pulled out sooner rather than later, if you can swing it. It’s a simple, straight-forward surgery, and the benefit to your well-being is worth it.

    Good Luck!

    *I’ll bet you have a bazillion internet doctors giving you advice, and this is the obligatory caveat that I realize that everyone’s case is a bit different, but this helped me…et cetera, et cetera.

    • blurb

      Thanks for sharing this! If the pain gets worse, I’ll start making phone calls.

  • Lisa B

    Another obligatory “let me share my gallbladder removal story” for you: I had mine out in January and it went super smoothly, I was back at work after only 3 days of laying on the couch watching Netflix streaming (and I probably could have made it back in 2 if I hadn’t gotten sucked in to Veronica Mars). The worst part was getting the $23,000 in medical bills in the mail, even though I was only in the operating room for 6 minutes and 23 seconds (I knew my anesthesiologist, he timed it for me). Luckily my insurance is awesome, but it’s yet another complaint about the healthcare system in America. Good luck with your surgery, I hope it solves your problems!

  • Anonymous

    If you have pain that is not manageable I suggest a trip to the emergency room. I did the wait three weeks routine and was lucky to not have any attacks in that time. When the hubby exhibited similar symptoms a few years later he went to the emergency room (it was 10pm or so) and they gave him the option of waiting or just scheduling it for the next day as a semi-emergency operation. Let’s just say he’s not sorry he didn’t wait. Gallbladder pain is not something I would wish on anyone.

  • KatCamp

     Hope the meeting goes well. Unless he has a large volume of cases, I wouldn’t be tempted by fancy ways to do the cholecystectomy (like SILS or single incision laparoscopic surgery). The standard lap chole has a pretty quick turn around time. Just get off the narcotics ASAP and get moving as soon as you can = the best way to get back to your pre-surgery normal (hopefully minus the pain). You also shouldn’t need a cholangiogram, (shoots dye through your bile ducts to make sure not blocked, or if are unsure of your anatomy) since you don’t have gallstones. Just another additional cost. 
    As a previous poster mentioned, some people do have some intolerance to foods afterwards and have some post-cholecystectomy diarrhea. Not a bad idea to have a convo with your surgeon as for expectations for those type things post-cholecystectomy. 

     Avoid fatty, spicy, succulent type foods. Those are most peeps flair-ups. Don’t shave or anything before. If you are on the hairy side on your stomach they will probably clip the hair prior to the operation(after you’re asleep). Shaving has an increased risk of wound infections. 

    Hang in there. Encourage your surgeon to get you in ASAP. Its a pretty quick case in the OR, so usually they can squeeze you in on days that they aren’t uber booked-up, especially given the amount of your discomfort. 

    –KC, I’m not a crazy internet MD. (Surgeon in training [the crazy might be debatable]) 

    • blurb

      Thanks for taking the time to share this. I actually want the cholangiogram! If a surgeon is going in, I want them to make sure they don’t have to go in again. Also, if we’re yanking something out, then let’s make sure that’s the cause of the pain. Since I had to push to get a HIDA scan, I think I’m going to push on this as well. 

      I so wish the internet was like this in 1998 when I got my cornea transplant.