Just last year being diagnosed with gallstones But I recently realizing I’ve never written about the operation itself and what the recovery was like.
So to rewind a little bit, around last year, I was diagnosed with gallstones. A Gallbladder attack is pretty hellish – the only pain I have ever experienced like it is the pain of labour and an attack similarly can last for hours. To get a diagnosis I had to have an ultra sound. Then it was left to me to decide if I would like surgery or not. A gallbladder removal or a cholecystectomy as it’s medically called is actually classed as elective surgery. To prevent a gall bladder attack you can eat a very restricted diet comprised of only items that are less than 5% fat. Anything more than that can trigger an attack.
The diet itself is pretty limited as you would expect and I found it easier to just eat dairy free and only white meat and fish. I can pretty much guarantee anything you like to eat is over 5% fat. I’d actually argue, that it is no way really to live your life. As an example, while I was awaiting surgery and I could eat no croissants, cakes, cheese, I survived on tomato based pasta dishes, bread with no butter and eggs and lost lots weight along the way. Although you could also argue that that is not a reason to have surgery. What is, is the idea of having another attack. The fear of having another attack like that is pretty real. What can also happen is an attack can be so bad, that you need to have emergency surgery too. Which is another consideration.
I was fortunate enough to have Tricare medical insurance . At the time I tried to control it with diet before giving in to surgery, so my wait time total a year to surgery.
The surgery that I had was keyhole surgery and most gallbladder removals are now done this way, but my surgeon did warn me that there is a small chance that they wouldn’t be able to remove my gallbladder this way and then it would have to be open surgery, which has a lot longer recovery time. There are also with any surgery small risk, the biggest thing that some people can suffer after surgery is an upset stomach after they eat. I was advised keyhole surgery is usually two weeks off work, but a month of taking it easy and no strenuous activity.
The surgery is usually done as a day surgery, but as my surgeon couldn’t fit me in until 7am for surgery, was allowed to go home that day.
I had the surgery under a general anaesthetic, so I remember counting down before going into theatre and then waking up in recovery. The first thing I remember being aware of is that my stomach was sore, which was to be expected really. I was wheeled back to my room and the staff was very generous with their painkillers, for which I was grateful for!