Monday, November 2, 2009

Gallstones, really????? are the results from my GI tests I had done last week. Very surprising....and totally unexpected. The tests were ordered to check out the fluid around my liver to make sure it was not anything bad. I had the tests (ultrasound and Doppler of abdomen and associated organs) at our Children's hospital which was kind of nice. The technician I had actually performed some tests on me back in 2003, and he remembered me. We had some great conversations and he was the nicest person. It was kind of nice being in a "children's setting" again.

Evidently, the fluid is fine. Some of it is pelvic fluid, and is apparently just there because I'm a female. And some of the other abdominal fluid is "sympathetic" fluid and supposedly a lot of CFers have some. So no worries in the fluid department. Now, for the shocking news: I have a BIG (4.22mm to be exact) gallstone (and possibly more that are just unseen). The ultrasound made this evident, but it it is believed that it has been there for sometime because ultrasounds don't always show gallstones. Unfortunately, the stone is too big too pass. I am having surgery to remove it (and the gallbladder from my understanding) the 2nd week in December right after semester exams. My GI doc feels like it can wait til then and really wanted me to be able to finish up the school semester. I'm with him on that decision!!! I have a consult with a surgeon at UAB who will be performing the surgery probably sometime this month. My GI doc can't do the surgery, because he only has admitting privileges at the Children's hospital. In addition, because of transplant, I have to have it at UAB. I will be on transplant services, and the surgeon will just consult everyday. From what I've read and been told, the surgery isn't too big of a deal, but I will be in the hospital for a little while. I think I will feel so much better.

As I researched more on gallstones, it sounded like I've been having gallbladder trouble for awhile. Back in January I spent a whole day in the ER throwing up bile (TMI sorry) and I had several tests indicating my gallbladder was not emptying properly. It was a "bad" winter/early spring in the stomach department. But for some reason it took until NOW to figure that out. I've had multiple ultrasounds, but without contrast. And without contrast, it is difficult to see gallstones. Having gallstones can also cause fevers and mild to severe back pain. And most of us are attributing some of my severe (putting me to tears) back pain to this gallstone. So I'm ready for that to go away. My weekends and whatever time I have free, I'm usually laying down with heat on my back, and taking Ultram, Lortabs, Aleve, muscle relaxers, Tylenol, etc. I'm so tired of being in pain. The pain may not all be related to the gallbladder, but I am definitely interested to see how much of it is. I hate that I have to have the surgery. At least it won't interfere with school, but it means taking at least 1 week off work, during our busiest time of the year. But oh well, you got to do what you got to do, right?

So that is basically the gist of the results. My liver is enlarged a little due to the gallstone. I have "ascitis" of the liver. So that should go away after the gallbladder is history. I also started on Actigall to help remove other small stones and "sand" which apparently my GI doc thinks I have as well. It will also help to prevent future gallstones. I looked up ways to prevent gallstones at home, and there really isn't much you can do. It did say to make sure you eat, that starving yourself isn't good. Not that I starve myself, but I do have days when I feel sick or times when I'm in the hospital that i will go for a good while not eating or eating very minimal. It also said to avoid foods that are very high in fats. I do a pretty good job of that already. So we'll see!!!

Have any of you had your gallbladder removed? I know it is common among CFers. I would love any feedback, suggestions, etc. The surgery is laproscopic, but I haven't had any surgery, per se, in about 3 a little nervous. I'm also a little worried about the whole putting to sleep thing since my lung functions are not good. I'm sure there is nothing to worry about!


Alicia said...

Oh, this just stinks! I'm sorry for you! I had my gallbladder removed (under emergency circumstances), but I know that's not the info you are looking for! Katey, I understand you have fear, but I want you to know we will be praying strong protection over you and for a peace that will come quickly. Love you,


Aspiemom said...

I'm glad that you have some answers, Katey. I had my gallbladder removed a year or two before my cf dx. They did it via laparoscopy and it was very easy. You just have to remember to hold a pillow to your stomach when you cough for a while! Other than that, it was a very unremarkable procedure. Hope yours goes well!

Cara said...

I had mine removed about 8 years ago after they discovered that it was packed with stones and there were also some stones trapped in my common bile duct, which was very painful. I had it done laparoscopically and I was back in college 2 days later. You are always in my prayers, Katey, but I will be praying especially hard for you during the next few weeks! :)

Sarah said...

Something else we have in common. Gallbladder disease! I haven't had mine out, but it's only a matter of time. All of my dad's siblings (6) and several of my cousins have had their's out and they've all been fine. And every one of them was "the old fashion way." You'll do great. It's really no big deal, even though it sounds like it.

Kory said...

Sorry to hear about the surgery, Katey...but I'm glad you got some answers. Praying for you!

Somer Love said...

Well good news is it sounds like once it is out you will be feeling better! I know two people in the last 6 months that have had their gallbladder removed they were down for about 3 days.

All that fluid must give us our CF tummies ;)

OceanDesert said...

Hi Katey! I hope you find relief soon!! I had my gallbladder removed about 5 yrs ago (so b/f my lung tx) and it went smoothly, and I only had about 30-35% lung function then. As I recall, the worst part was the bloating afterward b/c of the air buildup when they do it laproscopically.

You will feel SO much better afterwards... those gallstones hurt!

SWelch said...

Katey you may want to write Jill about this. I have never had this problem but I know she had hers removed years ago. She acted like it was fairly easy. I will be praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Well, I had mine out, and my only suggestion is that if they decide that you have too much scar tissue to do it laparoscopically, you might want to mention that you don't want them to clean out any more adhesions than needed to get your gallbladder out. They did that to me (without my prior knowledge) and I woke up feeling like I was dying, instead of in the "virtual no pain" senario that they told me about before hand (at Childrens).

HOWEVER, I am glad it's gone, and also that they started you on Ursidoil/Actigall. They didn't do that for me, and it took them years to figure out that my liver was tossing out stones that were blocking my common bile duct, and that's why I was having very similar pains for years afterwards- I got a round of pancreatitis and an enlarged/fatty liver to go with that one before UAB finally figured it out when I switched. Oh, and getting the H. pyloria gone. I'm not bitter, lol ;) .

All that to say this- if this doesn't fix you up all the way, have them check all of that too (again, if neccesary). I hope this does the trick for you- I'll be praying!