15 years old and gall-less

November 1999. I woke up thinking I was very hungry, and knowing that I had to travel 2 1/2 hours that day to play a soccer game. It was a different type of hunger feeling, I thought, a slight bit of pain. I wasted no time getting out of bed, ate a bowl of “Oreo-O’s” (remember that dumb cereal? I didn’t even really like it but I ate it), and proceeded to get prepared for my away soccer game while still having that slight pain. We were to meet at a local McDonalds to carpool with my teammates. As dedicated to the game of soccer that I was and my love for playing, the onset of intensifying pain didn’t cause me to do more than simply mention it to my parents as I was getting into the car for them to drop me off to meet my team at McDonalds. This is when it began to hurt. And now it was excruciating. By the time we were getting ready to exit the neighborhood, I told my dad that I didn’t think I could go to the game. He knew something was wrong. Now our destination was the hospital.

They gave me an x-ray, didn’t expect to see something in the location of my gall bladder because of how young I was (15 years old), thought there was something on the lens so they cleaned it and gave me another. Sure enough it was still there, so I got an ultra-sound to confirm that I had gall stones, stayed over night so they could monitor my food intake so that early in the morning they could inject me with a radioactive substance reactive to the machinery to read if my gall bladder was infected and needed to be removed entirely rather than removing just the stones. It was a bad one! I got scheduled to get a laparoscopic cholecystectomy two weeks later. NEVER wait that long to get your bladder removed if you can help it. That period of time was during Thanksgiving, which ended up being my demise. Funny story about that night was that after dinner, I walked over to my girlfriend’s house who lived a block away from where my family were gathering for Thanksgiving. We were young and it was complicated to get together so this was a good time to meet up…so I thought. Soon after I got to her house I could tell the pain was coming again, and I knew I needed to leave for sake of not rolling around on the floor with sudden pain, fever, and erratic yelps of terror in front of her parents. It had happened a total of two times prior, that first morning before soccer and another after eating buttered popcorn at a movie (the butter did not occur to me as a problem for some reason). I remember it really starting to hurt as I was trying to formally make my exit without anything seeming strange. As soon as I left, I went back to my family’s Thanksgiving, and found a couch to roll around on, grimacing in pain. All the while knowing that the knife in my gut and my high fever would subside within about an hour (the gall stone would finish making its way through a duct).

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My Journey

I began experiencing severe pain after eating fried food and throwing up. On August 24, the pain was so severe I went to the ER. When it was decided it wasn’t my heart I was ignored for 4 hours in pain and still throwing up. I finally left and went back home only to return to a different ER 6 hours later. They gave me morphine every two hours then sent me home with a prescription for pain pills. I called my Dr. and saw him August 26. A HIDA scan was scheduled for August 28. Nothing could be seen during the HIDA scan. I was unable to reach my Dr. the next two days. Our clerk at school was extremely worried and got an appointment for me to see an internal medicine Dr. He immediately referred me to a surgeon ASAP and told me if the pain intensified to get to the ER.

About 10 pm on August 31, I began having stabbing pains and off I went to the ER. Once again they gave me pain meds and sent me home. I saw my surgeon 7 hours later after an ultra sound and he scheduled surgery for 4:30 pm. It was to be lap chole. One he began the procedure, he had to do open instead. My gall bladder was full of stones, inflamed, infected, and had adhered to my liver. He said it was the worst he had ever seen. I was admitted to the hospital Sept 1 and came home Sept. 4. I am doing much better now although the staples are beginning to really bother me and itch. Looking back, I did have symptoms but didn’t realize it was my gallbladder. Thank God for my surgeon.

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My Story – Without Gallbladder

This is my story without gallbladder

I am new here so I am going to tell everyone a bit about myself and my stomach problems.  I am now 31 years old.  When I was younger I was allergic to lots of foods (dairy etc.) but nothing actually bothered me too much.  Beginning in my last year in law school (approx. age 27)  I began having weird stomach problems.  Mostly consisting of bloating and immediate rushing to the bathroom after meals.  I saw 10+ gastro doctors and had every test under the sun – nothing was found.  I tried every herbal and prescription med out there.  In the end they diagnosed me with IBS and Gerd – because they had no idea what it was.

Fast forward, in Nov. 2009 I went to another gastro doctor.  They ran one more test – scan of my gallbladder and found it was functioning at 14%.  The next day they took it out.  And if I thought my stomach problems were bad before it was taken out – I had no idea what was in store for me!

For the first 3 months after the surgery (lapro) I had immediate dumping syndrome to everything I ate – from bread to crackers – everything! I tried everything under the sun again for bile reflux – nothing really worked.

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