Goodbye Gallbladder

Gallbladders That Don’t Work


I am having my gallbladder out on September 29th.  I have always had some heartburn issues………well not always I guess, but throughout my life off and on.  As close as I can remember, about 2 years ago I started with more than just indigestion but nausea along with it.  It probably started out a couple times a week but then more frequent and I told my family doctor about it after a while and he referred me to a gastroenterologist.  This all happened in like the Spring of 2007 I think.  In the meantime, I asked family doc if he thought it could be my gallbladder and he said yes it could be so he scheduled a gallbladder sonogram in April of 2007 which was negative.  Gastro doctor wanted to do an endoscopy on me.  Since it was almost vacation time I decided to wait to schedule it and got back from vacation and well you know how it goes, I didn’t schedule it. 


So then in the beginning of November I was up ALL night one night with terrible nausea and then increasing heartburn and chills.  Nothing worked……..Pepto, Phenergan, Zantac, crackers, dry bread…… name it.  I woke hubby up at 5 a.m. and said we better go to the ER because at my age, family history, and those symptoms, it COULD be heart related.  We get to the ER and they agreed it could be heart and said it was smart to come in and they did all the heart stuff including EKG, x-ray, blood work, etc.  Everything came back okay for heart.  Doc comes in and asks how I was feeling and told him still felt sick to my stomach and he said with the meds they gave me (I don’t remember how what it was in the IV) things should have settled down and he was puzzled.  They gave me a GI cocktail (mixture of some GI stuff plus some numbing agent) and although it calmed things down a little, it did not clear things up and they said it should have.  They said I needed to have that endoscopy so I left ER after a few hours, call the gastro office, and they said they could do it 2 days later so I had it done at a same day surgery thing.  He found nothing………..which was a good thing in a way, but it didn’t help my nausea.  He put me on Nexium 40 mg twice a day and I got some relief from that, in fact almost complete relief for a month or so and then bingo, back to some nausea.


So sometime after that, maybe late November or December, I talked to my family doc and said that I had been reading where ovarian cancer can cause some of the same symptoms of bloating and nausea and he agreed and took blood for the CA125 (ovarian cancer screening) and sent me for an ultrasound.  CA125 was fine which is a GOOD thing because if that is positive then you definitely have ovarian cancer.  The sono showed a cyst which can be nothing and some vague other stuff so they set me up to see a gynecologist just to make sure everything was okay. The gynecologist wanted another CA125 because it had been a few months and she sent me to a different place for another sonogram because they specialize only in women’s stuff and she felt it would be more thorough and complete there.  Well the repeat CA125 was normal and the sonogram was consistent with a cyst and not the cause of my nausea.


So…………..rule out female stuff as the cause of the nausea as well as stomach or esophagus and no gallstones.  Oh, I forgot to mention that all along each doctor (family, gastro, and gyne) said it COULD be hormonal when I suggested that it almost seemed like it was sometimes because it could happen a couple hours after I ate just out of the blue.  During all this I kept telling all of my family and friends that I truly felt it was my gallbladder because I had all the symptoms everyone else with gallbladder problems that I knew had, but the sono was negative so I guess that wasn’t what was wrong.  But somehow I knew it was……….I told hubby and others all the time that it was my gallbladder!


So………..I am back to square one, nausea is increasing and no one knows what it is.  The gastro doc keeps me on Nexium 40 mg twice a day even though that is a large dose and finally at one (April maybe?) asks me to TRY to go down to just one a day.  I tried but no go………..was better on both.  So at the next visit 2 months later (mid June I guess) you could tell he was puzzled because now the nausea is increasing despite the Nexium but they have no diagnosis so he asks me if I would be willing to try a low dose of an antidepressant which seems to help in chronic pain and chronic cases.  I said I would TRY it but I didn’t really relish the fact of being on them.  I tried it for a week………..but I couldn’t be in the sun or get hot because I got really lightheaded and overheated and red faced from it and well it just wasn’t going to work for the summer and also going to Myrtle Beach in a few weeks so stopped taking them.


I happened to have an appointment with my family doctor a couple weeks later at the end of June and I told him I meant to ask the gastro doctor this but forgot so I was going to ask him……..I wondered if there was any chance there was something wrong with my gallbladder even though the sonogram was negative.  He said yes, it could be that there are no stones but it isn’t functioning properly.  He told me I could have a HIDA scan where they would inject me with McDonald’s French fries!  He said not actually, but it would simulate that.  I said okay, let’s do it……….because I feel that is my problem.  He said he agrees because just like pursuing the female thing, if it all turns up negative then at least we will know that it isn’t my gallbladder. 


Since I was going on vacation in a couple weeks, I scheduled it for after vacation.  On July 29th I went for my HIDA scan.  They did the first part of the scan and then over to ultrasound and get that done again to verify no stones and then back to nuclear for the “grease” injection.  After about 15-20 mins I started getting nauseous.  She said the nausea would go away in a few minutes and it did go away after about 5-7 minutes I would say.  I think the saline IV helped flush the enzyme through my system.  She said “is that the same feeling you get all the time” and I said “yes, exactly”.  Right then and there I knew it WAS my gallbladder!  Of course no results until my doc gets the results.


So later in the week I get a letter in the mail from the doctor and I slowly open it and then I screamed “YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and my husband asks what and I said “IT IS MY GALLBLADDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I KNEW IT!  I KNEW IT!”  He thought I was nuts!   But he understood.  He thinks I am nuts that I am excited about having to have surgery!  But after all this time FINALLY something that can be done to give me relief!  Basically the injection fraction which is how good the gallbladder is getting rid of the bile it is storing from the liver was 13%…………and for my age it is supposed to be 60% to 70%.  In a nutshell, my gallbladder is barely functioning and the bile is staying in there and making me sick…………….or something like that.


So I went to a surgeon who couldn’t believe I had nausea all that time and finally found out it was my gallbladder.  You should have seen his face when I told him all the tests I had done and that the ONLY reason I had the HIDA scan was because I asked for it!  He said his is CONFIDENT that removing it will make me feel 95% better.  I’ll take that!  The only reason I am waiting until 9/29 to have it done is because we had tickets for games and concerts and also my daughter was visiting here looking for job and apartment and then moving here mid September……… basically that is the first I can fit it into my schedule and since I have been sick for 2 years, what is another 2 months? 


I figure now that the ER visit last November was a bad gallbladder attack, yet no one figured it out.  That is kind of bugging me, considering the gastro doc was at wits end not sure what to do…………yet if you read about gallbladder symptoms on the internet I am classic gallbladder.  Oh well.  At least in a few weeks I will be feeling better I hope!  GOODBYE GALLBLADDER!




2 responses to “Goodbye Gallbladder

  1. You sound just like my husband. We have battled with the ER and doctors for two years. 13 trips in 2006. He also had the symtom of flushing and his blood pressure would go sky high. We finally got someone to do the HIDA test and guess what? His gallbadder was working less than 50%. He had is removed yesterday and is now home, just a little sore. We hope and pray this takes care of the problem. Good luck to you and your surgery.

  2. Thanks – I’m going through tests like yours and wondering if it will end up being gallbladder pain.

    fyi: CA125 is NOT a reliable test for ovarian cancer. I have an ovarian sonogram every year due to a family history of ovarian cancer. Research is ongoing in an effort to find a reliable blood test for ovarian cancer because most women don’t get diagnosed until it is pretty advanced, thus the fatality rate is high.

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