My Gallbladder has been removed – my post op recovery story

My Gallbladder has been removed…. gone!

I am now 3 days on from having my gallbladder removed so thought I would update you all on how it went and how I am feeling. So if you are reading and just about to go through the same thing I can give you some tips and advice.

Please share with friends going through it. As I have now discovered it’s an incredibly common operation and unfortunately a result of our extravagant/over indulged lifestyles. The common reason for gall stones are the 4 F’s, Female, Forty, Fertile and Fat. I have been over weight my entire life, I am 40 next year, and am definitely fertile and female.

My Gallbladder has been removed - my post op recovery story

Hospital Admission

I arrived at hospital at 7am Monday morning. Hubby and the boys dropped me off in the rain at the Lister hospital. The boys were not too happy at being woken up early to drop me off but they did at least give me a kiss and waved me off. I found the admissions ward, checked in and awaited my call through to the ward.

I was called through to a seated private area where I just had to sit and chill and wait. The nurse popped in to say hello and tell me what was happening. I was checked in, given my tags, had my observations taken. We checked out all my test results from the previous Friday and everything was good to go. My low platelets (I have a blood disorder called ITP) had risen slightly to 104, these should be 250 to 400, but they only really worry when they are less than 80. The nurse confirmed that I was second on the list for Mr Gupta, my consultant, I was after a long 4-hour operation that had to go first.

I knew I was there for a few hours. I did a little bit of work, watched some I-player programs I had downloaded and listened to a money to the masses podcast. Various people popped in whilst I waiting. I saw the anaesthetist, a student doctor, the registrar and Mr Gupta my consultant.

Everyone pretty much asked the same questions, my name, address, date of birth, any allergies, medical issues, metal in body, was I pregnant. I had a long chat to the student doctor about all things medical history/parents. That kept me amused for at least 20 minutes. And I made the anaesthetist promise to keep me alive.

Theatre time

8-9-16-gallbladder-stockings

At 11am I was rushed into the theatre waiting area, an hour early! I say rushed I had to wait a while once in there but I was now in my theatre robe and wearing my ultra-sexy anti blood-clot stockings. I was asked the same questions again 3 times And finally at 12 I was taken through the anaesthetic room. The anaesthetist and his nurse assistant were lovely, they put at ease just chatting about stuff. We spoke about Mrs Mummypenny and my boys. They got the cannula in with no pain and I went under general anaesthetic.

I woke up at 1:30pm in a complete state of confusion and feeling sick!  I know I stayed in recovery for a while but can’t remember much of the following 3 hours. My face was so itchy and I kept needing to wee. A nurse was looking after me 1:1 for this whole 3 hours. She was lovely and turns out her son also plays for Cambridge academy like Dylan, such a small world.

Recovery in the aftercare ward

At 4:30 I was transferred to the main ward, again really private and I was put right next to nurse station as I think they were a bit worried about why my recovery had taken so long. I just rested, drank water, attempted a few visits to the toilet to wee and tried to stay on top of the pain.

I was taking morphine for the pain and was having to take it every 2 hours. And I tried so many times to wee but couldn’t. I wasn’t allowed to be discharged until I had no 1 weed and no 2 got the pain under control.

At 8pm hubby and the boys turned up. Monday was the first day back at school and they had just been to football training, we had tried to keep the day as normal as possible for them. When they arrived I was allowed to go out into the waiting area with them which triggered me actually going for a wee. I felt better with the pain and they were very keen to discharge me (there were no beds available for the night anyways!) so I came home.

Home time

I was bruised and sore but at home. With 4 big holes in my tummy. I say big they’re not big. I have one under my belly button, 1 top of tummy and then 2 to right of tummy. They are maybe 1/2cm each. I got home lied on sofa and didn’t move except for a wee. I slept on the sofa with my legs propped up. 

Tuesday was a challenging day. I realised in the morning that my pain killers were not enough. I left the hospital with paracetamol and ibuprofen. Not enough and I was in a lot of pain as the day progressed. I managed to get to speak to doctor in the afternoon who prescribed codeine, my neighbour Lucy grabbed them for me from chemist.

On Tuesday I faced the painful task of changing the dressing. I was scared to see what was underneath, but it was fine.  All the wounds looked fine. I cried a bit as it did hurt at that point. But then fell asleep and slept well for 8 hours.

Wednesday was a good day, regular taking of painkillers meant that I was comfortable all day and even had a couple of friends Cathy & Marianne bringing flowers, gifts, digestion friendly food, warming autumnal soup.

8-9-16-gallbladder-flowers

It’s now Thursday and I have had another good night sleep. I am in much less pain and am going to reduce the painkillers a bit today. The new problem today is that I am constipated. Codeine and Morphine are known to cause constipation. So far no amount of aloe vera, movicol or prune juice has been successful in getting things moving.

Overall everything was fine and I feel okay

Overall I am feeling okay. The first 2 days were tough but I have had a piece of my body removed! I’m looking forward to life without the gallbladder pain and not worrying about any new type of food I try through fear of what it may do to my stomach.

I am off to the UK personal finance bloggers SHOMO awards on Saturday. I’m on the shortlist for 3 awards so I am absolutely 100%  attending. This was me, looking incredibly thin, but feeling great after the operation. Today I feel fine, life just gets back to normal. Next week will be okay to start walking around and I am to go see my GP just to check everything is okay before exercising again. I’ll start with light pilates.

I’ll report back again in a few weeks with a report on any further pain, how I cope with food, what’s happening to things like my weight and when I can exercise again!

Update after the operation

Since the operation I have never experienced the pain again that I felt when I still had a gall bladder. There are certain foods that I cant eat without feeling cramped, anything very fatty is a definite no. But overall the operation was a success and life has gone back to normal without any trips to A&E in extreme pain.

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Lynn Beattie

Aka Mrs MummyPenny

Personal Finance Expert

I write about personal finance made simple, lifestyle choices that will save you time and money, as well as products and services that offer great value.

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17 Responses

  1. Hello,
    Curious about how you’re doing?

    Love to know all the details, I am fighting getting it removed but im having a ton of other issues right now with rapid weightloss, malnutrition, depleted muscles and a digestive system that doesn’t want to work.

    I don’t know what the cause is but wanting to make sure that the surgery would be a good idea.

    Hope you’re well!

    1. Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Surgery was really the best solution for me. No more pain and I am able to eat now much more than I could. Red meat & high fat & eggs are still a no as it wine, but generally I am much happier. So I would say go for it. The gall bladder pain is so awful, but not now its gone.

  2. Thank you for this article. I’m looking at potentially having my gall bladder out very soon and was curious to know from an actual patient how long the recovery was. I currently have no pain at all and no problems with foods but have had incredible itching for 7 weeks starting with hands and feet and then going to my whole body. With natural therapies I’ve controlled that except for the burning itching feet at night keeping me awake, but my liver function tests are very abnormal so their best guess now is that there are stones in my bile duct causing infection. Waiting on MRCP test to confirm before surgery. Ideally I didn’t want an organ taken out but if it allows me to sleep by getting rid of the burning, itchy feet it’ll be well worth it. I share this all here partly to help anyone else out who is going through similar. It’s quite an atypical presentation of gallstones/gall bladder disease if that’s what it ends up being. If it’s not the doctors have no idea what it is!

    Once again thanks for the great article and I hope you are very well now!

    Louise, Australia

    1. Thank you for this. I did not know about this symptom. But omg I know how awful itching can be and how it keeps you awake. The gallbladder is pretty useless and you can do without it. As long as you have keyhole the recovery is pretty quick. I hope that all is okay with you and that you are happy with test results and decision to be made.

  3. Love to know how to cope after gallbladder surgery as my sister in law told me she would kindly send sum pizza around after, she said homemade DOESN’T SHE UNDERSTAND pizza worst thing homemade or not
    what can I say
    to me this us no help why don’t people ask what u can eat & do sumthimg u can eat not WHAT THEY THINK U CAN EAT
    LUV TO hear back with anyone about thus problem to me that’s no support at all
    Think I will buy & make myself sum foods before hand I can freeze
    we are the one who will end up back in hospital not her

    she

    1. Yes you need food that is very low in fat, so avoid meat and dairy products and anything cooking in oil. Go easy on your body, fish, vegetables, brown rice are your friends for a few days/ weeks afterwards.

  4. Thanks for sharing your story with this – I’m due to have my gallbladder out but concerned about long term digestion issues. I’ve suffered with (mainly bloating and constipation) digestion problems for years and worried about it becoming worse after surgery and regretting the decision. Just wondering if you’ve had any problems with your digestion apart from the initial month or so while your body adjusts? Sounds like you often avoid fatty meals anyway, but I’m wondering if this also means healthy fats such as avocados?

  5. Hi..
    I stumbled across your blog. I had my gallbladder removed today. I generally wasn’t prepared for the pain. I’m in agony. Feel ok when I lay still but moving is torture. I have 5 incisions (one in belly button, on at top of the tummy area and 3 down my right side). I was only discharged with paracetamol and imbrufeon. I’m going to ask for something stronger.
    Every other blog I’ve read people seemed pain free so I was curious as to why I seemed in so much pain. Your blog has put my mind at rest so thank you

    1. So glad my blog has helped! Good luck with the recovery, it will be worth it to get rid of any gall stones related pain that I assume you had before.

  6. hey! i’m 15 and have severe anxiety and gerd(severe acid reflux). i have tests to be done monday for my gallbladder. i’ve had severe constipation and pain for the longest. i don’t do well when it comes to vomit and nausea(anxiety related) honestly and my doc said it’s very likely surgery is the option. i have a few questions: could i choose regional anesthesia for this surgery? what foods would you recommend after surgery with someone who has gerd? any tips to avoid pain as much as possible?

  7. Hi,
    I am 1 day post op, I have. 4 incisions , I feel ok except for when I cough or need to move to go to the toilet and then my abdomen is very painful but nothing compared to the pain of passing gall stones .
    I was in and out on the same day , NHS staff were wonderful and I attended a green light hospital which has No covid cases .
    Dressings to be changed tomorrow , as a nurse I will remove my own clips, I’d suggest anyone to have gall bladder removed if offered , my mum died of an infected gall stone that caused sepsis, so I’m now relieved that mine has gone along with the stones and pain was expected as a post op negative , good luck to you all who suffer this agonising condition xxxx

  8. So glad I found this blog. Have been in constant pain from April. Finally have a date for my op in 3 wks. But constantly thinking is it the way to go , I’ve done to much research and scared myself silly. Having read some of the messages on here now feel so much better.

  9. Had my gallbladder removed 3 weeks ago. Was in a lot of pain before it was removed. Felt a burning pain on the upper right side of the stomach and the pain would be at the back aswell. After the op i had four very small holes on my stomach. The first 2 days i felt a lot if pain and the painkillers helped me a lot. Um sticking to low fat foods and i have never had any problems so far. Its not even a scary experience at all. I feel thankful that i have managed to get it removed. Now um a free lady.

  10. Hi

    I had my gallbladder removed in March 2018 I had started to lose weight for my better health and started to get the pain of passing gallstones the doctor told me this was a effect caused by losing weight, I had lost over 2 stone by this point. Had my surgery and 3 weeks later was rushed to A&E by ambulance to what was told “phantom pain” when a removal of an organ is taking away and can be common. Since then I continued to lose weight and lost a total of 4 stone. But I have still suffered on and off with the pain ever since. My GP sent me back for a scan but everything was fine. I avoid fatty foods as much as I can and from losing weight always eat heatlhy. But wondered if anyone else still suffers with this? GP now blames it on Acid Reflux and prescribes Lapranzole (acid tablets) but it doesn’t even work. Was such a great thing at the time getting removed but I’ve suffered more now than ever! 🙁

  11. Hi ladies

    So glad I found this I’ve been having shocking pains due to gallstones. Had an ultrasound on Monday. Docs called me today asking whaT I wanted to do do I’ve been referred to have it taken out.
    Just can’t cope with the pain any more. I just hope that after I’ve has it out I can get back to enjoying a meal out or a small portion of chips without being in pain.

  12. Hi,
    I’m booked in to have my gallbladder removed on Wednesday. I’m feeling really nervous but am also worried about weight gain after surgery. Wondering if it effects if you can have a wine or not once you are recovered?

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