My thoughts on cholecystectomy.

Years of issues with my gallbladder led up to the decision to get it removed on May 1st, 2023, just a few days ago. Now that I have found my way out of the persistent fog of general anesthesia and past loads of post-operative soreness, I feel I can make some observations.

1.) I was concerned that I would wake up to a new zipper due to my past surgical history. This concern was one I carried between the consultation appointment and the day of my surgery. It was only after waking up and hearing that everything went as planned that the concern was gone.

2.) Laparoscopic surgery is a truly unbelievable development of modern medicine. I know it has been around for a long time but this was the first time I’ve ever had one done and it’s incredible. I had an organ removed 3 days ago and I’m not drugged up and recovering at the hospital still. I was home about 3 hours after I arrived at the hospital and I’ve had zero noteworthy issues.

3.) Opioids just make me sad and sleepy. Post-operative pain is the kind of that warrants this kind of medication and I’m glad it exists, but I was happy that I could stop using it today. I’ve switched to acetaminophen and ibuprofen and that seems to be doing the trick just fine. This is another nod to laparoscopic procedures, because if I had an open surgery, I’d have potentially had to take those drugs longer. No thanks.

4.) Food doesn’t concern me nearly as much now. I spent years being nervous eating anything even remotely fatty because my gallbladder might decide to put me down for days at a time. I know that the surgical soreness I am experiencing is worth it for the peace of mind knowing that useless (to me) organ can’t do that to me any more.

5.) The changes in food habits were largely beneficial to my overall wellness and I intend to maintain many of the changes I have implemented. If I avoid overdoing it on foods that would piss off my gallbladder, I won’t gain a bunch of weight or feel like garbage in general. Quitting drinking was a big deal too, but the damage had already been done from that.

6.) I have had more surgeries than most people ever will and it’s strange to consider this fact. My surgical history started when I was 1 year old and that is insane to be able to live this long and report on it. I know I’m lucky for how things have panned out.

7.) It’s probably too early to say I have a clean bill of health, but this was a big step in the right direction. I see this procedure as a crucial part of the process of determining where my overall health is and addressing reality as it is. Once I have recovered I intend to get blood tests to determine if my liver function has returned to normal. Better safe than sorry.

8.) My gallbladder was actively failing when it was removed. The surgical notes taken specifically noted the “markedly enlarged” appearance of my gallbladder, as well as the presence of multiple stones. I needed validation that I wasn’t imagining things and this was confirmation for me. When you get convinced you have a condition, you start looking for evidence to confirm your diagnosis, no matter how ill-informed it may be. I knew what I was feeling, where it was, and had enough diagnostic information to know I wanted to be done thinking about it.

9.) Previous open abdominal surgery caused what are referred to as adhesions, areas where the healing process created scar tissue attached at all kinds of points on the inside. These points of attachment become obstacles to be removed and navigated during surgery and I had several apparently.

10.) I also had (have) multiple incisional hernias from previous surgeries and may need to have them remediated at some point with a follow-up surgery and the installation of a hernia mesh. I suspect we will discuss this at my surgical follow-up, but the prognosis isn’t all that bad for these, so I’m not too worried about them.

I am still in the process of learning things about myself, surgery, and where the two collide, but this was an overwhelmingly positive experience. I can’t recommend it enough if you need it, night and day feelings shift.

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