This post is a little long but please read to the end.
You know, since the beginning of the year, I have been having trouble eating. It has been on and off and I just figured it was my fault. I was either eating too much, too fast or not chewing well enough. For a while, it seemed like I would hurt after every meal and when I did, I would blame myself and go in the bathroom and "re-deposit" the meal into the public sewer system. I knew that I shouldn't be doing that and even began to fear that I was becoming bulimic. Really, all I cared about was that it made the pain stop. But it did upset my pouch for the next day or two. So you could see how it could become a self-perpetuating problem.
Beginning back in January and again in April, my blood tests began to show some high liver enzymes. I had an abdominal ultra-sound with no results. I started feeling really sick and it would come and go very quickly. One minute I'm fine and the next I feel like I have the full blown flu, including fever and chills, body aches, etc. The chills were the worst. I would shake almost uncontrollably, teeth chattering like I was standing naked at the North Pole.
Last month, I had another abdominal ultra-sound and it showed sludge in my gall bladder. My PCP suggested I go see my surgeon. I'm glad one of us was thinking. When I went to the surgeon, he told me that he would remove the gall bladder and explore the common bile duct to check for stones. That surgery happened on June 3rd. I woke up in considerable pain with 2 drains coming out of my abdomen. One was a drain hooked into the bile duct and the other in my abdominal cavity. The surgeon worked on me for 5 hours and told me later that he had removed a marble sized gallstone from the bile duct. I came home from the hospital on the 6th and began to search online for stones in the bile duct. This is what I found out: What happens when gallstones leave the gallbladder and get into the bile duct?
This makes the problem of gallstones much more complicated for your doctor and can increase the severity of symptoms that the patient experiences. These stones can either partially or completely block the flow of bile from the liver into the intestine, and:What happens when gallstones leave the gallbladder and get into the bile duct?
If the flow of bile is blocked, the potential for a serious and severe infection known as Cholangitis (infection of the bile ducts) is very high. This problem can be life-threatening
and should be treated immediately. Symptoms include: shaking chills, high fever, severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice (turning yellow). These stones can also cause damage to the pancreas.
When my wife told the surgeon about my eating troubles and vomiting episodes, he asked me why I didn't tell him. I told him that I thought it was my fault for the reasons above. He told me, "A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, my friend". He was right. I should have been communicating with him long before my PCP recommended it. I say all that to tell you this...take it from me, especially you post-op newbies...talk to your doctor about everything. Even if you think it may be trivial or your fault that something is not going right. Don't just shrug it off and let things linger. You could be doing more damage than you know and could cause yourself some serious health problems.
The good news is I've been checked out and everything seems to be ok now. The drains were removed yesterday and I start back to work on Monday (only light duty). Guess it's time to catch up on my paperwork.