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Old 03-02-2017, 11:39 AM   #31
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Ronnie-
Apart from the gall bladder issue, the reflux is something to be concerned about. Some years ago, my gastro wanted me to take meds for my reflux because he told me that the endoscopy was showing some 'damage.'

I started with the meds, but then I read how they can actually make things worse, so I did a couple of 'elimination' diets and discovered that cheese was the villain. In the past 7-8 years, I haven't had a single episode of reflux after eliminating cheese.

I'm convinced that the foods will differ, but if you can find the source (and are willing to eliminate it), it's great to live without reflux--or meds.
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Old 03-02-2017, 11:54 AM   #32
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Leo, I agree with you and I'm glad you found the source of your reflux. I wish DH could be as disciplined as you; he's quite overweight, should be taking his Metformin for Metabolic Syndrome, but he doesn't take it so he can't lose weight as he has a high fasting insulin. My sister is worse, she has reflux and a stent and because she refuses to watch her diet she's on a ton of meds including proton pump inhibitor. Unlike me, she never questions her doctor. She's been on a PPI for over a year which is not good, but it's either that or suffer with pain as she's not willing to give up her favorite unhealthy foods.
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Old 03-02-2017, 05:22 PM   #33
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I remember a time when I lived on tums and sugar free hard candy to soothe my throat.
That was long before the H pylori and gastritis diagnosis....if I had only paid more attention.

I couldn't handle the acid reducing meds so weaned myself.
I did have to make some pretty serious dietary changes, though.

If your husband would drink gasoline for relief, maybe he would change his diet more gradually...
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Old 03-02-2017, 05:39 PM   #34
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Good point, jem. Tomorrow we'll have more information.
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Old 03-03-2017, 12:12 PM   #35
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So, DH had the upper endoscopy today. A little bit of excitement....about fifteen minutes after they brought him in, the nurse came out and told me that they were having a power failure so they had to wait to do the procedure. Then ten minutes later she came out and said they had power in one room so they were going to do the procedure in there. And then around 15 minutes later, all the lights went out. Needless to say, I was upset that the power went out in the middle of his procedure. Another nurse came out and said they were able to finish the endoscopy with a portable generator. Anyway, the doctor told us that DH has a hiatal hernia which caused acid reflux resulting in esophageal erosion (for which he prescribed a PPI). He said he still thinks the attacks were from gallbladder gallstones, but he can't be 100% sure because of what he found. So, he said to continue eating low fat, stay away from alcohol and take the meds and if DH has another attack, then it's gallbladder for sure. Meanwhile, he said keep the appointment with the surgeon for March 23rd and see what he says. Of course a surgeon wants to do surgery, and if Joe does not have an attack until then, well, who knows. So, it's been 2 weeks since he's had an attack....he's a little nervous because the last two attacks were 2 weeks apart. So, now we wait until March 23rd.
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Old 03-03-2017, 08:01 PM   #36
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Sounds like they are in top of things. Bad gallbladders don't go away, but hopefully the lowfat is helping. March 23rd is a long time.
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Old 03-04-2017, 05:06 AM   #37
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Surgeons don't always want to do surgery. You can evaluate this one when you meet with him/her. It's obvious to me when they 'push' for surgery, and I'm sure you'll notice, too. I've had THREE situations where symptoms and primary doctors advised surgery--and the surgeons advised against it for a variety of reasons. In each case, I followed the surgeons' advice and have never regretted it.

But it's likely if your husband sticks to low fat that he may not have another attack before your appointment, so that should not influence your decision--unless he thinks he wants to remain low fat long term.
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Old 03-04-2017, 08:45 AM   #38
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Ronnie-
Surgeons don't always want to do surgery. You can evaluate this one when you meet with him/her. It's obvious to me when they 'push' for surgery, and I'm sure you'll notice, too. I've had THREE situations where symptoms and primary doctors advised surgery--and the surgeons advised against it for a variety of reasons. In each case, I followed the surgeons' advice and have never regretted it.

But it's likely if your husband sticks to low fat that he may not have another attack before your appointment, so that should not influence your decision--unless he thinks he wants to remain low fat long term.
I really don't think DH can do low fat long term, but I know for a fact that he just doesn't want surgery, even if it is laparoscopy. My concern for the surgery is that because he's already had two abdominal surgeries on his right side (appendectomy and incisional hernia repair), they won't be able to do laparoscopy because of scar tissue and/or the mesh that was inserted for the hernia repair. I did ask the gastro doctor and he said usually that shouldn't preclude the less invasive surgery, but that is a question I would have to ask the surgeon. The gastro doctor seemed concerned about what could happen if DH doesn't get the surgery soon, citing stones getting stuck in the common bile duct causing jaundice and pancreatitis, and he scared me with his scenarios. As it stands now, if the surgeon does suggest surgery, DH is determined to wait until after we return from SC on April 15th. I've read many many accounts on message boards where people wait months for surgery in England and Canada and they seem to do okay. Of course if it were up to me, I'd postpone the trip and I've mentioned that to DH several times, but he doesn't want to. One of the problems is that it's difficult for him to get people to cover for him at work, and he's all set for the first two weeks in April. Meanwhile he's taking the PPI and he has no pain. I do appreciate everyone's input, thank you!
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Old 03-06-2017, 06:09 AM   #39
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I've read many many accounts on message boards where people wait months for surgery in England and Canada and they seem to do okay.
UK person here and this is true Apart from anything else, if people have had severe inflammation this side of peritonitis (happened to my mother) then it allows everything to settle down in the pre-surgery period. That said, my mother was scrupulous about eating low-fat.

To this day, I've never forgotten visiting my mother in hospital when she was admitted in the 'just this side of peritonitis' stage and being appalled at the grim aroma and sight of her lunch of boiled liver on a plate (don't even ask me why they thought this was a low-fat item - I think they just boiled whatever was being baked for everyone else).
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Old 03-06-2017, 01:39 PM   #40
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You know, he might be fine for your trip. If he does get an attack, there is probably a hospital nearby if it is unbearable. Otherwise, most times, it passes. My friend's gallbladder turned into a big stone..The sooner he gets surgery after your trip the better. That way,
you are pretty sure of getting the little surgery.

A friend just had hers out, but she was slightly nauseous afterwards. They give you Prilosec, etc. Protonix to take for a while afterwards. Not all of them work the same..Protonix worked
best for me..

Heads up and prayers
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Old 03-06-2017, 02:13 PM   #41
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Thank you for your insight and caring words, Carolyn. I do hope he doesn't have an attack during the trip. I'm thinking we'll schedule the surgery for the week we return with enough time to get cleared by his PCP. He is watching his diet which may also help him lose some weight. I do know that if he does have an attack before we go the trip is off.
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Old 03-06-2017, 03:41 PM   #42
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A few questions for you, Carolyn. Before your surgery, how many attacks did you have? How long did they usually last? Did they include nausea? Fever? And were you perfectly fine between attacks, or did you feel ill? From what I've read, although they were quite painful, DH's attacks are considered on the milder side based on duration (2-3 hours), and the fact that he had no nausea or fever, plus he's fine when he's not getting an attack. We're not happy with the radiology report from his ultrasound because all it said was "Gallbladder: There is cholelithiasis". It did not mention if he several small stones or one large one. I've read that several small stones can be more dangerous because they are the ones that can get stuck in a bile duct. DH is planning to go to the imaging center and request that the Radiologist supply more information if possible. Did your ultrasound give you some details as to the stones that were seen? Thank you very much!
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Old 03-06-2017, 04:19 PM   #43
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You should be able to get a detailed report and they have the ultrasound films so can have a second look any time.

Often, small stones will pass with little or no discomfort. Anything too big to pass will block or get stuck in the common bile duct causing pain.

Absolutely, go get a full report and ask for copies of the pic with the stone(s).
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Old 03-06-2017, 04:57 PM   #44
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Thanks, jem! I'll tell DH.
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Old 03-06-2017, 06:22 PM   #45
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A few questions for you, Carolyn. Before your surgery, how many attacks did you have? How long did they usually last? Did they include nausea? Fever? And were you perfectly fine between attacks, or did you feel ill? From what I've read, although they were quite painful, DH's attacks are considered on the milder side based on duration (2-3 hours), and the fact that he had no nausea or fever, plus he's fine when he's not getting an attack. We're not happy with the radiology report from his ultrasound because all it said was "Gallbladder: There is cholelithiasis". It did not mention if he several small stones or one large one. I've read that several small stones can be more dangerous because they are the ones that can get stuck in a bile duct. DH is planning to go to the imaging center and request that the Radiologist supply more information if possible. Did your ultrasound give you some details as to the stones that were seen? Thank you very much!

I never felt acute pain, just nausea after eating. My mom experienced acute pain before she had hers out, though. She was fine in between attacks, too.

I had 8 round gallstones and they put them in a little vial for me. They were pea sized. The radiologist saw them when I had my ultrasound. I think they move around and that is why one can go to the bile duct and hurt.
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:17 AM   #46
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Thank you for the information, Carolyn!
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:23 AM   #47
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Gallbladder attacks can be so different. I had bouts of acute pain under my ribs, but was fine in between. My mom would vomit if she ever tried to bend over (like to use a dust pan) and felt slightly ill the rest of the time, but no pain.
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:25 AM   #48
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I had incredible pain, so much that I went to the ER at one point.
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:30 AM   #49
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Yes, I see how individual the pain can be. DH said his pain was a 7 or 8 which is pretty bad especially considering he said he would drink gasoline to stop the pain (when I asked him if he would drink apple cider vinegar in apple juice). He feels he could ride out an attack now especially since he now knows what it is. I thank you all again for your invaluable information.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:34 PM   #50
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I don't have "stones" per se but I do have "sludge" which translates to thickened bile that has tiny stones the size of sand or a little larger. I take so many supplements----Chanca Piedro (which translates to stone breaker), lecithin, stuff for a healthy gallbladder and liver, malic acid, ascorbic acid, etc. It's all helped and I've passed small stones. The gallbladder cleanse doesn't work so no sense at n trying it. I recently read that there is a hypothesis that low vitamin c (ascorbic acid) could quite possibly be a major reason for gallstone formation. (I know I have a history of low vitamin c intake.)

The loss of a gall bladder can lead to other digestive issues so that's why I'm fighting hard to keep mine.

I only have pain (dull, not attacks) if i go overboard with fat----I mean waaaay overboard.

Most docs say "yank it out!" and tell you there is no other solution. I'm glad I tried to fix it on my own as the supplements do work. I'm in no way shape or form eating a low fat diet. I just don't go on cheese binges and I'm ok.

Supplements won't work for everyone as there is also a risk involved in keeping a non fully functional gallbladder.

Oddly enough I had a few high fat meals and had a bile "dump" into my intestines. Maybe this is tmi but I can tell my gallbladder is functioning better now. Not sure exactly what's going on?
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:06 AM   #51
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Thank you for your post, Goldie. At this point we're not sure what to do. DH has not had an attack in three weeks, but he's staying away from beef which is what he ate for dinner before two attacks. I can't say his diet is really low fat though. It's possible the "attacks" were due to his acid reflux which is why the gastro doctor said he's not sure at this point what caused the pain. He's now on a PPI so if the acid reflux was the cause, it would explain why he hasn't had another one. DH couldn't get more information on his ultrasound report as to what size the stones were, but they did give him a CD. Of course it means nothing to us, but the surgeon may want to look at it.
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:05 AM   #52
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Yes, Ronnie, I think the surgeon will want to look at the CD.

I've had tests like that where they give me the CD with no comment, and I've discovered that it's for whatever doctors are involved in the testing. I don't know whey they didn't tell me that.

I always bring it to follow up appointments.
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Old 03-11-2017, 03:47 PM   #53
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I went to work the day after I had gallbladder surgery so I think you guys could still go on your trip. It is outpatient surgery and considered minor these days.
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Old 03-11-2017, 05:14 PM   #54
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I went to work the day after I had gallbladder surgery so I think you guys could still go on your trip. It is outpatient surgery and considered minor these days.
That's good to hear. Although as it stands now, DH is not planning on having the surgery until after we return if at all. No attacks now for 3 weeks. I would chalk it up to eating low fat but the truth is, he's not eating that low fat, especially during the day. So, according to the gastro doctor, it is possible that his pain was due to the acid for which he now takes medication. DH plans on giving the surgeon the ultrasound CD so he can see exactly what the radiologist saw, discuss with him what the gastro doctor said, and see if the surgeon feels the attacks could have been from acid reflux. The gastro doctor told him to stay away from alcohol and that's what DH misses the most....a glass or two of wine with dinner. We'll see what the surgeon says....appointment is March 23rd.
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:02 AM   #55
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Sadly, Ronnie, they may be 'guessing' at what's wrong. I've told you about my mysterious gall bladder attacks about 10 years ago, which resolved with low fat eating because of all the tests showing no gall bladder issues.

But I had another gall-bladder related problem about 5 years later, about which there are a couple of medical theories. It was an unusually hot late spring day, and I was visiting my sister (about 2 hours away) and went to her office. While waiting for her to finish work, I got a sudden, intense pain across my abdomen that lasted about 20 min. Then it was gone, but when I got up to leave, I collapsed (fainted). Her boss at the time was a neurosurgeon, so he told them to call 911 and worked to revive me. When the medics got there, I could not sustain my BP, and they advised going to the ER.

The neuro took my sister aside and said, "She has great insurance, so they're going to try to admit her. I know. I practice there. I'm sure she's just suffering from dehydration, so don't let her be admitted."

In the ambulance, they started a saline IV, but as soon as the ER doctor examined me, he stopped it. My sister was suspicious, and then the doctor told us that I had pancreatitis--the numbers were definite. That is, as you know, life
threatening, and it scared us. My sister phoned her boss, and he told her that it was only dehydration, and that can easily skew lab values.

But we were scared, and I was admitted. The next morning, the consulting gastro told me that all my lab values were normal--and he had never seen a case of pancreatitis resolve that quickly. He said it takes days at the least, and often weeks. BUT he added that what 'probably' happened is that I passed a very small gallstone that 'tipped' the pancreas--which is easily irritated. He suggested I have the gall bladder removed, and remembering my past experiences, I was all for it.

But they had to do scans first to confirm--and there were no stones in the gall bladder. So no surgery. That doesn't mean I didn't have a very small stone that had been the problem. OR the neuro may have been right all along that it was simply dehydration (hot day and I was traveling and not hydrating normally).

When my own gastro got the hospital records, he told me that given the diagnosis, they could now make a 'case' for removing my gall bladder, and he recommended it. But by now I didn't trust that anyone really knew what had happened. There was no apparent issue with my gall bladder, and I was able to eat fat with no problems, so I declined. I've had no problems since then.

I continue to be amazed at how much medical practice involves 'guessing,' and those guesses are, unfortunately, often influenced by expediency.
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:37 AM   #56
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Thank you for sharing your experience, Leo. That was certainly frightening and I'm glad you've been okay since that experience, and I hope you continue to do well. You're absolutely right that the doctors are guessing what's causing DH's attacks. Although a big difference is that your scan showed no stones while DH's did, and that was after his last attack so if he did pass stones during any of his three attacks, he still had remaining stones. His gastro doctor came right out and said he has no idea if the attacks were from the gallbladder or from the acid reflux; I guess the esophageal erosion is bad enough that he felt it could cause that kind of pain. DH is in no hurry to have the surgery despite the gastro doctor scaring us with possible scenarios if the problem is the gallbladder. I do know that DH would definitely have the surgery if he suffered another attack since he is on meds for the acid reflux. But as I posted previously, he's not exactly eating low fat and so far so good (as I knock on wood). He's hoping the surgeon will look at the CD and give us more information as to the size and location of the gallstones since at this point we know nothing, just that he has them. I do appreciate you sharing your experiences, Leo. It does indeed illustrate that doctors are guessing much of the time.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:58 PM   #57
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Yes, Ronnie, many people have gallstones with no symptoms at all, so it could be all his acid reflux. I hope the surgeon can tell more from the scans.

My gastro was very upset over what he termed 'minor esophageal erosion' way back when I was experiencing reflux. I assume your DH takes meds to alleviate that?

I don't know whether I mentioned it, but I discovered via an elimination diet to see how dairy affected me that cheese was the cause of my reflux. I haven't had a problem since I eliminated cheese (basically all dairy except butter).
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Old 03-24-2017, 06:33 PM   #58
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Not sure anyone is still following this thread, but here is the update after seeing the surgeon. The surgeon said he does not trust ultrasounds done in this country (he's from Switzerland), because here a tech takes the pictures and then it's interpreted by a radiologist and that just isn't reliable because so much depends on how the images are taken. So, he's sending DH for a CT scan of his entire abdominal area and pelvis. I think he's including the pelvis because of DH's history of appendicitis and incisional hernia repair. DH still hasn't had another attack, and he's not exactly eating low fat. But he still hasn't touched beef since beef dinners precipitated two attacks, plus he's stayed away from alcohol as instructed by the gastro doctor. So, we're hoping they can schedule him for the CT scan next week, as we're going away the following week for two weeks, and he has another appointment with the surgeon on April 18th, which would have to be postponed if DH doesn't have the CT scan next week. So, that's where we are.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:08 PM   #59
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Thanks for the update...I can see where beef would be harder to digest. Hope he doesn't have another attack..
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Old 03-25-2017, 05:35 AM   #60
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Not sure anyone is still following this thread, but here is the update after seeing the surgeon. The surgeon said he does not trust ultrasounds done in this country (he's from Switzerland), because here a tech takes the pictures and then it's interpreted by a radiologist and that just isn't reliable because so much depends on how the images are taken.
In the UK, it's the radiologist who conducts the US to ensure that the appropriate imaging is done (exceptions are anaesthetists who do their own US for guided nerve blocks and such).

It's fascinating how much this varies from one country to another (and wrt radiation and imaging, there can be vast differences even within the US from one state to another, as I understand it - which is why DXA scanning is accessible and affordable in some states but not in others).
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