I'm likely to have my gallbladder removed in upcoming months, and I have a few questions for those who ended up with a temporary or longer-lasting intolerance to fatty foods. (And I wonder if any of you ever had it
I had a mild attack in late March; an ultrasound showed stones and a contracted gallbladder. I meet with a surgeon later this month. I'd be surprised if a removal doesn't follow.
First, reality check: I'm wondering if anyone ever had a removal improve
their digestion. The contracted gallbladder, combined with an occasionally rough stomach, makes me wonder if it's been functioning at all. (I know the answer lies in a HIDA scan, but my primary says the surgeon can order one if he wants it.) If the gallbladder's been nonfunctional, I wonder if once it's out of the piping, if I'll start digesting better
if my liver and common bile duct starts taking over the job.
But. I understand some people never regain a tolerance for fat, and that others have found their body's ability to tolerate fat suddenly disappears months or years after the procedure.
Obviously, that idea freaks me the hell out. I know it only happens to about 10-15% of those who have the surgery, as far as I can tell. I'd like to ask a few questions of those who had that happen to them:
First, can you just kind of convince me that there's life after such a development? I'm blowing it up to nightmare proportions in my head, mostly from horror stories on the Internet (cf. availability heuristic
, misleading vividness
), while simultaneously being embarrassed that I'm doing so when others have it far worse. But nonetheless, I'm kind of hoping that some of you can tell me you figured out ways to adapt and make your lives fairly normal even if that happened to you.
Second, did cholestryamine (Questran) or colesevelam (Welchol) let you eat normal food and have normal movements? (And as a side note, does anyone know if either of those are affordable if you were to become uninsured? My job's fine right now, but be prepared, as they say.)
Third, if you modified your diet (instead of taking Questran or Welchol?), what did you do? How did you handle the health issue of the body needing fat, and needing fat-soluble vitamins? Were you able to keep your energy up? (I worry about being perpetually drained.) Did you find good substitutes for foodstuffs left behind?
Fourth, how did you handle situations where there simply weren't appropriate food options for you, such as dinners out with friends or highway rest stops?
Finally, did your ability to tolerate fat return? How could you tell, and how did you segue back into eating normal food?
Sorry for the anxiety-fest ...