“I had my gall bladder out in May 1996. I was pretty nervous, as I was 27 at the time and had never had any type of surgery before in my life, except wisdom teeth extractions, which was no big deal for me. So needless to say, I was nervous and scared, but after years of gall bladder-related pains, which weren’t diagnosed at first because nothing was found, I was willing to have the darn thing taken out once and for all. I had the laparoscopic (sp?) surgery.

Basically for me, the surgery was a piece of cake. I was given a sedative prior to the surgery to calm me down, and all I remember is being wheeled into the operating room, which was smaller than I’d expected, and a radio was blaring music, which surprised me. Then they put a mask over my face and told me to count backwards from 10. I don’t think I even made it to 8 before I was out. Next I knew I was waking up in the recovery room and I was wheeled back to my hospital room. I slept a LOT that day, and had absolutely no appetite. I tried eating dinner that evening, which I only tried to eat jello, and I threw that up (due to the anesthesia reacton), so I gave up on eating that night. During the night I had to get up several times to go to the bathroom (urinate), so I’d call the nurse in and she’d help me wheel my little fluid carrier into the bathroom with me. I had crackers to munch on as the night went on, and by morning I was ready to eat a full breakfast with no problem.

I went home within 24 hours. My stomach/abdomen area was very sore, as you can imagine. With laparoscopic surgery, they make 3 small incisions. One between and a little lower than your breasts, one by the bellybutton, and one on the side of your torso. The longest one for me was maybe 1/2″” to 3/4″” long. I literally had band-aids on them, no stitches. My abdomen was sore for a few weeks. It hurt to sit up, lay down, push a vacuum or anything like that, it even hurt to laugh. Anything that utilizes your abdominal muscles will cause some pain. It’s amazing, you don’t think of vacuuming as using your abs!

The only after-effects I had was pain in my right shoulder when I would try to raise my arm above my head. I told my doctor about that during my follow-up visit 2 weeks after the surgery, and he said it was because when they do the surgery, they basically inflate your stomach/abdomen area with gas so the wall of your abdomen is away from the gall bladder and other organs. You basically look like you’re pregnant during the surgery! (They also aired a gall bladder surgery on TLC the weekend after mine was done, and I watched it – WOW!) Anyway, when they’re all done, they deflate your stomach, but sometimes all of the gas doesn’t come out, and it may migrate to other areas of your body like between the shoulder blades, etc. I basically had to “”work it out”” of my system, and after a month I didn’t have any more pain in my shoulder.

My personal experience with this surgery was GREAT. I had no problems and healed excellently. But not everyone will have the same experience. A friend of mine had the same surgery done, and one of her incisions was almost 3″” long, due to the size of her gall bladder when they had to pull it out. And she had a lot of problems during the healing process. She told me that if she’d known it was going to be that bad for her she wouldn’t have had it done! But I know that she had a lot of pain due to her gall bladder attacks, and I’m sure she’s much better off now.

Just thought I’d add my 2 cents worth here and give you an idea of what you may go through if/when you have the surgery done. ”