“I had my gallbladder removed when I was 18, I am 25 now. Fresh out of high school, I found myself working the overnight shift at a local store, tending to sleep a great deal during the day. During this time I decided to get my life under control. I had been obese my entire life and enough was enough. Over the course of about 6 months I lost an incredible amount of weight due to a self-created (foolish) diet consisting of less than 3 grams of fat a day, and very high in fiber. Roughly 115lbs in 6 months. I had experienced a dramatic change in my energy level, but attributed it to working the overnight hours; It wasn’t unusual for me to sleep up to 12 hours a day. Through it all, I was very happy with my life. I was down to about 220lbs, 5’10 and losing an average of 5-7lbs per week, working and sleeping away the time preparing for college.

One night while I was off work, I woke up about 3am with incredible stomach pain. I’m sure most of you have experienced this before and know exactly what it was. No position helped, I found myself laying on the floor, getting up, sitting on the stairs, going into the bathroom, waking up my parents asking for help. My mother always at the ready produced some aspirin and sent me back to bed, all to no avail. Eventually the pain subsided. A week later, another ‘attack’, this one even worse than the last. I was literally crawling across the floor crying. I ended up driving myself to the emergency room and testing revealed that I had gallstones. The doctor indicated that my gallbladder was filled like a gumball machine. The only option provided to me was laparoscopic removal of the gallbladder. I met with a surgeon that day and went on to have the procedure performed less than a week later. All the while being told that it was like having my tonsils taken out and that after a month it would be as if it never happened.

Two days following the procedure, I was rushed back into the emergency room, jaundiced, feverish, and what felt to me as if I were dying. A urinalysis was requested and my sample was the color of coca cola. The diagnosis? Shockingly enough, gallstone.

I was confused, this was supposed to be an hour long procedure and I was supposed to be on my way with a few weeks off on medical leave from work. Apparently a possibility never revealed to me had become a reality. A gallstone had found its way out of the gallbladder during the procedure and became trapped in a liver duct. Another procedure (and applicable medical bills) I was back home again.

Fast forward 7 years. (7 already…) I gained back every bit of weight lost after the near death of my metabolism. Despite taking on a more healthy diet including vegetables, non-red meat, fruits, etc and bi-daily exercise, the weight would not be stopped. Eventually I gave up. I actually gained back more than I had lost. At this point in time, no matter what I eat, I suffer stomach cramping and diarrhea within 20-30 minutes. I am always tired, my energy is spent. I’m depressed. I wish I had been told the truth in regards to the long-term effects of this procedure. At this point I should have been back to normal 6 years and about 4 months ago.

I urge anyone considering this procedure to research all of the options. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a choice. More importantly than anything, ASK QUESTIONS.

Sorry for the life story.

*Note that my experience with this procedure is not the normal outcome, most people I have spoken with regarding it have had highly positive outcomes with only minor side effects, but nothing is ever certain. Having said that, surgery should never be the first and only choice in regards to this particular illness.”