Gallstones

Hi after worrying myself silly regard recent blood test my husband had. Hi levels of enzymes showed up in his liver. He went for his ultrasound scan this morning and it appears he has gallstones, the pain and symptoms he has had for the last 2 months certainly match those of gallstones but we have been putting down to dumping syndrome which my husband has had from the very beginning after his Ivor Lewis. Are gallstones quite common in people who have gone thru this type of operation. I can't believe how ill he has been and we kept saying surely this amount of pain cannot be normal 4 months on. I do feel relieved it wasn't anything more sinister but really needs sorting soon as its all getting so much for my poor hubby. He had clots and 2 heart attacks caused by pre op chemo. He had anastigmatic leak collapsed lungs and sepsis after his op. He's had 5 dilatations and can barely. Eat and has no energy to walk. Now this pain my heart is breaking for him. I will encourage him to call your helpline for some support as he really needs it. Many thanks Helen.

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  • Helen

    Good luck to both of you. It certainly sounds like you are getting more than your fair share here. I can offer no medical advice, sorry.

    I did not tolerate the post op chemo, despite various changes in the treatment to try and make it tolerable for me. I managed just over a month of it. But started to lose my sight and was reduced barely living. We all agreed to stop it as I genuinely believed I would not survive. My understanding is that there is no real clear stance on post op chemo? some say yes, some say no. The evidence, for and against, is also (I was told) not decisive either way.

    I am now eighteen months post op and life is starting to return to "normal". I think that what happens is that you just adjust to live with the surgical changes and pains that they leave you with. I am still having treatment for back and rib pain (epidurals into my spine). Other than this I am fine so can't complain.

    Best wishes to you both.

    Bruce

  • I do not think gallstones are caused by the surgery, but the gall bladder is part of your digestive system that has had a shock, and it might be that the changes in balance of food, diet and so on make things worse for a potential problem that may have been there in the background beforehand. I know others who have had to have their gallbladder removed afterwards, so it is not rare, but it is not routine either. The pain of gallstones is certainly something that you need to be without, and you certainly would not wish to delay treatment for it. It would be nowhere near as serious as his main operation, but we all have memories we want to put behind us, and do not like the idea of further procedures at all, do we!

    I suspect that fat in your husband's diet is likely to be an issue, and it would be prudent to consult a specialist Upper GI dietician, if your hospital has one, as this will affect what food would be suitable and it is an extra complication.

    It does take a long time to recover after what your husband has been through and it cannot be rushed, but try and find something nutritious and fluid, like soups etc to gradually build up his energy levels, and ask for a test on his mineral and vitamin levels.

    It may not seem like it at the time, but the body does have a remarkable ability to recover and heal after all this trauma, and it is a lot to come to terms with emotionally as well.

  • I had my gall bladder removed 18 months after my Ivor Lewis op. I was just beginning to get back to a normal routine when I started with the pain and it was pain with a capital P. I also had a leak after my original op and spent nearly 9 weeks in hospital. However I am now 9 year down the line and doing well. There is light at the end of the tunnel so keep smiling and soldier on.

    Best Wishes to you both

  • Thank you for your reply, it really does help hearing from others who can share there experience. May you continue to do well x

  • There does seem to be a higher risk of gallstones after major upper GI surgery, based purely on observations. My personal opinion is that when fats (along with all other foods) are rapidly dumped into the small bowel, the amount of bile released is quite large, and it is released quickly. The body creates quite a bit of bile in preparation for these episodes, which may not happen on a regular schedule. Also, the feeding products put into the J-tube can also stimulate bile production. All this bile can sit in the ducts or gallbladder and coalesce into stones. This is purely me thinking out loud.

    We eat differently after this or similar operations, and the body has to adjust in so many ways after these procedures. I am glad that your husband was finally diagnosed, and that it is a problem that can be resolved either by surgery or ERCP.

    On this path, there are many stumbling blocks. Sometimes it feels like two steps forward and three steps back. We learn as we go along, and sometimes we have to accept that we aren't fully in control of the situation. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband. Keep fighting. \wc

  • Thank you so much for your reply. What you say makes a lot of sense to me. I get encouraged when I hear positive shares like this. Thanks again Helen x

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