If you've read my guest post over at Paleo Living Magazine, you know my stance on gallbladder surgery and what people who have lost their gallbladders should do to support your digestion. I had to find out this information the hard way. My liver resection and gallbladder removal, according to my surgeon, would have no long term effects.
If there is one thing that I have learned in the 18 months since my surgery, it is that surgeons are usually incredibly brilliant people in their field. Their work is impressive, and I have great respect for what they do. But I also know, from my own experience and that of others, that many times, not all information is passed on to the client.
In my case this meant that I was told that the gallbladder is practically a useless organ, and that I would not experience any lasting side effects when it is gone. As you may have seen in my gallbladder post, this wasn't entirely true. I have to take bile salts with each meal, if I don't want chronic diarrhea and stomach cramps.
Another thing I was told, was that my liver would be just fine, and that I could live my life and not worry about it.
My liver did regenerate in 6 short weeks, which is in itself a miracle. And it appears to be doing what a liver is supposed to do as far as I can tell. But, it is also extremely sensitive to alcohol. A glass or two of wine are no problem. If I drink more than that, I experience pain in my upper right quadrant, speak: the liver area.
This doesn't have a huge impact on my life. I generally don't like to drink too much anyway, and I know to be gentle with the queen of all organs. But I wish, I'd received a memo about this and the ongoing gallbladder support I would need.
Last year in October, my dear friend had a benign brain tumor removed. It was sitting behind her pituitary. The surgeon performing this surgery was the best in his field. The surgery went well, and my friend left the hospital in less than a week. What she didn't know was that almost 50% of patients who undergo this kind of surgery so close to the pituitary end up needing medication (in the form of a shot into your abdomen) for the rest of their lives.
These are just two examples. I've spoken with many other patients, and their stories all sound similar. Side effects, nutrition, long term effects, none of these subjects are being discussed with patients, and it is up to the patient to do their homework, get second opinions, and prepare for surgery accordingly.
I wish I had a spreadsheet for each person reading my blog, who has to undergo surgery. I wish I could inform each patient of risks, side effects, things to do, things to avoid, for their very specific case. Unfortunately, this is impossible.
However, I have written a Quick Guide to Surgery and Recovery, which will be published very soon. It will provide you the tools you need to be prepared for your surgery, and all the things you need to do before, during, and after your hospital stay. I am currently editing this guide, which will be short and precise and provide hands on real life advice without a lot of unnecessary talk around it. Stay tuned! I'll announce it here when it is ready for purchase.