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Gallbladder Attacks

Julie 44
Posts: 479
Joined: Oct 2008

Hi there I just wanted to know if alot of you have had a gallbladder attack while on chemo (Folfox)...
Last week I started to have terrible pain in my chest..Went to ER and my liver count was high so they did an ultra sound on my gallbladder..I had three stones...Was admitted to the hospital and did pass the stones..Had terrible pain,dry heaves,sweating to the point where my shirt was soaked. It felt like labor again..Then they gave me a endoscope test..It showed no more stones but they put a shunt in just in case of more stones...I need my gallbladder out but since I have 3 more treatments left they will wait..I also have to much scar tissue from my colon surgery to have it done laproscopically..so it will take longer to recover and they want me to be strong..So we shall see what happens. Hopefully no more attacks..I was in the hospital for 4 days with this..
So I was told that cancer and chemo has nothing to do with gallbladder but I hear a couple of us did have the same problem so I am very interested in knowing if this is a problem for more of us than they think...

dianetavegia's picture
dianetavegia
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

I'm 58 and never had a tummy problem in my life (never, ever sick in fact) until after my DX of colon cancer on Jan. 2nd (2009).

I'm having attacks about every 2 weeks. I thought they were spasms of some sort. My liver enzymes are going up and down with the attacks. I was able to document them by going back and reading my 3 year old blog on Crosswalk.com. Three attacks were VERY painful and lasted from 2 - 5 hours. 1 was minor and lasted only 10 minutes.

I read that losing a lot of weight quickly can cause gallstones. My stones were seen during a CT scan and then ultrasound. Also, I lost from 148 lbs to 128 lbs in under 2 months because I could not eat solids pre surgery.

My concern is that my white count was very low last week. Too low for chemo. I'm worried that a gallbladder infection would be horrible for me. I've only had 2 treatments with 10 to go. 20 more weeks....

Anyhow, I am trying to eat low fat and small meals, no meals within 4 hours of bedtime. I cannot find a gallstone diet online. I see a lot of suggestions of what to eat or not eat, but some don't make sense or are so strict I don't know what you'd eat other than a few veggies.

I didn't know you could pass gallstones. I thought they always had to be surgically removed. How did they put in the shunt. Surgery? Glad you're okay but sure am sorry you had to endure that pain, etc!

Diane

tavegia@bellsouth.net

Julie 44
Posts: 479
Joined: Oct 2008

Thanks for writing back...I have lost alot of weight. I had the lapband surgery and have lost 144 lbs..So I know that did contribute to it some but thinking chemo might have to do with it too...I had the shunt put in during endoscopic retrograde..Whcih is just like a regular endoscope but it goes down further. I did pass the gallstones but sometimes they get to big to pass just like kidney stones but with the shunt in it should help...HOPEFULLY!!!!!
Good luck with your white count hope it gets higher so it doesn't put off treatment...Don't know about a special diet they never said anything to me in the hospital about it.. Take care Julie

dianetavegia's picture
dianetavegia
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

Here's that thread!

beachinmom's picture
beachinmom
Posts: 76
Joined: May 2008

I had a big gallbladder attack during chemo. I don't remember how many treatments I had left, but the attack was in sept. and I finished at the end of December. Ultrasound confirmed my stones as well. I too, had lost a lot of weight, at that point about 60 lbs, in 5 months. I was able to manage pretty well by controlling my diet. I wanted to finish chemo first so controlling my diet was essential. I did have a couple "flare ups" or smaller attacks that required a pain pill, but know er trips. I have surgery on Wednesday to remove mine. I will share the tips I learned on eating to control the attacks.

Very low fat meals--I found that to be around 20-25 fat grams or less each meal.
Usually no desserts
No or (small amounts of lettuce).

I found out the lettuce thing after an attack on a day where I had only had a salad and a light jamba juice. Called the surgeon and she confirmed that lettuce is a known irritant, contributor to gb attacks.

My liver enzymes are high as well, highest is my alkaline phosphate.

I don't know where your resection surgery was (how high). Mine started at belly button and went down. I was told from my surgeon she thought it was possible laprascopically to remove the gallbladder, but that I will have to be prepared for an open incision as well. Just in case the gb is calcified, or too full of stones.

Good luck in managing it. I know i lived in fear of pancreatitis, but it stayed away. I would really try to eat the right way so as not to have an attack. Your surgeon should be able to give advice on this as well.

I will try to let you know how surgery goes...

dianetavegia's picture
dianetavegia
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

I'll be thinking of you and praying for only good news while having chemo tomorrow.

An ultrasound in early Feb. confirmed gallstones but my surgeon felt we could hold off until after chemo, too.

Lettuce??? I just ate a giant green salad for lunch with olive oil and red wine vinegar. I thought that would be a good thing. Hope it doesn't cause me problems tonight! I'll keep moving this afternoon and maybe I can work it through. EEK

I am watching fats and avoiding desserts, too. Hope I can hold off until August!

Thanks for the input, Beachinmom and God keep you safe and guide the doctor's hands tomorrow during your surgery. Hope it's an in and out, home the same day surgery for you!

Diane

beachinmom's picture
beachinmom
Posts: 76
Joined: May 2008

Diane--

Thanks for your prayers. I really appreciate them. I will be thinking of you getting chemo tomorrow.

My surgery is supposed to be in and out, as long as it stays laproscopic. I just am not prepared for anything else, so it better stay that way.

Good luck w/ the diet and keeping the attacks at bay. When I was in the er once w/ an attack the dr. gave me bentyl, to help w/ the cramps. I would take them when I had an attack and a pain pill and I could usually manage.

Take Care---

Julie 44
Posts: 479
Joined: Oct 2008

Wishing you the best on your surgery..I am sure everything will go well..Hope you get it done laprascopically.

No one ever said anything about a special diet but I am following my lapband diet.Which is no carbs and low fat...So hopefully I can buy my time for awhile anyway...

My resection was just like your but I still have alot of scar tissue.Had my resection done in on Sept.15th so we shall see.

Good luck and I will pray for you..Keep me posted how it went and how you are feeling if you are up to it...

ron50's picture
ron50
Posts: 1308
Joined: Nov 2001

Hi Julie,
A couple of years post chemo I was rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack. It turned out to be accute pancreatitis. A gallstone had lodged in my pancreatic duct. They did an ulrasound of my gallbladder but unfortunately I am built like a brick toilet and the u/sound was inconclusive. My doc operated on suspicion and removed my gall bladder. It was full of small black stones, he lost count at 150. He said it was fairly common in people who had cc chemo and also those that had lost a lot of weight. I had just shed nearly 80 lb. I had the gall out via keyhole. I went into hospital on a Friday afternoon and was back on the job on tuesday. Chers Ron.

Julie 44
Posts: 479
Joined: Oct 2008

Thanks for the post. I guess the common thread for us is the weight loss and it just happens to coinside with chemo..My oncol doc said one has nothing to do with the other soooo...

Glad to hear that you went back to work quickly I hope the same happens to me...Wow atleast 150 stones that is amazing...

Are you still post chemo and if you are for how long???If you don't mind me asking how is life going after chemo??? They say alot of people get depressed after chemo but I can't see how or why.. I have 2 more cycles to go and just wondering what to expect ...I know I can't wait but nerves about PET test. Always what ifs ya know... Julie

ron50's picture
ron50
Posts: 1308
Joined: Nov 2001

Hi Julie,
I was dx st3 cc with 6 nodes involved back in Jan98. I had surgery and a year of chemo. I have been ca free ever since. On average I have had a scope every year and have had several small polyps removed. I had my interlude with pancreatitis and gall. It appears that the scopes ,all done with fleet prep ,have scarred the filters in my kidneys resulting in protein loss. I was originally treated with 75 mg of prednisone a day for over six mos. It did no good and I have now been dx with fsgs (filter scarring) They are controlling the protein loss with blood pressure meds (four of them). Unfortunately when I weaned off the prednisone my immune system cracked up and attacked me ,resulting in poly arthritis in nearly all my joints and spine. They tried sulpha drugs to suppress my immune system but that put me in the loo for a week . Now they are trying methotrexate an immuno suppressant cytoxic agent.
I manage to keep on working although some days it takes a while to get started .
Still 11 years plus ca free is a bonus so I will not complain too much. My best wishes ,Ron.

Julie 44
Posts: 479
Joined: Oct 2008

Wow you have gone through sooo much....I am really impressed that you stay so strong..How do you keep your head in the game??? I give you alot of credit...You have been to Hell and back....Hopefully they will get this all in control soon and you can move on...Stay strong like you are and God Bless...Julie

ron50's picture
ron50
Posts: 1308
Joined: Nov 2001

You only have to read the posts on these boards Julie. We are a tough bunch of dudes. When I see what some of the survivors are up against I realise I have no problems. It is so good that this site lets us hang togeather and get thru the toughest times. You are an awesome group of warriors....Ron.

Sonia32's picture
Sonia32
Posts: 1069
Joined: Mar 2009

the more I'm so glad I'm on here. I'm amazed Ron, as Julie put it wow.
Thank to diane for putting this thread back up, just wanted to add although I'm not getting pain at the moment (touch wood), I'm getting other symptoms of gallbladder, so thank you to Julie for posting this and to everyone for all there tips etc. I do find it only happens after rich food, but will speak to my doctor when I see him next.
Thanks to all and hugs
Sonia

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