I had an abdominal ultrasound this morning, to see if the gall bladder cleanse did anything.
The cleanse did nothing, except perhaps make it worse.
“Oh,” the ultrasound technician exclaimed during the exam, “your gallbladder has like a million stones in it!”
She went on to point out that the gall bladder seemed to be contracted, with no bile in it, and appeared to be packed full of stones. Looking at the ultrasound, it was very different from the one a month ago. Back then, the gall bladder was clearly visible, with some stones at the bottom.
Now, the gall bladder wasn’t even visible, the stones inside were so dense, the sound waves were blocked, creating a dark patch on the ultrasound, obscuring the gall bladder and everything behind it.
“They seem to be tons of small stones,” she said, “those are the more dangerous kind, they are more likely to clog ducts or end up in the pancreas than if you just had a few giant stones.”
Before, my gall bladder was enlarged, with a few stones. Now it is contracted, and packed full of stones. It could be that the number of stones is the same, the gall bladder has just fully contracted. Or there might be more stones now, in addition to the gall bladder being contracted.
So perhaps the flush did nothing, or perhaps it managed to form stones, or move stones from the liver to the gal bladder. No way to tell. All I know for sure is that it didn’t do anything helpful.
I think a lot of people do the flush, and see “stones” getting passed, but the “stones” are in fact not stones at all, but pseudo-stones formed from the olive oil they drank. An ultrasound is the only way to know scientifically if the flush did anything, and I think I’ve established pretty well here that, at least in my case, the gall bladder flush is at best ineffective, at worst, harmful.
So I guess the schedule for surgery stays as-is, with an information session an preliminary exam on Monday (Sept. 29) and the actual surgery on Friday the week after (Oct. 10).
I’ve had a few people tell me they think I am rushing in to surgery as an option – believe me, I’ve researched all the options. Despite what people seem to think, there is no magic alternative I can summon with a snap of my fingers. “Why do surgery at all,” some people say, “if it might be weeks or months or even years between gall bladder attacks?”
Well, let me tell you, a gall bladder attack is seriously the most painful thing I have ever experienced. The pain is so great that during attacks, I’ve eyed scissors and kitchen knives, and wondered how hard it could be to remove the gall bladder myself.
Believe me, I don’t want surgery, and I still think doctors should do more research around prevention, rather that just jump to the “slice and dice” mentality. In general, prevention doesn’t seem to interest the medical community much. I’ve asked my doctor for advice in the past, and he’s like “you’re healthy, just keep doing what you’re doing” — well, obviously that advice didn’t help my gall bladder.
When talking to my surgeon, I asked about the reason I had gall stones. He said, “with gall stones, who knows?” Despite it being a very common affliction, there seems to be very little research, and little understanding.
So as it stands now, my two options are: surgery, or deal with attacks periodically.
People will probably think I’m stupid or weak for doing it, but I’m taking the surgery option.