Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy: My Experience

Last week, I had undergone an operation called Lap Chole (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy). In December 2015, it was confirmed that I have multiple cholelithiasis (gallstones) through ultrasound of whole abdomen following an extreme abdominal pain I had 1 day before.

The schedule of my Lap Chole was supposed to be on January 29, 2016, 7am. But because I had gallstones attack on January 19 which inhibited me to go to work and mild icteric sclera had been noted, my operation was moved earlier, January 25th. I had the operation in Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center, the hospital where I am currently working and was admitted in the area where I am assigned. Upon admission on January 24, Sunday, I underwent several laboratory tests (CBC, etc.), Chest Xray and ECG to check if I am ready for the operation. My surgeon, Dr. Nelson Lim also referred me to a cardiologist for Cardio-Pulmonary clearance.

On midnight, I was told not to eat and drink which is necessary to prevent aspiration of food in the lungs. Operation schedule was at 10am. An intravenous fluid (IV) was inserted on my left hand at 8am. At past 9am, OR personnel came in to bring me to OR. My co-nurses and resident doctors helped in providing moral support giving me good luck smiles, and encouraging words “Kaya mo yan Berna.” (You can do it Berna). I gave them a smile when deep inside, I was nervous. My mother and younger brother were in my room, mother was with me on the way to OR.

I was then brought to Operating Room 1 and was transferred to the OR table. Everyone was so kind, the OR orderly, the OR nurses, surgery resident and my surgeon, Dr. Nelson Lim. When we were waiting for the anesthesiologist to arrive, I was calm and observing the OR set up, monitors on my right side, and the preparation of instruments to be used. Dr. Nelson is the kindest, he came up to me and whispered, “Bernadette, don’t be nervous. Just close your eyes okay.” I nodded and smiled to Dr. When the anesthesiologist arrived, they prepared the induction of anesthesia. I was asked to do deep breathing while making me inhale for something. Then I fell asleep. A breathing tube (Endotracheal tube) was inserted in my mouth to help in breathing and also for the anesthesia. When I woke up, I was already in PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit). The first thing I asked Anna, the PACU nurse (whom I personally know because she had her training and volunteer days in the area where I am assigned), if Lap Chole was done and not Open Chole, and she said yes, only Lap Chole. I thank God right away. I asked her for the time. It was already past 3pm. I felt the pain in the post operative site but it was bearable. Then I vomited twice which was still the effect of anesthesia. The breathing tube was removed by the anesthesiologist even before I woke up. That’s why I didn’t even feel that I was intubated after all.

I was then transferred back to my room. During the night, my diet was resumed. I had soft diet that night, but I vomited thrice, probably still because of the effect of anesthesia. The following morning, I was feeling fine and the post operative pain became minimal. Third day post operative, I was able to go home. In Lap Chole, there is no wide incision to remove the gall bladder. Only 3 small holes in the abdomen and 1 in the navel.

Lap Chole is an elective operation, meaning it is not urgent and can be scheduled anytime the patient warrants. I immediately decided to go for an operation because I was symptomatic. Before, I had abdominal pain every week, sometimes bearable and sometimes not. I had 4 gallstones attack all in all, and in those times, I was in so much pain. I can’t go to work, I can’t do anything. I was just lying in my bed waiting for the pain to subside. Those were the times that I realized that there is no quality of life if a person is experiencing physical pain. A week after the operation, I was fine and just waiting for the wound (just a small one) to heal. The doctor advised for 1 month sick leave from work.

It’s not easy to share this experience to other people. But I am doing so because I thought there might be other people who want to know first hand experience of Lap Chole, because they, too, had been advised to undergo such operation.

If you also have gallstones, just pray and always remember that, “This, too shall pass”, you will be okay, you just have to trust God, your surgeon, the whole surgical team, and most of all, yourself, that you are making the right decision to undergo an operation; that this is for your own good. You too can do it! 🙂

8 thoughts on “Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy: My Experience

  1. So good to hear that everything is successful and you’re well enough.God is good. I’m just wondering though.. Can’t they look for an option for you not to undergo the surgery? Or was it the only option given?

    • Hi Aya! I’m totally fine now. Yes, as per my surgeon, since I had abdominal pain almost weekly and several gallstones attack, the best treatment for it was to totally remove the gall bladder.

      • Ouch. I really thought that home remedies might work pa. But i guess it must be so painful for you to bear. Will there be any foods that you won’t be able to eat since your gall bladder is out? Just curious hehe. I prayed for your full recovery. 🙂

        • Unfortunately, home remedies are not effective for gallstones, & not even advised by the doctors.

          I only need to limit the consumption of oily foods or better yet avoid it. It goes like this. The gall bladder is the storage of bile. Bile is used for the digestion of fat. Bile will still be produced by the liver and will be transported directly in the stomach since there is no more gall bladder. Looking back several years or months before the operation, I can say that I am at my best condition now in terms of physical health, compared before wherein I had abdominal pain every week, with different intensity and characteristics. No more pain. As what my doctor said, “Mas masarap mabuhay pag walang sakit.” Sakit, pertaining to pain. 🙂

    • You’re welcome, Jay! When I decided to share this experience, I thought of others who also have gallstones, in a dilemma whether they should undergo the operation or not, and those who are scared and anxious about what to expect before, during and after the surgery. I wanna know, did you just happen to stumble in this blog post about Lap Chole?

  2. Mis, berna nainspire aq s post moh. Thanks. now ì’m here in ksa and planning to go back and undergo the procdure. 2013 p aq ngkaroon nyan symptomatic din same case like yours, this time di n kaya ng herbal2. I just want to know how much it cost para mapaghandaan q.

    • Hi Victor! Thanks for leaving your comment. Sometimes I wonder the reasons why I started this blog. And one of it is to share personal experiences that may inspire or help other people, and hearing from you, my readers is enough to tell me that this blog has served its purpose.

      Undergoing Lap Chole is one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself in terms of valuing my health. It is true, Health is Wealth. A person cannot enjoy the success in life if he/she is sick. When I experienced an extreme pain the day after my birthday on 2015, I knew there is something wrong with my body. That pain isn’t normal. You have to know and listen to your body.

      I was admitted in a small private room in the hospital where I was working at that time. If I remember correctly, the surgery costs Php 94,000+ and that is exclusive of the professional fee of the Surgeon, Cardiologist and Anesthesiologist. I was grateful to my employer because they offer free hospitalisation in a small private room (100% free except for the professional fee of the doctors) for its employees. So I only paid the professional fee of the doctors.

      And since you are working overseas, I think the more you should prioritise your health. Update me with your plan.

      God bless 🙂

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