I have an office consult scheduled late next week with a surgeon highly recommended by my friend and neighbor Joan. I also have an office consult scheduled for July 26 with a surgeon recommended by my primary care doc, who's currently on vacation in Hawaii. (I'd feel bad she was called on my behalf, but apparently her medical assistant had a bunch of patients she needed to query my internist about, so that relieved a little bit of my guilt at least!)
Hopefully I'll like one of them enough to let them cut me open, and they will have surgical time available to me relatively quickly. The scheduler for the first doctor says she's usually able to get someone in the OR within two weeks for a non-urgent matter. (I'm fairly confident that while this is all very urgent for me, it doesn't rise to the level of being medically urgent.) And within two weeks is fine -- I'd just like to get it all done and get through my recovery before the school year starts on Sept. 1.
Meanwhile, the ultrasound report came in today's mail. Not really anything I didn't already know, but it's always interesting to see the official report and phrasing.
I didn't remember until seeing the report that I'd had an ultrasound looking at my gallbladder and pancreas back in 2002, which was about midway through my series of peptic ulcers and my GI doc wanted to make sure there wasn't something else going on. I believe everything came back normal back then; I know I definitely didn't have gallstones.
So, my liver, spleen, kidneys, aorta and IVC all looked normal. He was unable to get a view of my pancreas due to "overlying bowel gas." That was when he accused me of having eaten something that morning, but apparently even things like chewing gum (which I don't do) and swallowing saliva (which I couldn't avoid if I wanted to) can cause someone to swallow air and cause those bubbles.
For my gallbladder, the report says there are "multiple mobile calculi" (i.e. gallstones) and a "diffusely thick wall measuring 7mm." The comment says "GB is very hard to visualize. Appears to be contracted."
I don't know what it means that it appears to be contracted. Since the thick wall is apparently caused by inflammation, I don't really understand how/why it would be contracted, or what that means in this context.
For the biliary tract, the intrahepatic ducts and extrahepatic ducts were non-dilated. However the common duct measured 5mm. Again, I don't know whether that means the common duct was dilated and therefore the measurement was included, or if the common duct wasn't dilated and it's simply a standard thing to include a measurement for on the report.
The radiologist's comments on the report: "Cholelithiasis and gallbladder wall thickening. Acute cholecystitis cannot be excluded. Recommend clinical correlation."
My GI doc's not on the bottom (aimed at his staff, not me): "Please call -- gallstones and swollen gallbladder seen. Needs to see surgeon."
So one thing I don't really understand is why there isn't a procedure to eliminate the gallstones without removing the gallbladder. From the reading I've done, it sounds like a significant percentage (up to 40 percent) of people who have their gallbladder removed end up with longterm and/or permanent unpleasant side effects from it. Personally, I'd like to keep all my body parts intact, if possible. (I've already lost my tonsils, but I think everything else except some cartilage and bone is still intact.)
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