I haven’t written for an embarrassingly lengthy period of time. The main reason being, my recent gallbladder issue and surgery, has taken me much longer than I anticipated to recover from. And because I’ve discovered how common gallbladder issues are with Lyme I felt my experience with it deserved a post.
My pain started on a Saturday afternoon- it began dull and achey in my lower right abdomen, but because I am no stranger to mysterious pain with no known cause from having Lyme, I wasn’t very worried. By Sunday evening though, the pain became too sharp and intense to ignore. I went to the ER, where the doctors and nurses immediately suspected appendicitis. But the CAT scan showed no inflammation of the appendix and all it revealed was an ovarian cyst. They sent me home, instructing me to rest and take Motrin (which was a joke because Vicodin didn’t scratch the surface of this pain) and assured me the pain would subside in a few days, tops. Long story short, my pain did not subside it only became more and more excruciating with each day. I was in and out of the hospital the entire week until finally on Friday, they decided to remove my appendix because they figured the CAT scan was falsely negative, and from my symptoms and pain I had appendicitis. They were prepping me for surgery and minutes away from wheeling me into the OR when the anesthesiologist came into to talk to me about the procedure and asked me one last time where my pain was. I pointed to just under my ribcage and he looked at me in surprise, and said,
“Your appendix isn’t that high up- your gallbladder is.”
So they called off the surgeon and kept me for two more tests, an ultrasound and HIDA scan. I didn’t have any gallstones but the HIDA scan showed, Biliary Dyskinesia- which translates to a non-functioning gallbladder. Now that they knew which organ to operate on, I had my gallbladder out laparoscopically and spent one night in the hospital. As soon as I woke up from surgery, I was extremely relieved because the initial stabbing pain was gone and replaced with a lesser pain from the incisions.
The more I asked around and found many other’s with Lyme had similar issues, if not the same one, I became increasingly curious. A) Why are gallstones/diseased gallbladders so common in people with Lyme? Not believing for one second any of this was a coincidence and B) For those of you who still have a (healthy) gallbladder, what preventative measures can one take to prevent losing theirs?
During my research I discovered the following article that connects Rocephin to symptoms of gallbladder disease AND an article that gives detailed info on what Lyme alone can do to harm your gallbladder — so my question remains: Was my (and so many others with Lyme) diseased gallbladder caused by intravenous Rocephin treatment, not to mention the other never-ending list of antibiotics I’ve been on over the years? Or was the disease and eventual removal of my gallbladder caused by my Lyme itself?
An article from Drug Lib states:
There have been reports of sonographic abnormalities in the gallbladder of patients treated with Rocephin; some of these patients also had symptoms of gallbladder disease. These abnormalities appear on sonography as an echo without acoustical shadowing suggesting sludge or as an echo with acoustical shadowing which may be misinterpreted as gallstones. The chemical nature of the sonographically detected material has been determined to be predominantly a ceftriaxone-calcium salt. The condition appears to be transient and reversible upon discontinuation of Rocephin and institution of conservative management. Therefore, Rocephin should be discontinued in patients who develop signs and symptoms suggestive of gallbladder disease and/or the sonographic findings described above.
And an article from DoubleCheckMD exploring the possibility of Ceftriaxone- Associated Biliary Complications.
Finally the website, Antiseptic Dorogova talks about the link between not only rocephin and gallbladder inflammation but how Lyme Disease, can damage your gallbladder, and lists herbs that are possibly helpful in supporting your gallbladder against a Lyme infection.
While the question still remains partially unanswered to me, there is no doubt in my mind that Lyme played a role in my recent surgery and it’s possible this issue may have been prevented if I was fully aware of the dangers certain drugs posed.
Please become informed, and ask your LLMD and/or whomever you see to treat your Lyme how you can protect your gallbladder. Because it’s obviously not necessary, but it certainly is nice to have all your organs! 😉