Gallbladder Surgery and Type 1 Diabetes

Hi Everyone!

As many of you know, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as an adult. I have only been a Type 1, insulin pump wearing, cgm stylin', diabetic for just over a year. Anyway, about 4 days ago, I started having terrible pain in my upper stomach that was radiating to my chest. I seriously thought I was having a heart attack. On Sunday, I decided it was time to go to the ER. They did an ultrasound and said I have gallstones and need my gallbladder out. Has anyone else dealt with gallbladder surgery as a type 1 diabetic? What kind of surgery did you have? If you had laproscopic did they make you stay overnight since you were diabetic? If you are on a pump, how was your diabetes managed? Please help! I see the surgeon today at 11:30. (Today is my birthday by the way....Happy're gallbladder needs removed!) Any tips, advice, and information would be so greatly appreciated!!!

Get on the net. Google Gallstones, Gallbladder removal. Google, Google, read, read, read.
Get a second opinion, maybe a third. Check out the surgeon. The anesthesiologist.
Don’t let them intimidate you. ASK questions. Don’t “trust” doctors. And don’t trust them to manage your Diabetes! Will they take your pump away from you? Your meter and test strips? How often will they check your BG? Invasive surgery is not anything to be taken lightly by anyone, especially if you are a PWD. A T1 at that! We don't heal well.
Find out the cost. How much will your insurance pay? If you need the surgery, the cost doesn't matter, but a surprise bill can be painful. You are the boss of your body. And, Don't go alone, have an advocate.
Not giving medical advice, just a few suggestions. Be calm. Be smart. Do your "homework."

And please read the wonderful TuD’s Emily Coles discussion/reply dated January 15th 2014 titled "Hospital care for T1’s: It ain’t pretty.”

Get your endo team involved as well. What hospital affiliation do they have, is the surgery going to be at that hospital? Will they help manage your D care and interact with the anesthesiologist?
A lot has to do with hospital policy on pumps CGMs etc but getting your D team as an active participant if surgery is needed can be huge.

I got my T1 diagnosis a number of years after having my gallbladder removed, so I can't help with any questions on how to manage BG with surgery. Will leave others to give you advice on that.
As far as gallbladder surgery itself, it's usually done via laproscopy and is outpatient. It's much better to elect to have it done when you're feeling well (vs when you're in the middle of an attack and everything is inflamed.) My hospital roommate was emergency gallbladder surgery for a bad attack, and she was faring much worse. You might also want to ask about getting one of the earliest surgery slots to reduce your amount of fasting.
One last thing - I know dietary suggestions are a very personal thing. But the only thing that kept my attacks at bay was an extremely low-fat diet, as fat exacerbates gallstones. My doctor had specified that low-fat was necessary while waiting for the surgery. So if you happen to be eating LCHF, you may want to adjust things for a little while. Or at least ask about it.
Wishing you the best for your not-fun situation. And happy (belated) birthday!

I had my gallbladder removed about three years ago so almost nineteen years after being diagnosed as a T1. My surgeon had me admitted so that the surgery was done inpatient because of being a diabetic, not as outpatient as the surgery is most often done. I was not using an insulin pump at the time so I cannot answer the question as to whether or not they will allow you to keep yours on or not. But I do recommend getting your endo team involved as when my surgery was done I had just moved and had not seen my new endo yet. Instead the hospital had their hospitalist in charge of my care which caused an extra day stay in the hospital as he let my BG drop an hour before surgery was scheduled and the anesthesiologist would not put me under, can’t say that I blame him either since I wouldn’t have. But according to my surgeon most all of his patients that he has done a gallbladder removal on that were diabetics typically are admitted the day of surgery spend the following night and are released the following day.

1 Like

I had laproscopic and was out in less than 3 hours. Piece of cake with no lasting issues except relief.

I was using my pump at the time and the doctor asked that I locate the site away from the surgical site. So I went on my leg 24 hours in advance. It was totally easy, totally worth it.

I had my gallbladder removed in about 1996, before I was on the pump. The hospital and doctors were all fine with me managing my own diabetes. I just told them what my blood sugars were and allowed them to watch me inject my own insulin. They did have me stay overnight because of my diabetes, though it probably wasn't necessary. I felt better immediately after surgery, even with the pain from the operation. It was like I had had an animal inside me, gnawing away, and now it was gone. I had the laproscopic surgery. Good luck!

1 Like

I disagree with the "we don't heal well" opinion. I've always healed very well, and I've had diabetes for 37 years. YMMV.

Hi Everyone!

Thank you all for your responses and advice. Unfortunately do to the severity of the situation, I wasn't able get a second or even third opinion about the surgery. I just had to get it done. The team that did my surgery was simply incredible!! The anthesiologist learned how to use my pump and also learned about my Dexcom CGM (which he just loved....he had never seen one!). Anyway, the surgery went extremely well. I was a little low, but stable throughout it. Everything is healing very nicely and as long as I keep my pain under blood sugars have been good. Bad pain for me equals crazy high sugars.

Glad it went as well as it could have given the situation. Get well soon!

Ugh! Gall bladder pain is the worst. I heard that the operation is not so bad since the gall bladder is small. I guess four small incisions around your belly button is what they do. Watch out in the future for the problem in the liver and pancreas of bile backup and more stones. Don't eat fat and also there is this powder called Questran, a bile sequester that helps your gall bladder digest fat. I have trouble with a lot of my internal organs, so I know that horrible feeling. I wish you the best.

Hello! I found this thread and was interested in an update on how you’re feeling since your surgery.
I’ve been having, what I think are gallbladder attacks, and seeing if there are any bad side effects of having it removed and having type 1.


Hi, I’ve just recently had my gall bladder out and have been Type 1 for 34 years.

It was an easy operation - 4 cuts (1 in belly button, 2 on right hand side and one just under the breast bone). I felt v poorly after the Op with nausea and dizziness but that was down to the anaesthetic.

I had the Op just under 2 weeks ago and the healing process for me is taking a while as still very sore where they cut but I know for me it always takes longer to heal.

The relief of not having the gall bladder pain though is amazing.
They didn’t let me keep my pump on as my blood sugars were on the low side and that’s the only issue I had as by the time I came round my bloods were 14.6 so that made me feel poorly too :weary:

Good luck :wink: oh I was sent home the same day but had to keep in contact with the hospital re blood sugar issues