Hi Skyvixen, I had my GB out 4 years ago and I am still trying to adjust to life without it. I had severe pancreatitis - my liver and pancreas numbers were through the roof. Not too much fun. The bottom line is that any surgery is major surgery - not to be taken lightly. Think long and hard and make the decision that you feel most comfortable with.
It is true that some people don't have much trouble after the GB is out. I really envy people who haven't had any problems with it. The most common symptom is chronic diahrrea, and I mean people ALWAYS have diahrrea. Luckily, I don't have that problem. What I did start noticing about 2 years after the surgery was episodes of severe fatigue and some GI pain which the doctors thought was IBS (irritable Bowel Syndrome). I really thin that it is part and parcel of the fact that I have no epi-gastric secretion (e.g. gallbladder). When you have no GB, the timing of bile release during a meal is gone. also the GB releases other enzymes and mucouse which aid in digestion. So, what am I saying? It does change your digestion to not have a GB. For example, I don't think I could even digest a hamberger and fries anymore - not that I want to.
Along with my episodes of fatigue came unexplainable anxiety and depression. Of course, the doctors just think you're nuts and kick out of the office if you try to explain this. Also, I have never been the depressive type. Further reading made it clear that these symptoms are a result of liver congestion that occurs after GB surgery. That is to say, the stones that would go to the GB now pile up in the liver and block bile flow. It was the terrible anxiety and Depression that threw me for a loop. I now really - I mean really, watch my diet and exercise almost daily, I really watch my cholesterol and blood sugar. I would say I am hyper-vigilant about my health now.
You asked about what happens to people after their GBs are out. I also wondered the same. I did some research and found many famous people w/o GBs - turns out it's easier to learn about their health. I can post it here if you're interested.
Anyway, a lot to think about. But on the positive side, it is true that some people have no problems. But I don't think anyone can predict with certainty what kind of result one may have.