Monday, 2 May 2016

The health problems are kicking in now - Gallstones!

So a while back I wrote a post about hidradenitis suppurativa and how it may be linked to my diet, although my diet is certainly not the cause.

I honestly always knew that the way I eat was going to catch up with my health at some point. However at a matter of weeks away from my thirtieth birthday, I thought I had a while to go before it started.

I went to bed the night before last and noticed a pain at the top of my abdomen. Not anything like normal stomach pain and I had no other symptoms what so ever. Dismissing it as something muscular I tried to get some sleep.

About an hour later I woke up in agony and spent the rest of the night trying my best to find a position that was comfortable to lie in with no success. When I got up yesterday it was still pretty sore, but I still had nothing else wrong, felt otherwise pretty well and it was definitely not as sore as it had been overnight.

As a nurse I had narrowed down my symptoms to either problems with my gallbladder or pancreatitis. I quickly dismissed pancreatitis due to the fact that I hadn't been vomiting and decided that I was far too young for issues with my gallbladder. I also don't eat a whole lot of fatty food which is one of the most well-known causes of gallstones.

Whatever it was, it sure was sore.

I ended up calling the non-emergency out of hours helpline last night which by the way left me waiting for three hours for a callback from a nurse (its supposed to be a maximum of two) despite me telling them that I was a nurse and all I needed was for them to book me in to the out of hours GP. I certainly wasn't sick enough (on in any way inclined) to go to A&E, but I sure was sick enough where I wanted someone to check me out before Tuesday (its a bank holiday here so nowhere is open on Monday).

The nurse called me back and I explained my symptoms again, she asked if I had considered gallstones as a cause. I said no because I am so young, gallstones are almost exclusively found in over 40's. She pointed out that there are exceptions to every rule and asked me if I wanted seen at A&E or GP out of hours. I told her there was no way I was going to A&E because I really wasn't that sick, just sore, so she booked me into the out of hours GP.

It wasn't busy when we got there a little after midnight and it was only about half an hour or so before I was seen by a nurse. The other half came in with me and I honestly thought he was going to die when she said they had to do a pregnancy test!

Of course I knew I wasn't pregnant and that a test is something they would do for any female who walked in the doors if they are of what they call 'child bearing age' which by the way, is a term I have always hated.

Good news was I definitely wasn't pregnant, bad news was there was nothing obvious to explain my pain so back to the waiting room I went to wait for the doctor.

The doctor and I had a long chat about my health, the issues I had with my kidneys growing up and anything else we could think of. We both agreed that none of that would make sense. It likely wasn't gastric because I had not been vomiting and had managed to eat small amounts of food with no issues.

He felt my abdomen, had a listen with his stethoscope and told me he was pretty sure he could feel a gallstone! My gallbladder is definitely inflamed and he wanted to send me to A&E.

I asked him what they would do in A&E and he said not much, just manage my pain. I said I would much rather go home in that case. I was in no frame of mind to sit in A&E for hours to get some painkillers that he could give me there and then.

I pointed out that I am a nurse and I know when something is an emergency and when its not. I promised that if I started vomiting I would take myself to A&E and he let me go home. I have to get an ultrasound scan to confirm if I have a stone or not and they will decide what, if anything to do from there.

He is a little concerned about the length of time I have been in pain for, apparently gallstones pain normally only lasts a few hours when its a non-emergency but doesn't think its life or death so I now need to try and get an emergency appointment for my own doctor tomorrow to arrange a scan and follow up, provided I don't start vomiting or the pain gets worse - in which case its off to A&E for me!

I am still pretty sore today, but there is no way I am taking those painkillers again, I felt so off my head last night its unreal. I might take them before bed mind you because I did get a decent sleep with them. I will call the doctor in the morning, but my chances of getting an appointment this week are slim to none.

The problems are yet to come though. Having issues with your gallbladder means a drastic change in diet, even for a normal eater. I am not prepared for this. I am terrified.

I need to lose weight, but I need to do it slowly. Losing weight quickly can actually cause gallstones. I know they will think my diet and weight are to blame, but I honestly don't eat that much fatty food, I don't fry anything at home and apart from the occasional roll in sausage if I am working at the weekend, I rarely eat anything that's really fatty.

A trip to the dietician is almost certainly in order. I haven't seen a dietician since I was a child, back then they simply told me that I needed to eat more vegetables, I argued that I couldn't and they said I had to. I never went back, they weren't willing to work with me and I wasn't willing to be told what I already knew over and over again, with no actual advice of how to make that happen.

I guess I just have to wait to see what the doctor says if/when I get an appointment.


  1. Oh dear, did you get it resolved. That sounds very painful, though I think they can shatter them these days, instead of surgery?

  2. I sort of got it resolved. By the time I was eventually scanned I did not have a gallstone so I either had an inflamed gallbladder or perhaps I did have a stone that was small enough to pass through into my gut, this is apparently extremely painful and would explain why I was sore for such a prolonged period of time. on the other hand though it was only after this that I was finally diagnosed with helicobacter pylori - the pain could have been related to that also.