For the past 6 weeks I’ve been experiencing pain in my upper abdomen, in-between my lower breasts, which radiates into my left chest. A cramping pain, that takes your breath away, and gets progressively more painful. You start to sweat, you breathe heavily, and I was writhing in pain on the bathroom floor, wearing next to nothing, during a cold front because I felt so hot and uncomfortable. I felt incredibly nauseous and the attack usually lasts around 30 mins at a time. Wine, fizzy drinks and big meals seemed to trigger these attacks.
I had about four, 30 minute incidents, a couple of days apart. Then one Monday I was in agonizing pain for about 6h straight before I felt some relief. Thank goodness I was WFH as I was struggling to breath and sweating while I was popping out mails. That afternoon I asked Dyl to help me, to either take me to the hospital or do something to relieve the pain. He called a surgeon who taught him and the surgeon too said it sounds like a gastritis, or heartburn but asked me to come in the next day for an exam anyway.
I had a media event that Tuesday and so I couldn’t go that Tuesday, so I powered through and went the next day, a Wednesday. We did bloodwork and a sonar, the sonar revealed that I had a gall bladder full of gall stones (big and small), it looked like gravel, and the blood work showed that my liver was under strain, which meant I had passed a stone. That was why I was in so much pain for 6h that Monday before.
What I learned about gallstones:
About 70% of the population gets gallstones, but most people don’t need to get their gall bladder removed. Only if the stones start moving, is that a danger as they can block ducts and cause a range of other problems, or if they start causing pain and affecting quality of life.
People who are at high risk of developing gallstones:
The 5 F’s:
I meet 3/5 criteria. The gallbladder is close to the liver and diaphragm, that’s why it felt as though I couldn’t breathe, when in fact I could.
What does the gallbladder do?
The gallbladder stores bile which is used to break down fats, it also gives your urine and waste products their prospective colours. You can live without your gall bladder. The gall bladder stores bile, without the GB your body will still use bile as your surgeon will leave the ducts in place, you just won’t be able to store bile and so your liver will assist with the breakdown of fats, etc.
What could I have done to avoid this?
My surgeon says nothing. Essentially my body held onto fat (even good fats), they then crystalize and form stones. Stress plays a part, but stress causes every disease according to doctor’s right.
Next up, we discussed my surgery, my covid test, and recovery. I’ll write about that in my next post.