The year I was sick, I had a collection of seemingly random symptoms. Some of the things I went to the Doctor for and some I didn't. some of the symptoms I had for YEARS. Some are on lists of gall bladder failure symptoms and some are not. If someone is going through the same things I did, I would like them to know they are not alone and all of those things DO mean something. Some of them I noticed at the time and some I didn't notice until after my gall bladder was out. Here are the symptoms I had long before I was throwing up every 10 minutes with abdominal cramping.
* Intense Headaches on the right side of the head
* Right side of the face swollen disproportionately to the left
* Right side back pain
* Right side lung pain
* Right side lung swelling and causing pleurisy
* Right side arm pit smelled worse than the left, impervious to deodorant
* Lactose Intolerance symptoms
* Faint pain in the gall bladder area
* Abnormally greasy skin and hair
* Faded lip color
* Frequent throwing up
* Frequent Diarrhea
Keep in mind while reading my time line that all of these things were gradual and seemingly random. It's not until I looked back at all of it that I realized how much sense it made.
When I was in high school, I worked at Wendy's. I started having sever stomach cramps. Doctors couldn't figure out why. They put me on a restrictive diet and gave me muscle relaxers to help with the pain. I eventually decided that it was lactose intolerance and began avoiding most dairy foods. That seemed to keep things under control.
My sophomore year of college I ate Mcdonalds and puked for a week. Finals week actually, it was horrific. besides that time, I can think of quite a few times I was prone to puking. Times like eating pizza. My friends would eat pizza that had been sitting out but I refused because one time I had pizza sit out for an hour, ate it, and threw up. One time I drank a glass of vitamin D milk with doughnuts, and threw up. Christmas. I got sick every Christmas. Do you know what happens at Christmas? Lots of eating things with butter and milk and fat fat fat! I said my stomach didn't have the right bacteria to let food sit out and eat it. The truth was my gall bladder was crap.
Around 5 years before my gall bladder came out I noticed that my right arm pit was smellier than the other. I was also starting to notice a faint pain where my gall bladder was. What is right here? I would ask people pointing. They always said there wasn't anything, and I never looked it up.
4 years before I couldn't keep up with how greasy my hair was. I couldn't skip a shower or I would look like I hadn't bathed in a week. My skin was always greasy to touch and my lips were starting to lose their color. These were all slow gradual things that I really didn't notice how bad they are getting.
The headaches are hard to pinpoint a time frame. It was definitely in the same 4-5 year time frame. I get a lot of headaches, I still do. But the headache I use to have, and that has disappeared since the removal, was horrible. It was only on the right side of my head and no pain medication touched it. A doctor gave me migraine medication, but they weren't migraines. I also could not take the pills frequently enough for them to be of any use.
Then came the last year I had a gall bladder. It has quite the final performance. My right lung swelled up, I thought I was having a heart attack because I couldn't breathe and I had chest pains. They ultimately decided it was pleurisy and put me on steroids. But it didn't help. It was still hard to breathe and I was still getting intense lung pain. They sent me to a lung doctor. He said it must be asthma, gave me pain medication for constant and intense back lung pain, and sent me on my way. At most points in 2011 I was on at least 3 pain medications on top of whatever else they happened to have me on.
The right side of my face was swollen. I looked like a gargoyle. My mother was the only one who noticed. I tried to tell people, but they just shrugged me off and said I was being to hard on myself or that I was seeing things. When I show them pictures now they are amazed they didn't see it. People are very unobservant.
My left side is naturally bigger than my right, I am very lopsided.
So, were where we? I was ill and no one knew why. I was on a lot of medication for my symptoms but none of it was really doing anything. Then, one night, my husband and I got pizza for dinner. I woke up at 2 am and threw up every 10 minutes. It didn't stop until I had two of the anti nausea shots. I was also having intense abdominal cramping, which is why the urgent care sent me to the emergency room. That would be trip 2 in three months for those of you playing at home. A multitude of tests later, and at least a month of eating nothing, and I finally got the call I had been waiting a year for. Something was wrong and I had a test to prove it.
" Kelly, this is Dr.C. Your gall bladder is a mess, I am setting up an appointment with a surgeon."
My gall bladder surgery is the best thing I ever did for myself. It is not with out it's repercussions, but they are completely manageable. It is a list of side effects I would trade again every time for the list I use to have.
* Abdominal discomfort at the incision sites with exercise
* Can not eat straight oil, like salad dressing or dipping your bread in oil.
* I have to limit oil and fat intake, but not as much as I did pre surgery.
The things that got better?
* Skin tone
* Less greasy
* Better lip color
* Normal Shaped face
* Both arm pits smell the same
* Less headaches
* No throwing up
* Diarrhea only if I over did it on fats or oils
* No more lung pain
* My lung has not recovered fully from 2011 but it has never flared up again.
That was my experience. No gall stones, just a gall bladder that refused to work and tried to take everything else down with it.