The precious gift of Health

Posted: November 25, 2011 in Gallbladder, Positive Attitude, Your health and well-being
Tags: , , ,

I haven’t written much lately.  Not on my blog.  Not on any other sites.  Honestly, I haven’t done much of anything lately.  Lately being the past 6 to 8 weeks or so.  In spite of several trips to a couple of different doctors, I haven’t felt well in quite a while.  That’s crazy, isn’t it?  With everything I have going on in my life, I don’t have time to be feeling bad.

It started over a year ago.  a dull, aching pain on my right side.  I mentioned it to my doctor at the time.  He deemed it “muscular” and sent me off with pain medicine and muscle relaxers.  It came and went from time to time and when it flared up I would try to take it easy for a couple of days thinking I had once again “pulled something” in there.

Shortly after the beginning of last year, I switched my Primary Care Physician.  At my yearly physical, I mentioned the pain that I had been having.  Explaining in detail how it varies and on the bad days can spread around my side, up my back and into my shoulder.  She thought perhaps I had a cracked rib so she ordered x-rays, but since that was also the location of my liver she wanted blood drawn too.  Both were done on that day.  I made a follow-up appointment to get the results.  No cracked rib; liver is fine.  Maybe I had pulled a muscle.

A few more months pass.  I have the pain off and on in varying degrees of severity.  It gets pretty aggravating one afternoon, so I take my self over to the convenient care clinic, asking them to check and see if I have a kidney infection.  I am told to go to the emergency room.  This to me is absolutely ridiculous!  Emergency room visits are reserved for blood, broken bones, heart attacks and such in my opinion.  I called around and found another walk-in clinic that would see me.  They did a urine analysis and told me kidneys were fine.  Asking the doctor what the problem may be, I was told that perhaps I was constipated and I should go home and drink Miralax for the next seven days.  I didn’t know what to think.  Maybe I was just really over-tired and this was just a “normal” ache and pain.  Maybe I was imagining it all.  After all, it’s now three doctors who tell me everything is fine.

About two months ago the pain became constant; sometimes just a slight ache, other times, more intense and throbbing.  I started talking to my husband about whether I should go back to my Primary Care Physician, or find a new doctor.  My Primary Care Physician had all my medical records and knows me pretty well.  It’s always a pain to start over with someone else when it comes to doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc.  Back and forth in my mind I went, weighing pro’s and con’s, as the pain worsened almost daily.

Finally, three weeks today, on a particularly pain-filled day, I decided to go back to the doctor who was Primary Care Physician when I first moved to the area.  I had always loved him, but hated his billing department who could never get anything straight.  Taking a chance that nothing had changed, my theory was I needed to be healthy even if that meant I would suffer the aggravation of billing hell!  He saw me that afternoon and told me he believed all this trouble was coming from my gallbladder.  Gallbladder???  Could it be THAT easy?  Why had NONE of the other doctors thought about my gallbladder?  This doctor told me the symptoms I described were “classic” symptoms pointing to a problem with the gallbladder.  He scheduled me first for an ultrasound, telling me that even if the ultrasound showed no sign of stones or inflammation, that didn’t mean it wasn’t my gallbladder.  He assured me we would get to the bottom of this.

The following week I had the ultrasound.  It showed my gallbladder to be “unremarkable.”  The doctor’s office immediately scheduled me for a HIDA scan.  The HIDA scan would measure the actual functioning of the gallbladder.  A week ago yesterday I found out that the HIDA scan showed my gallbladder was functioning at only 4%.  This would definitely be what was causing the pain and making me feel so sick all the time.  I met the surgeon on Friday, and this past Monday, I had surgery.  Surgery took longer than anticipated as my gallbladder was twice the size it should have been.

Here’s the crazy part – even the day after surgery, when I was still very sore, I felt better than I have in a long time.  I am so thankful to finally have the solution to the pain and sickness.  So thankful to now be on the mend.

There are a couple of important lessons I have taken away from this experience.  First, I know to trust my interpretation of what is going on in my body.  I need to trust my instincts.  I should have either pushed my PCP harder, or switched doctors long before I got in the situation where the pain was severe on a daily basis.  Two, doctors are human.  Just like in every other profession, there are good doctors, bad doctors, and a lot of in between.  If a doctor isn’t listening to you, move on.  It’s your health and well-being we’re talking about here.

So here’s to our health!  Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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