Hi all. A quick history of my GI issues. Many years ago while at Easter dinner I experienced my first "gallbladder attack." Pain high in abdomen, below right rib cage, radiating to the back, hard to take a deep breath, very intense pain (had to leave dinner and come home) and the only way I could lay was on the couch with my back somewhat arched. Classic symptoms that subsided late that evening. The next day I was sore in the area, but functioning normally. These "attacks" continued about once a year for years. No particular foods seem to trigger the attacks. The pain is never made better by anything I took - including actual painkillers that I had been prescribed for other non-related surgeries.
Over the last few years these attacks have been coming a couple of times a year. 3 years ago an ultrasound of my gallbladder proved negative. Over the last year these "attacks" seem to happen about every six weeks or so. When the attack is present, I am "down" for the day and am unable to do almost anything. I should mention that I do have a fairly high tolerance for pain - having had 13 orthopedic surgeries including 2 recently to my cervical spine each requiring a 5 day "vacation" in ICU. I guess I am saying I am not a "whimp" when it comes to pain - as it is truly part of my everyday life in other areas.
I again mentioned these attacks to my GP a month ago. My symptoms, in addition to the "attacks", now being a feeling of fullness after a minimal amount of food, 30 lb weight loss over the last 6 months (although not that I am complaining about that!!) with no exercise whatsoever due to my most recent surgery this summer, slight nausea on occasion, gas during the night, and just a generalized all over "ick" feeling in my stomach. Nothing "major" by any means.
Blood tests were fine. AST, ALT, potassium, etc all WNL. My GP sent me for a CT of the gallbladder which was negative and showed only significant scarring of the right kidney (due to kidney issues when I was a child I guess). I then went for a HIDA scan - had the nausea and cramps with the CCK injection and results showed an ejection rate of 45% - which shows no cause for concern.
My doc was hoping that the HIDA scan would show a lesser % and then we would have an answer and I could just have my gallbladder removed. He is now sending me for a barium swallow and if that proves negative, he wants to refer me to a GI doc for an EGD.
My question to all of you familiar with this area of the body.... if my gallbaldder has proven fine on tests, what else might we be looking for with these other tests? My GP mentioned a possible issue with my pancreas, however immediately said he didn't think that was it. He also thought there could be a blockage of some sort?
Any thoughts or ideas would be incredibly appreciated. This has been a rough year with my spinal surgeries. I should also mention that I am a 42 y/o female with no signs of reflux - although due to my spinal issues I have been sleeping in a recliner in a somewhat upright position for the last 2+ years, so I have no idea if I have any symptoms related to reflux in my sleep. I also have thoracic spine issues in the same area of my back where the "gallbladder attack" pain radiates to.
Thank you for your insight.