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    Old 03-19-2009, 07:50 PM   #1
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    Pain from gallstone or not?

    I've had dull/crampy pain just to the right of my xiphoid process and in the back several inches below my scapula for periods of up to 3 weeks 4 or 5 times over the last 8 months. At times the pain is quite intense, but most of the time it's bearable (5/10). The pain does not seem to be associated with eating, I'm not overweight and excercise a lot. Sometimes there is associated (or not associated rib tenderness) , but the main pain really feels internal. My family doctor didn't thin it was much of anything initially but after months he finally ordered a CAT scan which showed a single gallstone 9 mm in size in the gallbladder but the gall bladder was not inflamed or thickened (I hadn't had the pain in over 10 days when I had the CAT Scan). My doctor still didn't really think the pain was from the gallstone because he said "they don't cause rib tenderness." I went to see a surgeon who said he thinks 60-65% that the pain is from the gallstone and that I should have my gallbladder removed. Now that's not a rel high percent and I'm uncertain what to do as I've read that assymptomatic gallstones should be left alone. What if my pain is from something else? Can anyone help please? I actually had scheduled surgey a but chickened out and cancelled it when I had had no pain in over 2 weeks. Of course, I had the worst pain I'd had in months the next day! Help please.

     
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    Old 03-19-2009, 11:18 PM   #2
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    Re: Pain from gallstone or not?

    Well I just had my gallbladder taken out on Wednesday. And we weren't 100% sure it was what was causing my pain. I won't know if the original pain is relieved until the pain and soreness from the surgery goes away. But my symptoms sound similar to yours. 4 weeks of pain/tenderness to the right of my xyphoid process, tender upon palpation (like I had been punched in that spot). Nausea, but no vomiting. My pain and nausea was worse after eating though. I also had the pain below my right scapula. I was miserable enough that I was willing to take the risk of having my gallbladder out and it possibly not fixing the problem. I just wanted relief! I will keep you posted.

     
    Old 03-20-2009, 08:35 AM   #3
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    Re: Pain from gallstone or not?

    Thanks, Heqet. Was your pain of 4 weeks nearly continuous or was it 30 minutes to 5 hours (which is what the typical gallbladder pain is suppused to be like)? Mine sometimes lasts way longer than that (many days). Did you have gallstones? How did the surgery go? I also have just had it with this pain and I guess I'm nearly ready to just take the chance (even though according to my surgeon it's 60-65% chance that is the cause), but I'm a bit scared; I've never had any surgery.

     
    Old 03-20-2009, 10:55 AM   #4
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    Re: Pain from gallstone or not?

    The surgery is usually pretty simple. I was only off work 2-1/2 days and jogged 2 miles a week after having it out. But I'm in very good shape and run all the time. Just be sure - no matter what your surgeon says - that you eat fat free for a month after having it removed. And the slowly start back a little at the time. Seriously - it'll help in your recovery.

    And the attack that sent me over the edge and to the doctor lasted several days! Four or five days - and I couldn't jog during that time so it really had to be hurting for me not to run.

     
    Old 03-20-2009, 11:19 AM   #5
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    Re: Pain from gallstone or not?

    Wow! Thanks Titchou. I didn't even mention that I'm an avid runner (30 plus miles per week) in my original post and you hit one of my anxieties on the head...would my running be adversely affected? However, except during the very worst attacks I've been able to run and in fact I feel better during the runs. My pain also seems to have no real relation to eating, even if it's a more fatty meal so I keep wondering is the pain really from gallstones. I guess the basic question boils down to this: I have a gallstone for sure (9mm) and I have bouts of pain (just to the right of my breastbone and in the back about 2 inches below my shoulder blade) but is the pain caused by the gallstone or something else and is it worth just having surgery to find out?

     
    Old 03-20-2009, 11:36 AM   #6
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    Re: Pain from gallstone or not?

    I had a constant dull, uncomfortable pain the entire time. I had the sharp, much worse pains usually after eating and they would last 30 mins to a few hours. It happened on a daily basis and more fattening foods definitely made it worse. I didn't have stones, just "sludge". The surgery went well. It was done laparoscopically. The surgical pain has lessened significantly today, although it still hurts quite a bit. I am definitely not ready to go back to work yet. I've been making myself Slimfast shakes with soymilk and eating a lot of fresh fruit. Neither of which cause me pain after eating so far. My pre-op symptoms were all pointing towards gallbladder, so I was willing to take the chance. It's a decision you will have to make for yourself. And deciding whether or not to have surgery is definitely not an easy decision to make. I have had multiple surgeries and work in the operating room, so I am pretty comfortable with the idea of surgery. Probably a little too comfortable I suppose.

    I hear the pains/attacks will keep coming back unless you have your gallbladder removed. So I guess if the pains are bad enough, then yes, it is worth having surgery to find out if it is your gallbladder that is causing the pain. But the fact that your pains aren't related to eating puzzles me a bit.

    Last edited by heqet; 03-20-2009 at 11:40 AM.

     
    Old 03-20-2009, 07:44 PM   #7
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    Re: Pain from gallstone or not?

    I guess the fact that my pain doesn't seem to be related to eating bothers me too. I'm also a health care professional but I don't work in an OR...and surgery (especially the general anesthesia scares the hell out of me). But having said that, since I last posted about my problems a few things have happened. Right after I cancelled the surgery I scheduled an appointment with a gastroenerologist (3/25) to get his opinion on all of this. But after the bad pain recurred that day I wished I hadn't cancelled the surgery. The bad pain next to my xiphoid and below my scapula has receded (had by yesterday) but I still have mild to moderate aches. However some of these are definitely in my rib cage/intercostal muscles; there is some tenderness and the pain is way over on the right side (nothing on the left). Definitely different than the severe stuff. What I'm wondering is whether I have two separate things going on (musculoskeletal pain and gallbladder pain) or is it somehow possible that the gallbladder somehow causes a secondary musculoskeletal pain and they are related. That seems illogical to me but does anyone know if it's possible. I have now rescheduled the surgery for 4/2 but I told the surgeon that I was seeing a gastroenterologist 3/25 and that if he didn't think it was from the gallstone that I might cancel again! They must think I'm nuts by now but they were very nice about it. I'm very frustrated...8 months of this is enough. The fact is I have pain from something and the second fact is that I have one gallstone; atypical or not I have no good alternative explanations. By the way, I don't know if I mentioned, my Family Practice doctor says he's not convinced that the pain is from the gallstone (not associated with eating and no real nausea) but offers no other explanation. (He took rib xrays a long time ago and they were negative except old healed fractures...I was in a bad car accident 16 years ago). I really will appreciate any more insight anyone can give me especially concerning any relationship of concurrent musculoskeletal soreness.

     
    Old 03-25-2009, 09:24 PM   #8
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    Question Re: Pain from gallstone or not?

    Well, I went to a gastroenterologist today and he seems to agree with the surgeon (in general). He thinks that although my pain is atypical (not associated with eating and no nausea) that it's most likely from my gallstone. He has no explanation for the fact that it gets better when I go running. But he thinks I ought to get it out and then if the pain is still there "we'll have to look elsewhere." Not very inspiring! Now I have to admit to you all that I'm a physician (a pediatrician) so being a doctor certainly doesn't necessarily help...and I'm sure it makes me more chicken.

    I was wondering if anyone can tell me about ultimate recovery from laprascopic cholecystectomy. How soon might I expect to run again? I'm not in the midst of training for a 1/2 marathon in early May, but I guess that's out if I get brave and go thru with my surgery on 4/2. Also how much problem has anyone had which chronic diarrhea?

     
    Old 03-26-2009, 05:38 AM   #9
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    Re: Pain from gallstone or not?

    You should be able to do the 1/2 marathon by then. I ran 2 miles one week after having mine out and was back on my normal running schedule after that (2-3 miles, 4 times per week). I couldn't work out - no heavy lifting - for about 3 weeks. I was on a fat free diet for about 1 month (1 soft chicken taco exception at about 10 days that taught me to lay off it for a while!). Other than that, everything has been fine. Sure, when I ate bad there were a few rushes to the bathroom. But I knew it was going to happen but it eventually went away. Had it out when I was 59 and that was 4 years ago.

    As I am sure you are aware, the procedure itself only takes about 15 - -20 minutes. I was out for 40 minutes all told. Home in my bed at 10 AM. Took a shower the next day and worked 1/2 day the following day - back full time after that. Frankly, Having my tonsils out at age 26 was a million times tougher than this...and so was the cheilectomy I had done on my left great toe.

     
    Old 03-26-2009, 08:08 AM   #10
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    Re: Pain from gallstone or not?

    Thanks so much, Titchou. That's really helpful. I'm 58 (nearly 59) so I guess it's comparable.

     
    Old 03-26-2009, 08:16 AM   #11
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    Re: Pain from gallstone or not?

    If you have it out on 4/2, you should be back at work on Monday. Not ready to pick up the little kiddies or do anything too strenuous but there's no reason you shouldn't be able to get around and see patients. Some surgeons are able to release the gas they inflate you with fairly well, but others may not. I had no pain from that during recovery but some people do. You just have to walk as much as possible in order to get it to dissipate. You are probably in pretty great shape and that will help. I upped my mileage for the month before the surgery and I think it really helped me get better faster.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.

     
    Old 03-26-2009, 08:44 AM   #12
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    Re: Pain from gallstone or not?

    Thanks again,Titchou. I guess my main problem is still that I'm not really convinced that my pain is from the gallstone (no nausea, eating sometimes helps it, timing). And the rational that both the surgeon and gastroenterologist use (It probably is from the gallstone, but even if not then 1) we've ruled it out and 2) we've prevented the chance that the gallstone will cause problems in the future) don't really make sense to me. I guess maybe it boils down to me being a chicken! I'll let you know what happens.

     
    Old 03-26-2009, 11:07 AM   #13
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    Re: Pain from gallstone or not?

    As a doctor, #2 should be reason enough. A friend of mine's father died from a ruptured gallbladder. I'm not trying to scare anyone but it can happen. Not to mention the possibility that the stone oculd move and maybe get stuck in the bile duct. I'd still have it out.

     
    Old 03-26-2009, 12:06 PM   #14
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    Re: Pain from gallstone or not?

    Again, Titchou, thanks. I guess I need a reality check...if anyone I knew was asking the same questions I am I'd probably advise them to do it (maybe). Maybe I need someone to keep pushing me...thanks.

     
    Old 03-26-2009, 05:06 PM   #15
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    Re: Pain from gallstone or not?

    Usually there is a change in the stool color with gallbladder trouble. What really helps me when it starts "poking" in there is organic apple juice mixed with fresh lemon juice. Pear nectar is also very good for the gallbladder. If the apple juice helps the pain, then its most likely the stone causing your trouble.

     
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