Using 20/20 hindsight, I had many gall bladder attacks oer the last 15 years – just thought they were “”gas attacks”” and would sit up all night in a recliner chair and take ovol and tylenol. I thought that helped but now realize that the attacks simply ended 5-6 hours after starting. As time went on I developed food intolerances to all fatty foods – ice cream, fried foods, chinese food (peanut oil!) and peanut butter were the worst. Pain started just below breatsbone, went through to my back at right shoulder blade and radiated up right side of my chest and sometimes into my right arm. SOmetimes it was so bad I could hardly breathe. No nausea or vomiting – not everyone has every symptom. I was told I was unusual.
More recently, I had a severe gall bladder attack in March 99, hospitalized 1 week with IV fluids only. Things settled down, had a series of ultrasounds with lap choly done end of March 99. Found out later that the surgery was sceduled so quickly out of necessity – I had a gall bladder full of “”sludge”” and it no longer functioned at all. The surgery was ok but I was told later that I was a difficult patient. When I asked how that could be since I was unconcious during the procedure, the surgeion said “”technically difficult””. That means he had a lot of trouble seeeing clearly into the abdominal cavity as I am built very compactly – no extra room for anything.
Thought that was it and began to recover. Approx. 5 weeks after the surgery I returned to the GP and surgeon with symptoms similar to those I’d had during gall bladder attacks but the pain does not radiate to my right shoulder tip. Docotrs investigated with CT scan and ultrasound and tried things like losec to keep food moving through my stomach. Also had food intlerances to fatty foods. At the end of June 99, I went to a banquet, tried to eat the low fat food and had a couple of drinks. 30 minutes after eating I collapsed with extreme pain as described earlier, cold sweat, very low blood pressure, dizziness and was uncouncious for a few minutes. Into ER again where blood tests plus symptoms confirmed acute pancreatities from some of the sludge which had plugged the common bile duct right where the pancreatic duct comes in. Elevated serum amylase was the key test for this one. Off to another city 250 kms away (150 miles) by ambulance for an ERCP which widened the bile duct and pancreatic duct. Another ambulance ride home and a week in hospital. IV fluids only and some other meds to reduce stomach acid, etc. I was told I was atypical.
At this point I was pretty sure all would be well. With the surgery and then the collapse, I’d taken 2 6 week medical leaves from work. Back to more pain as described, more medications invcluding codeine and amyltriptilene for pain managment. Extreme stress at work which got worse due to the fuzziness from the meds, so I would not take the meds so the pain was worse, etc etc. Another ERCP to widen the bile duct further but still no relief. At the end of November 99, my doctors said I needed a lengthy medical leave in order to break the vicious circle of pain and stress. I’m still on leave now in Feb 2000 and no end in sight.
Add in a bout of near pneumonia and a violent reaction to erythromyacin prescribed for the mycoplasmic infection which led to another night in the ER…… ENOUGH ALREADY! Now I am one in a million, according to my GP.
After all of that, I’m told I have postcholysystectomy pain syndrome which is idiopathic in origin. In other words,I hurt, my biliary tree is hypersensitive to anything, stress makes it worse and I need to relax or I’ll relapse. I have hunted diligently for info on the net for this syndrome and not found it. But many of the stories at this site sound like me. Anybody out there with more info? I am satisfied that my doctors are doing the best they can – GP, surgeon and GI specialist – but any additional info would be great.”