Intermittent pain for 20 years following cholesectomy
I had gallbladder issues my whole life, since I was very young. It was removed in 2003 (I was 40) when it became really diseased and was working at 16%. I had a lot of pain and nausea after the surgery. Six months later I had an endoscopy and it showed nothing.
After the surgery I developed an issue in which I cannot eat fruit on an empty stomach. The pain would start where my gallbladder pain used to be. It would shift to the pit of my stomach and the pain would increase greatly. Then it would drop a bit lower and the pain became beyond severe. I'd be on the floor in the fetal position and incoherent from the pain. CT scan and ultrasounds never showed anything wrong. It took five years for me to connect it to eating fruit on an empty stomach. I don't do that anymore and haven't had an attack since.
Off and on I was getting sensations in my right back, like I would with gallbladder attacks, but not as bad.
In June 2015 I became aware of an increase in the frequency of pain episodes. They can last from one hour to all day long for weeks. It can be steady for hours or come and go countless times throughout the day with no pattern that I can see.
Frequently, and for many many years, I've been aware that when I'm standing and relaxed, I sense a pain in the pit of my stomach. I can only feel this if my posture is relaxed. If I put my hand there it hurts. I have discussed this with my GI doctor. He doesn't know.
Mostly I sleep fine. Early on though I would go to bed feeling bad and wake up pain free or I'd go to bed pain free and wake up feeling bad.
Around 2015, along with the increase, there were times when I laid down (and I always lay on my right side) I'd feel like I was on a jagged rock or some sharp object. If I moved it felt like something sharp was in my ribs.
Other than this pain that is most prevalent, the list of other pain sensations is lengthy and odd to say the least:
1. Electric zings or jolts – either under my right ribcage or starting just below my right shoulder blade and shooting downwards to just under my ribcage.
2. Stiffness in that part of my back almost like arthritic hands.
3. Crampy twinges, almost colicky. Front and back but probably mostly the back.
4. The feeling that something is blocked or swollen, like a fullness.
5. I've had tearing pain go through that spot in my back when moving things, reaching up or forward. It doesn't cause any soreness like a pulled muscle would but the pain was enough to make me yell out.
6. A pulsing sensation under the ribcage.
7. I've had a motor running behind my ribs. It was in a very small specific spot. It doesn't hurt. One time it fluttered for two days.
8. Gnawing, burning, pressure, or a dull ache in that area of my back and around to my ribcage.
9. The one I don't get anymore or rarely is the all day nausea but not like it's stemming from my stomach. As crazy as it sounds it was as if the nausea was stemming from my back.
10. Sometimes the pain is only in my back. Other times it will travel in a band from below my shoulder blade to under my ribcage. I can't tell sometimes if it's radiating from back to front or front to back.
11. Sometimes the pain feels better when I press my back in that spot, other times not.
12. Developed a light rippling going up my back on the right side only. Sometimes it comes about with physical activity, other times not.
Sometimes when it hurts and I'm walking or going down steps, it jars that pain.
I've been perfectly fine either sitting or lying down but as soon as I get up the pain starts.
Sometimes during the pain if I bend to the left it will hurt all over my right side, like a pulling sensation.
Once I have the pain, even if I sit perfectly still, it's there. It can be mild to severe.
It has hurt to breathe
If the pain is mild I can exercise without making it worse.
When I'm in pain, even my elbow resting on my side hurts.
I can be in pretty bad pain, get up and walk across the room, and realize that it disappeared. And that same thing can happen and 10 minutes later it's back or maybe not.
The chiropractor put a muscle stimulator on my back. He couldn't put it past a two because it was causing a really odd sensation in my abdomen. It was as if something was going to cramp up. It reminded me of how that fruit pain would start. I get this same thing with a showerhead set at too high a pulse and it hits my abdomen.
I don't think that the pain affects my bowel movements but they have been loose at times during the pain but I think that's from my nerves being shot dealing with all this.
A few times after a bowel movement the pain would start in my back. Maybe that's a coincidence because this doesn't happen a lot.
I can eat all the way through this pain. I can even pure junk food and it doesn't seem to annoy it. Sometimes it seems that eating is what makes me feel better at times or it will be totally gone. On the other hand I have been fine and had a few sips of water that seems to set it off. And if not the pain then bloated.
Physical therapy told me that this is a thoracic issue and that's why the pain comes and goes all day long. For every movement I make it either goes in or comes out. But since my thoracic is fine according to an MRI…
I feel like tylenol has alleviated the milder pain or even the exercises physical therapy suggested trying when the pain starts. But again, because this pain can come and go at the drop of a hat, I don't know if anything is really helping.
For the most part the timing of the attacks seem to be in the morning. They can start before I even get out of bed but that's rare. More common is as soon as I take a few steps or it will wait until I'm sitting down eating which then makes me think that food caused it. The next would be on my way to work. It seems once I'm past that time I'm safe. The next most common time that it may start is in the evening.
Sometimes I think that I've been sick since my gallbladder was removed. For all I know I could have had this pain all along in conjunction with gallbladder attacks. I wouldn't have known the difference.