Listen to Me!

I have been suffering from recurring upper right quadrant abdominal pain, nausea, belching, and gastrointestinal symptoms that I won’t detail for at least a decade. After numerous trips to my general practitioner, in 2018 he decided we needed to look into possible gallbladder issues. Me being me, I researched gallbladder issues and, lo and behold, my symptoms checked all of the boxes. I felt a sense of relief since, at the time my tests were scheduled I had been sick for a month with a low-grade fever having joined the list of symptoms above. My blood work was normal, an abdominal ultrasound showed no gallstones, and the results of my HIDA scan were on the low side of normal. So, with no answers, life as normal – with frequent flare-ups – continued.

Fast forward to 2019 and another month-long flare-up with additional symptoms of the “if you have these symptoms, please see your doctor immediately” type and I returned to my general practitioner. The nurse practitioner scheduled me for another round of tests. Once again, my blood work was normal and my abdominal ultrasound showed no gallstones. There was no HIDA scan performed. While I’m not big on unnecessary tests, etc. I felt like I wasn’t being listened to. Maybe it was because the nurse who performed my HIDA scan warned me that it wasn’t uncommon to have to have more than one; she had had two. Maybe it was because I had been having the same symptoms for years and was no closer to an answer.

I continued to have frequent flare-ups and Kenn encouraged me to go back to the doctor. My response didn’t make him happy. I told him that I wasn’t going to go back to the doctor because I didn’t feel like they weren’t listening to me; I told him that when my symptoms got bad enough to send me to the ER, maybe someone would take me seriously.

It’s now five years since my original tests and my symptoms have done nothing except become more frequent. I can go weeks with only minor abdominal pain, etc. and then I’ll go through weeks of being sick (complete with low-grade fever). The last week of March and the first week of April of this year were two of those weeks and I had a couple of nights where I thought it might be time to make that trip to the ER. Kenn, bless his heart, has continued to harass – I mean, encourage – me about going back to the doctor.

I had done a little research and determined that if I were to talk to a doctor again, a gastroenterologist would probably be my best option. Since I am due for my once-every-five-years colonoscopy, I already had an appointment with my gastroenterologist for a consultation. I promised Kenn that I would that I would raise the issue with the nurse practitioner during my visit and I did. And, she blew my mind. I expected to have to make another appointment at a later date to discuss my ongoing issues since they are unrelated to my colonoscopy, but… no. She spent another ten to fifteen minutes talking to me about my symptoms, my history, and what tests had been done when. I left her office with appointments for a new abdominal ultrasound, another HIDA scan, and an EGD to rule out an ulcer or anything of that nature since one has never been done. I don’t know what the tests will find but it is such a relief to finally feel like someone is listening to me and not acting like being miserable is no big deal.

I understand that my gallbladder has a function to perform, even if it’s not doing it well. I’m also not an advocate of unnecessary surgery. However, I am so tired of feeling bad that, at this point, I’d like to have my gallbladder removed just to see if I’d feel better.

Have you had your gallbladder removed? If so, did your symptoms improve?

9 thoughts on “Listen to Me!

  1. That sounds awful. And it is so common to feel blown off by medical care providers. One of the reasons I will only use (when I have a choice) doctors who are women of color is because they are much better listeners than white men (all backed up by peer-reviewed studies and my own experience) and they had to work harder to succeed because of their gender and color. This is also true of veterinarians, BTW. I am glad you finally found someone who listened and spent time with you. I had a younger sister who got her gallbladder removed (it was an emergency) in her twenties. She seems to have done okay without it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you nailed it Autumn. The nurse practitioner who took the time to listen and get my tests scheduled is a woman of color. Most, if not all, of the people I know who have had their gallbladders removed (including both of my parents and both of my sisters) have done fine without them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this pain and the headache of trying to get a diagnosis! I had my gallbladder out at thirteen. I didn’t have any gallstones either—all of the women in my family have a strange genetic thing were we don’t have stones, but our gallbladder simply doesn’t work. So my stones tests were negative as well, but I had a test that determined that my gallbladder simply doesn’t function. I believe it was one were they injected a dye through my veins and used an X-ray machine to watch the dye go through my gallbladder. (I was young so I don’t recall the name). That was certainty it though—I had the surgery and those symptoms went away. (My symptoms included flare-ups, particularly after eating greasy foods, of intense pain in my right side, pain in my shoulder, sweats and feverish, etc. At times I’d nearly pass out from the pain. And I experienced “heart-attack” symptoms; sometimes the gallbladder pains mimic heart attack pain.) It was the same for my sister, mother, grandmother, aunts, etc. Hopefully this is somewhat helpful! It’s so difficult dealing with symptoms without answers and I sincerely hope that you’re able to find some soon. ♡ ♡

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never had gallbladder issues – I hope they can find a solution for you as you’ve suffered long enough. My mother had many doctors in her lifetime and because she didn’t drive I took her to appointments and stayed in the room with her … I have met a few doctors whom I generally liked, but have met more that I did not like. Although I need to have a physical since I’ve not had one in decades, I need to find a GP that I am comfortable with first.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s