Gall stones

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You'll have to read it in reverse I'm afraid, such was the style at the time. I don't really think about food anymore, and I can eat everything, in moderation. I've not had any rushes or similar in the last 5 years. Acidic stomach is a rare event indeed, and I can fix that with gummybears (don't bother with anti-acids people!). This whole event is not really part of my life anymore, and I do not think about it (that) often. I do still just 'know' to eat less of certain things, like that of onions. But even when I do eat onions, I have no side effects. Possibly just associative-memory aversion.


Another little update. I'm doing pretty well these days. The gall stone removal adventure has cure the majority of my symptoms. My pneumonia is almost gone. Had a cough for such a long time, that worsened when I ate certain things (don't know what though). I got the flu near the end of February and went on some more anti biotics which seemed to clear the majority of both issues.

But! Not all is well. I still have two out standing issues which would be nice to resolve. Perhaps someone out there has had the same symptoms? Who knows :) The first one appears to be related to food (perhaps they both are I don't know). After I eat, perhaps it's what I eat, or how much I don't know. But I feel really poor, crap to sum it up better perhaps. Heart goes loud and thumping, but normal frequency at steady interval, no abnormal beats (except that it is loud). Hard to breath (not sure about this one - could be the cough / pneumonia). Minutes following this I have to either break wind, or go to the toilets. Once that stage is reached all is well again. Which is why I suspect stomach issues, rather than heart? So much proof :)

The second is very similar to the rushes I used to have last year, except not as extreme. Last years rushes used to be followed by intense chills. I don't know if it's that I know how to stop the to fully developing or if they are just less now. But anyway, again, usually after I eat, I get a rush. Not unlike an adrenalin-rush, a build up in my torso of "something". Gets my heart started like above, loud and thumping. If tend to stand or straighten my body to control it, lasts for roughly 10-20 seconds (as opposed to last years 15 mins). Following that, I have an acidic stomach, often with juices. I've had three this year, once after a bakewell, once after breakfast consisting of a sandwich with paté, and thirdly after a light pub meal - last one doesn't make sense as I've had the exact thing with no side-effect. So perhaps it isn't my digestive system but something else entirely?

Indeed confusing. I would appreciate any feedback if anyone knows or have had similar side effects. I've approached my Doctor and it's more "what exactly is wrong" since the rushes are a bit hard to explain. They generally suggest that it is stress related, but frankly, I've not had stress since I had to cook christmas dinner, and that's not really stress now is it :)

Help is always appreciated! :)


Thought I'd slap a picture up, here I am with my Borg impants during the whole anti-biotics scenario. Still got my cough and occasionally feel ill / odd when I eat somethings, no idea what though, but all in all, I feel ten times better than I did before the op.


Another Update

Right, I went back to the hopsital about 2 weeks back to have my staples removed and mentioned the pain I had (which I thought was the trapped gas). Doctor had me take an x-ray pretty much right away (nice to be on private insurance) and sure enough, I had pneumonia in both my lungs. Oh dear. "You're not going home" was the reply. So straight into a new room and they put anti-biotics into my IV. Lovely stuff, they pump that into you and within seconds you can taste it. How does that work?:)

They were worried that I might have a blood clot since I got it right after the operation, although it is fairly rare in people my age or something. So I had a VQ scan (I think that is it) where they pump you full of radioactive materials (99m Tc-albumin microspheres?) and take pictures of your lungs which, I must say, come out dissapointing poor quality, for the sheer size of the machinery. Anyway, that was opted as low-probability. I had to stay in hospital for a week to receive the IV injections 3 times a time, and was a pretty frustrating time... well enough to do things (don't actually feel sick, just painful to breathe fully) and confined to a room. Kept being told off by the nurses too :)

My incarseration was improved immensly by my wife who visited me every single day, bringing me foods and snacks. Even though the food there is pretty fine, by the second week there I was pretty sick of it, and if you failed to eat it they'd immediately notice your lack of "appetite" which means you aren't well yet. Hmmm.. Had my wife smuggle me a Pret a Manager Ham'n'Greve sandwich and deftly dumped the Salmon-steak in my rubbish one dinner. The things we do...

I was released Saturday 2nd of Dec finally. X-ray that morning looked pretty good, they said I still had a little something in my right lung, which I can occasionally feel, but it doesn't affect me. Going back for another X-ray around the 19th.

Going back to my gall-bladder problems, so far (looking for some wood here) it has been pretty good. I've felt normal after the meals so far, which is quite an off-putting sensation after having been ill for so long. I still have a sense of dread every time I put something in my mouth :) I've not dared to try anything from my "certain pain" list, but the medium thing like vegetables have been just fine. Phew. It is amazing that one can miss salad after not having any for 9 months. Doctor said my gall bladder was inflamed and had been for "quite a while". Essentially walking around with a continuous attack. Could explain why I was periodically having chills and feeling hot etc.

The picture below isn't doing my rock any justice really, it looks flat, because it is entirely black. It is however, perfectly egg-shaped, and goes about as high as two lighters on each other. Need to take a different angle picture. :)

I think I'll do another update in a month or two when I've settled more with my eating...

Finally an Update! :)

I'll move tho older information down the page so it's still available. I had keyhole surgery on the 21st of November at last! In Sloane Hospital, Beckenham. Just like checking into a Hotel, nice food menu, own room with TV and en-suite toilet and shower. There were some small compications during the operation, in that even in today enlightened society it appears that the "new technology" in surgery all come in "standard size". D'oh! Have we not learnt yet?! Oh well, the operation took an extra hour due to that, but my surgeon prevailed and managed to keep it keyhole (laproscopic c-something).

Give you three small cuts (roughly 1.5cm/0.5 inch). One just above the belly button for the camera, two on my right side under the ribs, one for each side of the gall-bladder (to hold it I believe?). The main incission is made in the centre torso just below the ribs. For all the intruments and eventually the escape route of the gall bladder. If you don't mind these things, here is a picture of my scars (minus the belly button one).

First thing I recall is hearing my wife speak as I drifted into consciousness. Not too bad really, bit of discomfort, tenderness and pain. The main pain alas, was yet to come. I was shown my baby and like a proud father said "woah, holy crap!" in a much blurred fashion. It seemed "slightly" larger than I had anticipated. I've taken a picture of it here, with some reference objects. It is heavy and quite solid. Is this a world record?:) If something is worth doing, it is worth doing big. Or something.

So anyway, a few days passed without anything too exciting happening. Except for those damned anti-colaguant injection, damn they are painful. I had noticed I had pain in my left "lung" when I breathed in deeply or coughed etc. They said that they pump your guts full of gas to seperate organs and sometimes this can get trapped. Fine. I was discharged on Saturday.

Pain was still there when I breathed in heavily etc. It then moved up my left shoulder. Painful but bare-able. It then two days later, moved to my right side and hell begun. It meant I could only sleep standing or sitting. There's true hell right there. After two nights of no sleep one is ready to sell one's sole to anyone. :) I've had no issues with the scars, or staples or any of that junk, it's the damned tradded gas I can't take. Oh well.

Today, Friday 1st Dec, I'm going in to have my staples removed. Will bring it up with them to see if there is anything I can do to leviate the "discomfort". Oh well :)

Everyone has been very supportive (and yes Mum, I know you would have come here if I'd just asked) and especially my Wife who kept me company and been doing nearly all the work at home.

I'll do another update in a week or so to see how my feeding goes.

(Older follows)


Well what can I say. These are just my finding and please don't take them as concrete proof on how things work, what you can eat and so on :)This text has no medical background and/of findings. It is purely from what I have noticed during my years of having gallstones.

So lets start.

Since I was roughly 18 or so I've had pains on my right side, just under the rib, and always at night. Although sometimes starting in the afternoon it was nearly always at night. Just just want to sleep but there is no position you can be in. Sitting, standing, lying, none of them work, it hurts either way. However, back in those days I had it generally once a year, so not exactly a BigDeal(tm).

Now, going back about a year, I had what I described as "adrenalin rushes". Couldn't find a better word for them. I thought perhaps they were palpatations for a while, but I had time to study a few (!) and I realised that my heart never beat irregularly, just loudly. Had my heart feel like it was in my throat. (Doctors say 'You became aware of your heart'). These 'attacks' last for about 15 mins each, followed by chills and sometimes fever attack (hot, cold, hot, cold make up your mind). Naturally, like fater any adrenalin release one is shaky and weak. (Oh yeah, I'm from Sweden and I never get cold. I think I had goosebumps when I was 12 once. Could have been anyway:) )

So, days after one of these episodes was followed by an assortment of stomach issues. Very acidic (popped atleast 1 anti-acid after EVERY meal). Juicy-stomach. Not sure if that is very descriptive :) But it's just, perhaps not neccessarily unpleasant but one could taste what one ate from time to time. Very light-headed, loss of equlibrium, thinking I were to pass-out/faint (but never doing so). Heart in my throat, usually after I ate.

Weight-loss. Oh yeah. I've been weighing myself every morning (yeah yeah) since 2-3 months before, and even though I'm aware there is a little bit of yo-yo'ing from day to day (anything up to a kilo really). After an "episode" of chills etc, I dropped 5kg over night (no, didn't come back either). And for the rest of that week (which was rough with above symptoms) it dropped a further 12kg. Didn't seem to matter what I ate, I lost weight. It started slowing down, but always going down, so over the next 3 months I lost a total of 22kg. Nice to loose weight, but I'd rather do it without feeling crap :) The weight is still off...

So bring in the Doctors. The first one said I was just stressed and quite frankly, I play games at work for most of the time (boss: nah I'm joking) :)

Anyway, starting again, I first went to get an ECG as my heart was involved with many symptons, going up my throat and so on, but that came out fine. I was afterwards put on Zoton (Proton Induction Pump) or rather, acid inhibitors for my stomach which helped alot, nearly right away. Removed most of my light headedness and so on. This was fine for about a month, when I had another episode and started again etc.

During the 6 months of these symptons I started to notice patterns on how was feeling. It tended to be directly related to what I ate, plus a few random events. Fairly quickly I found 2-3 items I definitely should avoid and some I could eat moderate amounts of and some as much as I wanted.

Eventually, I chatted to my parents and compared lists with them. Both my parents have had gallstones and had them removed, and I found that 3 out of 4 things were the same as what they couldn't eat then. Hmmm.

I asked my Doctor if I could do an Ultrasound to which he was agreeable. That was mildly amusing and a little painful (well, not much, but she had to push and my stomach/ride side is generally tender). And Lo! There was a jellybean-shaped stone there of roughly 3.3cm. Sweet. I'm not in the process of working out when to have an Operation, I'm unsure on the waiting list time.


What could I and what could I not eat? Well, I found quickly that the definite killers were: Peanuts, Onion and Eggs. Peanuts put my heart right up my throat, whereas Eggs made a belt across my entire stomach just below the ribs. Onion had a delayed effect but they all caused pain on my right side. It took longer to add the fourth to the list, pastry. As in pie's. I tend not to eat them very often which is probably why it took longer, and hit me rather hard :)

Things that make me feel crap but I can eat moderate amount of:

Tomato, lettuce, cucumber, all leaf-vegetable really, most fruit (citrus ones in particular). Red meat, pork, minced, veal, minced.

Things I found I could/can eat without side-effects:

chicken, and load of chicken. Cheese and yoghurt and other dairy product was also fine (yeah odd indeed) including fatty cheese like Brie. Bananas are superb (although after 6 months it gets abit much :) ) Mayo is fine too, isn't that made by eggs? (or have I uncovered a big secret that there are no real eggs in mayo? :) )

In later stages I realised it was better for me to eat small, but many meals. Or have something inbetween meals. Checking the Internet it seems that is because between meals the Gall fills with bile, so the longer you wait the more it could have. Thinking back I realised the (last two) episodes I skipped both breakfast and lunch as I had a big dinner the day before, and then eating something with one of the items in my "what will kill me" diet. Bugger! Oh yeah, I used to love spicy food, and well, I still do, but it seems to give me hiccups almost right away. Dunno what that is all about.

I've found if I eat sugar, like winegums or similar between meals that seems to settle my stomach just fine. Not healthy perhaps but my weight as remained constant. It is frustrating that I can't eat healthy things (vegetables and so on) but eating junk food is just fine. Weird.

I drink alot of water, it seems to help. Roughly 6-8 litre's a day currently. But this has really carried over from my Coke/DrPepper drinking days, where the addiction made it become a social habit (like smokers are used to having a fag between their fingers).

An amusing coincidence is that in the last 3 weeks of knowing I had gallstones, 2 friends I've know for 10 years have also been diagnosed with it (net friends). My Canadian chap has already had his out (slightly better healthcare system over there) and my American is due for his in about a month.

Well uh, that's it I guess :) I guess I'll fill in some more after I've had my Op, and perhaps follow-up on the food bits to see if I what I can eat afterward.


(look out for my rock collection on :) )