Well damn. 27 and I have a gall stone.

So I wake up this morning because I feel kind of uncomfortable in my bed. I toss and turn and try to get into a better position, but get increasingly uncomfortable. I am pulled fully out of sleep because I realise that it’s not just discomfort; it’s pain. My abdomen feels like a white hot rod has been stuck into it.

So I get up. I’ll walk it off, I think. It’s just a bit of undigested beef, I think. I’m beginning to pace and feeling more and more frantic. It hurts to breathe. I consider calling the hospital. Or my husband. No, the hospital. No… my husband.

Thinking the pain isn’t that terrible, I begin to calmly put on my clothes, simple jogging pants and a jersey. Things easy to get out of if I must. If I have to go to the hospital. I’m not quite that desperate… yet. But I’m putting serious thought into it.

Ten minutes later I’m on the phone screaming to my husband to come get me, NOW. Thankfully, the hospital is just a few blocks away. While the lady takes my information, I am pale, breathing heavy, near tears, cold sweats, with my head on her desk. My husband answered all the questions for me. The had to take me to the room in a wheelchair.

So, they hook me up to an IV, poke and prod, ask what’s wrong, and I can barely speak. The IV helps somewhat, and I stop the cold sweats. I thought something was going to burst, like my appendix. What terrible, terrible pain. I had to have a bunch of other crap done, to rule out pregnancy before they gave me some pain meds. Delicious, delicious pain meds.

I was sent for an ultrasound, and there was the culprit: gallstone. One. About 2cm. It’s a big one. But thankfully, it’s just the one, not many little ones. I had all my other organs checked out, too. All healthy. For some reason, it was comforting at that point to know I wasn’t falling apart, at least. And to be honest, I was pleased to have an answer. Now I know what is causing the pain, I can stop the pain. They said maybe surgery. Only maybe. Diet and exercise need to be changed significantly, and I may be able to avoid surgery altogether if I… well, if I can get myself together. My husband kept saying, “Don’t be nervous if you have to have surgery, they do this kind of thing all the time, don’t be nervous.” I say hell, I’m more scared of living with that awful pain than of having surgery to remove the pain forever. Let’s try this diet and exercise and see if we can live with little Mr. Gallstone in peace before we jump to surgery, shall we?

Still, a part of me is stunned. I’m 27 years old. They kept saying things like “Well, too much McDonalds and that kind of thing.” I don’t eat at fast food restaurants often, that’s the thing. I like them, but they are rare treats. I’m going to have to go with “and that kind of thing.” I do eat a lot of dairy… and I’m lactose intolerant. Later, one of the doctors (he was a smart fellow, clever, intelligent, geeky… struck me as a Doper… should have asked him) told me that I had the “four F’s” against me: I am fair, female, fertile, and fat. “Er, well, you’re not fat, but you are carrying some extra pounds,” he quickly corrected. I wasn’t insulted, I giggled. Also, the worst count against me: genetics. Both on my mother’s side and my father’s side. My father is in the damn medical books for his case of stones. Lucky me.

So, here I sit, doped up nicely, feeling pretty good now. My wonderful husband has gone out to restock our fridge with fat-free goodies, lots of fresh fruits and veggies and whole grain breads. So, that should take care of that little weight issue I was having problems with. Feeling tempted? Frock that. I’d rather go without than go through that blinding pain again. And I’d best get started eating healthy now; so when I have kids, they learn to eat like I eat. Save them from their genes, and all.

Ugh, I say.

Ugh. :frowning:

Not fun at all. Out of nowhere, I passed two kidney stones within 6 days of each other back in March (I’m 32). Easily the most painful thing ever in my life … I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Anyway, be glad it’s done and enjoy your pain meds.

I thought I might be having gallbladder trouble a couple of years ago, but it turned out to be an h.pylori infection. One of the things that made the doctor rule it out during the office visit was that I wasn’t in absolute agony, so I’m sorry you had to go through that.

My doctor told me about the four F’s, too. I thought one of them was for 40, though, not fertile, although I’m both, I guess. Enjoy your healthy new diet. It can be quite nice, if you get creative. I’ve been doing Weight Watcher’s and avoiding fatty stuff, and now I don’t feel right if I succumb to the temptation to eat it (well, except for pizza—that will always be too good).

Gall stones are evil. Try and keep tot he diet, it is better than having your gall bladder removed (which I had done) since once you lose that sucker you will never dare be more than 10 minutes from a restroom without having first having over dosed yourself on imodium. (And I didn’t match any of the F’s so much for that. Forty, Fat, Fertile, Female, or Fair)

Does this mean you have a lot of gall?

Nope… I just have a little. :stuck_out_tongue:

Now my father, that was a man with a lot of gall!

Really. His was overflowing with stones, and in his kidneys, and it blocked up his liver… he finally went to see the doctor when he realised he’d turned yellow from jaundice. Cripes, and I couldn’t even stand the first hour of my morning! I guess I just don’t have the “stones” he’s got for pain. :smiley:

I’m curious, can you elaborate on this? I ask because I had mine out about '94 or so, and seem to have had a touchy digestive system ever since.

Sorry about your pain, Anastasaeon. In case you must have surgery, don’t sweat it. This one’s an easy one. I was one of the first patients in my county to have the laproscopic (?) surgery for gallbladder removal, and it was a breeze. I was back to work full time in a week and a half.

Much more info here

Dr. Dad said that three of the Fs were Fat, Fertile, and Forty. I was 31 when I had my gall bladder out. Yep, fat and fertile, but not yet forty.

I read it’s “fat, fortyish fecund female with foul, floating, frothy feces”.

Hope you don’t have more. I’ve had over forty kidney stones, and don’t even remember how many surgeries any more. They can get a mite painful. 'Course, I started at 19…

Every time I’ve reaqd about the “F”, it’s always different. Female and fat seems to be the only constant. I’m not flatulant, I am fair, I’m not forty, I am fertile… sheesh.

So far, so good… there has been no pain since yesterday’s hell on earth. I have some percocet in case I have an 11 episode on a scale of one to ten. I haven’t even had to use any ibuprofen yet. I have been terribly sleepy, though. Mr. Stasaeon thinks it might have been the heavy duty pain meds they pumped into my veins yesterday. I don’t know. I think it might be a combination of things, abrupt change in diet being one of them.

I’m keeping a very close eye on my diet right now, and have switched to mostly raw fruits and veggies, very little fat (not zero fats, the fats I do consume are “good” fats, but still very little until after I see the surgeon, anyway), lots of high fibre stuff like legumes and whole grain bread. I have follow up appointments with both my family doctor and the surgeon… not sure what to expect there, but I’m really hoping to just avoid the surgery by eating healthy and exercising.

Drinking lots of water and apple juice… mostly Mr. Stasaeon’s Grandmama’s ideas. Can’t hurt… I researched it a little bit, and some of the sites seem kind of… er… “loony”… however, it doesn’t seem harmful. I don’t know how soon I want to drink olive oil chased with lemon juice, though. Erg. Apple juice is just fine with me.

Aw, Anastasaeon, I hope this clears up soon for you (hopefully without the surgery). I’ve been checked with ultrasound for gallbladder probs, when I was 19. I am (presumably) fertile, I am female, I’m not fat, I’m not fair, and I’m not forty, so :confused: I think they had to rule it out anyway. No gallbladder stones or sediment, and apparently I have “nicely-shaped kidneys”, according to the radiologist. (Maybe that was a pick-up line? :dubious: ) Anyway, I am lactose intolerant, and my digestive pains had started shortly after I attended a fondue party. The final diagnosis was little ulcers in my duodenum. Digestive problems are some of the least-fun experiences you can have, so you have my sympathies!

The whole “F” rhyme…what is the significance of the “fair” bit? Does “fair” mean blonde, or white, as a predisposing factor? Or is it just added for verisimilitude?

I was 26 when I passed my first diagnosed stone. I had been having the pains for about three years before that. I’m 47 now and still have my gall bladder. I’m terrified of surgery. If I hadn’t just had a C-section when I got my diagnosis I probably would have had it out then. But after all these years I’d rather have the pain than the surgery. I know, I’m stupid, and the last one sent me into DKA (I’m also a type 1 diabetic) which really scared and suprised me. They do get further and further apart, though. Now the intervals are measured in years instead of weeks. I was told I also suffer inflammation (cholecystitis, I think is what it’s called) between the stones and that, unfortunately, is almost always evident, but much more bearable than the stones.

I hope your gallstone will go away.

On a slightly related topic, I’ve dissected (and dictated) the dissection of quite a few gallbladders in my time. Some of them I can’t imagine having been in somebody’s body. Imagine a fleshy sac plump full (read: almost bursting) with bright yellow stones the size of tic tacs and covered in green bile. Gross!

Well, I’m red-headed and very, very pale in skin. When I was in enormous pain, the nurse had to turn to my husband and say, “She looks like she’s very pale normally, but is she this pale?” And Mr. Stasaeon said, “Yes, she’s pale normally, but her lips are usually pink.” Mine were white. So I would assume the “fair” part meant my pale skin. However, much of my Googling has turned up that it’s very common in Native Americans and Mexicans. The little “F” rule seems like a very loose and fast idea, and probably not something to rely on. How confusing. :confused:

A lot of my own misconceptions have been cleared up, too. I thought gallstones were something I wouldn’t have to worry about until I was older. I had big plans of losing that extra weight “someday”. Well, now I’m paying for it. I’m not miserable, though. I would rather eat healthy, even bland foods, rather than go through that pain again. I couldn’t handle it. The moment the nurse mentioned pain meds, I was begging for them. Before I was diagnosed, I could have sworn I was dying!

Thanks, everyone, for the well wishes and experiences. It all helps. The more I learn about it, the less scary it seems. In fact… it’s hardly scary at all anymore. Diet, exercise… and probably will be able to avoid surgery, if all goes well. My FIL thinks that when the lady who did the ultrasound helped me move the stone, it alleviated the worst of the pain. She said it was near a duct, and to see if we could move it… and it did. So as long as I’m not blocking things up, I should be able to avoid surgery… and in time, I hope, pass the thing.

Nunavut Boy… I was sitting here eating grapes when I read your post - I think I’ll stop now! :eek: :smiley:


Next time, come to Swedish on Pill Hill, and you can have a real Doper draw your labs. :wink:

One of the weirdest med texts I’ve seen so far was a gallbladder with multiple stones. It seriously looked like a candy dish - cut in half in the book, it looked like it was full of little toffees.

Get better soon.

I was 27 or 28 when I had gallbladder troubles and pancreatitis. I had my gallbladder out and have never been happier. My Gastro-enterologist told me that gallstones in young women are frequently caused by birth control pills. When I got home, I looked in the little pamphlet that comes with every pack, and sure enough, it is in there: Gall stones and blood clots are two pretty common side effects.

Mine were lots and lots of tiny stones that were getting stuck in ducts. Not a lot of fun.

I certainly hope you feel better soon.

Sorry to hear about your gallstone, Anastasaeon.

I had my gallbladder removed when I was still in my twenties. Although I had several smaller attacks that sent me to outpatients and my doctor’s office, they didn’t do the necessary tests to make a diagnosis. I only had one serious attack where I was admitted to hospital (and tests were finally completed). Apparently, I had several stones and they opted to just take it out immediately.

I had lost a lot of weight quite rapidly several times in the few years previous to the diagnosis. Apparently, it’s quite common to develop gallstones after rapid weight loss.

FWIW, I had no digestive issues after my laparoscopic gallbladder removal.

Sorry to hear about your gallstone/gallbladder problems Anastasaeon.

I was 22 when I had my gallbladder removed due to gallstones. This was in the first half of the 1980s, so medical technology wasn’t as great as it is now. I now have a “lovely” :rolleyes: scar to remind of the hell I went through. I can well relate to your pain, although my symptoms started out in the previous year before removal as flu like symptoms. I puked everyday, I kid you not, It SUCKED. Finally, they ran labs and an ultrasound on me and discovered my problem.

Since I no longer had a gall bladder my tolerance for certain foods went out the window. I used to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE hot, spicy foods. Can’t eat to this day. It just rips me up now. Also, for the first year after my surgery, if I ate ANYTHING greasy, mexican, or even an apple, I had to RUN for the nearest bathroom.

Still, I don’t have pain or the problems that I endured in the year preceding the removal, so I guess it was worth it.

By the way, I too am fair skinned and carry a few extra pounds.

Wow. A lot of what you guys are telling me, and also a lot of the symptoms I’ve been looking up, makes me suddenly realise: I’ve probably had this sucker for a long, long time.

For the past few years, I kept having mysterious flu-like symptoms that come and go, vomiting, tired all the time, weird backaches after eating, sudden intolerances to certain foods… cripes, and here I just thought I was getting old! :smack: