Sunday, 4 August 2013

It's ALL in your HEAD! The Doctor said

It's all in your head!

Doctors, I am humiliated, embarrassed and downright angry!

2 Years ago I suddenly got dreadful pain under my right rib when I ate, it takes a lot for me to see a doctor, so I put up with it, until it got so bad I had to make an appointment.
I saw a doctor who thought it was all typical Gallbladder symptoms, the pain was incredible, I was also putting ON weight even though I could barely eat.
My stomach huge and bloated (I am usually a really small person). The Doctor ordered a scan of my gallbladder, it didn't show any stones, he said it must be a stomach ulcer and put me on Nexium. He also added that I have to do more exercise, eat better and loose weight. I could hardly eat anything and I was so sick it was hard to work let along go to a gym! But here's the kicker, he sat there and told me that and he - the doctor- is actually morbidly obese. Yep, I mean morbidly obese oooooozzzzzzing out of the chair and can hardly get to his feet. I'm talking size XXXXXXL. And HE was lecturing ME? WTF?

The Nexium did nothing for the pain, infact I think it made it worse. I went back to the Doctor, I was feverish, the pain was now stabbing under my right rib, through to my back and up into my right shoulder, I was having hot and cold sweats, I was a mess.
The Doctor just said "Look there is nothing wrong with you, this is all in your head, you should seek counselling"

I am NOT a crier, I did not cry infront of him, I am to the point, but I was stunned into silence with his remarks. I then said "But there is a big lump under my rib" and there was, like a swelling that was painful and it was where the pain was coming from.
That Doctor did not even look back from his computer screen, he just said "It's not possible"
Stunned, I stood up and left... humiliated... surely this couldn't be in my head?? I work 2 jobs, I have a family, surely if this was stress or something this pain wouldn't be localized nor would I be feverish. I'm not stupid, but I certainly was doubting myself.
I went home and then to work, my 'lump' seemed to be making noises that I could "feel" I was exhausted like someone with chronic fatigue syndrome, I could hardly eat anything, if I did eat something with even a small amount of fat I'd also be vomiting, the chills would come back, temperature, absolute agony.

One night I drove myself to the hospital hunched over the steering wheel, but the waiting room was full, I was told I'd have at least an 8 hour wait, more likely 10 hours. I was still convinced it was my gallbladder, but the nurse said that if the scan showed no stones, it's probably just gas.
I have seriously never had a gas pain with fever before.
The "lump" would come up everytime the pain was most severe. At this point though it even hurt to drink water.

It was 7 months or so since the first Doctor told me that it was all in my head, I was getting worse, much worse. It was so bad one night, the hospital turned me away, I came home and wrote a list of all my aged care clients so that if I died, they would not go without their medications.

I saw a Naturopath, she was really nice, she believed me at least, then she prescribed some Chinese medicine that did help for a while, I also tried acupuncture but that did not help at all. .

I decided to try a different Doctor, out of desperation, and I fully thought I couldn't get 2 Doctors that put it down to emotion. I was wrong. I saw the 2nd Doctor for about 3 minutes, just like the previous Doctor he did not examine me, he just said "There was no stones on the scan, this has to be just emotional, there is nothing wrong with you"
Why are they saying it's in my head? Why are they saying it's emotional? I sat there, yes a bit hunched over because the pain was really bad, but I didn't cry, yell, scream, I did NONE of those things, I just told him factually what the problem was and now another Doctor is telling me it's all in my head?? REALLY?? OK, I just about did loose it then, I had now been in this pain for over a year, I knew it wasn't all in my head so I stood up, told him he had no idea and that I wasn't paying for the consultation and I walked out.
He just stared at me leaving. Asshole.

That appointment was at 6pm and I drove the darkest, further-est corner of a supermarket car park. I sat in the dark and finally cried and cried, I really thought I was going to die, and no one will help me, no one will believe me. I had this massive bloated stomach, constant pain, I still had to work even though I had at times collapsed, they didn't believe me. My options had run out.
I am not a liar, nor a hypochondriac (I grew up with one of those so I avoid doctors like the plague unless I really, really need one), so.. I am thinking, why? Why didn't those doctors believe me?

I worked harder and longer, I wanted to make sure my husband and little girl would be ok financially at least for a little while. I took pain killers that were my adult daughters and my husbands (left overs from a fall my daughter had and an accident my husband had had) I'd take anything just to dull the pain a little. But I kept going, I had no choice. I really felt like I was dying, surely no person could endure this much pain and not die.
I am a TOUGH cookie, when I had my youngest son, now 20 years old, I had a c-section. I was home the next day cooking dinner. I had my youngest daughter naturally (now 9 years old) and was home within an hour. I am tough, I have a high pain tolerance. This pain however, now had been going on for 1 and a half YEARS and I cannot remember what it is like NOT to be in pain. I used heat bags so often over my gallbladder that all my skin peeled and my still hugely bloated stomach took on a burned mottled effect.
When working I'd attach those stick on heat patches straight to the skin so I could just keep going. In this day and age of most people being 'casual' instead of permanent in the work place, no work, no pay. I couldn't afford to take time off.
Much of my extended family disagree with me having the 2nd job, because of where it is, it's an Adult Store. Well I am doing it to support my husband and child, and even grown children to a degree, because there just is not enough to go around, they should be grateful instead of judgmental in my opinion.I like the job! It doesn't stress me out or anything. But anyway, back to my story....

I had no idea what else to do, I self medicated with whatever I could get my hands on, nothing really helped take the pain away completely, but it took the edge off. It's a bit sad that I am taking other peoples medication out of sheer desperation isn't it.. I also  have every vitamin supplement known to man, I bought them all one by one in the hopes the pain was some sort of deficiency but alas, nothing worked.

My husband made an appointment with a Doctor who treated him for a recent injury and came with me, this was the first Doctor to actually touch me, he felt my stomach and said "I believe you, there is something wrong with your Gallbladder, I can feel the muscles protecting it" Relief? YES. He ordered another scan.

The Radiographer said there was no stones, here we go again I thought, so I did not make a follow up appointment, I just could not bare to hear him say "No, it's all in your head" but his receptionist ended up phoning me.
She said the Doctor would like to see me about my results, I reluctantly agree'd.

This Doctor said "Didn't they tell you with the first Doctor that you have Polyps in your gallbladder?"
I almost fell off the chair I was so shocked. Seriously shocked. It was the last thing I expected him to say!

How stupid is it to be happy I have polyps in my gallbladder?? But I have a reason, it's NOT all in my head, I am believed, now I can be helped.

He referred me to a Surgeon - I have waited just over 2 months for the appointment and it's tomorrow.
I am only nervous that he will say "Lets do more tests" or "Lets wait and see" -----Nooooo just take this thing OUT already!! Take it out!! It's only a Gallbladder! It's practically day surgery! Keyhole surgery! I've waited for TWO YEARS in this pain, just take it out.

Oh I know, there are people who are going to say I should 'try to save the gallbladder' and "If you get your gallbladder out you have to be careful of what you eat etc etc" but for anyone who wants to say that... I am going through that NOW only I have intense, never ending pain to go with it. So the only difference is that I won't have this pain, I want it out, I have no desire to 'save' my gallbladder, it is not an essential organ, I just want it out.

Am I bitter. Hell YES!! I am bitter. I am bitter because 2 quacks told me it was ALL IN MY HEAD. I've also had 2 years of incredible pain and had to work with it, so I have very little sympathy for others who don't go to work when they hurt themselves, I had to.
Oh you hurt your hand? You are staying home for a week getting waited on? Oh please, spare me...

I have had very little support through this, with the exception of my husband. I know everyone is wrapped up in their own lives, I understand that, but holy moly... If you don't believe me there is actually times I have thought of trying to cut this thing out myself, and when the 2nd doctor said it was all in my head, I did actually consider suicide because I had exhausted any avenue I knew about and I just couldn't end the pain, until of course I found out taking other people's pain killers took the edge off it.

Doctors - stop just presuming everything is in someones head, 2 doctors have put me though 2 years of pain that was unnecessary, this could have all been fixed a long time ago. Doctors, get off google and actually LISTEN to your patient, after all we are paying your wage. Doctors - it IS possible to have a non functioning, painful gallbladder without stones, yes it is.

I am going to get a letter from the Surgeon, and then make an appointment with both the doctors that told me it was all in my head, and I'm going to show it to them, I expect an apology. Not that I will get one but it will feel like a bit of justification.

The following photo's are me, before getting sick and the last one is after I got sick, you can see how ill I am just in my face,  my body is all bloated up, I don't look like the same person,  but yeah, it's all in my head....

I had other symptoms too, that I will tell you about after I have been to the surgeon to see what he says.
To top all of this off, I actually work in health! So I do know a thing of two about how the body functions. I was not stressed, I did become stressed when I was not believed though.

Who wouldn't?

Don't ever let anyone tell you that gallbladder polyps "never" cause pain, because they DO and they also cause many other symptoms. I know an elderly lady who was having right sided pain, a scan revealed 'sludge' - in her gallbladder. The Doctor dismissed her and said "Oh sludge wouldn't be causing any pain" once again, a Doctor with no knowledge whatsoever, of course sludge causes pain! Obviously this Doctor has never had a gallbladder attack and little empathy for anyone who has.

Now I am just waiting to see the Surgeon, I'm not nervous about getting my gallbladder out, I want it out! I am nervous that this Surgeon will say "Lets just wait and see" or "Lets do more tests" that is what I am really nervous about. 2 years is long enough to have gone through this.
I don't mind waiting a few months for surgery, I know it's a public system and I have to wait my turn, I am ok with that, there would be a light at the end of the tunnel. But if there is no light at the end of it, I just don't know what I am going to do... :(

Love that surgeon!

The surgeon was lovely, said my gallbladder had to come out, and I am scheduled to have it gone in 6 weeks, YAY! And in his words "you do not need to have stones to have gallbladder disease" so GP's PLEASE listen. Stop fobbing people off with 'it's all in your head"

2 weeks later

I had a gallbladder attack that lasted 24 hours, in the end my husband took me to A&E (I have never been there before), they were lovely and gave me a shot to stop the pain, and my gallbladder operation has been brought forward by a week. I had to take a week off both of my jobs I was so wiped out. I am so grateful to have a wonderful husband and family, but I feel so guilty as this past 2 years I've been so ill I have not been a very good wife or mother.... I come home between clients and lay down because I feel so ill, or in pain, or throwing up, I have no energy and generally I'm a big pain in the ass because I can't seem to do anything!

Friday 13th September

For a few days felt extreme pressure and pain under my left rib and round to the back, on Friday it was so bad and went to see a GP as I had gallbladder pain one side and very much like gallbladder pain on the other, WTF? Seriously? Turns out I have a nasty kidney infection and I have 6 days to clear it up or they will not operate on me. Believe me, kidney infection pain is right up there with gallbladder pain.... So I have antibiotic's (Bactrim) and something to help me sleep.
I have read that having an infected or generally crappy gallbladder can cause all sorts of infection... including kidney.
There has been many points through this that I really didn't think I was going to make it and getting this kidney infection was one of them.... I am praying... praying that this can be cleared up so I can get the gallbladder out, the source of all my problems....
If I can't, I honestly don't know what I am going to do... it will be about a 6 month wait, I feel as though I won't last that long.

Monday 16th September

A call from the hospital, well my surgery is cancelled along with everyone else that day.... the nurse will call me tomorrow as she is going to try to squeeze me in but, the end of October is what it's looking at now... God help me, I hope she can squeeze me in sooner, there is no pain control for this and I go crazy with the pain. But she managed to get me in October 3rd... that is  14 away...

Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th September

I ended up at A&E both nights as I was so sick I couldn't hold anything down, the pain was so out of control I was kind of 'out of it', I can remember my husband getting me ready to go to hospital and my eldest daughter trying to put on my coat and all I remember then is being on a drip, I had not eaten in 3 days and was severely dehydrated. The hospital staff were wonderful and I would leave feeling a bit better only to have it all return just a few hours later, gallbladders can make you really sick! I also had cross infection in my kidney from my gallbladder (very painful).

Thursday 19th September

I went to see my GP and he took one look at me and said "There is no way you can wait another 2 weeks to have this operation, you need it now, he personally phoned the surgeons, they called me and had brought the operation forward 2 days... TWO DAYS? That still made it October 1st, 12 days away...

A dear friend came to my house and into my bedroom where I was laying too sick to move, she brought me flowers (that my cat tried to eat) I hated her seeing me like this but she made me feel good just coming over.

I once again ended up in A&E around 6pm, still could not hold down anything, even water hurt to sip, the pain so out of control that I could hardly speak, the A&E doctor admitted me and I actually hate hospitals but was too sick to argue, lots of Morphine, a drip and I was at least sleeping. The A&E doctor called the surgeons now to move the surgery forward quickly as I was so sick, and It was supposed to be done Friday, but it was cancelled 4 times that day due to emergencies, one doctor came down and said "I don't know if it's your gallbladder, usually gallbladder is just pain not vomiting" - I wonder where he got his doctors licence from? Gallbladder pain DOES cause vomiting, especially when something is obstructing the bile duct.
But then the registrar came to see me and said he was sorry they could not operate today, that he has personally put me in for Monday and it will definitely be done.  He mentioned stones, but I pointed out that I was told I did not have stones, I have polyps, and he said yes but often polyps and stones go together and regardless, they still give the same pain and symptoms. He gave me a letter saying I was to have my gallbladder out Monday.

My mother and father inlaw came to the hospital as well which was a nice surprise, and it was comforting.

I came home Friday afternoon, my poor husband has been wonderful looking after me but I feel so useless, my daughters are being wonderful too but my little daughter seems so sad and bewildered about everything.
I feel so guilty putting them all through this.

My sons don't live at home, but they message me and my daughter in-law too, I really want to reach out to them but am so sick, one is at Ayers Rock and one lives in town.
I am writing this in-between meds as when I take them I just fall asleep.

Sunday 22nd September

1 sleep to go, I feel like I have done nothing but sleep. I have messages from my dear friend in New Zealand with words of encouragement, my employers have been wonderful, my husband is an absolute rock, I am so lucky.
There is so many people with bigger health issues, but who would have thought a dodgy gallbladder could make one so sick? I can't even describe how sick I have been, I am a tough cookie too!  I am no shrinking violet! This gallbladder has knocked me for a 6.

Reality is, that 2 years ago the doctor that told me "It's all in your head" has caused me and my loved ones a whole lot of heartache, pain and trauma, this could have been fixed 2 years ago. After I recover from this operation I am going to go see him and tell him that he has caused me 2 years of agony because he claimed it was "All in my head"

Monday 23rd September 3.30AM

Well I have run out of Endone, the Tramadol isn't working, I have reheated the wheat bag 10 times and the gnawing pain is still there, why keep trying to sleep when I know I can't? I may as well sit up, the pain isn't bad enough to make me vomit - yet, but I know it's just a matter of time. I have not been able to eat since last Tuesday. I am worried they will cancel my operation again, If I had private insurance this would all be done by now, but sadly, I cannot afford it.
Apart from canceling my operation numerous times, the staff at the public hospital has been amazing. Wish me luck, so I can say "Good bye painful rotting organ!" and be able to live again.

Wednesday 25th September

I am a new me and gallbladder free! I was told by the surgeon that my gallbladder was poison and had adhesioned onto my other organs on my right side that had also stopped functioning properly due to infection, a one hour operation turned into 4 hours as a team delicately cut all this poison gallbladder away from other organs and cleaned out all the septic.
Instead of 3 little keyholes I have 4 rather large cuts. But I don't mind, I am not worried about scaring (It's not like I walk around in a bikini!) but I felt better even with all the wounds than I did with my gallbladder in.

I was able to eat for the first time since last Tuesday, no pain, OMG NO PAIN, no vomiting, I could just eat. I had a little soup and a little roll, no problems.
I am so grateful to have this thing out of me and I am told I already look better. My sister inlaw told me she had been worried as for the last year I just had not looked well at all, I didn't feel well either, but, this all could have been prevented had a doctor not said it was all in my head.
After hearing from the surgeons, no wonder I was so sick! I also had stones and polyps in the lining of the gallbladder. Lets also note that the scans did NOT show anything but the polyps!!!! Apparently stones have to be calcified to show up.

Frankly, I could have and very nearly did die from my gallbladder.

I do of course have after surgery pain, but it's nothing compared to gallbladder pain. I have about 28 staples to be removed next Friday. It's finally over.... the suffering, the pain... it's over... I can be a person again :)

Thursday 26th September

It appears that Tramadol no longer agree's with me :( Causing nausea and vomiting - yeah, just what I needed after surgery argh! So I have stopped taking it. I also have gas pains but that is to be expected.
I have to keep reminding myself, hey, you only had this operation on Monday! Actually I was in recovery around 6PM so that is only 3 days ago.
I hear all these things about people who can just jump right back into their lives, eat whatever they want, go back to work, vacuum the house etc but it looks like I am not one of them, damn! I so want to be one of those people. I was sick for sooooo long I just want to be 'normal' again, and quickly! 
My husband has been taking good care of me and my daughter made me soup, so now without the Tramadol in my system I can hopefully keep it down. I took my last dose yesterday in the afternoon and all hell broke loose.
I'm just really tired, but that will pass, quickly I hope!

Monday 30th September

It's been a trying few days since I last wrote, I had really awful nausea to go with the gas pains, those pains are brutal! Much worse than the surgery pain! I would be awake all night because laying down made the pains worse. I ended up wrapping myself up between 2 pillows with very hot heat bags on each side of me, I could feel the air in my back pricking and popping. It's a few days on now and I am starting to feel better.

I had to get myself some Nausitel tablets from the Chemist that really help with the Nausea (They are actually for nausea associated with Migraine) but they help. I have managed to eat half serves of small things as I do get really hungry.

I have had some small bouts of bile diarrhea but nothing to cause pain or alarm, I know that part is normal until my body sorts itself out.
But with all these issues, that do seem really BIG after surgery, it is still better than gallbladder pain!

I am hoping I am now starting to heal. It's 5.40AM and I have not had to take another nausea tablet since 10.30pm last night, heck I'd be happy to just have to take one a day! When I had severe gallbladder attacks the nausea was so bad I couldn't keep anything down, so this is still better than how I felt before the operation.

My staples are starting to sting and pull a bit, I get them out on Friday, not really looking forward to that actually, I'm sure it's going to hurt like a B*tch!

Friday 4th October

I have now had my 28 staples out, it was much better than I thought, It hardly hurt at all. I was told again my gallbladder had ruptured and the Doctor was surprised how quickly I had bounced back considering how sick I had been.
I have no longer got bile diarrhea, I can eat anything, and the weight I gained with a bad gallbladder is melting off even though I can eat well now.
I am so grateful it is gone!

To see what my symptoms were, press here! I have a whole list


  1. I'm sorry to hear everything that you had to go through. I am glad that you are finally feeling better. Thanks for leaving the comment on my blog ( I was lucky and your account helps me realize that.

    1. Thank you :) I am feeling so much better now. Although I am still so angry at the Doctors who said it was all in my head...
      Too many Doctors seem to be tip toeing around gallbladder issues when the symptoms are right there xx