Gosh, I hate you're having this pain but I'm glad I'm not the only one! Yes...it's just a "sick" feeling to me, too. Sometimes the pain is there...sometimes it's not. It has woken me up before but usually it starts in the late morning; early afternoon or late afternoon and lasts anywhere from 1-3 hours (although I did have the 8-hour long pain one time and this past Saturday it lasted for 4 1/2 hours). I don't feel nauseous, like I need to vomit...I just feel like someone has a pumpkin carver and is just continuously scraping out the inside of my stomach. The pain often starts out very light and gets more sickening as the hours click on. Then, out of the blue, the pain will go away. But while I have the pain, it's almost disabling. I can't focus and I get fatigued...like my body is working SO hard to fight the pain, I get really tired.
One thing I found out through my research is that rapid weight loss can CAUSE gall stones to develop. I would have never thought that. So when I lost 40lbs last year, I can't help but wonder if that was the reason I ended up developing gall stones OR if I've had them for YEARS and just not known it. 30 of those pounds were lost in 2 months. It was a rough 2 months. No matter what your weight is now or has ever been, during your many years with this dreaded disease have you ever had any kind of rapid weight loss that might have contributed to you developing gall stones? Of course, WHY they are there doesn't really matter...it's the fact that you KNOW you have gall stones that's the most important thing for you to know and consider when making a decision about what to do about having your gall bladder removed.
Is your back pain located around the same area where your stomach area hurts (the mirror image of the pain)? That is A symptom of gall bladder problems. That's why my GI asked if my pain was radiating around to my back. Mine doesn't, though.
I was SO disappointed when they wouldn't let one of the nurses take my camera into the OR and take pictures during the actual surgery. I LOVE pictures of stuff - even if it's gross and even if I'm asleep! They said something about it being a "sterile environment"...whatever. So I took pictures of ever OTHER step of my outpatient day so I'd have a scrapbook entitled "My Gall Bladder Removal Day in Pictures". My gall stones...hehe...they were nasty-looking but super-cool!!! Tiny little 'ol things, most of them stuck together. 20 of them in all. They were light tan in color and I guess a little bit smaller than BB's for a BB gun...judge for yourself:
Is it your NEW doctor, the one who figured out about your pancreas problems, who says you need to get your GB out?
Glad you've got insurance now...YAY! Get good use out of it. I'd start with the suggestion of having your gall bladder removed!
Ask most doctors and they'll tell you that you don't NEED your gall bladder. And once someone starts having problems with their gall bladder it is DEFINITELY useless and more harmful to them than good. From what I've read and heard from medical professionals, someone can have gall bladder problems (either stones or a non-functioning GB) for many, many years and NEVER know it or ever even experience any problems with it. But once the PROBLEMS start, it's best to get the thing out before it causes OTHER, more serious problems.
Like with mine, since I NOW know the pain I'm having isn't gall stone related, I might have gone for YEARS not even knowing I had gall stones if my GI hadn't ordered an ultrasound. But I sure am glad I got the ultrasound and found out the stones were there because of the problems they COULD and most likely WOULD have caused me at some point down the road.
Even after my gall bladder was removed, the surgical team did an X-ray of my chest/abdominal area to make SURE none of the gall stones had gotten out because if one gets out of the gall bladder and out into the abdominal cavity, even a little bitty one can wreak havoc. Oh, and I thought this was interesting...they actually go into the gall bladder and take the gall stones out FIRST and THEN go BACK IN and remove the gall bladder itself. Strange, huh? I would have thought they'd just take the gall bladder out with the stones in it all at once.
Truly if you have gall stones, it very well could be the cause of your pancreas problems. Even if you don't feel bad NOW, the risks of those stones getting loose at any moment or causing an infection are much greater than the risks of the surgery itself (this all, of course, is my opinion based on internet research and my own doctors and family members opinions). I do come from a medical family and am surrounded by medical opinions. Although removing my gall bladder did NOT stop the stomach pain I was and am still having, I do TRULY believe getting it out was a NECESSITY. If just one of those itty-bitty stones had gotten loose and made its way out of the bile duct, I could have started to have all sorts of problems (including pancreas, liver & kidney issues). Or even worse, if one or more of the gall stones BLOCK the duct, that'll cause problems, too.
I wish you LUCK and GOOD WISHES on your decision as to whether or not to get your 'ol GB taken out.
My Upper Endoscopy is scheduled on June 1st. I'll let you know what I find out. I sure hope my GI sees SOMETHING. If not, I'm a) going to start to feel like a paranoid hypochondriac and b) going to get a 2nd opinion.