I am so thankful to find this post. I have been absolutely miserable since 6/21/12. I have had stomach problems that seemed to start one day out of nowhere and they have never stopped. On June 21 I ate a very late lunch, nothing too exciting some salad and jambalaya. Within 10-15 minutes, I felt this horrible pressure in the epigastric region and then felt queasy, and started having burning and tingling down both my arms, my heart starting beating fast, and I had pressure in my chest. I thought there was something seriously wrong with me and that I was having a heart attack or something. And as soon as the symptoms started that day I had what I think was a full blown panic attack. I have never had a panic attack before this. I had some issues with anxiety and flying, but never ever like this. It took 3-4 hours to come down from the first episode. I wrote it off that I was really stressed with work and it was an isolated incident. But unfortunately I was very wrong. Starting with my next meal, which didn't happen until lunchtime the next day I couldn't eat without having the same symptoms, nausea, pressure in epigastric region, burning and tingling down my arms, fast heartbeat not to mention I had no appetite whatsoever so eating was very challenging. I also just did not feel like myself and I knew something was not right. Keep in mind I am a health professional and I am pretty medically savvy, but I had no idea what was going on. The next 2 weeks after that, things got progressively worse. I couldn't eat without feeling awful. The pain and discomfort would subside several hours after I ate, but then over time started to be constant, just worsen when I ate. I started losing weight, and was thrown into a constant state of anxiety. I want to know what person can relax when they feel unrelenting burning and tingling in their arms and their heart is beating a mile a minute and they can’t eat. When I checked my pulse it would be 90 or so, which I know is considered a normal resting heart rate, but my normal heart rate was 65-70 before this.
Within a few days of the first episode I went to my GP, told her my symptoms and she thought maybe dyspepsia. I also asked if it may be my heart and she said “no” after doing some stethoscope listening. I know I am only 31 and in good shape, good diet overall, but this chest pressure I was having didn't seem right. I have never had problems with indigestion or heartburn before this started but I decided to try the meds she recommended. I took Pepcid AC and Prilosec, each 2x/day. I had absolutely no relief from this. On the Saturday after that appointment I was getting worse and the pain had changed from just epigastric to include the area below right ribcage. I started getting shaky like chills and shortness of breath. I went to the ER. The ER doctor said "definitely sounds like gallbaldder" so I had an ultrasound. Well the ultrasound results showed gallbladder looked fine, as well as my kidneys, liver, aorta, etc. He gave me an Rx for Cipro 500mg and Flagyl 500 mg (metronidazole) both twice a day in case it was an intestinal bug. I starting taking the antibiotics and my problem kept getting worse and worse. I could not eat anything without getting sick. At this point I couldn't sleep well, my anxiety was not helping. On July 4th, I took a huge nose dive. Because eating was such a horrible experience my diet consisted of ensure, nuts, fruit, some chicken broth here and there. The night of July 4th I was feeling worse and worse, my stomach pain was out of control (probably a 9 on the pain scale) and it was shooting through to my back, I was having diarrhea, extreme nausea, intermittent dizziness, and a horrible headache. I also felt like I was in this weird fog, and my vision wasn't right or something (kind of like what EDWARD1 mentioned in his post 7/22/11. I stayed up all night thinking the worst was happening to me...was I having an aortic aneurysm? Right kidney failure since my right back was hurting so bad? Sometimes as a medical professional I wish I didn't know so much about
what can go wrong. I was in agony for 12 hours and had to have my husband take me to the doctor because I was so sick. So there I was back at my GP, I could tell by the look on her face I was looking pretty bad. My stomach pain was so bad, and I was trying not to vomit in her exam room. She gave me carafate (a medication that helps coat the stomach) and Zofran and Phenergan for the nausea. I had a CT scan of my abdomen and pelvis the following day and had to stay in the hospital for a bit after that to get some fluids via IV since my diarrhea was so bad and I could have no water before the CT scan, I was very dehydrated. Well guess what, the CT scan showed nothing, just a couple of small cysts on my ovaries, which apparently the kind I have is very common and can change from month to month. Went home after CT scan still feeling sick and could not eat hardly at all. A few days later I had an upper endoscopy because they thought I may have a bad case of gastritis. That showed nothing as well other than very over active peristalsis, but was negative for h pylori and celiac disease. They also did and EKG that day and my doc said it looked "beautiful", and that my heart was fine. He also said I would probably start feeling better in just a few days, WRONG.
After the endoscopy I was having terrible headaches (mostly on the left side of my head- weird), same stomach pain in epigastric and RUQ (right upper quadrant) area, chest pressure, increased heart rate, constantly felt like I was in a fog, my anxiety was through the roof, and I cried all time because I could get any relief whatever I did...NONE. I was so unbelievably uncomfortable all the time. During all this I had blood work several times to check for everything, kidney and liver function (amylase and lipase), liver panel, a CBC panel, metabolic panel, gluten allergy (IgA and IGG), vitamin B12 levels, D vitamin levels, mono SPOT test, thyroid function. I also had my stool checked for everything...blood, c. diff, white blood cells, shiga toxins, e coli, shigella, salmonella, campylobacter, giardia, and other parasites. All were NORMAL! At this point I was questioning whether it was all in my head, but deep down I knew something was wrong. I still felt horrible.
Back at my GP and she gave Rx for amitriptyline 10mg at bedtime in case this was related to IBS and to help with mood. She asked if I was depressed and I said yes. But I was not depressed before I got sick. I am also taking lorazepam up to 1mg daily to help with anxiety. The amitriptyline allowed me to finally sleep at night but the side effects aren't the greatest. I also started taking Buspar 10mg daily divided into 2 doses. Ok, so after being on these meds no stomach relief, still can’t eat without bad reaction, some help with my anxiety. Lorazepam would somewhat make my stomach pain tolerable, but not all the time.
At this point you are probably asking why I haven't been to a GI. Well when you live in Alaska, Seattle is the closest place. I was not going to spend all that money and time to have the GI tell me, sorry there is nothing we can do for you. I needed some sort of lead. I was getting so discouraged at this point. I had lost over 15 lbs (5’8” starting weight at 146, now at 130) and still losing. On a gluten free, dairy free, fat free diet in case all this was due to a food allergy. And my tests were normal, normal, normal…but I felt far from normal, I knew there was something that wasn’t right and all these symptoms were not due to anxiety and depression alone. I just kept saying to myself there has to be a reason I cannot eat!!
After this, I was sent for a HIDA scan, MRI of my abdomen, and MRI of my brain (due to all the burning and tingling I was having after meals). I had all 3 tests performed 8/6/12. Both MRIs came back completely normal, and my doctor said my HIDA scan was normal too. But my ejection fraction was 84%. I knew from the research I had done this was not necessarily normal. I then talked to 2 separate general surgeons and my brother-in-law who just graduated from med school. All 3 had heard about
a hyperactive gallbladder and gave me some research articles showing that patients with an ejection fraction higher than 80% often have relief when the GB is removed. Meanwhile I have been prescribed Bentyl 20mg up to 4x/day. It is an antispasmodic for the GI tract and has taken me from completely and utterly miserable to just feeling sick and uncomfortable.
I am getting my gallbladder removed in the next 2 weeks. I am hopeful this will be it! I WANT MY LIFE BACK. I am very nervous, but I am willing to take a gamble and both surgeons I talked to feel pretty confident this will get rid of or significantly improve my symptoms. I know this is so long, but I wanted to share my story to all of you who are dealing with GB issues. DO NOT give up and don’t stop praying, you are not crazy. I am so sorry all of you went through or are still going through this. I will post again after surgery, I promise.
Post Edited (butterflyAK) : 9/11/2012 8:55:54 PM (GMT-6)