Last week, while still in Russia, on Friday night I was suddenly hit with pain under the right rib cage. Sharp, bad. Luckily (or not) for me, the knowledge of human anatomy lead me to only possible diagnosis. Luckily (or not) for me, in Russia I can get pretty much any meds without going to a doctor. So I put myself on Hungarian No-Spa - a smooth muscle relaxant generally prescribed for gallstones and cholecystitis. The picture was classical, with only difference the attack was not caused by ingesting fatty food but rather continuous. The pills would help to calm it down for about 4 hrs, and then the pain would come back. I lived through this, popping drugs, secretly hoping I am wrong.
Today was that track workout – by the way, I decided on 1000m repeats. After the first one pain rouse. After the second became very bad. After third it was hard to inhale or stand straight (funny thing is, I felt more miserable during recovery laps than intervals, may be due to not breathing fully while speedwork plus focusing on leg turnover? Who knows). I managed to finish it up – yeah, I know what you’re thinking, but if you’ve met me, I am pretty stubborn and don’t back off from my plans, like
Get an emergency appointment, the only obvious guess by a doctor is the same as mine (sometimes I wonder how are normal people without any medical education get treatment here – it always seems that only once doctors read in my file I finished Medschool, the become more thoughtful and caring, yet also asking me of any ideas what to do). We got all the blood work and squeezed me into ultrasound appointment. As the tech trying to make me turn to either side – I burst into tears (she also asks me to inhale, stupid!). They promised to call with results later in afternoon, while trying to offer to think about surgical options. I tell them I don’t have time right now – I have a race in 2 weeks and then another in 3 weeks. They raise brows.
Day goes on. I drive and pick up Stephen from his new school, bring him home, while the pain gets worse by the minute and doesn’t respond to anything. I frantically call Michelle and Angie and find that my clinic is what Angie had. Her stone finally went back into gallbladder after 3 days of misery, and by keeping a non-fat diet she is able to live without removing it. There is a hope, but do I push this thing back to where it came from?
A couple of hours later I need to take Stephen to his music and Russian classes. We drive on, I bite an apple, and get stuck in my throat. A terrible cough roars, the one I can’t stop, as my pain hits the sky (on the scale of 1 to 10, 10 being a childbirth, I had 9). Somehow I pull over to the curb, continuing coughing and thinking when will I die, scaring the hell out of my baby. Suddenly, silence. No pain. Just like that – in a split second. I slowly unfold myself – nope, nothing. Inhale – yep, can do. Turn and twist carefully – still alive…I passed the gallstone! Out!
Yeah, sure, 10 min later my doc calls. What we came up with is that the stone (and pretty much 2/3 of population have them) started coming out a week ago. It wasn’t too big, so it caused mild pain, and taking relaxants helped to widen the biliac duct for its way. Then the stress I put it through this morning plus just because it was that close already made it stuck by the duct sphincter. When I coughed, I pushed it out into duodenum. (God, I love this medical talk…one of two reasons I miss my profession, the other been able to help someone).
What’s next? As I laughed (or tried to) this morning, I fit the classical “3F” for gallbladder disease: female, forty, fat (the last one had to be dragged by the ears, but if we take exercise out of equation…). No family history, but I only know my parents. Dear Angie, besides providing the most valuable link on her blog-site, sent me a complete detailed write-up of what to eat and what not to. This is going to be hard: no lactose, no gluten, no wheat – old, no fat – hmm, can I eat anything? But we love challenges, don’t we? I am boiling my carrots and lentils as of now:)
p.s. I spoke a day too ealry. The pain is back, though the training continues.