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- Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:19 pm
In the last year or so I've had some chest pains that are very painful. It seems to be in my chest inside of my chest beneath my right breast. The pain starts slowly and then gradually intensifies and grows to major pain and then slowly fades away again. This happens every 20 minutes or so for hours. Nothing helps, but to wait it out each time. I have tried laying on each side, back, stomach, sitting and standing. This has happened about 10 times in the last year. I'm not sure if it's a reaction to what I'm eating (seems to happen soon after dinner) or what. Last night I had brown rice and a curry and eggs dish I make for the whole family. I also get the shivers and very sick to my stomach, too. My fiance thinks I have pulled a muscle but I didn't lift anything heavy last night when it happened. A friend said it could be gas pains. It leaves me very short of breath during the pain and I can't take take a breath in very well or exhale either.
I have no insurance coverage as of last month and no extra money to visit a doctor - i don't even have a doctor. Does anyone know what this might be and what I can do to prevent it??? I have no preexisting conditions other than weight gain (30 pounds in the last 2 years) and I smoked for 10 years but quit on 12/21/04 so i'm almost 5 years smoke free. I'm not allergic to anything as far as I know. I do cardio as far as riding my bike, jogging and walking 2-3 times a week since January (I've lost 8 pounds this year) but haven't worked out since Tuesday so I'm not sure if that's it either. I drink a liter plus of water a day. I'm at a loss and it really bothers me that I can't figure out what is wrong with my own body. Please help. My fiance was scared to death and I have a 13 year old son so i don't want to get sick and scare him. The pains scare me and I don't want it to get more frequent. Thank you for your time.
| John Kenyon, CNA
- Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:19 pm
Hi Sherry -- First, please set aside, for the moment, your concerns about having no health insurance. Having no health is a greater concern, and more and more doctors are now willing to work with patients on terms and reduced rates if approached ernestly. Things are tough all over, but you cannot ignore potentially serious medical problems because of this, and you won't find a cure on line, but you may at least find some helpful direction. That's our goal here, and I think, given your description of the symptoms, I have a pretty good idea what's going on. I could of course be wrong, since I'm unable to perform any tests at a distance, or even look at you and get a feel from that as to what's happening, but you've described a pretty classic case of gallbladder disease (cholecystitis). If I'm right, a simple surgery might be needed, and to know this, a fairly simple imaging test is required to determine if your gallbladder is working. The reason, aside from pain and feeling sick, this needs to be addressed, is that if this is what's happening it doesn't get better on its own and, in fact, could eventually make you quite ill and unable to function. The pain you're having is slightly atypical, but is on the correct (right) side, and is just a little higher than normal for gallbladder disease, but there's more here that makes me suspect this: You have this after eating, you become ill and sometimes have "shivers" (chills) and nausea, all of which are typical of gallbladder disease. Since this has happened during the time you gained some weight, that's another factor, since slight overweight (or more) is often complicit in this problem. While the attacks normally occur after a fatty meal, any food may trigger it in a given person. Chills, nausea, right-sided pain (usually in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen but often referred up into the right chest or even shoulder), overweight, episodes after the evening meal, this all fits the picture of gallbladder disease very closely -- and not much else. It could, of course, be something else, and only a doctor can ascertain this for sure, but I would not be at all surprised if you were tested for cholecystitis and found to have a gallbladder full of stones and/or sludge. When this happens the ony thing that will relieve it is removal, which involves less than a 24 hour downtime and usually recovery within a few days.
If there's something else causing this you also need to know. It's not getting better after a year (and this is another reason to suspect a diseased gallbladder), so there needs to be found a way to get the diagnosis and treatment accomplished. This can be done, but sometimes requires being frank with a sympathetic physician who will work with you where the costs are concerned. The alternative is to continue to put up with this very painful condition and have it slowly get worse. This is never a wise course. Trust me, there's a way to get these things done. I hope you'll consider this and explore those possibilities. I also feel fairly certain you'll be surprised to learn you do, in fact, have gallbladder disease. You tolerate exercise well, so that pretty well eliminates cardiac problems from the menu.
I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you and please follow up with us here as needed.