Finally–A Diagnosis

Okay, after several weeks of testing and lots of speculation, I finally have a diagnosis for my upper right quadrant abdominal pains: biliary dyskinesia.

Which means, in plain English, that while my gallbladder is technically functional, it causes me intermittent pain when it contracts and squeezes bile into the small intestine. It is a progressive disorder (which has been little-studied; no one really knows what causes it) which means that it is going to get worse over time. There are the rare patients who have an acute attack that then goes away, but I have a feeling I am not one of those.

The only sure treatment is laproscopic removal of the gallbladder–but, because it is not likely to go gangrenous, rupture or cause peritonitis or anything like that, the way that bad gallstones can, there is no urgent need to get the surgery done as soon as possible. In other words, I can have it done when it is convenient for me.

My surgeon thinks it is possible, though not likely, that I could make it through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday festive eating occasions without more pain that will get progressively worse, so I may do it before then, or between the holidays.

We shall see.

I am just glad that it is nothing worse than this.


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  1. Glad to hear you finally got a diagnosis! Best to you and your family when you have the surgery.

    Comment by Josie — October 26, 2009 #

  2. This is interesting for me to hear as I’ve had mystery symptoms that sound similar to yours. My DO has said “maybe gallbladder” and told me to take digestive enzymes but hasn’t seemed to concerned with figuring it out even though it’s been months and two check ups to try and get rid of the pain.

    Comment by Zebe912 — October 26, 2009 #

  3. Wow Barbara :
    Back to the gallbladder.
    I am in Canada and wrote to you earlier about my upcoming laproscopic gallbladder removal surgery. I was rescheduled and now face it on this coming Wednesday …. All the best for your procedure. I will let you know what to expect after Wednesday 🙂


    Comment by Aileen — October 26, 2009 #

  4. I’ve had my gallbladder removed laproscopically, and its pretty much nothing at all, you are up and wandering about pretty much the same day without issue. So, no worries, its relatively painless!

    Comment by Kel — October 26, 2009 #

  5. Sorry you are having to deal with this, but glad it isn’t worse. I haven’t commented in some time, but your blog has been a real inspiration to me. It’s also been my go to for info since I got my wok this past Christmas.

    Comment by Stuff — October 26, 2009 #

  6. Thank you everyone for the well-wishing!

    Zebe–go to another doctor, or demand a gallbladder ultrasound to see if you have stones, and a HIDA scan with CCCK. You don’t mess with a gallbladder–if it has stones, there are all kinds of bad things that can happen–including rupture and gangrene. Don’t let your symptoms be ignored!

    Aileen, come back and let me know how you are doing! Good luck!

    Kei–I have heard that–now that I know it is going to definitely be done laproscopically, I am not so worried.

    Stuff–thank you for your sweet words. If you ever have a question about your wok or cooking in it–you can always email me!

    Comment by Barbara — October 26, 2009 #

  7. Zebe – I concur with Barbara, don’t wait! I did wait and they had to open me up due to the infection spreading to the liver!

    That wasn’t fun to wake up to 30+ staples in the abdomen and recovery was painful.

    Good luck, Barbara!

    Comment by Jenn — October 27, 2009 #

  8. Glad to hear you got a diagnosis … the not knowing is the worst, I find.

    Comment by Grace — October 27, 2009 #

  9. I’m glad you’ve got a diagnosis, so frustrating to hear you were suffering and not know why. I hope you’ll update us on little Kat soon, I love to hear how she’s doing!

    Comment by jennywenny — October 27, 2009 #

  10. Sounds like really good news. Good luck with the operation – I’m sure you’ll feel great afterwards.

    Comment by Trig — November 2, 2009 #

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