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Monday, May 13, 2013

How Do You Know? Update

turnip greens\totally irrelevant to this post

For the last twenty-five or more years, I have complained about severe pain in my upper left side above my waist and below my ribs. Sometimes the pain is behind my ribs, sometimes running along just below my ribs. Often, the pain is in my kidney area.  Sometimes, the pain is at my waist or below. Often, the pain runs from my ovary to behind my ribs around to my kidney area.

I go to the doctor, complain, and nothing can be found with tests. Once, the urologist said, "Stand up, turn around, and show me where you think your kidney is located." He agree that I knew where my kidney is. Yes, sometimes I hurt in the area of my right kidney. Oh, I do have a huge kidney stone in the calyx. It has been there for 20 years.

Actually, I have intermittent, severe pain from my right ovary to underneath my ribs to my right kidney. Rarely does it all hurt at once. There is a hard place below my ribs in front that is the area of my liver. At night, often I cannot lie on my right side because of the discomfort from lying on what feels like a rock.

I can eat something with a low fat content and I am nauseous and faint. However, that only happens occasionally.  Or, it happens three days in a row. Or, it lasts one day.

I slowly drank a glass of milk and five minutes later I felt like I was being stabbed. I let out a cry and then whimpered a little and it was all over!

When I give these answers to doctors, I sometimes feel I am looked upon as a hypochondriac. I can see it on their faces, read it in their body language, and hear it in their voices. When I kept pushing for treatment and tests for thyroid problems, I was vindicated. I had half my thyroid out and a nodule that would eventually have become cancerous. Seeee? I am not nutso. I could feel it! And, I am on medication to prevent any thyroid function. By the way, blood tests showed my thyroid was functioning. Tests showed a thyroid that had a little nodule/growth behind it. NOOOO! It was a sphere about 1" in diameter. Yes, a sphere, a ball shape, not a flat hockey puck shape.

My husband, now ex-, threw up occasionally (1980) and had it diagnosed as gall bladder disease. The throwing up became more frequent until he just quit eating and screamed lots. He lost thirty pounds and finally was screaming, begging the doctor to operate at midnight when I had to rush him to the ER. As an adult, my daughter was finally diagnosed after lying in the hospital, screaming. She had been to the doctor and ER multiple times. The doctors told her she confused them with her description of where the pain was located. He had the 12 inch scar. She had three or four tiny scars.

To complicate all this, my father died of pancreatic cancer. His pain, nausea, and vomiting  was what alerted him. So, anytime I have pain and mention it to the doctor, I also tell them of my family history. Yes, his mother died of the same thing. I am his child who looks like his side of the family and have all their allergies.

When I was 21-years-old and a new mother, I was advised to have kidney surgery. Since waiting would cause no further damage, I decided to wait. my kidney was too low, shoved down by pregnancy. ??? The doctor said the pain would get worse and I would be begging him for surgery. I was in pain for 18 months. One morning, the pain was just completely gone.

Now, I have a new doctor, one who will be fired someday when I find a new doctor. I just never went the first time. In the meantime, I may need him for something minor.  When I mentioned the pain I was having that day, the pain I have that is more like the liver area, he looked me in the face with a bored expression and said, "There is nothing wrong with your liver." All this as he turned to leave the room.

"How do you know?" He left the room.

Just because the white of my eyes are bright white and my skin is not yellow?

Another doctor told me I had pulled a muscle. He must have been a psychic. He never even touched me. He is also the doctor that told me I was not, could not be pregnant even though I had two other children and knew what pregnancy was like.  Then, he would not admit I had a baby that was full term but said she was over a month early when she was born.

So, it is almost 2 pm and I have not eaten anything and my blood sugar has not dropped precipitously, giving me the shakes.

To top it off, I have done secret shopper jobs for fast food lately! In the past I have found that eating too much fat over two or three days, causes the stabbing pain and nausea to occur with the next occasion of any kind of fat consumption. Beef, even lean beef is not my friend. Chicken breast does not hurt me. Eggs don't hurt me. Cheese does not hurt me. However, cheese and milk after too much beef or fried consumption does hurt me almost as soon as I finish eating it. If I eat beef or fried food, I refrain from more than a bit of cheese or milk and certainly nothing fried for several weeks or a month, maybe more. It seems there is a cumulative effect going on here.

I don't shun fried foods or fats, I just ration them. Obviously, I need to shun more.

My friend's 75-year-old grandmother had gall bladder problem/disease for 30 years and had no surgery. She just knew what to eat and what not to eat. Hmmm...sounds like me or something. Only, my gall bladder is functioning normally, according to tests.

All the time, I examine my own thoughts, thinking I could be just a hypochondriac.  So far, all my other complaints (thyroid) have been real and required treatment, I think I know what is happening. Now, I am going to say something that makes me sound overly concerned about every little pain or symptom--my father's sibling died from cancer as did he. Well, about 6 of the 12 did die from cancer. Plus, cousins on that side of the family have had cancer; some died; some survived.

About 25-years ago I was a vendor at craft shows. In ten days I worked two mall shows. Luckily, my booth in both places was in front of a Chic-Fil-A. Before I got on the interstate, I would buy a Hardees sausage and biscuit. Every day for dinner I had Chic-Fil-A. After eating this diet 8 out of 10 days, I pulled over on the interstate and threw up and felt as though I were going to faint.

Now, I will begin my quest anew--find a family doctor who will refer me to a surgeon not in this town! I do not want to be taken to the hospital screaming for surgery like my daughter and her father. I do not want to have an emergency arise because no one will find the problem.  Right now, it feels like there is something pushing against my ribs from behind them.

Okay, I just ate 1.5 pieces of bacon because I was faint and wanted it. My head hurt and my blood sugar was dropping. And, I decided to have a small bit of milk after waiting 15 minutes. So far, no pain. Yes, I will eat some vegetables and fruit. I just needed quick satiation.

I do not go from doctor to doctor seeking relief. I just mention the pain and nausea to a doctor when I have a checkup or have another reason to make an appointment. Only once did I go to the doctor specifically, and have I been tested when the pain was horrific.

Okay, I will shut up before you all think I am a nut. But, this pain and nausea has been happening on and off for the past few weeks.

NEWS: I had a CT scan ordered by the urologist for my kidney. It will "show everything." as the person just assured me. My urologist and gynecologist take me seriously! They actually listen and get to the bottom (no pun intended) of my problems. The urologist nurse called ten minutes ago, and the CT scheduler called just now. So, Wednesday morning, I am off for a CT.

Happy dancing here.

Update: I had the kidney problem, and all the other problems before my parents or relatives developed cancer or anyone relayed anything about cancer, liver, or kidney disease. I do not and did not live in fear of these diseases and develop symptoms myself. I have had a strange itching sensation in my body, on the inside. Mama said Daddy had the same thing all the time. It is/was a horrendous feeling because I could not scratch it. It is located approximately where the pancreas is located. Okay, now I do sound

My friend just now told me I have a virus because a virus is going around! NOT!

Your turn
Has anyone had this problem with diagnosis that my daughter had for several weeks and that I am having? Share any story you want. I am to speak.


  1. I'm sorry you're in pain and so many people haven't taken you seriously. For almost 25 years I told doctors that I had a headache nearly every day. I was told they were sinus headaches and was prescribed an antihistamine/decongestant. I still had the headaches. Finally, Dr. X left me, and I saw a therapist. She said, You need to see your doctor right away about an antidepressant. I did. He started me on one. The headaches disappeared. I had no idea that headaches and sometimes body pain are symptoms of depression. I had a gall bladder infection about 30 years ago and was in the hospital for ten days. For a number of years afterwards, I had sharp pains in my right side if I ate anything fatty. I rarely have the pain now. Oh, gosh, this is getting long. I'm sorry. I also had trouble with undiagnosed UTIs. Finally, a gynecologist treated me for UTIs, and when I continued to get them frequently, he sent me to a urologist. It turned out I'd had urethritis since I was a child. The urologist treated me for a few years, and I've had no more trouble. That urologist was the kindest, gentlest doctor I've ever had.


  2. Janie,
    No, it is not too long. If I could not correlate the body pain with eating fatty foods, I might just think I needed an antidepressant. The pain never strikes out of nowhere.

    I have taken antibiotics about four times a year or more for swollen glands in my neck and sore throats that were swollen and red with fever. Finally, I was sent to an ENT who said that because of my allergies that my throat was trying to close shut. She explained that I could die. Now, I know an allergy is the problem most of the time. Allergy medication is the answer, but I should have an EPI pen, too. I have a friend that was diagnosed with the same thing about the same time--angioedema. (sp?)

    My urologist is wonderful, too. That must have been miserable having urethritis for so long, especially as a child.

    Thanks for telling me all this. It helps to hear others' journey.

    My friend suffered from sinus problems for a year. Finally, he found he had a MRSA infection in his sinuses. No one believed how sick he was for a year until he collapsed. MRSA can live in the nostrils, but this was worse.

    1. Oh, my. MRSA is horrible. I've been exposed to it many times and always wonder if it will colonize one of these days and I'll end up in the hospital. I have health insurance that just barely covers the basics. It doesn't cover hospitalization. I can't get a better policy because of pre-existing conditions. But it won't be long before I can have a better policy, thanks to Obamacare!

    2. I worked in a nursing home. Infections ran rampant. We had two isolation rooms, and sometimes we had as many as six patients who should have been in isolation. If we didn't have an isolation room open, the infected patient would stay in her own room with a "barrier" or laundry and trash barrels across the middle of the room. So what if we put the laundry and trash in the special red bags and wore gowns and masks? As soon as we removed the gown and mask we were exposed. And we were exposed to infections before they were diagnosed.

    3. Janie,
      Thanks for the explanation. That is scary for you and everyone who works, lives, or visits. I will never go into a nursing home. I have plans.

  3. All I can offer is that I had unusual abdominal and nausea symptoms for quite some time, and my doctors never could find anything. I even had a normal gallbladder scan. Then one day, I almost fainted at work, and was admitted to the hospital. They removed a gangrenous gallbladder that almost killed me. The doctors had not considered this because I was 28 and slim. I was in the hospital for three weeks afterward.
    I have been fine since, however people with hypothyroidism often have gallbadder dysfunction. Also, occasionally people have atypical pain located in other regions than would be expected. "Referred pain" means that pain from the kidney for example, is usually referred to, and felt just below the scapula on that side. However, what if you are like me, or you, from what your describing ? God used an alternate wiring system on us, and our pain refers differently than is expected.

  4. Jane,
    Tomorrow, I have a scheduled CT scan. Actually, I have "spells" where feel like I am going to faint. I am so familiar with referred pain! I don't think I have ovarian, kidney, and liver pain. I know something is causing pain, and I do not think it is all in my head from depression. The one thing I am sure of is that I am not depressed. Well, unless my extreme crankiness is the one sign that I I ask exbf if I over-react when he sees incompetence that makes me cranky. He is as annoyed as

    My thyroid function was a little low as shown on blood tests, so I started taking my levothyroxine regularly instead of my usual haphazard method.

    Now, I hesitate to mention I have fibro because one doctor said, "Oooohh." and turned away and did not discuss back pain that is explained fully by MRI. I feel I am being judged by the wrong criterion. And, he was going to be the surgeon!

    I do believe lots of my wiring is an alternate system because so much of what I experience puzzles doctors until they finally figure it out. I have never been wrong about a problem, just had it wrong about the nature of the problem.

    On a visit to a dermatologist, I showed her a brown patch on my face that eventually had a growth on the patch. She removed the middle of the patch and the growth. I had a brown ring left on my face. Now growths are on the ring. She spent 2 minutes on a full-body inspection. I am so disgusted!

    Like I said, my urologist and ob-gyn are the only two doctors who listen to me and do something about what I need or think I need. I don't mind being wrong, just figure out what it is that I am complaining about!

    Thanks for making me not feel like I am

    Well, other people did help me, too.

  5. Linda, That plant looks like Mustard greens to me. They were my Dad's favorite.

    1. Janet,
      I bought the seeds in a packet that said Turnips. And, there are turnips under the ground. It must be that turnips and mustard plants look similar. That's interesting. Thanks for adding that dimension. I like mustard greens, too.

  6. I'll bet you are right.

    One time ( 43 years ago) my son and I flew to Arkansas to visit my grandparents. My grandma asked me to bring some turnip greens to my uncle out here in San Diego. She packed the greens in a clean feed sack then into a small spare suitcase. I mean she really packed and compressed them. When they were unpacked they covered the entire kitchen table and all of the kitchen counters! We tucked a bunch of turnips in my suitcase too!

  7. That's a good story. Thanks for relaying it to us. They must have packed really tight!I know your uncle was pleased.

    I have many small finger-sized turnips. It is too bad I hate turnips. I just wonder if the bolting of the turnip greens made the turnips taste bad. Okay, I think they taste bad, so I wonder if the turnips taste worse after they bolt.


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