A week ago I met up with a friend for lunch during the workday. We hit Legal Seafoods in Cambridge – one of my favorite places to eat. Even though I have a shellfish allergy, I love their fish dishes, & thankfully I can eat fish (just as long as they are not the shelled variety!). Bizarrely though, one of my favorite meals there is one of their salads – apple, avocado, tortilla & cheese. And I always ask for chicken with it. Anyway, the point is, I typically get this if I’m there for lunch, since it’s a light-ish meal to eat, & doesn’t tend to put me asleep for the rest of the day. So I’ve eaten this salad dozens of times, with no problems.
So imagine my surprise when about an hour later, I was sitting at my desk & was suddenly hit by a quite severe pain, right in the middle of my chest, behind my sternum. Since I’ve never suffered heartburn in my life, my first thought, seriously, was: “Am I having a heart attack?”. Somehow I managed to stay rational though, & decided that no, I probably wasn’t, and that since it was soon after eating, it was probably heartburn.
It took about an hour to completely disappear, although it did dissipate gradually, thankfully. Then later that evening, after dinner, I experienced some more discomfort. Bummer. Looks like it wasn’t just a one-off. Same thing happened again the following day, mostly after feeding. So it was time to bust out the antacid medication.
Strangely though, a few days worth of antacids didn’t really help. Then a friend told me that she’d had a similar experience years ago, and it had turned out to be her gall bladder.
Next evening, I did get woken up overnight by some burning-type pain, so did a bit of research & it seemed that gall bladder issues were probably more likely than acid issues. Quite interesting. I’m not exactly a text-book candidate for gall bladder issues either, since they typically are people eating poor diets – high cholesterol/high fat diets – and are often overweight, 40s/50s age group, fair-skinned, Europeans……my lipid panel is consistently just about perfect, and I eat a low-fat/high fiber diet, and I’m not overweight. But I guess I fit the “40s, fair, & European” bits! So I shouldn’t grumble, and also, as a veterinarian, I’m aware that not every patient reads the textbooks!
So, I stopped the antacids & started some painkillers instead. And when I hit the supermarket, I went for an even lower fat party than usual. I’m not a big fan of totally “fat free”, especially for my dairy stuff, since I find much of the foods tasteless when they are zero-fat. But I have to do whatever I have to do.
So the good news is, that after the painkillers and “multiple small meals of minimal fat” feeding habits all week, I’ve been much more comfortable, and I’m now off painkillers. I know a few folk who’ve had their gallbladder removed, and although they are fine, I do know that these days, surgeons prefer not to remove gallbladders because this carries a subsequent increased risk of colon cancer development. This fact, combined with me being a veterinarian, pretty much means that my gastrointestinal tract will probably have to be jumping out of my abdomen before I venture to see a doctor. So in the meantime, I’ll do the self-medicating thing that doctors hate their vets doing! Hehe!
The good news too though, is that I even managed to enjoy my Easter package from England 🙂
Hope you had a fun Easter weekend too!
And please do chime in if you’ve ever had any gallbladder issues! Or any other problems where you wondered if you were having a heart attack!