Day 3 of twisting pain between sternum and navel

(25 Posts)
TrufflePioneer Wed 02-Sep-20 09:46:31

I've applied for a telephone consult from the GP but I'm still waiting, so I thought I'd temporarily seek wisdom from Dr MN rather than randomly googling - MN correctly diagnosed my gallstones before I saw a doc 4 years ago!

So I have no gallbladder, obvs. But on Sunday lunchtime I had sudden onset of abdominal pain - at first it was bloating and cramping all over, then it became persistent stabbing pains. After a couple of hours it settled into an intermittent, extremely sharp and intense "twisting" sensation, mostly behind or just above my navel, creeping up toward my sternum.

It's been there ever since, it wakes me at night, and it comes in waves, like contractions. I'll be fine and pain free for 15-30 minutes, then I'll get a wave of this pain which makes me puff and sweat for up to a minute. Then it's gone again until the next one.

The waves are more intense and closer together when I've just eaten, and also when I'm laying down. Moving around and twisting my torso can set it off.

No other significant symptoms - no D or V, appetite normal, no fever to my knowledge. I have felt a bit crap on and off, with some very minimal nausea, but that may be the disturbed sleep.

Anyone felt something similar?

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triballeader Wed 02-Sep-20 10:46:17

Please get checked at A&E. You may not have a gallbladder but some of those symptoms are horribly like the ones I had with mild pancreatitis. That can cause pain which is much worse after eating and when trying to lie down. It can feel like you have been stabbed between the navel and sternum. Can make you feel a bit sick If its mild. It can make you throw up for England if its more severe. It is hard to tell a mild case from a severe without hospital tests. Please seek medical advice from 111 at the very least.

I learnt the hard way its far better to get checked whilst its mild than wait until you have a severe run in.

TrufflePioneer Wed 02-Sep-20 11:04:32

Thanks Tribal - I did idly wonder about pancreatitis, although it must be very mild as I thought I would have a fever and be far sicker!

Also the pain is at the very front of my abdomen (just like someone sticking a knitting needle in me and twisting it), not deeper inside where I thought the pancreas was. That said, when I had mild to moderate pain for a couple of months which was annoying me, a scan showed a big gallstone filling my gallbladder. I had nowhere near the level of sickness, fever pain and emergency trips to hospital that other people talk about, which I am very thankful for. I hope, if this is pancreatitis, I will only face the mildest of symptoms.

I've started to note down the times of each wave, thinking maybe it is some kind of contraction of the bile duct where mine is now clipped off - but there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to them, they can be 30 mins apart or 5 mins apart.

I am hanging on resolutely for my call from the GP, but they've got a new system of online triage and the call back times seem to vary from 2 - 14 days! I suppose intermittent pain with no sickness or fever isn't very high on the list.

Thanks for your comment though, it is on my list of possibles. sad

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triballeader Wed 02-Sep-20 13:55:52

Truffle I was very seriously ill with the thing but I had a normal temperature. It was not till I hit transient organ failure that my temp spiked. I missed the earlier mild pancreatisis attacks as I too imagined I would surely be a lot sicker. I forgot about my high pain threshold. The pain of pancreatis can be referred but the ‘sharp object having been stuck in and twisted about’ in that precise location does indicate to Dr’s its one they need to rule out with a blood test. I thought I just had chemical food poisoning till my bloods came back and the hospital immeasurably started to look for a bed in HDU. It was whilst I was in A&E that my stats began to plunge, my blood pressure went weird and I became very poorly. Up to that point I honestly thought it was mild.

I would not wish even mild pancreatisis on anyone as it can quietly mess with the whole of your endocrine system and set off an inflammation response across all your organs. That is a very bad thing to have happen.

user18534687433234 Wed 02-Sep-20 13:59:57

Partial bowel obstruction? Pain from that would come in waves as intestines contract, and would be worse after eating.

user18534687433234 Wed 02-Sep-20 14:00:42

Would also cause nausea.

user18534687433234 Wed 02-Sep-20 14:03:27

If it was obstruction, drinking lots of clear fluids would help.

Could be adhesions if you've had previous abdo surgery. Either causing pain on their own or causing obstruction(s).

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BillieEilish Wed 02-Sep-20 14:03:50

pancreatitis. Happened to me EXACT same symptoms

TrufflePioneer Wed 02-Sep-20 15:40:58

Oooh bugger. I have a GP appointment at 4.30 for them to take a look - I guess they'll do some bloods?

Am I THAT patient that politely says "could it be pancreas related?" or do I stay silent (and get sent home with painkillers and no answers)?

Anxious now, I have a really big interview on Friday.

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TrufflePioneer Wed 02-Sep-20 17:17:15

Have to go back for blood tests tomorrow, but otherwise she sent me away with Buscopan saying I'd be much sicker if it was pancreatitis.

Yeah I know, I was hoping to avoid getting sicker! 🙁

Fingers crossed it'll just go away then...

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triballeader Wed 02-Sep-20 17:33:10

Truffle IF the pain increases, sets in albeit at a low grade or you begin to feel rather sick stuff waiting for the GP head to A&E. They can get the specific blood test back within the hour and they are more geared up to decide how sick you really are. Remember I looked and felt okay is he right up until the moment I most clearly was not. The blood test gave the staff in A&E the heads up I could be a lot sicker than I actually presented as. Once the thing really hit I was glad to have a Dr from the surgical team hovering over me like a protective angel for the very worst 48 hours and thereafter hourly for the next 72 till I began to respond to supportive treatment.

TrufflePioneer Wed 02-Sep-20 18:00:25

Thanks - it's already more of constant dull ache now, rather than the intermittent waves of stabbing, and the whole area feels sore and tender. I feel out of sorts but not desperately awful, just fed up really.

Took the Buscopan, hasn't made any difference.

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Silvercatowner Wed 02-Sep-20 19:22:22

I get this when I take ibuprofen. I haven't taken any for some years now...

BillieEilish Wed 02-Sep-20 22:21:10

Please take care. Again, I had dull throbbing ache, I ignored for a couple of days. I became very ill, very fast after that. I didn't vomit. I had diarrhea eventually.

I would eat absolutely NOTHING and drink lots of water, if you can. Take care.

To me you have classic symptoms. I am not a doctor, but have had pancreatitis twice, unfortunately.

TrufflePioneer Thu 03-Sep-20 04:02:43

Hi Billie (love the name BTW, Iisten to her all the time!) - yeah I'm awake with it now, have been since 2am. I am comfortable either laying on my front, or on my side with my knees up, but I'm still getting spasms of intense pain about every 20 minutes. I'm just laying here listening to music and breathing through each wave. I daren't move too much, as changing position seems to trigger the pain.

Let's hope it's either nothing and will gradually pass on its own, OR the bloods reveal something they are interested in later, otherwise they're just going to leave me to get on with it aren't they. sad

I ate a bit of dinner, it increases the pain temporarily but then it disappears for an hour. I feel queasy on and off but not too bad. Dunno what to think, usually these random weird pains come and go but this is getting on for day 5 now.

I'm one of those tedious emetophobics so the idea of this turning into a vomit-fest or needing an upper endoscopy fills me with dread.

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KrabbyPatties Thu 03-Sep-20 04:11:55

Honestly OP, I’d be tempted with a wee A&E trip

Sounds horrible

Hope you get answers soon

TrufflePioneer Thu 03-Sep-20 06:42:08

Can you realistically turn up at A&E with stomach pain that a GP has already assessed as nothing much waiting to see if I become an emergency?

I think I should wait for the results from today, and hope it doesn't escalate in the meantime. I don't feel any better but I don't feel any worse, really - just sore and ropey.

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triballeader Thu 03-Sep-20 08:48:13

In a word——- YES!

Spasms of pain after eating, having to sit or lie curled up to reduce the pain and feeling queasy/sick are all symptoms of pancreatisis.

Let me put it this way- it can kill. A&E is the best place to get assessed as they can run urgent blood tests, do a physical exam to check and offer the correct supportive treatment via i/v’s including strong anti-emetics if you need them. You will not get that from a GP by phone.

IF you miss the warning signs you could end up very poorly and might need HDU/ICU as I did. Even a mild form is not a bundle of laughs as it can still make you feel rather ill. It can cause dehydration as an unhappy pancreas demands lots of fluid from the rest of the body as it inflames. This can make you feel just plain ill and in a lot of pain that will not budge. Please read the GUTS UK charity info sheet on pancreatisis.

Avoid alcohol, avoid fatty foods and eat tiny portions broken up into six snacks across the day rather than three larger meals. Try and drink water to help And go to A&E for help. Tell them you think it MIGHT be pancreatisis.

TrufflePioneer Thu 03-Sep-20 09:08:15

Ok, thanks @triballeader. flowers

My blood tests are an hour away, and I feel a bit brighter at the moment despite a crappy night. I got up, fed the dog, tidied the kitchen, put some washing away, had a shower, got dressed and started work before I realised that I hadn't felt anything for an hour, and even bending and twisting and moving around hadn't set off any spasms. That leaden sick feeling has eased. Long may it last, I've had a few spasms in the last 40 minutes but fairly mildly.

I wonder if I've got away with it this time - it'll be the next bout I'll have to watch out for. In the meantime, if it has been the onset of a pancreas issue it'll show in my bloods won't it?

OP’s posts: |
BillieEilish Thu 03-Sep-20 11:33:48

Just saw your message OP I really hope all is well.

Be very wary of eating much, no fat at all and drink loads. You need a blood test.
x flowers

Again, I cracked on through it and like @triballeader ended up in ICU, touch and go. Really very touch and go.

the pancreas just starts destroying itself basically. It is hideous. You can't survive without your pancreas. It is very serious.

The curling up making it feel better, the coming and going of pain. Eating making it worse. I hope I am totally wrong. x

Oh! And be prepared to be told you are an alcoholic hmm this is the go to diagnosis. It is a battle, it could be anything...

TrufflePioneer Thu 03-Sep-20 13:33:57

Fortunately I don't drink alcohol at all, so they couldn't really go down that route!

I've had my blood tests, guess I will have to wait for the results now - fully expecting them all to be normal. I'm actually feeling much better, I've had just a handful of pain episodes a good distance apart, which is far less than yesterday. I'm grateful that it's better than it was anyway.

Thanks for all the advice, I will be careful what I eat and will come back when I've got blood results!

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TrufflePioneer Sat 05-Sep-20 16:47:00

Day 6 now - pain has been much, much better since Thursday morning, with the waves less intense and coming less frequently, but it's still there with occasional stabbing pains, and my belly feels tender to touch. I got through my big interview ok though!

I've been eating relatively normally, but my stomach has been upset this afternoon and I feel a bit dodgy still. No blood results yet. Wonder if they will show anything, what would they look for - inflammation from a d-dimer, high bilirubin or a bit of both? GP mentioned anaemia as well. I've had a folate deficiency show up before.

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TrufflePioneer Mon 07-Sep-20 17:55:03

Checked the NHS app to see if my results were up yet, and they were - it showed CRP level of 51 - refer for uss (presumably ultrasound scan). Normal level should be less than 7, but according to google sepsis seems to come in at about 350, so I don't think the reaper is coming for me yet.

Bilirubin normal so pancreatitis seems unlikely.

Even so, a call from the surgery would've been nice. hmm Wonder if they've passed it straight to the imaging clinic to c on tach me?

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Torvean32 Tue 08-Sep-20 04:03:21

Random bit of information....you can actually live without a pacreas. You would the need insulin injections and some other meds but it is possible.

With regards to blood results we normally have to phone to get them. Depends on your practice.

Id imagine the gp will request the U/S and then you will either get an appt letter or you call to make an appt.

Not sure what waiting times will be due to COVID

TrufflePioneer Tue 08-Sep-20 06:30:45

Thanks Torvean - I always thought it was one of those organs that was far less expendable than say, your spleen (or your gallbladder, I manage fine without that).

My surgery is usually pretty good, I think they are probably just overwhelmed with calls at the moment so they'll get to me soon enough. The imaging clinic is in the next town, I've had two scans there before and from memory I think they call to book an appointment - but I've typically heard from the GP first to tell me they'll be in touch.

I'm faintly intrigued by the high-ish CRP - I'm not worried, I think it's "high" but not morbidly so. Still, I'd love to know what's going on in there. I still have some mild pain that's ever present and get the occasional twisting spasm in the same spot. But it's nothing like how it was a week ago.

OP’s posts: |

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