Piling up Illnesses: Gallstones and IBS

Recently I have been struggling with gallstones. They are incredibly painful and difficult to relieve until you see a doctor and find out what you need to do to resolve the problem.

In my case, the doctor prescribed medication to see if we could ‘melt the stones’ should they be small, and then an ultrasound to see if the stones were large, and ultimately if the situation was bad enough, surgery.

The idea of gallstones worried me

When you spend so much time managing and feeling bad because of something like IBS, to find out you have something else wrong in your stomach is very disturbing. At least it was for me. While they are different situations, symptoms and such, I couldn’t help combining the 2 in my mind, causing an awful lot of stress and worry.

I have had this experience before when other illnesses ‘get in the way’ of my taking care of my IBS. Mostly, because I feel that if I don’t continually take care of the IBS, it will come back stronger and more painful each time. Combining troubles is a very unhealthy thing to do and I am doing my best to separate the issues.

I should say, I almost feel bad complaining about this. I have read so many posts on this site where people share what seems almost insurmountable difficulty with much more serious illnesses than gallstones. People who have had multiple, very serious surgeries and have suffered for much longer than I have. I take hope from many of these folks because they have learned to cope and to manage their challenges. For me, the best thing I can do is to stay organized and very, very regimented. If I don’t, I start feeling that I might be letting things slide and feel stupid that I could be doing more to help myself feel better.

I am listening to my doctor

I have to have a calendar with my doctor’s appointments and checkups. Whereas I don’t usually write down my diet for the week and what foods are working for me at the moment, I have to now, so that there is no need to worry about what I’m eating and drinking to take care of myself. Also, the usual cheating with coffee and dessert has stopped. Once I eliminated the unknown to the best of my ability, I began to feel better (at least mentally :-)). Basically, I just went about my usual IBS routine (which generally works for me) and am following the doctor’s instructions regarding the gallstones.

Venting helps me deal with my IBS

While I can’t say the days when I have gallstone and IBS pain happening aren’t really terrible, I know this won’t last forever. I felt exactly like this when I had developed ulcers a few years ago. I try to keep in mind that that situation worked out as well. I ask that anyone who is feeling overwhelmed with multiple illnesses to reach out for help and support. We shouldn’t have to go through this alone. This is why I wrote this article. Sharing my trouble helps me feel a little less alone, especially sharing with people who understand. I know many of you do. Let’s all be as well as we can be.

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