Always Practice What You Preach: I've always... - AF Association

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Always Practice What You Preach


I've always answered any posts on this forum, from people who have chest pain, with the words that they must call an ambulance. Well I now understand how difficult that is to do in reality.

On Sunday night I went to bed and as soon as I'd lay down I started getting pains in my chest (had felt a bit off colour and breathless for the last two days). I sat up thinking it must be wind and I needed to remain upright for a while and for a time that eased it. However, it soon didn't and the pains grew stronger and an hour later I was still debating with myself what to do and if it was a heart attack, or not. Ah call 111 that's what I'd do, but the recording said they were busy and there could be a long wait. The pains were causing me distress by now and in my desperation I dialled 999. Two paramedics came and right away I told them that there was no way I was going to hospital. They did an ECG which showed no obvious signs of a heart attack, but it did show that my AF wasn't good. They were really kind and reassuring that I wasn't a nuisance and said that I should go to hospital and get checked out properly. I was adamant that I wasn't going but gradually the pain got worse and I gave in and said I would. Once in the ambulance they gave me a morphine shot, which did help.

Once they'd deposited me in a cubicle around 2am , the paramedics left. I was there for about three quarters of an hour before anyone in A&E spoke or came to see me. I honestly thought that if I died no one would know.

After two blood tests several hours apart I was told it wasn't a heart attack, but while waiting for the second result the penny dropped for me and I cast my mind back to last year when I had a stomach scan and had been told I had gallstones. When asked if I knew this I'd replied no, but said I'd had no problems with them so wasn't concerned. So now that's what the idea is and as I had eaten a lot of fat on the day it had started it all fits.

Who else has had gallstones and what did you do when they caused problems? Please tell me your story.

I see my AF nurse next Wednesday to check out my AF and breathlessness. Still don't feel right today am so tired and with each step I take can feel a slightly sore feeling in the middle, low area of my ribs.

Oh and by the way I asked the really nice doctor in A&E what I should do if it happened again and she said, dial 999.


Added 18.45 - Forgot to say I started wanting to be sick with the pain and was feeling really hot and sweaty.

182 Replies

Sorry to read your story Jean and know it must have been bad for you to call 999! (That morphine is great though isn't it? )

Can't help you with your question but wanted to say thinking of you.


in reply to BobD

Thank you Bob. My it was hard to make that 999 call. Despite a few trips to hospital by ambulance, I have never dialled that number before. x

A very worrying time for you

Hope you get better

Thank you Roukaya.

I hope you recover soon. Glad to know you are on the track of the villian that is the cause of your misery.I have had a lot of morphine on two different occasions in my life.What a relief to the pain that came before the shots!

Thank you for your kind words. Where would we be without pain relief!

I have sent you a second email just now Jean re gall stones, Heaven knows they can cause dreadful excruciating pain especially if a stone gets trapped into the bile duct. The days after an episode can find people feeling really unwell after the event.

Many is the hour I have spent in a and e with an event, these critters are not funny. They can cause havoc with the gastric system and make you feel sluggish and off colour at best. Hope things settle for you very soon. Big hug my friend and thank you again for your support with my hubby yesterday. X

Thank you for your email.

Your post is reassuring, but the thing is I didn't have the soreness in my chest, that I have now, until today. My attack was very painful, but that was Sunday evening and early Monday morning. I'm fine when I just sit, but feel the soreness as I walk and each foot comes down on the ground. Why has that started today I wonder?


Hi Jean,

So sorry to hear about your gallstone attack. I can attest the pain is excruciating. I have had to have my gall bladder out for the same reasons you mentioned.please see your doctor about this as it is likely to reoccur and can feel like a heart attack. Good luck!

Thank you.

Sorry and sad to hear that you had such a difficult time but so pleased you made the right decision to dial 999. Like BobD, I'm unable to respond to your question but hopefully, others here will be of more help. Also hope you get a helpful response on Wednesday, you do so much to help others, so let’s hope you now get the help you need. I wonder if the option of another ablation will be raised. All I would say is keep a open mind and maybe find out more before coming to any decisions......take care.

Thank you Flapjack. Yes, I'll be interested to hear what the AF nurse has to say next week, she did try to get me in earlier but there were no spaces free at all. I think it will be all about 'tablets'. She doesn't work for my EP he's in another hospital 30 miles away. My EP's opinion was I'd had three ablations and they didn't work for me, so no more and signed me off. To be honest my AF hasn't been that bad for the last few years, but just about a week ago I started getting very breathless on exertion. I live at the top of a very steep hill, the town where I live is full of them!

Somehow I can’t see you whizzing around on a mobility scooter!! Good luck next week......wasn’t your last ablation a long time ago....maybe things have changed?

Last ablation was 4 years ago. I'd rather not have any more, the first two made my AF worse.

Sorry to hear about your experience, I have no personal knowledge of gallstones, but hope you start to feel better. You are such a support on this forum .

Thank you for your kind words Olivia.

I had gallstones many years ago and much pain. The pain used to come when I was under stress. The consultant removed my gallbladder and they also removed the gallstones. 4 large stones were found! The operation nowadays is much more straightforward and they use laparoscopic surgery. My daughter and sister have also had the surgery more recently with no problem.

Hope you feel better soon.

That's interesting Maria, did you have any problems with pain of any sort once your gallbladder was removed?

My younger sister is waiting to have hers removed, that should be anytime.

No problem since the removal and that was many many years ago!

Jean gallstones and gall bladder problems seems to run in families. My sister and nephew had to have theirs removed as well. Also they used to say being overweight is a cause but that is not true. I know a family who are very skinny and both brother & sister had to have theirs removed. Today the operation is done laparoscopically. We never had any pain afterwards. Don’t believe I even overnighted in the hospital. It used to be a one week stay when regular surgery through incision was done. Good luck!

Thank you. My sister is waiting to have her gallbladder removed and my niece has had hers removed already. I'm telling myself today that I'll discuss my situation with my GP next week, if I still don't feel right by then.

Years ago once in a while usually at night I used to get excruciating pain in my chest radiating to the back which would come and go in waves for about 2 hours. After some testing it turned out to be the result of gallstones and I was advised to get a surgery. However, I was lucky to discover the trigger - chilled full-fat yogurt . Since then I realized that cold fats are hard to digest so now if I bring yogurt to room temp. by diluting it with a little bit of warm water, I have no problems. Also, now when I eat fatty foods (which I love and never buy anything low-fat) I take digestive enzymes to help break down the fat. That's my story - just pay attention to the food temperature and I hope you'll be free of those attacks.

That's interesting and helpful, what digestive enzymes do you take?

I trust Enzymedica brand and take their DigestGold with most meals however for a fatty meal I take LypoGold which states on the label "Relieves discomfort associated with digestion of fatty foods". Their products a quite expensive but sometimes you can find discounts and I order them on iHerb , here is the link

I will certainly try them, than you for that information.

You are very welcome - hope it helps!

Do you think it would be ok to just take the ones for fat when I had a fatty meal?

I would think so from reading LypoGold reviews. Also, pay attention to food temperature - the warmer the better, and I no longer have icy drinks with meals as they impair digestion.

I've been drinking ice cold coconut water lately, have never done that before, so it could be the cause. Thank you.

You may have found your trigger - glad to help!

Oh dear Jean I am so sorry to hear about your bad and frightening experience.

That must have been very traumatic but at least you have identified that it is gall stones and not your heart.

Very unsurprising that your AF was not good with the worry and the pain.

I had a similar experience about 3 years ago and whilst I had very bad chest pains around midnight it was about 11 in the morning before I was discharged. They could find nothing wrong with me on that occasion.

However I can relate to your reluctance to visit A&E right now.

5 weeks ago I fell about 8’ from a ladder. I had no option but to go to hospital as I had hit my head, broken my wrist and because I am on Warfarin I had very severe bruising. To be honest I am not quite sure how I was not killed especially as I am on Warfarin.

All well now

Hope you can get the gallstones sorted out.


Crumbs Pete your story made me gasp with horror. It obviously wasn't your time to die!

Thank you for your kind words.

Yes that is what my wife keeps telling me. She still can’t forget the look on my face as she saw me falling past the kitchen window.

A & E is certainly a different place these days isn’t it?

Take care


in reply to pottypete1

You certainly were lucky, my friend’s husband had never been the same since falling off a ladder and sustaining a severe brain injury 😱 No more ladders Pete!! And better not tell your wife this......

in reply to Buffafly

Too late for that. My wife and I watched an episode of A&E 24 hours the same week when a young lady was pushed from a kerb and suffered brain damage and another case where a builder fell 2 feet and suffered catastrophic brain damage.

You are right no more ladders. I really should know better. I have worked in the Roofing Industry for most of my adult life including being in senior management positions responsible for safety on site.

It was just one of those jobs where I thought I knew what I was doing, yet one minute I was 8 ft up + I am 6 ft tall and the next on a paved patio in a very sorry state. I had very bad bleeding internally on my leg and wrist. I hit my head too and because of the warfarin I take they gave me a CT scan at the hospital.

I genuinly do not know how I was not severely injured. I spent most of the day in the hospital apologising for being so very stupid.

The doctors and nurses were all very supportive and told me that this was what they were there for and in any case I was the third case of a fall from a ladder at Southampton General Hospital that week.

At my age I should never have ever attempted the job I was trying to do.

Hey ho, as Jean said amazingly it was not my turn to die.


How awful for you Jean ! I wouldn't have hesitated in calling 999 in your state.

I tried stopping my PPI. .lansoprazole.. recently and had horrific panicky pain Even though I knew the reason I was still thinking Heart Attack....

I do hope you get sorted soon , with the gall stones and AF

Best wishes x

in reply to Jalia

Thank you Jalia. You wouldn't think that stopping your Lansorpazole would have caused pain. Mind you I guess your body had got used to you taking it.

Today I'm feeling extremely tired and sore under the centre of my ribs. I'm confused as to why I feel worse than yesterday.

It's odd but it's a big step to actually dial 999, you feel you're a nuisance when you do and making a fuss, but the paramedics who came to me were lovely.

Take care ,, really hope you feel better soon xxx

Thank you.

Hi Jean

I had gallstones a few years ago it was incredibly painful I thought I had damaged my kidneys backing the ride on mower into our olive trees but an ultra sound showed loads of gallstones.

I had to wait 9 months for surgery but before that I couldn't eat much without it causing such pain that I often ate nothing at all but i found a heat pack became my best friend it really helped with the pain

A diet of sushi and dark chocolate was all I could eat.

I had the laparoscopic surgery Christmas eve and was given the 200 plus stones to keep.

Afterwards I could eat anything but greasy foods and learnt not to eat cheese too much and during all this time and pain A/F was raging as well it was a miserable time.

You have to have gallstones to appreciate how painful they are.

I hope you have yours removed as it's the best thing I had done and as a bonus when I woke from surgery my heart went into NSR for 5 weeks.

Go for it you wont regret it.

I guess after having had just one attack I'll have to see how I get on now. Unusually, I had eaten a lot of fatty food that day. Certainly won't do that again!

Thank you for your helpful reply. X

I was diagnosed with gallstones in September last year. I was due to have surgery in December but my husband was very ill so I postponed the surgery. I was put on the waiting list again in January after my husband's death.

I then had a pre op assessment where a fib was found. I had no idea that I had it, but of course I had had a very stressful few months. My GP prescribed beta blockers and anti coagulant. Within a couple of weeks I felt better than I had done for a long time with much more energy.

I had another pre op assessment in March just before the lockdown and was told I was fit enough to have the surgery, and that I would get a date very soon. Of course that didn't happen. Then I had a letter a few days ago saying that I have been removed from the waiting list as I need to see a cardiologist and I will only go back onto the list for surgery if he agrees to it. If I was being cynical I would say that one way to shorten waiting list is to remove people!!

My way of dealing with gallstones is to be very careful about what I eat. This is easy enough whilst I am always eating at home at the moment but much more difficult when eating out. I eat very little fat and dairy. I totally avoid cream, cheese, chocolate, butter full fat mayonnaise, full fat yogurt etc. With this diet I rarely get an attack of pain but when I do I take paracetamol and prescribed anti nausea medication. I lay on my right side often with a hot water bottle. This seems to ease the pain a bit, but it seems to have to run its course for 8 - 12 hours. It really is the worst pain that I have ever had, so I am not surprised that you needed to call 999 the first time you experienced it. I also sweat profusely during the attack

I'm not sure if my heat rate is fast though, as I have only had one attack recently. I'm hoping that the stones have now passed as there was no dietary reason for it this time. That was the first attack I have had since living alone and it was quite frightening. I need to contact my GP again for a follow up appointment and to discuss options.

I hope you can get some treatment soon, at the very least some anti nausea medication.

in reply to LilsM

I'm so sorry to hear that you recently lost your husband and also had the worry of gallstones. At times life can hit us hard with unpleasant things.

What a absolute cheek the hospital have to take you off their waiting list.

Have you read faridaro's post and what helped her cure her gallstone pain? I'll certainly be trying these pills and avoiding chilled food.

in reply to jeanjeannie50

Thank you. Yes those pills sound interesting, and I will certainly avoid chilled food and see how it goes.

Oh JJ... no fun for you then! A great relief it was not a heart attack.

I’m gonna just say this:

Calling 999 is not wrong JJ.... you must call it if things are not going right.

You should not feel guilty or scared. Our NHS is there for everyone and you are one of them!!

I hope you feel better soon and the gallstones issues subside.


No, it's certainly not wrong to dial the emergency no., but have you ever done it for yourself? I've discovered it's easy to say people must do that, but when it actually comes to doing it you're haunted by thoughts like, is this serious enough to warrant urgent help! With hindsight and having done so, I'd still say anyone with chest pain should dial 999. I apologized

to the paramedics and asked what they had been doing before my call. They said they'd just been sat at their station nearby.

Yes I have JJ, a few times. Always I was taken to hospital.

So you were right to call them! ❤️

Hi Jean, sorry to hear that you have had such a rough time. I could be off track but fatty foods are practically a guarantee to start Afib off on me. If you think about the energy that they can release then it is also something that is stimulating to ones system. Stimulation can come from many different foods & drinks and that is something that I would seriously consider. Your symptoms to a degree also sound similar to food poisoning, which could have kicked other stuff off. Stay well.

in reply to john6

Thank you for your concern John. Yes, I'll certainly take care with fatty food from now on. I rarely eat fried breakfasts, but friends told me they'd had one, which made me hanker for the same. I had that lunch time then spaghetti bolognaise with parmesan for dinner. Later I ate a piece of cheese. It was one of those days when I wanted to eat and eat. Looking back it's no wonder I had the gallstone reaction! I've just taken my morning pills, with water, and it has made me feel sick again . It's going to be a long time before my body forgives me!

I had gallbladder problems back in the day when Noah was a lad! This was discovered after two years of tests. Two years of chest pains, vomiting etc. Stayed away from fat until my gallbladder was finally removed and now 40+ years later am on a LCHF diet.

in reply to Hylda

Hi Hilda, I had to look up what a LCHF diet was - low carb, high fat. Have never had to diet in my life, probably thanks to being tall, though some could look at my stomach and think I need to. Glad gallbladder pain is just a distant memory for you now.

Hi there, had gallstones 50 years ago in my early 20s. I passed out with the pain a couple of times and GP gave me morphine tablets to take when I went into spasm(stone in the bile duct) . I had my gallbladder removed(big operation back then) and I have been fine ever since. I ate exactly what I wanted until AF when I started to be more selective 😁. It is possible that you will become jaundiced if the bile duct is blocked for any length of time. You should get to see a gastroenterologist. In the meantime stay off bananas and fatty food. Hope this helps it really is the worst pain I have ever had but I don’t have children. Best wishes for a speedy resolution.

Oh didn't know about not eating bananas, often have two small ones a day. That's made me think I'd better search online to see what I shouldn't eat, other than avoiding fat. If I have another attack I'll certainly be looking for help and to have my gallbladder removed.

Thank you for your good wishes.

Poor Jean - what an experience to go through. I had a scan before the lockdown for my diverticular disease and it showed gallstones. I get occasional pains, not as bad as you describe, but always on my right side. The chest pains I had while I was having atrial flutter - and still get occasionally - were always left-sided.


Hi Steve, thank you for your sympathetic response.

This growing older has a lot to answer for doesn't it!

Yes, I too had a scan last year that showed gallstones, but I believe everyone gets them as they age and they don't always cause problems, so at the time it didn't bother me in the slightest. All I can say is it certainly bothers me now!

My wife, Wendy, had a scan recently, too - and it showed the same! Over 60 and it’s all downhill, eh? 😉


Sounds horrid Jean - double whammy AF and gallbladder problems😢. My wife had terrible trouble in December, I eventually managed to persuade her to go to hospital - she was put on antibiotics to calm the infection, and 3 weeks later had her gallbladder removed.

All good now.

Yes, it is horrible and I'm fed up with feeling as I do - why on earth did I eat so much fatty food last Sunday, I've never done that before.

It sounds like your wife had a speedy response and cure for her gallstones. Do you live in the UK? I'm somehow thinking not.

Yes we live in Southampton. We were both in and out of hospital in December, Me Post Ablation Problems, and my wife 4 days suffering with gallbladder pains. Take care Jean.

Chris x

Not sure what’s happening in hospitals as I was marked down for an Urgent second ablation in early March but I’ve heard nothing, and my surgeon hasn’t replied to my communication either!

Good luck 😉

Just remembered my sister telling me that acupuncture can help with gallbladder pain!

That's interesting, thank you.

I do wonder what all these consultants are doing while they're not on duty at hospitals!

Hi Jean,

A number of years ago, I had excruciating chest pain. at first I thought it was major wind and when I had trouble breathing, was taken off to hospital. I seriously thought I was having a heart attack. I was only in my 40s then, very fit and had no health issues.

While left alone in a bed at A&E for a couple of hours ( there has been a major road crash requiring all the medics), the pain passed off. I felt a bit silly and left the hospital having been checked.

A month later it happened again, even more severe. This time they carried out a scan an diagnosed a gallbladder problem.

I had my gall bladder removed an no more problems.

Apparently, the feeling of sharp pain from the gallbladder can often be mistaken for a heart problem. (Sudden onset, very painful, often people hyperventilate with the pain and get very dizzy/lightheaded).

With the severity of the pain from the gallbladder, even with hindsight, I think A&E was the right action. Better safe than sorry and gallbladder pain is intense, can come and then go and can have complications.

It made me smile reading your story as I could relate to it so well and I'll never forget that first admission and how stupid I felt when the medics returned to me in A&E and I felt completely well with no pain...... and trying to tell them where I had felt the pain.

It made me think of Spike Milligan's joke about someone's inscription on their headstone.. " I told you I was ill !"

Your post made me laugh Deacon, thank you.

This morning after taking my AF tablets I've felt sick and am wondering why that is and when I'll return to feeling normal. Someone here has said not to eat or drink anything cold and I'm wondering if that's going to be the case with me. Oh to be normal - I swear I'd never moan again (well not much).

Sorry to hear that Jean. ❤️

Thank you Nick.

Sorry to hear you've been through the wars Jean - you are such a supportive presence on this forum. I had gallstones and had a laparoscopic cholecystectomy to remove it. Since then I have had no problems but I do have a friend who had the same who still has to watch how much fatty food she eats. Hope everything goes smoothly for you. :)

Thank you for your kind words Indira.

Hi there - your description of the pain sounds familiar to me so I completely sympathise with you. I was diagnosed with "multiple gallstones" recently. I had been going through cancer treatment and suffered what I thought was chronic indigestion - awful pain in middle of chest. Even had this confirmed after calling 111 and speaking to a duty GP. Lasted several hours. Couple of days later my complexion went a yellowy colour and my urine was quite dark (too much info?). I called my chemo nurses who advised I go to A&E to get checked out. Ultrasound and MRI scans followed in quick succession. Then nothing. No feedback - nothing. Because I had been referred by a&e I had no point of contact. I called hospital gastroenterology department and an administrator was able to find a note in my file which confirmed gallstones. I have, since then, had a voicemail from a doctor confirming as much saying that they would write to my GP who would refer me for gall bladder removal. That was a few weeks ago and, unsurprisingly in current climate, no letter. Meanwhile I am following a low fat regime, eating smaller portions, drinking plenty of water. Good news is I have lost weight!! I do still feel sensitive in that area and will continue to chase GP for referral. I have paroxysmal AF which, since my diagnosis in March 2019, had only kicked in again twice during cancer treatment. My GP thinks the chemo may have been the trigger. I have also asked for referral to EP/cardiologist in this respect as since diagnosis this had never been done. In for a penny!!

I feel a bit of a wait coming on for gall bladder removal. I am taking every dietary precaution so as not to agitate things and end up as an emergency case!

Good luck and keep us posted on progress x

It sounds like you're going through a really tough period in your life right now Sputnik and I hope that soon passes.

I too feel half afraid to eat anything right now, but reading a bit about the gallbladder I saw that it can make the situation worse if you lose a lot of weight too quickly. Can't win can we!

Have you read Faridaro's post above and how she has cured gallbladder problems?

Wishing you well.

Thanks Jean. Yes I did read that post. Very interesting. My only guilty pleasure at the moment is an ice cold alcohol free beer on a warm day ! So far so good ! I am loathed to take any more tablets or supplements than I already do. I have also kept a watchful eye on the weight and have stabilised now but you are quite right - can't win.

Very best wishes x

Sorry to hear this Jean, hope you are feeling at least a bit better by now. You’re always such a support to everyone on here so glad to see so many messages of support for you. Do let us know how you are getting on. Take care of yourself.

Thank your for your kind words.

I'm thinking that today I need get out and try to take my mind off it all. That's my plan anyway!

Hello Jean sorry to read this !

I had gallstones and had the associated colic quite a few times before having gallbladder removed. It's an awful pain I recall it well!

Ooo like some one sawing away with a bread knife..

I was put on a no fat diet,and I mean no fat. This helped a lot while I waited for surgery.

During the episodes I remember tramadol type painkillers allieviated the colic,as did leaning to the left taking pressure off the gallbladder.

What are they saying about follow up?

This won't go away by itself

You may have passed a stone this time but may be more than one and even if just one ,you can develop others .

Sometimes a stone gets temporarily stuck in the neck of the gallbladder causing trouble .

Watch your diet very very carefully for now.

You did the right thing and should do again if it happens another time!!

Best wishes Jean

Thank you for your excellent advice. I'll certainly remember the leaning to the left side bit that helped you. I'm really hoping it won't happen again and cursing myself for eating so much fatty food in one day.

Nothing has been said about a follow up. I guess in A&E they were just investigating whether it was a heart attack. When the pain went after about 5 hours and the blood tests for my heart came back normal, the doctor agreed it was probably my gallbladder. I did ask what I should do if it happened again and she said dial 999. Surely you shouldn't dial 999 for a gallbladder problem!

Yes you should ring 999 because if a gall stone or stones, get stuck in the bile duct, apart from the pain, it can cause jaundice very quickly and affect your liver and eventually damage.

Hi Jeanie. So sorry you've had to go through all this. Slapped wrist for waiting to call the ambulance, but us brits are trained to take the pain and not to bother anyone...

When I think gall stones I think 'female, fertile and forty'... which is what I've been told. You obviously fit that description, but I'm male and past my best and was still told I'd probably 'passed' a gall stone. If I did it was a big bugger.

Anyway, ultrasound showed nothing except fatty liver (which can be more serious than it sounds). I'm naturally skinny but apparently have more hidden fat than I thought. I've also had acute abdominal pain after fatty foods most of my adult life.

I've found home made kefir (not shop-bought stuff which has all the probiotics killed off) to be helpful and have lost around a stone without doing anything else, and feel generally so much better. I haven't had another scan to prove this but wouldn't be surprised if my fatty liver was now in Olympian condition...

Good luck with it, and put 999 on your speed dial!

Thank you for your kind words.

No, I'm female late 60's and not overly fat, bit of a tum I suppose. That's interesting re the home made Kefir, I must look into that.

I've never liked fatty foods, would always take off the batter from fish if I had it with chips. Must admit though I hadn't been doing that lately, mind you I rarely have fish and chips, just once this year and that was a few weeks ago.

Stay well.

Was just my attempt at flattery Jean... ;-)

Anyway, just nipping out for fish and chips now... you've put the thought into my head.

in reply to DueNorth

I was tall, slim, a 30 year old brunette when I had my gallbladder problems! No wonder it took them two years to find out what the problem was. 🙄

Sorry to hear about your gallstone's Jean. You did the right thing calling 999 - good on you. I hope you are feeling a little better today and continue to do so.


Thank you Paul.

I've decided I'm going to buck my ideas up and go out today. Will walk down the steep hill to town, unless I decide I'm too fragile then will drive. The trouble is walking back up if I'm not feeling too bright. I just have this feeling getting out will do me good.

Sure Jean. I'm sure it will do you good to get out for a short while. Maybe drive down today and see how you feel tomorrow about walking ?

Enjoy your day and take care.

Paul ;-)

So sorry to hear what happened Jean. Scary. Hope you are feeling better. My pain was a nagging pain (I thought it might be cancer reoccurring) pre AF days. I had gall stones & an op to remove them three years ago.

I was tempted to not have the op as my pain had cleared up. The consultant told me at the time: I wouldnt cancel he said, I have people begging for this op -you are due a big op you dont want an attack just after your op do you? They will only get worse. I got the message and complied. Dont regret it. Hope you get to see a gastroenterologist soon ......more likely a phone call in the current climate!! Lol...

Thank you for your good wishes.

I'm surprised at how many people on this forum have had gallstones. The way to go is certainly pointing to having them removed, but I guess that wouldn't be suggested after just one attack. I dread the thought of another one and will take care with what I eat from now on.

in reply to jeanjeannie50

Lot of people on the thyroid forum too.

So sorry to hear you’ve been so unwell Jean, sounds like you went through a really scary experience. My only memory of gallstones was seeing my Mother in such terrible pain with them, to the point where she collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital in an ambulance. She changed her diet so as to avoid fatty foods and managed it for a while but did end up having surgery to remove her gall bladder. I really hope that you get better very very soon.

Best wishes


Thank you for your kind words.

I think at the moment I'm telling myself I wont have another attack and it only happened because I stupidly ate so much fat in one day. We live and learn don't we!

Oh Jean, I am so sorry to hear what you’ve been through. It’s a really tough call that 999 and I know just how you must have felt. Do you really think 111 was that busy?! I don’t personally know about gallstones but I have a friend who does and I know they can be really painful. I hope you soon get sorted and your mind put at rest. Good luck. I had some good news yesterday - they are going to fit my pacemaker on 9 July, on the NHS but at The Spire. It’s good to know that non-Covid problems are starting to be dealt with. I also got a call to have my breast cancer check up as well, so things are moving. Let us know how you get on. Tricia xx

I'm pleased to hear that you're getting your pacemaker fitted Trish and I hope all goes well with your cancer check up. You've certainly been through a rough patch, but lets hope you're on the 'up' now.

Thank you for your kind words.

Poor thing. I have had two friends with gall stones and both had frequent visits to hospital because of it - and both said the morphine was great🤣🤣

I was feeling so miserable when I was given the morphine, by a paramedic, I didn't notice a great difference. Think I may have had a baby dose!

Gallstones are very common and the pain is dreadful and triggered by eating fat. When your body detects fat in the stomach/small intestine, it triggers the gall bladder to empty and if you have stones, they can block the duct, leading to agony. I had mine removed 20 years ago, done by keyhole and was fine afterwards. My husband had gallstones, diagnosed 3 years ago when his gallbladder became infected. He was extremely ill, in hospital for 2 weeks, went a yellowy green colour. He had his gallbladder removed 2 months later and has been fine since. Do not eat more than 10g of fat per day, preferably less, and get your gallbladder removed as soon as you can. In my experience, once the stones have started to cause problems, it's likely to continue.

in reply to Ecki

Thanks for your advice, have taken note.

Jean, it all sounds so frightening, and I am so glad you called the ambulance in the end. I have been in an ambulance twice and both times I lay there as it sped along, blue light flashing, thinking what AM I doing here, I'm not that bad! At the hospital both times I was told my family had done the right thing.

When my mother was in her 80s, she was diagnosed as having stones in her gallbladder after suffering significant chest pain. She couldn't eat after about 4pm and even when she did eat there was always discomfort and pain. Eventually she had it laparoscopically removed and it transformed her life. She recovered extremely quickly and for the next 10 years could eat what she wanted. If they suggest it to you I wouldn't hesitate!

I do hope you are feeling better today.

My sister who is 9 years younger than me is waiting to have her gallbladder removed, so it looks like it may be a family thing. I think it's more frightening if you're on your own when health problems occur and there's no one to watch over you. I can tell you it was a real scare for me and one I will never forget!

Thank you for your good wishes.

Oh , how I feel for you, both having to call 999 and having gallstones, and the AF!! I had gall stones 35 years ago and ended up with pancreatitis before I had the op to remove them, The pain was excruciating I remember and had pethidine on prescription in those days!!! I now a big zip scar and do still have to watch what I eat to a degree. But while waiting for the op, I had a fat free diet. I would see about having your gall bladder removed though.

The fear of going to A&E I also feel, especially living alone, in the middle of the night and at the moment. I had that experience at the end of February and spent 8 hours alone in A&E with A Flutter, so stressful!

You will feel sore and a bit off colour after a gall bladder episode, but see your GP if you feel worse or not improving.......

That's interesting that you say I'll feel sore and a bit off colour for a while, because it's exactly how I do feel and I was wondering if that was normal. So thank you for letting me know.

I hope with all my heart that I don't have to go through that again, but guess I will at some stage. Will be keeping off eating all fats from now on.

I live alone too and worry if I'm unwell as there's no one to look out for us. If we collapse when would we be found?

Jean my friend has a personal alarm that she wears,if she doesn't press the I'm Ok button at least once a day a message is sent to her named person. Also she can press one button to call 999.. might be worth looking into for peace of mind ? Xx

Hi Jean, I don't know if this info might be helpful. Both my sons had gallstones and one was really sick and feverish and we thought he had acute appendicitus. He was given morphine as well and told to go home and hope for it to break down and pass through the urinary tract which it eventually did . My second son had the same thing but it never passed and he kept having attacks. Eventually he was operated on and now keeps the critter in a little jar to remind himself how something so small can make you feel like you're on your last legs. I really hope it sorts itself out but if it doesn't pass you most likely may continue to have flare-ups and eventually laser treatment to break it down.

Take care x

That's interesting what you say Lily. Goodness how can a stone pass through the urinary tract? Perhaps I'm imagining these stones to be larger than they are, it's all new to me! I've not heard of anyone generally having laser treatment, just the gallbladder removed. Are you in the UK?

I live in France near Paris. I may have it wrong- it's a method that breaks it up by shock waves I think. I think that was tried then they just went " up there" and extracted it as it was a bit too big. Diet has a bit to do with it but obviously all as us Afibbers generally take great care with our diet. But I sympathize with you! I'm told the pain is worse than natural childbirth. What has the Dr recommended for you treatment wise? Even a small one is extremely painful but it generally self resolves. My boys had to pee into a sieve like cloth for a few days to see if anything came out. One was successful the other needed an operation.

Take care x

Hi Jean, about a year before I was diagnosed with AF I had an episode of intense pain in my abdomen following a heavy meal and some red wine. I remember being on my knees unable to stand and sweating profusely. The pain got steadily worse and came in waves and after about 5 hours my wife decided to call an ambulance. Just as she picked the phone up it stopped completely and I felt such relief I just fell on the couch and slept. I saw my GP a day or so later and after explaining the episode and noticing my stools were very pale for a day or so after, he sent me for a scan where they saw a single large stone and a few smaller ones in my gallbladder. Long story short I had an operation to remove the gallbladder within a month. The only drawback in my case is that it has changed my digestive system in as much as I now have nausea most mornings and difficulty digesting fatty food. The other issue that is relative to AF is that I get chest pains sometimes after meals and bowel emptying due to reflux and Gerd which can easily feel like heart pain especially if I'm about to go into AF or during an episode. I've never asked on here but I certainly have loose stools and stomach unease around the AF, not sure if anyone else experiences that . I'd certainly recommend having the gallbladder removed as I never want to go through that pain again but it can sometimes have negative effects for certain people afterwards, as in my case and as my abdo consultant politely put it 'you'll just have to learn to live with it' And then I get AF 🙄, lucky bugger ain't I 😏. Hope you're feeling better and get sorted but if you need the op, it's a doddle. I was back at work after 4 days.

Take care


Thank you for your kind words Steve.

You know I've felt slightly sick every morning since my attack and you're the first person to say about it. It's reassuring to now that feeling is normal. I'm not sure now whether I should see my GP about having my gallbladder removed or wait and see if I have another attack. I was told last year that I had gallstones, but wasn't concerned as they were causing no problems. It's good to hear that the op is no major thing to have.

Thank you for your kind response.

From my experience Jean, the best thing to do is get them out as it may well happen again, as in my brothers case, his stone blocked the bile duct and he had pancreatitis. It was very sudden and he spent 7 weeks in hospital. My cousin is a ward sister and told me he was lucky to live as many die from it. I told the hospital about my brother as it had happened only months before my attack and I think that's why I was seen so quickly. Both my parents and now me and my brother have had the bladder removed so I guess it can run in families. I certainly don't want to worry you unnecessarily but just be aware it can come on without warning and if you are scanned and can see they are there then I'd push for the op. I'm sure there are many that live with them in ignorance and others like me and my family that all had sudden attacks that led to having the op. My brother was one of the unlucky ones as his stone was in the wrong place but we are just grateful that he lived through a shocking experience at aged just 45.

Look after yourself and don't hesitate to seek help if you feel it coming on again

Best wishes


Around 1970 my wife had a lot of stomach trouble and pain. It was diagnosed as gall stones and she had her gall bladder removed. In those days it was major surgery and had quite a long recovery time. Now it is fairly simple keyhole surgery with a quick recovery.

An associated NHS story. The operation was on a Friday afternoon. I went see her in the evening and she was still pretty groggy. Phoned Saturday morning and the usual 'She had a comfortable night ' Went in Saturday afternoon and evening and she was still in pain but quite clear headed. When I left on the Sunday evening she was sitting up having her dinner. I phoned again about 10 pm and when I asked how she was there was a sharp intake of breath and a long pause before the person said 'Did no one tell you that Mrs F died on Friday night'

Unfazed I said was that her ghost in her bed eating dinner when I left this evening.

The person said excuse me moment. Coming back she apologised saying I'm sorry we evidently had two Mrs F's on Friday and it was obviously was the other one who died. I personally doubted that as ours is not a very common surname.

in reply to seasider18

Oh !! Rather worrying!!

When my wife was taken to A&E and had many tests and kept overnight she was told that 50% who come with chest pains are found not to have had a cardiac cause.

I can certainly imagine that to be true. When mine first started I thought it may be wind.

Her GP and two other doctors from the practice had been to see her during the day and eventually asked for an ambulance. On the way a paramedic said that her pain was like he had with a duodenal ulcer and I agreed it was like I had when I had one. The hospital ignored that when we suggested it.

This was on a Friday night and on the Monday she went to see her GP. He listened and poked her in the stomach and she yelped and he said duodenal ulcer. When she later had an endoscopy thee was a duodenal ulcer and 37 gastric ulcers caused by an antinflamatory she had been given a week earlier by an out of hours doctor for gout. She had not wanted to take it due to previous problems with them but he said a three day course will not do you any harm.

It's a crazy world!

I always associate my hypertension highs with my digestion and its effect on my vagus nerve. One incident on a Monday morning in 1993. I got up and went downstairs and had cornflakes. A pain started in my chest and went down my left arm and jaw and sweat pouring off me. I debated whether to go back to bed or have a shower and see how I felt. I was no better after the shower. Should I set off for the station and if no better pop into see my doctor ? I phoned the surgery instead. The receptionist passed on my symptoms to the doctor who said dial 999 immediately. I was reluctant as I thought it must be indigestion but eventually phoned. They came and did the few tests they had in those days and took me to A&E who did not say my BP was not normal. They kept me in attached to monitors until the Friday when they put me on the treadmill in a little hot room and I rather struggled on it so they stopped it telling me my heart wasn't getting enough oxygen. They said it must be angina and gave me tablets to take three times a day. The tablets made my face flush and I felt hot.

I went to my GP on the Monday and he apologised for having panicked last week and telling me to dial 999. He said no way did I have angina and not to take the tablets. My indigestion has continued over the years with quite a few similar incidents that I mostly sit out but now my BP can go to 210/110 during those incidents and I sometimes get taken to A&E. Without anything from them it gradually reverts after about 6 or 8 hours and they send me on my way.

The next really bad one resulted in another failed stress test and a clear angiogram where they said the test had produced a false positive as did a later stress echocardiogram.

Have you never had an angiogram?

Yes two. See the last line of my post.

Going blind as well as daft!!

Join the Club :-)

This article links GERD and hypertension. I had not taken a PPI for some days and hard acid reflux last night.

Blimey! Be well soon, thinking of you.

Thank you Jed.

Hi Jean, hope you are feeling better today. You must have felt rotten to call paramedics out. I can’t help,with question but just wanted to see how you are feeling. Gill.

Thank you Gilly

Just feeling a bit sick each morning and slightly sore below my ribs as I walk. Just don't feel right, but need to buck my ideas up and get myself moving.

To be honest I need to buck myself up this morning, had four cups,of tea since 4.30 I hate the thunder, love my garden. Must get out there and see what mess the rain has made. Must have picked off 100 flowers last night that the rain had ruined. Going to move now, you try and have a good day.

Sorry to hear you’ve had some dramas Jean. I hope you’re on the mend and feeling a bit better now x

Thanks for your concern Kaz.

I'm scared of my own shadow right now, but need to buck my ideas up and get out and about (as best we can with the virus here in the UK).

Well take care x

Hello to you, sorry you had such a scare but in a way it helped my to.

I had severe pains in my chest like you causing vomiting, it restricted my life as I never knew when it would strike again, which it did frequently, took two years for a diagnosis and it was a relief just to know.

Had the operation to remove the stones and been fine since, although if you eat a lot of fatty food you can have slight pains again.

I did not have Afib then, that started about ten years later.

However one night this year I had dreadful chest pain,and was gasping for breath, never experienced this before so decided to not panic and waited for it to subside eventually. Your comment about calling an ambulance was spot on as my doctor said I should have called them immediately.

Since then I have been referred to a cardiologist but nothing yet due to virus.

Hope this helps you as well as me.

I would never worry again about calling 999 for an ambulance if I had chest pain. He who hesitates is lost (or dead). Aren't we lucky to have that service there should we need it. You certainly should have called that number when you were gasping for breath

Unfortunately the covid19 virus is holding up all sorts of procedures right now. I couldn't quite understand why they didn't remove all those with it to the Nightingale units, so that hospitals could run as usual.

Thank you for your advice.

Thinking of you. I too tried 111 recently when my hr dropped to 32 and stayed there. I waited for 1/2 an hour for them to answer then put the phone down i waited till next morning and phoned gp. I was told to go straight in for ecg. They also said if it happened again I was to dial 999. I know how hard that is. Get well soon!

I'm glad you understand how hard it is to dial that number. Oooh a heart rate of 32 sounds dangerously low, please do dial 999 should that happen again. How did it make you feel?

Thank you for your good wishes.

Sorry to hear of your experience.

You did right to dial 999.

111 is NOT an emergency number.

in reply to baba

That's true 111 is certainly not an emergency no. We really must dial 999 when the need is there. I guess we just don't like to be perceived as 'making a fuss'. Chest pain must always be checked out asap. Wait and that could be the end of you!

Thank you for your kind words.

How horrible for you. Not a pleasant experience at all. Hope you get to the bottom of it and get it sorted. Good luck

Yes, it was certainly horrible and I just couldn't get my head around what was happening. I'm glad I dialled 999.

Thank you for your kind words.

Wishing you a speedy recovery Jean and a clear message to all..Make that call.

Thank you Steve.

Yes, we just have to make that call - before it's too late!

Just to say - hope you soon feel better jeanjeannie50 - lots of advice and info on this forum for you which I am sure has helped. You did the right thing in dialling 999 and yes, its no good posting other people to always call an ambulance with chest pain and then not doing so yourself! Take care.

Thank you jersygirl49.

Yes, I'm glad now that I dialled 99, or I'd have been forever wondering if I'd had a heart attack.

Often described as the worst pain there is - and I vouch for that. I had a late miscarriage 30 years ago, and I came out of hospital to rest. A couple of nights later I had the worst pain imaginable, it was in the days where your GP came out during the night. I was literally crawling on the floor, and had to have morphine. Of course the doctor was not sure if it was gynae-related, or even pancreatitis, or gallstones. I was scheduled an appointment for scans etc, saw a surgeon as a result of those, booked in for the old ‘big’ op. Then I had the doctor out on two more nights in the following week, so it was bumped up as an emergency. I didn’t have big stones, just lots of tiny ones, and the excruciating pain is when the body is trying to pass one that gets stuck in the duct by squeezing. I was also told that a big hormonal surge can be enough to set off your gall stones ‘grumbling’.

I think you have to really think long and hard about eating fat at all until you resolve the gall bladder issue. There really is no alternative until you either settle, or get it removed. A friend of mine with gall bladder troubles went on a no fat diet for a year 25 years ago, and was never troubled again. The gb’s sole purpose is to release the bile when you consume fat, and as soon as you do, if you have irritating stones - boom - you get the inflammation and the pain. Best out if it’s giving you such bad experiences, and in the meantime your diet is crucial. Hopefully you’ll be all right with the minor keyhole surgery, or even better, a good period with little fat might see it settle.

I’m convinced that a lot of AF originates with digestive issues. I know if I have a big plate of spaghetti Bol with Parmesan, I get that uncomfortable feeling that I’ve bloated my insides which then irritate the heart, so I really try to get a grip. But often I fail, the mind is so good at forgetting the promises you make to yourself, and then I kick myself for being so stupid when I know better. On the pain, I felt it everywhere, chest, side, a lot through to the back, sometimes it moved around. There’s a lot of referred pain with it, a big, odd one is pain on the point of the the shoulder. You were 100% right to get the paramedics, that degree of pain is very scary indeed. I hope you keep much better soon. Your kind words and AFib wisdom on this forum is always appreciated.

Thank you for your kind and informative words dexter8479.

Yes, I remember the days when the doctor would come and see you no matter what the time was. Why on earth did that stop I wonder!

I too have heard of people cutting out fat for a while and then not having any gallbladder problems again and I guess I'm hoping I will be one of them.

Spag bol, well I've always thought that a rather odd dinner - you can't beat a 3 veg and meat one can you.

True! I don’t think our British genes create digestive systems that can easily handle Parmesan cheese and garlic bread! All the best, Diane.

So sorry to hear about your experience. It is horribly painful and scary. Mine happened as you say after eating something more fatty than usual. It was in the days of GPs doing home visits, so he came at 5am and gave I think, Buscopan, an anti spasmodic, had scan 6 weeks later,a small gall stone was still there, and I imagine it's either dissolved or still there. I hope any discomfort you are feeling now soon passes and you get some answers and help. We always tend to think there are people with more serious problems than us and hesitate to ring 999. Hope your day goes better and thanks for being so supportive to us all. Best wishes Kath.

in reply to cat55

Thank you for you kind words Kath.

The whole thing is new to me and I'm gradually finding out as much as I can.

We really must learn to dial that 999 number without feeling guilty. I think we all have this inbred fear of being thought a nuisance.

That must have been so scary for you Jean. All the symptoms of a heart attack so must have been so frightening. I’m afraid I can’t help your question. My AF was picked up with stomach issues too by chance after I was in A&E with severe symptoms caused by duodenitis and gastritis. Don’t hesitate to call 999 if it should happen again. X

Thank you for your kind words of concern.

Yes, it certainly was frightening. I was adamant that I wasn't going to hospital when the paramedics arrived but as my pain worsened and they said i should go and be checked I gave in. I'm glad I did now, or I would always have wondered if it was a heart attack and if I'd have another and that would be the end of me!

Hi jean

I have no answers I am afraid but you are always so kind and helpful to me.

I really hope you get to the bottom of it quickly. Get well soon.


Thank you for your kind words Deb.

Hi Jean, yes I’ve had gallstones years ago and they’re bloody painful. I can remember being doubled up with pain when I went to the old Newton Abbot hospital straight from work and the nurses were just walking passed me not even helping.

Anyway I had my gallstones out a few months later In Torbay Hospital, keyhole surgery, and all is well now.

I do hope you’re feeling a lot better now Jean but get them out and you won’t have that awful pain again. X

Thank you Redders, so you've suffered too. I'm now wondering if there's a link between gallbladder problems and AF. Though they say any bodily inflammation can lead to AF. I guess I'd better wait and see if I do have another attack before asking for my gallbladder to be removed. Someone in an earlier post has recommended some digestive pills which have cured her attacks and I intend to try them. Meanwhile I'll not be having any fatty foods.

Hope to meet up again soon.

Thank you jean for sharing this as a reminder to us all. Hope you feel better soon xx

Thank you Maisie.

Hi Jean

What a worrying experience.

Glad you fell better now.


Thank you Ant.

What a frightening experience for you, jeanjeannie - I’m so glad you got the help you needed. It is a fact that we recognise other people’s need for emergency treatment, but are less likely to take our own needs more seriously. Well done for calling 999.

I cannot help with personal experience of gall stones but I know they can cause excruciating pain. My mum had tightly packed tiny little black ones removed many years ago and she kept them as a souvenir.

Best wishes for a good recovery and some treatment.

Thank you for your supportive words Finvola.

Sorry ro hear about your problem, and I'm hoping you will be able;e to resolve it now. Take care and rest. And you did the right thing ringing 999.

Best wishes

Thank you for your kind words.

Hope you are feeling better soon . My sister had in the end to have her gall bladder removed. Beforehand she had had pain and nausea /vomiting for some time on and off but unusually her referred pain was in the left side -chest and shoulder . This fooled her doc who thought it was heart related and sent her for an ECG. Try chewing dandelion leaves. They taste nasty and bitter but they stimulate bile production. I get gall bladder pain occasionally and it works well.

Thanks for that tip. I'm sure I can find a few dandelion leaves in my garden. My younger sister is waiting to have her gallbladder removed, so it sounds like it may run in families.

Gosh Jean, I feel for you, am so sorry you had to go through that. In my opinion you absolutely did the right thing by calling 999, but can understand that it’s easier said than done. Please don’t hesitate if you get acute pain again.

I do hope you get an appointment for a diagnostic scan soon, and that you feel better as the day goes on xx

Hi Hilly, thanks for your kind concern.

I had a scan last year that showed gallstones. As I didn't have any pain from them then I ignored it when the person doing the scan told me. I was under the impression that most people had them as they grew older and some had problems while others didn't. I'm just hoping now that they were put on the report sent to my GP or I'll have to go through the process of having it done again.

I'm thinking perhaps I'll call my GP on Monday. If I feel completely well by then I may just wait and see if it happens again.

How are you feeling today Jean? 💐

Sicky and lethargic, have just called the surgery and asked for my doctor to call me.

Oh no, so sorry you’re still feeling rotten Jean. Please let me know how you get on and what the doctor advises. Thinking of you 🤗

Oh dear, it must have been very frightening for you, especially having to call 999.

It's such an awful pain, and as others have said it is worse than being in labour, and I had a 9lb 13oz baby!

My experience was that we were in Majorca and had been out for a New Years Eve dining extravaganza, fantastic meal as you would imagine, also very rich. Upon returning to villa I was doubled up in pain, reching and weeping, I must add here that I have always had quite a high pain threshold, so it really was bad. I thought perhaps food poisoning so drank lots of water. I was then awfully sick. Eventually it subsided and I went to bed but after an hour awoke with my heart pounding and wondering if it was a heart attack but later learned it was my first experience of AF! We flew home two days later and I visited GP who referred me to hospital straight away. Within four weeks I had been diagnosed with AF and was booked in to have my gall bladder removed. This was about ten years ago, I had keyhole surgery and have not had any issues since only with AF. I eat pretty much the same as I did before although avoiding any obvious 'triggers' for AF.

I hope that you manage to get it all sorted soon, it's a difficult time to get an op. at the moment but I'm sure all on here are wishing you well as you are such an integral part of this community and have given most of us advice at one time or another. Do take care. xx

Crumbs Patsy a 9lb 13oz baby! I thought my first daughter was large at 9lbs.

It's interesting to hear your experience and you certainly had a quick service to sort your pain out.

Yes, I was frightened and confused as to what was happening. At first I desperately wanted to take something for indigestion to see if it would go away. I had nothing as I don't suffer with that. When the paramedics came it gradually got worse and I knew something was amiss. The pain just came on like the flick of a button, one minute not there and then the next very much so. I have to admit I'm rather living in fear of it happening again now. My sister is waiting to have her gallbladder removed and I'm hoping I'll be like her and have long periods between each attack.

Thanks for your kind words.

I completely understand your disquiet in ringing for an ambulance but we are probably old-school and don't want to make a fuss.

I wondered if I was having a heart attack, having some some but not all of the classic symptoms, so rang 111. After being passed through three kind people the conclusion was that I should go to A and E and an appointment, no less, was made for me there a few hours later. Although the traponin test (standard blood test for heart attacks) had haemolysed, so was unreliable the conclusion was that I was OK and the staff waved aside all my apologies, saying that I had done the right thing.

I do have PAT (paroxysmal atrial tachycardia) and my heart was leaping about but all was well.

Twenty odd years ago I had acute chest and upper back pain which, stupidly, I initially ignored. The second time had an even worse attack and thought I was dying but deep breathing and not panicking helped me through. I decided after this that I should have myself checked out.

My GP sent me straight to a consultant and it was concluded that I had gallstones. An appointment was made for surgery but between then and the operation I went totally fat free, eating mainly vegetables (there was not such a huge range of food available then as now). Having no fat meant that I did not have a further attack.

I had a keyhole operation and everything went well, however the operation took twice as long (not good for dodgy hearts) as it should as, because I had left it so long before seeing a doctor, the stones were laminating into the duct and surrounding tissue and it all had to be carefully picked apart - all my fault! I have a phial of three largeish gallstones in the study and every so often have a look at them:. the amount of agony that these things can bring is unquantifiable!

Please don't leave it too long before seeing a doctor else you could wind up like me!

Thanks for that warning, I'm beginning to think the best thing now is to have my gallbladder removed asap.

Jean I hope you are feeling a bit better today, that was blasted scary. I had gallstones which flared up a few times, not as bad as you experienced, but still very painful. When I had the op(3)years ago surgeon said afterwards -you obviously have had a few attacks as the GB was adhered to whatever it could adhere to. Talk about I told you , anyways all good now tg. Have you heard of the orange juice and olive oil drink it breaks down the stones, it worked for my sister but I'm not that brave for yucky drinks. Best of luck with everything 🥰🙏🌻🌷

in reply to C66t

Thank you C66t

I've rang my surgery this morning and asked for my GP to call me at home. I'm going to see what she advises.

Yes I have heard of the drink, but think it was with lemon juice. It does sound awful. Perhaps I'll think to ask my GP about that too.

At the moment I'm feeling sick every morning and very lethargic all the time. I'm telling myself I need to get out in the fresh air and take my mind off of it all.

Thank you for asking.

I am so pleased that you will be speaking to your GP.

The poster after me also had adhesions, making the two hour operation much longer (4 hours in my case) so more dangerous for hearts, etc. This knock on effect may be common if people don't seek prompt treatment.

The problem won't ever go away!

Please let us know how you get on...


Get your gallbladder out !! As far as I'm aware gallstones only get worse over time so I chose to have mine removed years ago . I also thought I was having a heart attack !! you have my commiserations ! P. S. Im no expert and havent really researched any modern info on the positives and negatives of gall bladder removal or if there are other more worthwhile treatments

Just had a long chat with my GP and she has said to cut out all fatty food and see how I get on. Said I wouldn't be offered a gallbladder removal after one attack, which is what I suspected.

As it's only Friday and I had my attack Sunday night/Monday morning she said to give myself more time to recover. I think her words are wise. I did eat a lot of fatty food on Sunday - a huge fry up for lunch (not had that for years), spag bol for dinner with lots of parmesan cheese and then (I hang my head here) a lump of cheese in the evening. I deserve to be the size of a house!

To be honest just talking to her has made me feel better.

wow, I also had gallstones. I have never known pain like it and called 111. They got an ambulance sent and the paramedics were convinced that I was having a cardic event even with the ecg showing nothing too out of the ordinary.

Eventually it was diagnosed as gallstones after about 8 hours in A+E. They would have taken my gallbladder out there and then but the emergency surgeon was reluctant because of my AF history and wasn't confident that he wouldnt trigger it.

So a 3 month wait for an operation by the top consultant, and a great anaesthetist . No AF from the surgery.

My advice is to cut fat out of your diet, your body cannot process it and this can cause a lot of pain.

Recovery from the op took a lot longer than I imagined, way longer than my ablation.

2 years on I still can't eat fatty food, for example a chippy tea would cause me a sleepless night with stomach pain

I was given codeine for the pain , which did dull it a lot, but I hate the after effects of codeine, it takes me two days to get over tanking one dose

All the best to you

Thanks for your story Mikee.

A friend of mine had her gallbladder removed, but still had problems, a bit like you have. It was discovered that some stones had been left in that were a bit further out of her gallbladder.

During my episode it was painful, but in no way excruciating, but then I did have a morphine injection after an hour or so.

Oh I know exactly how you feel. Unbelievably I started with gall stone pains when I was 16. My mum kept taking me to the doctors and like you apart from the pain (I'd rather have 10 babies all at once than that pain), in my chest where the middle of my bra was, in my back and trying to heave with being sick which gave me about 2 seconds relief.

Anyway the doctors kept saying that it was nerves doing my GCE's. Anyway had a long bout of that and then nothing until I was nearing 20. Again the doctors said as my wedding was coming up within about a year it was nerves!!! Again?!

All settled down until Boxing Day night 1971 when I was soooo ill and in such pain and as we had all the family staying (at least 14-16 of us) I didn't like to make a fuss, but my mum wondered yet again if it was gall stones and she had had them, likewise my aunt and cousin.

In those days we didn't call ambulances, but I certainly would now.

After Christmas I went back to the doctor and he said it was my cooking...! I noticed that lettuce seemed to trigger an attack, so my cooking??? In those days we didn't eat much fat anyway. The doctors said, as my mum suggested again, as normally gall stones were associated with fair, fat and forty people, it couldn't be gall stones. (we are talking about 60's-70'). The only thing in common there was that I was blonde.

Eventually I was finally sent to see a consultant and they did some kind of old fashioned x-ray, by which time I had gone back to work after my second child, but I kept having to be brought home with pains when I was given morphine to dull the pain each time.

I finally had the gall stones operation later that year, by which time I looked as if I had emerged from Belsen looking like a skeleton. They found that not only did I have small and large stones in the gall bladder, but also gravel had travelled to my liver. I had the gall bladder removed. These days they operate with a laser I believe and break up the stones, but when I had my op it was the old knife and I have a long curved scar with 2 holes (which have healed of course) where the tubes were. It is a very simple procedure today.

Awful awful pain and I have been through a lot of illnesses, like ovarian tumours, stomach tumours, kidney pyloplasty, brain tumour, etc etc which did take a lot of getting over, but gall stones during an attack is dreadful.

I feel for you jeanjeannie50.

Hope you feel better soon

in reply to Tapanac

Know exactly how you felt. Had my gallbladder out in 70s. Two weeks in hospital. 7stone 5 when I finally emerged. Not a good look at 5’7”.

It sounds like you had to put up with a lot of suffering before getting help - what a nightmare that must have been! I have to be honest and say that even though the episode I had was very painful, it was in no way excruciatingly so. When I had to place a number on how bad it was on a 1 to 10 scale I said 7. It was very uncomfortable, but I was worried it was my heart causing the pain, I didn't give my gallbladder a thought as I'd never had a problem with it.

My AF really playing up didn't help and my BP was sky high, but I know it's my stress that causes that to happen.

Thank you for your kind words.

Hi Jean, after all these replies, don’t know if you’ll even see this but here goes. I had my first GB attack at 15. After firstborn at 19, continued having them. Horrible pain. Like labor. Had the GB out at 21 and still have discomfort when I eat pork. Anyway, you need checked out with tests, it’s so simple now. They remove the GB laparoscopically. If it was that bad, I suspect you will continue to have these attacks. I even had a stone in the common bile duct. Not good. So do yourself a big favor and make an appointment. You’ll be glad you did. Best wishes, let us know. Sarah from San Diego🌺

Hi Sarah

Yes, I was notified of your reply, I always try not to miss anyone who has been kind enough to reply to a post of mine.

That was very young for you to have gallstones! I'm amazed, could your diet have caused it? I've always eaten really healthily, or at least tried my best to. I cook all my meals myself and never eat fast food. Was brought up on a farm and my dad grew all our vegetables and supplied some meat, all organic.

My secret hope is that I only had the gallbladder attack as I really over-ate on fatty foods the day I had the problem. My sister who is 9 years younger than me is waiting to have hers removed, she gets about 2 episodes a year but the pain she gets is dreadful. The paramedics gave me a morphine injection, so perhaps my pain could have been worse if I hadn't had it. I had to grade it from 1-10 and said 7.

Thank you for your kind words.

Jean, you know this GB disease is familial, both my parents had theirs removed, so...... you can always wait it out and see if you experience another episode like this recent one. Then you’ll probably have a good idea what it could be. The pain is horrific, I know that. My Uncle was a doctor and he would come and give me Morphine in the middle of the night. Whew, did I feel better then!! Lol. Anyway, take care of yourself. Good luck to your sis too. Life is better without that troublesome body part, that much I know. Sarah ps. Yes it was my diet, I’m sure of that.

This condition really can be devastating and we have always got it in the back of our minds that it can strike anytime. The good news is there is a lesson learned, always call 999 and play it safe. I have some friends who are paramedics and they tell me that any heart condition should be reported asap, they fully appreciate the position we get into and are really happy to attend and happier still if it turns out to be insignificant.

Hope your Ok now.

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