I thought I'd give everyone an update as you were very supportive/responsive in my initial post. So yesterday the RUQ pain continued and along with the discomfort I was experiencing confusion, dizziness and swelling of the face. Do to my new-found knowledge of all the things it could be (organ failure/cancer/death) my worry hit a breaking point and I drove myself to the ER after work. After checking my vitals they got me to a room and immediately drew several vials of blood. The nurse made mention they would be doing a CT scan on the pancreas.
After another 15 minutes a different nurse came in and gave me an IV; said some of the bloodwork came back and they would be giving me potassium pills but first needed me to take a GI cocktail. Once the GI cocktail numbness wore off I was given the potassium supplement at which point the doctor popped in...
According to the doctor all my bloodwork came back normal (no need for CT); the only things of note were low potassium, low electrolytes and low sodium. She said the facial swelling (around the eyes) was due to those low levels (this was later confirmed as it went back to normal an hour later) and that the RUQ pain could be due to scarring but also the combination of acid/gas/anxiety (as we all know stress can cause all kinds of problems). Nonetheless she assured me that if something were truly wrong the bloodwork would show it. The recommendation was made to have follow-up bloodwork in 2 days (Already have an appt with my GP) and order additional testing if needed. She also prescribed me something for acid reflux and gas.
Overall the visit relieved my anxiety and I got home in time to see my daughter off to bed. As a bonus my wife who, up until this point, had been the "told you so/you did this to yourself/it's just your anxiety", was refreshingly supportive; which I'm thankful for.
At my doctor's appointment tomorrow I'm going to be completely honest about my drinking (something I've downplayed in the past) and once we get the bloodwork back will discuss additional tests to assess the damage I've done and a health plan moving forward.
In reflection and for fellow worriers in the same place I'd like to offer the following:
1. I've always been a worrier and I know worry and stress can cause all sorts of issues from acid reflux, gas, confusion and brain fog. My anxiety was exacerbated by checking symptoms on the internet; once my mind latches on to an idea it becomes an unbreakable downward spiral.
2. Water consumption. I know I drink a lot of water but when I actually sat down and ran the numbers I drink close to 4 gallons a day. That in itself can cause swelling as it flushes the body of necessary electrolytes. I'm going to add bananas and an occasional Gatorade to my daily intake.
3. Alcohol Withdrawals. I've had night sweats and general anxiety when I've cold turkey'd in the past but never experienced anything like this. The majority of the withdrawal symptoms I've experienced are the same ones listed all over the interwebs. Never paid much attention to it before but they can be down right deadly and should not be taken lightly.
4. Alcohol Scarring/swelling. I've likely caused some temporary and/or permanent damage. I don't know where or the extent but it's real, thankfully it's not life threatening and as many have pointed out can be reversed. I plan to address this in full with my GP.
This entire episode has been eye opening: I haven't had a drink since Saturday and don't intend to anytime soon.
Please, please, please do not reply to this post with:
"bloodwork doesn't catch x"
"my friend's bloodwork was normal but then they did test y that showed he had z and he died 5 minutes later"
Even if it's true anything of that nature will only kick-start my anxiety again.
If you wish to reply I only ask for support, otherwise I hope sharing my experience will at the very least provide anxiety relief to others. As always if you have pain, go to the doctor.
Thanks for reading and your continued support.