Check out our photo a day

The one where I thought I was dying

Fat Mum Slim /

It all happened one night when Hubby was on night shift. All the things seem to happen when he’s on night shift, the kids turn feral, the power goes out… it’s all just to test me, I’m sure.

This one night I went to bed and suddenly got pains, right in my heart. I’m a bit stubborn when it comes to sickness, so I sat in bed for a while and endured the pain and then decided to move to the lounge room to endure it some more there, in comfort. It felt like I was dying. It was massive pains in my chest. Everything hurt. I tossed up between getting an ambulance or begging Hubby to come home. Because I had no one to look after the kids, I called Hubby.

Hubby works in the police force and was a Surf Life Saver for years, so he knows his life-saving stuff, but he also has this beautiful ability to create calm among chaos. It felt like forever for him to come home, but when he did… he checked me over and said it didn’t look like a heart attack. OH BOY DID IT FEEL LIKE ONE. I started vomiting, and eventually the pain subsided.

In those moments when the pain was at it’s worse, I thought of all the things I hadn’t done, the life I wanted to live and sadly {SO pathetically!} that if I died, I wouldn’t have been able to write one last blog post. Oh dear…

The next day I went to the doctors, and had an ECG, and my heart was fine. It was just a freak thing, probably indigestion. Bloody Thai food.

A month later it happened again, and thankfully that time Hubby was home. I just rode it out, and then it passed.

But then it happened again last week, and it was bad. Everyone, except me, was playing in the pool and I started to get pains. My neighbour, who is totally old school, had told me that the next time it happens that I should drink Apple Cider Vinegar straight away. Holy smokes, drinking vinegar is not fun. But I gave it a go, and then I went to see her because I needed the distraction to get through the pain.

She suggested I drink more vinegar {yay!} and then I sat down and set up her new computer for her, as well as a few programs. Eventually the pain got too much and I went home and lay in bed. I couldn’t stand to be wearing clothes. Everything hurt, like the last time but worse. Instead of lasting an hour, it went on for twelve hours.

There was a point, around four hours in, when Hubby demanded that I get my clothes on and let him take me to hospital. But stubborn me said no.

The next day at the doctors I said, “I didn’t want to be the idiot at the hospital with indigestion” and I got the stern reply, “Well, do you want to be the idiot who ends up dead?”


I went for an ultrasound {those sonographers will not give anything away, will they?} as well as some blood tests and then went and saw my regular doctor. I had already diagnosed myself during those 12 hours of pain. I woke, writhing and decided that I had to know and started Googling uncomfortably at 1am. Gallstones. I was sure of it.

I was right. Big ones and lots of them.

Apparently I’m the prime candidate for them. My doctor explained that I was the four F’s. After I asked her to, “Please explain” she did. “Well, you’re a little bit fat.”

I loved that she held back a little, like she didn’t want to shock me in case I hadn’t seen a mirror in the past 20 years. “And you’re fair, and fertile and you’re forty.”

I wasn’t mad about the fat talk, but I wasn’t having this forty business. So I told her, “I’m not offended by the fat thing, but you’ve totally crossed the line with this forty talk. I’m 35. NOT EVEN CLOSE TO FORTY.”

She laughed, awkwardly.

And then I told her, “You just need to give me the medication that breaks those bad boys down, because I’m never having surgery in my life. Ever.”

“That’s not actually how it works,” she told me.

So surgery it is. I’m not upset about the surgery, although I’d rather not. I’m upset that I let my body down somehow. But perhaps this is a little speed hump in life. A little wake-up call for my health.

And as I said to my mum, “Oh gosh, it could be so much worse”.

  • Kace

    I had severe Gallstones and painful attacks when I was 17… It was during my HSC and I was taken to Emergency the night before my biggest exam. It was honestly some of the worst pain I’ve ever experienced! It is worth having the operation to not have to go through the pain over and over. You’ll be ok! ?


      What happened with the exam? Do you get an average?

      • Kace

        Oh I know! It was my favourite subject too! Luckily I received above average marks. I don’t know how that happened, though! Haha.

  • Philippa

    Oh boy…..I am you and you are me… Ignore ignore, what if I am dying worst case scenario, ignore…
    Why do we do that to ourselves?
    Good luck! A tip…something from experience that no one warns you about…the gas…keyhole surgery, they blow you up like a balloon, and afterwards that gas has to somewhere – and it goes up to your shoulders and you’re gonna think you’re having another heart attack. It hurts. Like hell. Every time you move. Pain drugs don’t help. Sorry. Slowly fades away. It’s one of those gah things.

    • Oh good to know. I thought you were going to say that I’d have to do a big old fart. ?

      • Philippa

        If only it was that simple!!!

  • Willa Cline

    I did exactly like you did, but my reason for not going to the doctor was that I knew I was going to have to have surgery and I couldn’t afford it. But then it got so bad, and wouldn’t go away, and I ended up driving myself to the emergency room, and they admitted me for surgery immediately. The problem with mine was that I had waited so long that my liver and pancreas were screwed up, and I had to stay in the hospital a week until they could get me well enough for surgery. But it all went fine, and you will be fine, too. It will be a big relief not to have that pain anymore!

    • Oh no. Thanks goodness for health cover. My liver function is perfecto, so no worries there.

      So glad you’re better now. xx

  • You know when it comes to things like this it’s definitely a case of “better out than in”! Surgery is never ideal but on the flip side, think of the glorious sleep you’re going to have courtesy of the anaesathetist!

  • I’m so glad it was ‘just’ gallstones & you’re able to get them out asap xx lol on the ACV, I drink it daily BUT in a glass of warm water, never straight!

    • What does it do for your body?

      And yes, ‘just’ the most excruciating pain ever. Just. 😛

      • The ACV? I drink it for my acid reflux & indigestion (which has improved by 99%!). I’ve also lost about 16kgs in the past year (people drink it for weight loss apparently) but that could also just be from eating less sugar & processed food.

        I don’t envy the pain! Xxx

  • Lisa | Mummy Made.It

    I had my Gall Bladder removed when I was 21 so I understand your pain. Those Colic attacks are bad; labor pain bad!!
    You’ll do great; although I wish the universe would send us messages in roses or chocolates rather than pain and turmoil!

  • Trish Gundersen

    I know this pain.. OUCH! Mine happened when in was 18 (and yes i was a little bit fat lol ), right in the middle of my year 12 exams..You will feel so much better with those little nasties out!

  • I am so glad you ended up going to the hospital and getting diagnosed, and also glad that it’s not anything more serious and that there’s a fix for the problem. I’ll be thinking of you and wishing you all the very best for a safe and successful surgery. 🙂

  • Dani

    Oh no, that sounds terrifying! At least you have some kind of solution now, and a lovely calm husband. Although I am not sure that it makes up for your Dr calling you forty. That is pretty funny! All the best with the surgery.

  • Tash Jay

    Isn’t it bizarre how we can be completely rational and logical with other people’s health but totally bat-sh!t crazy with our own?!? 12 hours is a long time to be in so much pain. I’m glad you’re getting it dealt with.

    • Isn’t it? I would have busted Hubby’s balls if he’d waited that long. I would have actually dragged him there myself.

      Ah, such double standards!

  • Fleur @ Our Urban Box

    I know the pain. I get chest pains like that too. Mine have never lasted so long though. But it’s scary. Glad your having surgery and dealing with it. Think of it as a little break away. Oh and forty? NOT EVEN CLOSE!!! xx

    • Mine were usually only 1 hour, 2 max. So this one was painful. I’ve since learned that the stone passed through the gallbladder, and got stuck… which is why it was so painful.

      AND I AM SO NOT FORTY. Thank you very much for being on my side!

  • My Mum had gallstones while she was pregnant with my brother so they couldn’t do anything until after she had him other than try to control with diet. She got to the point where she couldn’t eat a corrot without an attack and needed the ambulance and hospitalisation every time for pain relief. Now she is gallbadderless and occasionally feels unwell if she eats too much fatty food but otherwise is fighting fit.

    • Oh gosh, that must have been a long, excruciating wait! Poor Mum! Thank goodness it’s all behind her!

  • Oh my goodness you poor thing, this happened to my darling mum a few weeks ago and they found gallstones, she said it was THE most excruciating feeling and my mum is like you, won’t see a doctor unless her arm is about to fall off. Thinking of you but surgery sounds wise. Mum is holding off due to her age, well and because she’s hoping she won’t have another attack for awhile. And yes those sonographers have SOOO much power don’t they? Big hugs xxx

    • Yes, they don’t let on anything! I hope your mum is ok. Apparently they can do a few things for older patients – medication or soundwaves to break them down. I hope she’s ok. x

  • Of course it could be much worse! Those gall stones are good news in a way. At least you know your heart is all good. You’ll be better before you know it after the surgery 🙂

    • Yes, and everything else is going swimmingly… so there’s that. I love a silver lining. 🙂

  • Sandra Mansell

    I had them after giving birth to my eldest child. I was 30. OK yeah I was a bit overweight (OK a lot overweight). The hospital diagnosed me with reflux and sent me home. Two weeks later I was back again with pancreatitis and they had to put me on nil by mouth and then rip out my gall bladder. I spent SEVEN DAYS in hospital away from my 6 week old baby who turned 7 weeks old while I was there. I was so delirious and drugged up that I lost an entire day. I’ve suffered no ill effects though. A lot of people can’t eat fatty food at all after their gall bladder is removed, but I can still eat it just fine. Pity, because I might weigh half as much if that was the case 😉

    • Oh gosh, what a time to get sick – when you’ve got a little newborn. I bet you’re glad it’s all behind you. xx

  • Lindy

    Oh Chantelle. I feel for you. I also had Gall stones and the scenario you described was very much like what i went through. Although mine got so bad on one occasion hubby called an ambulance. The ambos, god love them, told me i was having a panic attack and over reacting. I just knew that couldnt be it. I had never had a panic attack in my life and nothing overly stressful was occuring in my life at that time. Even when i was vomiting and couldn’t lie still they just told me to calm down. I was super grateful when i finally had a diagnosis and that i wasnt dying and that it could be fixed. I also had a nurse mention the 4 f’s to me. Only she said “well u dont really fit the bill do u?” At the time i was 52kgs (wish i could still say i am lol) and 32yrs old. Goodluck with the surgery its not nearly as bad as u might think…although i had 3 csects before that so maybe i am pretty tough lol. And the lady that posted about the shoulder pain due to gas is spot on. But we are thinking of u. Xox

  • Kelly

    Oh no. I had them when I was early 20s. I am not fair but was overweight. I hear you on the pain – there is nothing like it. After 4 doctors trying to tell me I was pregnant, I finally found one who diagnosed it straight away. The surgery wasn’t that bad (and I am the biggest wimp ever) but I also didn’t have little kids to consider looking afterwards either. Just think of it like this … nothing is worse than that pain. Good luck!

    • That pain, nothing is worse than that – you’re right {not even childbirth!}. I can’t figure out why the doctors would have thought you were pregnant!

  • Ouch! Hope it all gets cleared up soon. I think health speed bumps are there to remind us to look after ourselves a little better. We tend to spend so much time looking after others we forget.

  • Gall stones are the worst!!
    I thought I was having a heart attack & dying & because my 27 year old sister had died from a heart attack only three months beforehand I got myself to the hospital in the middle of the night ( actually my husband called my littlest sister to get me to the hospital so he could stay with the kids. Clearly he did not think I was dying!!!). At first they said it was stress & I was having panic attacks, to which I said bullshit! You do not have panic attacks in your sleep in the middle of the night! They eventually figured out it was gallstones & I had them removed. One bit of advice- I thought I’d be back to myself in no time but it actually took me a little while to get back to normal so make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to rest ok?

    And another thing, a friend of mine who is quite spiritual/other wordly told me that grief can manifest itself as gallstones. I don’t know about that but considering I was 30, slim & not fair maybe she was right?

    Anyway, don’t stress, it’ll be all OK & you’ll feel super great in no time xx

    • Oh gosh, that is so sad. I can’t even imagine what you were thinking when that was happening and you were thinking about your sister.

      The three times I had it, I went to the GP each time afterwards, and the second time he told me it was anxiety. It didn’t really make sense, but I was like whatever.

      Now it all makes sense.

      And that grief = gallstones is kinda beautiful, and makes sense for you. x

  • Jenni from Styling Curvy

    Oh bugga!! I’m can’t believe you waited 12 hours, next time anything like that ever happens please get straight to medical care. Surgery is never fun but those bad boys need to come out pronto. Hoping it goes smoothly and you’re home soon with the fam bam. X

  • Oh boy, those really hurt. I can’t believe you waited so long enduring the pain! Definitely a wake-up call but the surgery isn’t bad and you will be better in no time! Good luck!

  • Nicolette

    oh yes, the second I started reading you thought you were going to die, I thought gallstones! I just know how it feels. I was so happy to have surgery and never have to go through it again…

  • Eek Chantelle. That’s not fun. Gallstones are really common though. My family is rife with gall bladder problems (all blondes and redheads) and my grandfather, two aunts and a cousin all had their gall bladders removed! Most likely nothing you could have done differently. Best of luck with the surgery xx

  • Marney

    Oh love I’ve heard gallstones are incredibly painful – you poor thing! I hate being sick and as a Mama being sick just isn’t possible either!!! I hope you’re feeling better soon xx

  • I’ve had mine out and I felt instantly better! I was “lucky” in that I never had the intense pain that ppl describe my gall bladder was just diseased and basically not working and making me very sick. You will be fine I know it!

    How sweet was your dr holding back for you on the four ‘f’s female, fourties, farting & a little bit fat

    Keep well til you can get the surgery
    C xoxox

  • I just recently had my gallbladder out after quite a few bouts of attacks. At first I thought indigestion, then heart attack too, but a quick google confirmed gallstones as did an ultrasound. I found out that same day I was pregnant with my third child so I they were reluctant to operate until after the birth & I did well controlling it with diet etc but never followed it up after his birth, he’s now 15 months old & just the last few months the pain started up again due to overindulging in the wrong types of food & after riding out the pain for many hours as I had done in past hubby insisted we go to the hospital ( I didn’t want too because it was the middle of the night & I didn’t want to wake up the boys) but after vomitting & the pain not subsiding at all I went & the next day I was having the op to get it removed. Even though I understand the feeling of letting your body down & having an organ removed so young ( I’m not 40 yet either) it’s the best feeling not having to experience that pain again. All the best for the op & a speedy recovery x

    • Thanks Lozzie. I’m eating such plain food as well. Hopefully I don’t have another bout and they just leave. Ha, a girl can dream.

  • Sandie

    Gallbladder problems suck !
    My trouble started a few years ago and hubby was on night shift , of course , one son home who although not young wasn’t much help.
    I ended up calling the ambulance for myself but weirdly by the time they got here I felt much better so thought it was maybe indigestion? That however was the beginning, lucky when the hugely painful attack came hubby had not gone into work yet and I woke him with ‘ it hurts, it hurts so much!’ He is his infinite knowledge of all things , said no not heart attack , but took me into the hospital . It’s amazing how quickly you get processed in ER when you present with chest pains!
    That passed after some lovely morphine, visited GP , was referred on and was told I had sludge in my gall bladder. I asked if that was the technical term 🙂
    Ended up parents paid for my surgery otherwise I would have been waiting and waiting for who knows how long and I had already got to the point of barely eating .
    Years later, my digestion has changed but maybe age is a factor also, but I can eat all what is good for us so no harm.

  • Sandie

    Good part, because of not eating this and that I lost 2stone. Bad part I eventually put it back on 🙁

  • Oh my gosh, how scary! So glad it’s nothing more serious (I was reading it thinking sh*t she had a heart attack?!). I get pain around my heart area when I try to take big breaths in but have been told its muscular, can’t imagine how bad this must of felt for you! Take care xx

  • Netal Singh

    Gosh Luv – you must have a super high pain threshold to suffer through gallstone pain and assume it was just indigestion!! We women do denial really well, huh? Get this; I ate an unripened peach for brekky once and thought I’d upset my tummy because I started having pains and vomiting. Turns out I was in labour. I gave birth 3 hours later. Dead serious. :/ I don’t get the ‘fair’ part of the four F’s – as in skin tone?? How does that make you more susceptible to gallstones I wonder? PS – All the best with your surgery. Hope they give you some nice meds to calm your nerves and help you drift off to La La Land. x

  • Roxanne

    Worst pain ever. My story was exactly like yours. It wasn’t til my 4th attack where i was near paralysed laying on the floor vomiting that i went to the hospital. Turns out if you leave it too long you get “sicker” and end up in ICU for 2 weeks!!! 5 weeks in hospital all up!!!
    Take care of yourself! ! ?

  • I said goodbye to my gallbladder in November, so glad the little bugger is gone! Mine was a little more complicated but 3 awesome surgeons fixed it and I will never have to experience that pain again! Good luck xxxx

  • How scary. But so glad it’s not heart related! Xx

  • Tanya

    Stay well hydrated. Like over hydrated. The water tends to keep the stones from blocking up the hole which is what causes the intense pain. Think of it like a petrol tank – you don’t want to fill it when it’s on empty because then the gunk at the bottom of the tank gets in the engine. Drink up!

    I had a 48 hour unmediated labour. I’d do that again in a heart beat over dealing with gall stones. Literally wanted to die.

    Have they talked to you about blasting them with sound waves? It’s non invasive and I don’t think the wait is as long either.

    Hang in there xx