When “Just Making Sure” is Too Much

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? In December of 2003, I had a gallstone attack. Worst pain in my life. So bad, I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy (winks at Scoot). At the time of this gallstone attack, and subsequent ER visit, I was informed that my bilirubin count was elevated. The doctors were a bit freaked out... I recall them saying, “you should be as yellow as a banana right now.” Oddly enough, I wasn’t.

An elevated bilirubin count can mean several things – bad things. Hepatitis, pancreatic cancer, cirrhosis, etc... Like I said, bad things.

Right, I know... what does bilirubin do? Ever get a bruise and it turns yellow? That’s what billirubin does (basically). For me, it gives my skin a yellowish tint pretty much all the time. When I become fatigued (due to lack of rest), or I’m near being sick, my eyes take on the same yellow tint as well. It freaks people out. To me, it’s normal, I’ve always been this way.

Some people (and doctors) tell me that I just still have jaundice. Which isn’t true, because that would mean my liver is damaged.

[Continuing the flashback...] When I returned to KC from my horrible gallstone attack incident in Arkansas, I had to schedule a surgery to have my gallbladder removed. So I went to the doctor to have all of my labs taken care of before the surgery. Gasp! Surprise, my bilirubin count was elevated. What to do?

The surgeon, of course, was concerned. So we waited a few days and tried the test again. Gasp! Still elevated! What gives? Is my liver damaged? Am I jaundiced?

The surgeon sent me to a specialist on an un-planned visit. After talking to the specialist for about 20 minutes, it was determined that I have Gilbert’s Syndrome – a condition that affects 5% of the population... the condition - an elevated bilirubin count that doesn’t effect the body whatsoever.


Present Day

Last week I went in to the doctor to make sure I wasn’t getting another sinus infection (they seem to happen more often as I age, for whatever reason). Sure enough, I was. After writing down a prescription of what I needed to take, my doctor, of five years - mind you, asks me why I’m so yellow. So I explain to her that I was diagnosed with Gilbert’s Syndrome, blah blah blah and it’s all in my medical history – which she was reading while I told her.

Apparently, that wasn’t good enough. She sent me to get some labs done and the next day I was to come in and get a ultrasound on my liver.

WHAT!?! Here I was, feeling all justified for the past 2.5 years that I was just a part of the 5% affected by Gilbert’s Syndrome. Now she has me all worried about my liver and cancer.

I called today to check on the results of my tests. $5 if anyone can guess what I was told... that’s right, everything looks good, even the ultrasound... but my bilirubin count was......... wait for it...... waaaait..... elevated. NO!!!

Now I get to go see a specialist, again. Are you kidding me? Being thorough is good, but when is it too much?

+ original post date: October 3, 2006 11:41 PM
+ categories: All About Seth, I Have No Gallbladder, Web Stuff


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For what it's worth, I have to remind my doctor that I have diabetes about every other time that I go in to see him (which is every 3 months). I also had to remind him to give me my physical earlier this year. (Which I almost let slide because of the things they do to you once you get to be my age, but my fear of heart disease or cancer overrode my fear of the latex glove.)

+ author: ScooterJ
+ posted: October 5, 2006 09:43 AM

wow dude that is scary stuff. im really hoping for the best for you, and really think that being optimistic can make a huge difference. keep us updated!

on a side note, check and make sure your RSS is working, these last 2 posts didnt show up in my bloglines.

+ author: worstweatherever
+ posted: October 7, 2006 11:35 PM

I believe P.Diddy somes up the medical industry quite nicely. Its all about the Benjamins.

+ author: Stephen
+ posted: October 26, 2006 09:14 PM

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