Two nights ago it happened again. I woke up at 2:30 in the morning because of searing pain in my right upper quadrant. I heard a small voice from my abdomen say, “I’m baaaaaaaack”.
Damn you, Gallbladder! It decided to keep me up writhing in pain for 3 hours until my pain medicine finally kicked in enough for me to sleep. When I awoke the second time at a decent hour I was forced to lay in the fetal position and massage my belly. I am currently on my “gallbladder diet” which consists of nothing. The gallbladder diet is… nothing. No sugar, no cheese, no coffee, no gluten, no soda, no eggs, no nothing.
If you don’t know, the gallbladder is a little devil that lives under your liver and stores bile. This bile empties into the small intestine and helps break down fats. There are a number of reasons why you can have problems with the gallbladder. Genetics, diet habits, lifestyle, all can play a role in creating a problematic gallbladder. Two years ago I was diagnosed with a lazy, devil gallbladder and I saw a surgeon. There was discussion of a cholecystectomy, or removal, but I wasn’t quite ready to part with it.
This is where my story might sound strange to many of you. I work in the ER, in a place that generally favors western medicine. In my own time of crisis I chose eastern medicine. After seeing my surgeon, he agreed to oversee me trying acupuncture and diet changes to cure my ailment. No more fried butter! I did acupuncture three times a week for two months, and slowly tapered down for a total of six months. That is dedication, people! I did make some big changes of my diet, which made an impact on other areas of my health as well. For two years, I was pain free. I never had to go back to my surgeon’s office, or see my acupuncturist.
Fast forward to present time. Family stress for the last year, and more in the last five months. Fast food runs, diet pop, cigarettes, sugary comfort foods. I should have known the little devil was getting ready to pounce! I literally had lunch with my aunt the day the pain came back. I was eating deep fried french toast when I said to her, “I feel like I’m playing Russian Roulette!” So now I’m back to square one. Its a little disheartening. I have to reset my body and will check back in with my surgeon. Until then, I will go eat my beet salad and take my supplements. Hopefully that will shut down the little devil reeking havoc on my insides!
On a side note, always see a medical professional if you are having abdominal pain. Do not attempt a diet change without seeking the advice of your primary care clinician. This little blog piece does not substitute seeing your practitioner.
Has anyone else had a positive experience with “alternative” medicine? Do any of you clinicians out there use alternative medicine with their patients?