#1 I apologize for how long this letter is, but if you want to get answers, then strap yourself in or bookmark this webpage for later.
This article is in response to all of the recent members who posted a question on any of my pancreatitis diet, stress, or how to cure pancreatitis articles on this website such as: Ben, Senthil, Johna, Alli, Jodie, and this is also highly useful advice to any new members or visitors that have questions about pancreatitis prevention, diet, triggers, or treatment.
I personally saw over 10 different gastroenterologists since 2004 and their opinions varied greatly. It wasn't long before I took my health into my own hands and started to journal my pancreatitis flare-ups, diet, triggers. and stress factors for up to 3 days leading up to the pancreatitis episode.
By doing the journal, I learned a lot about my own diet and stress factors that seemed to happen on average during the times I got a painful pancreatitis flare up. If I were in your shoes, which I really was, I would start a health journal like I did, and generally eat a lower fat diet and abstain from alcohol, to stay towards the safe side during your pancreatitis trigger discovery phase. It won't be long before your personal health journal starts showing you your own patterns, especially if you tend to get pancreatitis often.
Here's an example of a trigger discovery: "On every day that I ate a bacon egg and cheese sandwich, I would get a flare up, if I also had an argument with my spouse or mom." That type of pattern once clearly identified, can stand out if you happen to notice that on the days that you didn't get into an argument, you ate the same exact sandwich and were fine or maybe had a little heartburn instead.
I used to think that I'm so smart I could remember everything clearly in my head and I didn't have to record a journal. Well, may IQ maybe up there, but I certainly don'have a photo graphic memory :( The point is, by doing one of these personal health journals, which you will only fill in on the days you have your pancreatitis attack, you will be capable of isolating YOUR actuall triggers, whether its stress or simply one particular type of food
A lot of people send me questions asking for me to help them with their diet and I always try to point them to my articles about pancreatitis and stress because all the information they need is already there. The truth is that you might be looking for an easy escape out of your situation or helping a friend out of theirs and unfortunately for many people it's not so easy.
I've met doctors, specialists, and nurses for years and tried various things, such as meditation vegetarianism, juice diets, positive thinking, visualization, and homeopathy practices of various types (Reiki, Chiropractor, Massage). None of those really worked! I once went during the onset of a flare-up to my old chiropractor because he thought he could cure me with a chiropractic adjustment! Well, long story short, I left his office in an ambulance, because I couldn't even drive myself to the hospital since I was in so much pain. In that particular moment somehow I accidentally answered my Blackberry when I was keeled over in extreme pain while waiting for the ambulance and my former business partner heard how much agony I was in, which he said kind of shocked him. Yes, pancreatitis can be extremely painful and I'm sure I don't have to describe that to you.
In general stay away from trans fats, high fats, and basically all fast foods until you really learn to manage your stress better than you do today and you are in process of making entries in your health journal on the days you get a flare-up. Some of you may think that I'm full of it when I talk about stress, but I invite you to meet me in person and I could pull out all my medical records to set you straight. I created this website to open the eyes of people who are lost and confused about why this is happening to them And just because I saw many doctors, it didn't mean that they were giving me any type of comforting answers. Hell, for years they had no clue of why it was happening to me in the first place! Those years were the hardest for me in dealing with this condition.
So now I have acquired wisdom on this topic beyond what's in most science and medical books to the point of being able to self manage my condition without the aid of doctors (in most cases). I'm not saying that doctors are useless; of course not! What I'm saying is that this is a condition that can be better understood if doctors themselves were inflicted with it. That way they can journal and test various practices on their own and then they'll have the capability to help people without blindly ripping out or mutilating organs, because they have a theory that it might work in your case, even though it has not been proven to cure other people in a significant way based on available statistics.
Of course if you treat your body terrible by habitually drinking or eating bad, then maybe you really should consider everything doctors tell you. This letter goes out to the average person who eats a relatively normal diet and drinks alcohol maybe on an occasional basis and still gets pancreatitis like I did. What I'm saying to you is that if I can in many ways cure myself, so can you!
Remember, I created this website to help people who were in my shoes just a few years ago, because back then I was just as clueless as my doctors. The fact is that most doctors have no idea why people get flare ups if alcohol and fatty foods can be ruled out of the equation. They call this category idiopathic pancreatitis; which basically means that they're idiots when it comes to treating or diagnosing what causes your condition. I didn't just make that up, it's a fact.
Listen, I'm somewhat of a normal person, who was rudely awakened by the horrible pain of pancreatitis. I actually thought that I was going to die the first time I got it!
It took me several years to really figure this stuff out, and just recently (2009) after 5 years of poking around, my gastroenterologist finally learned that I was born with a pancreatic divisum. Several doctors couldn't figure that out, until I was in my 5th year of dealing with this crazy and what seemed to be spontaneous painful condition. And during those five years, you better believe that I was labeled and looked down upon many times as an alcoholic, even though I rarely drank. It was bad enough to be stricken with so much pain, but then to be looked at as a degenerate on top of it, that made me feel worse!
I have written some of the best articles you could find anywhere on what to do if you get pancreatitis flare-ups. Simply scroll up to the top of this page and then click on my name in blue "LexV", then click on the articles tab to read all of my articles related to pancreatitis. Frankly I wish doctors read these articles and your comments, because doctors only know what they discover on their own and in books, and they don't have the ability to tap into the patient community and use the combined knowledge to really unravel this disease like it should be. For the past couple of years I have been trying to educate my doctors myself! Most of my doctors gave me the look of I'm full of it, when I told them that I believe stress is a major factor for me. I don't mind anymore, because I don't see them anymore, but it's another ugly thing you have to deal with when you are consulting with so called experts of this disease. Dis + ease = not at ease, that's something I learned from watching The Secret which was a great movie that helped me gain a more positive outlook on my condition and life in general. Just remember one thing, you cannot cure yourself by thinking alone, you will have to take action in some form, even if the action is purely mental.
On a good note, I did meet a few good doctors at Yale New Haven Hospital (Dr. Jamadar) and his assistants. He was the first doctor to straight talk with me and actually agreed with my theories at the time (stress is a factor). On the other hand, I had my main gastroenterologist in Hamden trying to schedule me for numerous different procedures, like I'm some type of lab rat. That's guy I actually liked at first until in plain sight he truly demonstrated that my health was not really his top concern and no matter how much he tried to slickly cover up his greed he was forever exposed to me and I never saw him again. I did write about him on this site, but you can check that out later...
It's true that this is a serious condition and you should take this information seriously. But don't let the doctors scare you into doing every procedure they could think of. I literally confronted the last gastroenterologist and said, "why are you recommending this particular procedure, while the other gastroenterologists that he sent me to, recommended totally different procedures?". He was stumped at first, before he spat out some dumb answer to cover his ass. It's at that point when I got really serious about documenting my flare-ups and doing more research. Why would 3 so called experts on pancreatitis and gastrointestinal problems in general, have three separate operations that were supposed to "cure me". It just didn't make any sense to me at all! And it shouldn't make any sense to anyone! Once you have an operation, your playing with different rules. There can be scar tissue involved, the wrong thing removed, like a gallbladder which was suggested to me. When a doctor recommended removing my gallbladder I asked him to show me an MRI of my gallbladder that displayed stones in my bile duct from my gallbladder. He said that it doesn't really show up in my MRI!!! HELLO? Then why the hell is he trying to remove me gallbladder in the first place? By the way I still have me gallbladder and my entire pancreas and even though I had many flare-ups before, I don't really have them anymore now!
Again I want to point out that the purpose of this letter is to alert you to take action by journaling your flare-ups at the very least. Because it is possible you still might need an operation, but if it's possible like it was for me, not to have an operation and still get healthy by living life a bit differently, I definitely vote for keeping your insides intact. This is something that you have to decide on your own, and your circumstances maybe a lot different than mine... Just start journaling and do the math to see what you are really dealing with here. And if you are a bad eater or an alcoholic, then ask yourself if these habits are worth all the pain and agony you are putting yourself through.
When I spoke to doctor Jamadar of New Haven about these differences in opinion and what my plan was (eat healthier and limit my stress) he agreed that I can manage this condition on my own, by being more aware and mindful of what I eat and how I react to stress. I was surprised and also relieved because finally someone looked at me as a person instead of a paycheck. That comment may seem cold, but if you went through everything I've been through, I truly believe you would say the same thing.
What I discovered from my own health journals was surprising A stressful situation usually dealing with business or unfortunately my mother, would land me either in the hospital or on my bed in a hunched over potion, waiting for the pain medication to work.
I guarantee that if you read all my articles and try your best to follow some of my tips, you will have much greater success dealing with pancreatitis than you currently do today.
Out of the 10+ doctors that I USED TO go to, only 1 or 2 actually told me the true facts. The rest seemed to be either clueless or more interested in billing me for more tests and procedures. Sad but true.
I know some of you will not take my advice and you will continue believing that all doctors are saints and they are on your side. All I can say about that is, that I wish you the very best.
I personally did not start getting better until, I took my health into my own hands. After I did that, I began to see a lot of progress, weaker flare-ups, less hospital visits (none this year :-) ) and just feeling more freedom. Like freedom to travel without worrying about hospitals and medical insurance coverage; I know some of you are in those shoes right now.
Again, please take into account how serious the pain is, and take your health more seriously by doing what makes sense, like (cutting out alcohol completely, because it makes your pancreas work twice as hard; this means alcohol based cough syrups too!)
I have personally have done a ton of research, but the most valuable information I found that helped me the most was, what I learned by journaling my episodes. Once you document several flare-ups along with the stress, and diet factors for the 3 days leading up to your pancreatitis attack, you will start seeing a pattern And that is something NO doctor will point out to you! You have to do that on your own. Your doctor is simply trying to put bandaids in hope that they will prevent future problems. Well I can tell you from personal experience (since 2004) that those things don't work most of the time.
The best part of this message is that you can recover like me , by being more knowledgeable about your diet, and the way your body responds to different foods and stress. I very rarely get flare-ups these days and I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy about that!!!!!
I must have been to the emergency room for pancreatitis at least 10 times!!! And the first time I went it cost me tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket!
God Bless and start doing something new towards gaining better health!