There isn’t much l can do about not having a gallbladder now, except try to live a healthy life and listen to my body. If only l knew a few years ago what l know now about nutrition, l may have been able to save my gallbladder.
There was really no choice as to what to do when sitting in the surgeons office desperately ill two years ago as l was at a point where l couldn’t eat, felt sick all day, had a shocking pain in my side and was very quickly becoming seriously unwell. The surgeon assured me that having my gallbladder removed was very straight forward and life would go on as usual afterwards. It all sounded too good to be true actually, but when someone offers you a lifeline and shortly it would be a Medical Emergency the options are limited.
I have written another post on the horrible symptoms l developed after the operation, but in short l had a sudden onset of bile and acid reflux that was very debilitating, so much so that the Dr’s wanted to do a fundoplication operation which is an irreversible procedure on the oesophagus to stop the reflux, and stretch my oesophagus as l was having trouble swallowing. While l was undergoing some quite unpleasant tests including a 24 hour Ph monitoring and thinking about what to do, l was becoming highly medicated to control the symptoms. I stopped eating anything with fat in it and very quickly started malabsorbing everything l ate, lost a huge amount of weight and developed a severe vitamin B12 deficiency where l had tingling all through my hands and feet. I also started to have painful side effects from the reflux medicine such as stomach aches and cramping in my legs. Things were looking grim!
I basically walked away from all of the Doctors l was seeing and went to see a holistic General Practitioner who guided me in going back to basics with my diet, prescribed supplements to support my ailing body and gave me the encouragement l needed to work through the physical symptoms and slowly heal. It was a scary time but l knew deep inside me that it was the right path to take. Two years on l am feeling great, but………………..
Life without a gallbladder is no easy path to take. When l am around other people l realise how restricted my diet is, but following a holistic Paleo diet is what l need to do to feel good. I say a holistic version of the diet as l literally cannot eat any red meat without feeling unwell or anything the least bit fatty, although l do well with the good fats in limited quantities such as avocado or nuts. My diet is very simple accommodating not only my loss of gallbladder but also the many food intolerances l have. The things l don’t eat include anything with gluten, almost everything processed, most grains, all processed sugar, dairy and alcohol. Everything l eat is as free of artificial chemicals, preservatives, colours and flavours as l can get it.
After two years l am still having ongoing issues although l feel well. A recent checkup has highlighted that l am low in iron as l don’t eat red meat. I am also not digesting the good fats l am eating and therefore am losing out on vital nutrients, requiring me to take a ‘bile acid factors’ supplement with each meal as l lack the gallbladder to store the bile which is needed when fat is eaten. Other supplements l take daily include vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Zinc, Ascorbic Acid, Folate and Magnesium as well as regular blood tests, Dr’s visits and scans such as a recent liver ultrasound. I also need to provide extra support to my liver through diet but also by taking a regular milk thistle supplement, as the issues that caused my gallbladder to become infected and diseased can still exist, and a liver that is not detoxing well can impact a person’s whole wellbeing.
The two years since my gallbladder operation have been very financially costly much of which has been my choice as l chose to go down the path of wellness rather than just treating symptoms. This has been money well spent though as instead of treating symptoms the holistic approach is addressing the underlying causes of my ill health and l have established new patterns of eating as an example which will support my wellness long term.
My advice to everyone is to take care of your gallbladder and a great resource is a book by Dr Sandra Cabot. She has many other wonderful books on ways to keep your liver healthy with the focus on eating a diet filled with fresh healthy foods. There are some people who say they have had their gallbladder out and they can still eat anything, but l question this as l think it is a health time bomb ticking away to think that life can continue as before. Having your gallbladder out should be a wake up call to change everything about your diet and lifestyle, but if you are wise the real change should come before a gallbladder removal is required. I had never given my gallbladder a seconds thought before it caused me health issues, but when it malfunctions your whole well-being will be challenged and it is very difficult not to have your life and destiny impacted by the medical system at this point.
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