Monday, November 29, 2010

Pancreatitis & Karaoke

living with pancreatitisLast month I sang karaoke in public for the first time.

I'm not a good singer but we were in a cheap, rather cheesy roadside eatery and well... it just felt appropriate.

Everyone cheered me on as I fearlessly sang Hotel California by the Eagles.

One of the benefits about having pancreatitis is that it allows you to be a little more fearless in your daily life.

I had always been too shy to sing in public. Now with impending death at my doorstep shyness has taken a backseat to fun, fearless and safe risks and adventures.

Try it!

Life is short. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pancreatitis & Roller Coasters

pancreatitis and roller coastersWe are at DisneyWorld. Yesterday, I rode the Arrowsmith Roller coaster ride twice, back-to-back in the front row. The coaster is much smoother than previously so I'm assuming either the tracks or whatever holds the coaster to the tracks have recently been refurbished, tightened or cleaned. Nice ride! Not nearly as jerky as before.

That being said, I felt very sick after the ride(s). Like many of us with chronic pancreatitis, I'm quite skinny. I think I weigh about 107. I used to weigh a mere 5-10 pounds more than that but I haven't been able to get back up to my previous weight and have pretty much realized that it probably won't happen. Rather, now my goal is to try my best to maintain my weight.

Being so skinny might have made it so that my intestines are more easily damaged. The roller coaster might have been rather rough on my intestines and stomach. I tried to tough it out be in the end I didn't feel better and needed to return to our hotel room.

My daughter did some reflexology on my feet and found that both my stomach and intestine areas were very sore. We do reflexology on me regularly. It is something I often do on myself but wasn't feeling well enough to do yesterday. Generally speaking, my stomach and intestinal areas on my feet feel absolutely fine. Not so, yesterday.

I've informed my daughter that I will not be riding any more roller coasters. I do not know if theroller coasters and pancreatitis pancreatitis has a direct result on how awful I felt yesterday or if it was just a side effect of the pancreatitis because I am now thinner... and perhaps my intestines are weaker. Don't know, but wanted to share my experience and give you a head's up on the possibilities.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pancreatitis: Don't Eat Too Much

pancreatitis and holidays The holidays are such an easy time to stuff yourself.

If you have pancreatitis or chronic pancreatitis then you know that eating too much is not the sort of think you can afford to do no matter how good the holiday food looks.

If you are having someone over to your house that has pancreatitis please do not try to get them to eat more no matter how thin they are or how good your food is.

Trust me, people with chronic pancreatitis know how good food is even if we aren't eating much of it. We don't eat too much before it can send our system into an attack that could literally kill us. Would you like your holiday dinner guest to die on your lovely holiday living roomchronic pancreatitis thanksgiving floor an hour after dinner? Probably not. Even if they don't die from over eating it is probably better if they don't hurt their pancreas further from over eating.

If you were newly diagnosed with pancreatitis there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Do not drink alcohol at all. No exception! Toast with sparkling apple cider or whatever other non-alcoholic drink you might have in your hand.

pancreatitis do not drink2. Do not overeat. The rule of thumb is that your pancreas will not start to hurt until about an hour or an hour-and-a-half after you finish eating. Therefore you need to be prudent while eating. Don't expect to feel the pain while you are eating and for that to let you know that you need to stop eating. Instead, eat a lite meal. You can always nibble throughout the night. But once you've eaten you can't take it back. Therefore, you want to ensure that you are not over eating in the first place.

3. Sugars, spicy foods and fatty foods are hard on your pancreas to digest. Try to stay away from them.

Enjoy the holiday season! Pancreatitis is not a friendly disease. Its mortality rate scarily high. Be good to your pancreas as that could perhaps help your lifespan.
pancreatitis do not overeat
The holidays are about joy, family, friends, happiness and good times not about food and booze.

The holidays are a great time to be around the ones you love. A time when we truly get to remember how precious life is and how much we enjoy it and the wonderful things in our lives!

Pancreatitis: Coffee with Honey

coffe and pancreatitisI know I'm not supposed to drink caffeine since I have pancreatitis. Yet, I do it anyway.

I admit it. I'm a coffee fiend. I drink several cups a day.

I like coffee with cream (real cream) only. No sweeteners. Just delicious fresh coffee with a good cream that makes my coffee rich in color.

When at home, I now use a fat free milk or a fat-free half-and-half.

Although I never have used a sweetener for my coffee, I have decided to begin to do so. It's is on a trial basis, for now.

I have begun putting honey in my coffee. healing honey and pancreatitisThe reason isn't to sweeten the coffee but rather in hopes that the cream with make the coffee easier on my pancreas. I don't know if it will work or not. In fact, I can feel that my pancreas is currently slightly swollen so I have my doubts. Nonetheless, I know that honey has eased my pancreas pain when, at times, I've been unable to eat. Honey also helps to fill me up when I can't eat.

I assume there is something in honey that works in a positive nature with the pancreas. I think this might be the case as a result of how it makes my pancreas feel when I can't eat and the fact that my pancreas is at ease with the honey intake.

All that being said, it does seem that my pancreas is probably pancreatitis anti-inflammatoryslight swollen at present. That being said, I'm on my third large coffee of the day. It is 2:00 pm. Between the caffeine and cream intake (I'm not at home so the cream intake is either real cream or a non-dairy creamer - which probably has a sweetener in it. I've heard sweeteners are very hard on the pancreas).

I'll take my Wobenzym N which is an all natural systemic enzyme anti-inflammatory. I don't know if it actually helped but I always want to take it when I can feel that my pancreas is swollen.

Note: It is now several days later. I am still drinking coffee with honey in it. I don't believe it is helpful in anyway. We're still on vacation. I think I'll go back to straight coffee with cream when we return home. That being said, I should not be drinking coffee at all. It is said that people with pancreatitis should not drink coffee. Obviously, I'm not perfect. Heck, it's not even on my 'To Do' list.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pancreatitis & Thanksgiving Dinner

The pancreas needs to be taken care of whether or not the holiday season is in full swing.

Since I have chronic pancreatitis and I'm happily heading toward my third Thanksgiving since having received the diagnosis I no longer eat as much as I want all day long. Instead, I eat sparingly as I do with all meals.

I eat small amounts of food at one time never stuffing myself and with the clear objective not to fill stomach.

The more I eat at one sitting the harder my pancreas will have to work and the more likely I am to suffer an attack especially if something in my life is stressing me out.

This holiday I will eat all meals in small quantities because I will feel better and enjoy my food more knowing that it is not hurting me.

I do not eat sugar products at all. If I were to eat something sweat it might be Tapioca Pudding made with honey rather than any other kind of sweetener.

Honey always makes me feel good and it is probably filling as well. I've never had any negativepancreatitis and too skinny side effects from honey. At times, my pancreas hasn't felt good enough for me to eat and I've opted for a spoon full of honey. It seems to smooth the pancreas while acting as a nutrient or at least something related to the food chain.

I do not drink alcohol ever and that includes the holidays. Pancreatitis doesn't take time off for the holidays so I don't get to drink alcohol at all during this time.

If someone says that you look thin you might simply mention or perhaps only think to yourself how lucky you feel to be here and to have the opportunity to look thin particularly considering the alternative and how absolutely fabulous you look in your new skinny jeans as you celebrate life and how much you are thankful for another day!

I'm thankful for skinny people! From what I can tell I will never be able to gain more weight. Therefore, the alternatives to this weight probably won't get better. Therefore, I celebrate the opportunity to be this weight and I treasure everything about it!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pancreatitis, Eating & The Holidays

do not overeat pancreatitisThanksgiving is almost here. I love stuffing myself on Thanksgiving. I can eat turkey for what seems to be an eternity. It's neverending. Then, I rest drowsily on the sofa.

This year will be different. First off, we're eating out. Second, I have pancreatitis. In fact, this is my third Thanksgiving while under the influence of pancreatitis.

This means that I will not be eating as much turkey as possible and celebrating my gluttony of the dead animal.

Instead, I will eat light, treasure my ability to eat at all, and be incredibly thankful for my life.

If you are unable to eat at this time perhaps a really nice bowl of turkey, chicken or beef broth no alcohol with pancreatitiswould make for a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner!

Food and eating habits change with pancreatitis. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to appreciate all that we have in our lives.

Holidays are not a time when I drink. Since I now get to celebrate the scarcity of longevity I also get to celebrate without alcohol. There are no exceptions to this rule even if I really want a drink, even if I think just one is okay. No alcohol. No exceptions! Why? Because I want to live and with pancreatitis I have both life and alcohol. I choose life!

If you were recently diagnosed with pancreatitis. There are two very important things I like to keep in mind.
1. No booze! One drink can send my system into shock and kill me. This is not an exaggeration at all.
2. Don't overeat! It hurts a lot and can cause an attack.

How to Stop a Pancreatic Flare Up

no booze pancreatitis1. Don't drink alcohol (ever again).

This is what I was told when I was admitted to the hospital and where I stayed for 16-days as a result of having an acute severe attack of pancreatitis. I want to stay alive, so I don't drink alcohol at all ever.

2. Stay away from things with calcium.

This is a new one for me. Since I read that the pancreas becomes calcified over time inevitably ending in death, I've decided that things with calcium just don't need to be in my diet at all. This includes daily vitamins which contain calcium, orange juice or any other juice that is calcium fortified, and things like broccoli.

For now, it does not include string cheese. I am addicted. I'm sure I will eventually need to remove it from my diet. Today is not that day. During times of flare-ups, I do not eat string cheese. It is too fatty and hard on my system.
wobenzym n and pancreatitis
3. I take Wobenzym N because it decreases inflammation. Therefore, I think it might decrease the inflammation in my pancreas.

I have no proof that it works. That being said, I always run to it when I feel my pancreas is swollen. I doubt this would be a natural reaction is it wasn't beneficial. Wobenzym N makes me dehydrated. Therefore, I keep water nearby and drink plenty of it. Of course, 'plenty' is a relative term based on what your system can handle. I don't drink as much water (or anything else) as someone might who doesn't suffer from pancreatitis.

clear broth pancreatitis4. I eat less, if at all.

Even if I'm hungry, I know my pancreas cannot heal if I do not let it rest. Chicken Broth is one of my favorites when I'm staying away from food to let my pancreas heal. It fills me up, adds liquids and seems to be rather gentle on my system.

5. I drink coffee.

I don't recommend this. Coffee is known to be a problem for the pancreas. Yet, it cuts down on my need for food and hurts my system less than food would. So, I'm not perfect and I drink coffee. Non-fat half-and-half or non-fat milk is better than milk with fat in it. No milk at all is better. Milk has calcium. Again, I'm not perfect. I just try the best I can.

I generally do the above for a few to several days as the pancreas seems to need this much time to feel better. Yes, I often lose weight during this time. It's not my preference, but it beats the alternatives.

I would love to hear what other people do when they have a pancreatic flare up. Please share your experience and knowledge in this area.

Below are a couple resources which might help:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pancreatitis & the Endocrine System

endocrine system and pancreatitisThe pancreas is part of the endocrine system. A few years back I notice I had an enlarged thyroid. At some point I was reading up on it and realized that both the thyroid and pancreas were part of the endocrine system.

The way I initially suspected I was having troubles with my pancreas was because each time my daughter would do reflexology on my feet my pancreas was sore. This was the case for several years before going to a doctor about it. In fact, the soreness on the bottom of my foot lead me to learn more about the pancreas and why it might be sore. This is why I was able to tell the doctors I thought I was having problems with my pancreas when I went into the emergency hospital.
endocrine system and pancreas
Later, when trying to figure out if there was anything I could do about my enlarged thyroid I discovered its relation to the pancreas via the endocrine system.

When I massage my feet (or when my daughter does it for me) there are areas which are usually sore - the pancreas and the pituitary are always on the list. When I had the flu over the past couple weeks my thymus was so sore that area of my foot was achy when walking on it.

So one of the questions I consider when trying to improve or maintain the condition of my pancreas is how it interacts to and is affected by the overall health and well-being of the endocrine system.

If my thymus or thyroid is weakened will this negatively impact my pancreas. Logic would lead me to believe the answer is 'yes'. The reasoning being that the interaction of the whole affects the whole so if other parts of the endocrine system are weak the result will be a weaker pancreas. This matters because it could affect the overall health and function of my pancreas and therefore affect my overall longevity.

systemic enzymes and pancreasYesterday, I went to the health food store. I was out of Wobenzym N and needed more. Wobenzym N is an anti-inflammatory systemic enzyme which seems to be a benefit to my system. When my pancreas is inflamed I like to take three Wobenzym N tablets. This seems to result in a decrease of inflammation in the pancreas region.

Bound and determined to find the bottle on my own - even though it was no longer in the same section as previously - I scoured the shelves. I noticed a bottle called 'Thyroid Balance' which claimed to be for healthy thyroid function. Intrigued, I pancreas and thyroidpicked up the bottle and the side which stated the over-the-counter capsules 'help to regulate healthy metabolism and to counteract such things as 'thinning hair, poor circulation' and 'mood swings' all of which I experience. Wow! All these symptoms could be related to my thyroid which in turn could be affecting my pancreas. I touched my swollen thyroid gland only to notice it was barely there anymore. Hmmm. I thought to myself the Wobenzym N must have shrunken it. Good!

While my thyroid gland is still swollen it is not nearly as swollen as it was before. So I bought the bottle of capsules to see what sort of affect it might have on my system - hoping for a positive affect.

The bottle says to take 4 capsules with breakfast. I did this. A little later my pancreas felt uncomfortable and swollen, as it does now. I had recently eaten breakfast so I don't know if it is because I ate a little more than I should have or if my pancreas doesn't prefer the thyroid capsules.

pancreatitis and alimentary systemI will take the capsules again in hopes of seeing if it is beneficial. I do think it impacted my mood positively, but if it impacts my pancreas negatively than the capsules would not be something I would continue to take.

I suggested to Sophie that she take them as well to see if it helps balance her hormone. This evening she said that she thinks the thyroid capsules might have helped her mood because although she has been a little grumpy over the past couple days she was not grumpy today. She's going to keep testing it out.

If she might tend to have a weakened endocrine system then it would be better to be proactive to help her protect from the negative side effects such a weakened system might cause to her body.

Noteworthy: I think my eye sight has improved since taking the thyroid capsules this morning - meaning, things don't seem to be quite as blurring. Just thought it was worth making note of...

By the way, my thymus does not usually (like never) hurt on my foot when doing reflexology. The sensitivity in this area seems to be a direct result of having the flu.

Another note: While the thymus has endocrine function, it is not considered to be an endocrine gland. Nonetheless, when I had the flu my pancreas was not doing as well. Perhaps the weakened state of the thymus affected the pancreas as a result of its direct endocrine function.

Is Pancreatic Cancer Treatable?

bad doctors pancreatic cancerI love reading about pancreatic cancer. Not because I find it a hopeful experience. On the contrary, reading about pancreatic cancer is very scary on many levels but it reminds me how important it is that I take care of myself to the best of my ability. My fear of pancreatic cancer motivates me to understand and respect where I am at with chronic pancreatitis.

1. Pancreatic cancer is not a curable disease.

2. There is no reliable screening test for the early detection of pancreatic cancer with symptoms that are often vague and easily confused with other diseases or illnesses. I love how the John Hopkins Pancreatic Research Center states on their website "We need to invest in the development of an effective screening test".

Please note that in the statement above the #1 hospital in the country is saying that they don't even have a way of testing people early to prevent pancreatic cancer or to try to cure it in its early stages because how can you cure it in the early stages if you can't detect it! AND THEY AREN'T EVEN DEVELOPING AN EFFECTIVE SCREENING TEST. Rather, they are simply stating the need to do so. YIKES!

3. John Hopkins Pancreatic Research Center website states that when caught early pancreatic cancer is treatable. But remember, they also tell us that there is no effect screening test and one needs to be developed. So, please explain how a doctor can catch it early if there isn't an effective way to screen for it?

4. The 5-year survival rate is nearly 40% when the pancreatic cancer is surgically removed whilepancreatic cancer survival rates still small and if it has not spread to the lymph nodes. Okay... now read that again. In short, the chance of living 5 years after pancreatic cancer surgery if caught early and if it has not spread is only 40%.

As you can read, the statistics of surviving pancreatic cancer - the 4th leading cause of death in both men and women - is dismal.

So why do I love reading about pancreatic cancer?

Because the process of learning is empowering!

understanding pancreatic cancerWhat if I didn't know that the doctors don't know anything about curing this disease? I'd believe them. Most doctors don't even know the basics about pancreatitis. This disease is so deadly that I do not want to put my life in the hands of someone who is and will probably incredibly ignorant about this disease for the rest of my lifetime.

The wrong information can literally kill me when it comes to my pancreas. From what I've read, it seems that most doctors just put pancreatic sufferers on heavily addictive medicines. My personal belief is that such prescriptions probably kills the patient earlier than need be. I don't want to be that patient.

I also don't want to be a guinea pig for doctors. I'd rather be my own guinea pig and try to figure out what my system is doing and why and what makes it feel better - or at least doesn't make it feel worse. Unlike doctors, I'm not overworked with little time to spend on each patient and only so much interest and tolerance to listen to their symptoms and how their body reacts.

I have nothing better to do than listen to my body tell me how it reacts to foods, liquids, etc in relation to my pancreas. For me, I care if I live or die far more than any doctor ever will. I am simply more vested in my personal longevity and health.

Having a 40% chance of living 5 years is dismal. Since I do not have pancreatic cancer but pancreas cancer survival ratemerely live with chronic pancreatitis I hope to stave off the cancer by the way I treat myself now.

I can learn and respond to what I learn. I know that acidic juices are hard on my pancreas. So I have them in very limited quantities. I know that whole milk is not something I should include in my diet anymore. So I drink non-fat milk and strive for non-fat food products, as well. I know lean meat does not hurt my pancreas as much as fatty meats. So I try to eat lean meats.

I've learned that chronic pancreatitis inevitably turns into pancreatic cancer. I also learned that a person can die from chronic pancreatitis without it first turning into cancer.

So how can all these dismal facts and hypotheses be helpful or hopeful? Because knowing how little is known about the disease allows me to learn from my body. Trust my body. And be incredibly proactive in my overall health. Hopefully, this will result in living longer with a better quality of life than if I did nothing.

pancreatic cancer death rateHonestly, the fear with doctors is that the instruction they might give could cause more harm than good and therefore actually shorten my lifespan. I'd rather leave my health in my own hands for now.

Hopefully, someday within my lifetime the doctors will figure something out that will help prolong the survival rates of those who suffer from pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis. Until then, I'll just do the best I can and enjoy life as much as possible knowing how precious each day is and how - like everyone else in this world - I won't live forever.

Eat well (in a healthy manner per your body's condition) and don't drink alcohol ever!

Additional Resources:


PANCREATIC CANCER: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment for Cancer of the Pancreas

PANCREATIC CANCER: Is There a Natural Cure for Pancreatic Cancer?

Chronic Pancreatitis and Pain Killers

pancreatitis and painEven when I was in the hospital with Severe Acute Pancreatitis I avoided pain killers with the exception of one really bad episode of pain which resulted from the head GI doctor telling me I was fine, could eat a whole meal and go home.

I ate a whole meal and found myself to be in the worst pain I had ever had related to my pancreas. At that point, I took painkillers. It was temporary and because I knew there was nothing I could do but wait it out, so there was no reason to wait in pain.

My goal is to avoid the pain in the first place. If I eat non-fatty, non-sugary foods in small quantities and then I can generally avoid painful pancreas episodes in the first place - which is the ultimate goal.

I feel that if I am not in pain then I am probably also not hurting my pancreas. The way I look at it is this - if I don't hurt my pancreas I will live longer because it will take me more time to destroy it.

There doesn't seem to be a set timetable for how long we get to live with chronic pancreatitis so my goal is to live as long as possible. The less I hurt the pancreas. The longer I'll live... so I gather.

chronic pancreatitis without painkillers
Noteworthy: A LOT of chronic pancreatitis sufferers end up addicted to narcotics for the pain. Honestly, I can't see how this could help the patience's longevity. Avoiding the pain in the first place seems like a much more realistic, holistic and healthy option both physically and mentally.

Therefore, I do not take pain medicine. If I can feel what is going on in my body then I will better understand my limits. If I can't feel anything then I don't know if I am hurting my pancreas or not.

I want to know how food and activities affect the pancreas. I want to control it. I do not want to be controlled by addictive drugs and the need to be on them to keep from being in pain.

I want to know the source of the pain and avoid it in the first place. I want to know how every pain and chronic pancreatitisfood, drink and meal affects my pancreas. I want to respond to those feelings by curbing my diet appropriately in the future. I cannot do this if I cannot feel what is happening to my body as a result of the food and how my pancreas reacts to it.

I may never be able to get rid of the chronic pancreatitis. I accept that. I understand it is a terminal disease... just like life is a terminal disease. I come from the school of thought that the better care I take of myself the longer I will live and I'd rather live with chronic pancreatitis than not live at all. And I'd rather live relatively pain free with the disease then in pain.

Small meals and no alcohol are where I start in the longevity of my pancreas. Sometimes I'm not that great at eating small meals but I never drink alcohol under any circumstances.

Chronic Pancreatitis and Steak

pancreatitis and lean steakI love steak. Always have. Always will. Even with chronic pancreatitis I still eat it.

I find that the leaner the steak the less likely it is to hurt my pancreas as long as I eat it in small doses. I also don't use rich or spicy sauces. In fact, I don't use any sauce at all. Rather, a little pepper and I'm set.

There was a time when I tried to stay away from red meat after being diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis. After I while, I ate it and actually found that I feel better when I have a limited amount of quality lean steak.

The fat content is steak or red meat that is not very lean tends to bother my pancreas. I try to stay away from hamburger meat for this reason. Note: I don't cook hamburgers at the house - where I could buy and prepare extra lean hamburger meat. Instead I would be more likely to have it at a resturant or McDonalds. Therefore, the quality of the ground beef would not be as good for my pancreas as a leaner hamburger meat that I could cook at the house.

Lean steak in smaller quantities doesn't seem to bother my pancreas. In fact, I generally feel quite good after having it.

Since I love steak I always want large portions. Eating small amounts of lean meat at a time is one of the most easiest ways I can prevent my pancreas from hurting after eating.

chronic pancreatitis and hamburger
I try to never fill my stomach. Although, this is difficult at times. I know that if I overeat I will pay a price with my pancreas. The more I hurt my pancreas the longer it will take to heal and the harder it will be for it to heal.

If I don't over eat I will probably eat better for longer and keep more weight on because I won't need to let my pancreas rest and heal during which times I avoid food and opt for broth... or nothing.

Remember that everyone is at a different place and stage with their chronic pancreatitis. What works for one person might not work for another. Overeating is never good for us. It is to be avoided at all costs. Eating small amounts of non-fatty foods seems to be one of the only and best ways to treat my pancreas.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pancreatitis & Tapioca Pudding

Food & Chronic PancreatitisBefore I got chronic pancreatitis I did not care for tapioca pudding at all.

During my 16-day hospital stay for an acute severe pancreatic attack (more than two-and-a-half years ago) and after I was finally in a position to eat something, the hospital gave me tapioca pudding.

I am currently struggling with my pancreas again. I believe as a result of having the flu for nearly two weeks now combined with taking over-the-counter drugs for the flu.

For the past five days, I checked into a hotel to take it easy and get some rest and relaxation and hopefully to start feeling better.

Today, I returned home. My daughter asked if I would like some tapioca pudding. Great idea! I like it warm, very running and with honey. I don't like it after it has cooled down and thickened.

She made it perfectly and it did not hurt my pancreas at all. :-)

I like foods with honey. Honey never seems to be problematic for my pancreas.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Decreasing Inflammation of the Pancreas

Pancreatitis and Wobenzym NA few months ago, I was experiencing pancreatitic flare-ups so I went to the health store to see if there was anything I could do about the inflammation.

It was suggested to me to try Wobenzym N. A product that claims to be for 'Healthy Inflammation and Joint Support'. I was skeptical at best. My joints were not the problem. The lady helping me said that it was better than gold, that it can cure cancer and decrease the size of tumors.

Honestly, I didn't believe her and wasn't too keen on her sales pitch. Nonetheless, I was desperate so I decided to give it a shot. I would take one dose paying very close attention to its reaction on my body particularly my pancreas.

At first, I noticed no discernible difference in how my pancreas felt. It might have been feeling a little better but I really wasn't sure and certainly not willing to give negligible kudos to this product. That being said, I did notice that I was detoxing as a result of the one Wobenzym N dose and all of a sudden very dehydrated resulting in drinking a lot of water and making sure water was always nearby.

Oddly, the Wobenzym N seemed to be detoxing my back. I'm slightly slouched and have been forosteoporosis and Wobenzym N most of my life since my pubescent years. I believe I also hold tension in my upper back and shoulder region. It felt like the pills (I took three) were detoxing the area where I had planned on getting osteoporosis. Not really the effect I was looking for but the pills weren't hurting my pancreas and I was more than happy to loose the toxins in my upper back. So, I kept taking them.

This comes to mind because I am now out of the pills. I did not take them regularly after the first week or so and only took them once or twice a day at most because I'm try to be sparing when trying new things that could potentially hurt my pancreas and send me whirling.

Now, when I feel my pancreas is enlarged I take Wobenzym N. Not all the time and I've never taken it regularly because I've never been sure of the effects. I'm guessing it works - at least to a minor degree - because I keep reaching for it. I believe it does decrease the inflammation of the pancreas when I have a flare up which in turns reduces the discomfort I feel.

Wobenzym N isn't necessarily cheap. For 100 tablets I paid $30. It's worth every penny. I can't wait to go back and buy more. I hate that I'm out of it. It's like a security blanket. I'm not sure why... but it is.

My bottle of Wobenzym N has 300mg of Pancreatin in it. I haven't really found that the pancreatin tablets I take help. In fact, sometimes I wonder if they have a negative effect. I don't know why that is. Just noting it to share the information in case you can find it useful.

Garden of Life makes the Wobenzym N tablets I take. I don't know anything about any other makers of the product, if they are all the same or vary greatly. I will not change to another maker. This one works for me and doesn't hurt my pancreas so I'm sticking with it.

pancreas and liver picI realize that I probably sound like a commercial for this product. I want you to know that I don't make any money off telling you about it and am only telling you about something that seems to be a neutral (at worse) to a good thing for my pancreas. Honestly, I trust this product more than any doctor I've ever talked to on this matter. Unfortunately, that doesn't say much.

Wobenzym N is a systemic enzyme which has no known negative side effects. I have no idea what a systemic enzyme is (although I may look into it). I just know two things. For some reason that I really don't understand, I trust this product with my pancreas (and might start increasing the doses to see if it helps - presently I don't even take it once a month) and two, my back is a lot straighter after taking the pills. It seems to have detoxed the toxins out of my back. I'm very happy with this result especially since this has always bothered me and the benefit was so totally unexpected. :-)

I hope that helps!

If you have any experience with this product I'd love to hear about it especially in relation to the pancreas.

As always, DON'T DRINK ALCOHOL no matter what! It's not part of your diet anymore. Recovery and life is what fuels you now.

Enjoy and share!

Here are a couple articles I found on treatment for pancreatitis:




Chronic Pancreatitis & Calcium Tablets

pancreatic calcificationThe other day I read that the pancreas becomes calcified... and that's a huge issue.

I used to take calcium tablet hoping to fight off osteoporosis. But I realized that each time I took the tablets my pancreas would hurt more. So, eventually, I stopped taking them.

Now that I know the pancreas eventually becomes calcified as a direct result from chronic pancreatitis I have an even better understanding as to why the calcium hurt my pancreas.old age pancreatitis

Maybe I should stay away from calcium rich foods (like broccoli) as well.

It's not like I'm planning on living long enough to enjoy the troubles caused by osteoporosis. I mean really! I should be so lucky!

It is my pancreas I must protect. Long live the pancreas!

Chronic Pancreatitis: What to Eat/Drink

veggie drink pancreatitisEveryone with Chronic Pancreatitis is probably going to react to the disease differently particularly depending on what stage of the disease they are at.

I currently eat solids and drink non-alcoholic liquids. Sometimes without any or much pain or discomfort. I try not to eat or drink too much at any particular sitting. I try to stay away from foods that are too fatty. And, I try to get a well-rounded amount of vegetables. I hate vegetables. Nonetheless, a balanced diet is probably important for my overall health.

I get most of my veggies from Naked Drinks and Bolthouse Juices. Why? Because I can get several different types of vegetables in one drink and therefore save myself from eating too much or having to deal with veggies I don't like. Instead I'm done in a few gulps. I'm better with the green veggies but really don't like any of the yellow, white or red ones.

I drink them sparingly. If you are worried about the drink going bad in the fridge. Don't! nutrition and chronic pancreatitisRemember, you're more interested in preserving the health of your pancreas (and staying alive) than finishing a juice. Just buy the little bottle. Drink a couple sips a day. If it goes bad before its gone, so be it. It is probably better to get some diversity of healthy foods in your body then not.

Feel good about having a little and tossing anything that didn't go down comfortably. Your body probably doesn't need much to get the nutrients so anything you do is good. At least that is how I feel about it.

Again, everyone is at a different place with their chronic pancreatitis. I can't speak for anyone else's system. Only mine. And, this is where I'm at with my system and my eating and drinking habits today!


Remember... no booze.

Those of us with chronic pancreatitis don't get to drink alcohol anymore. EVER!

Pancreatitis: Eye Sight

Every time I have another pancreatic flare-up it seems my eye sight gets worse.

For the past week-and-a-half I've been sick with the flu. Either the flu or the over-the-counter medications have hurt my pancreas and have cause me to pay much closer attention to it.

A couple days ago while driving, I realized that I couldn't read the name of a building - you know how a company will have its name in large letters at the top of a building. Well, much to my surprise I was unable to make out the word.

My assumption is that the flu has made my pancreas more vulnerable which has in turn hurt my eyes. If I'm not mistaken, eyes are organs. Pancreatitis weakens organs.


Note to self: Get some really hot sexy glasses to go with my pancreatitis!

Pancreatitis: Calcification & Rhubarb

calcification of the pancreas A few days ago, I read a depressing study (all chronic pancreatitis studies are depressing) about the calcification of the pancreas which inevitably leads to the demise of the person due to the pancreas inability to continue to function at the point.

I had never heard of calcification. What did it mean? I envision it to be similar to the petrification of wood. Yikes! That doesn't sound good.

So immediately I wanted to know how I could prevent the calcification of my pancreas. The study seemed to indicate that over time calcification was inevitable in chronic pancreatic patients (I believe the study came out of a Scandinavian country - Norway?). The hope is to live longer (obviously). So, the idea is to find out if there is a way to slow down or stop the calcification of my sweet, little overused pancreas.

Today, while finding a pancreas diagram to add to my Hot Flashes: Chronic Pancreatitis or Menopause post I came across GrannyHerb's website which stated that Rubaherb (Rhubarb Root/Rhizome) could help with the effects of pancreatitis. I don't know about you but I'm fairly cynical about hokey herbal websites and don't believe everything I read. That being said, I am always willing to check into things a little further if it is related to my pancreas and the potential longevity of it... and therefore the longevity of me!

I found a couple more sites that talked about the benefits of rhubarb. The Zhion website states, "Researchers found that a rhubarb extract prevented calcium phosphate precipitation in a in vitro study. Thus, they suggested that supplementation of rhubarb extract may have benefit of preventing calculus formation." [Source: Hidaka S, et al, Effects of a rhubarb (Rhei rhizoma) solution and its fractions on the formation of calcium phosphate precipitates.J Periodontal Res. 1996 Aug;31(6):408-13)]

Oh wow! I just Googled 'pancreatic calcification treatment' and there are websites addressing this issue! Whoopie! I'm a happy camper with my reading cut out for me!

I love progress. :-)

If anyone has any experience, strength, hope or information to share on this matter please share it! If you have answers, great! If you don't, no problem. I don't have answers either at this point... just looking around for longevity options. :-)

PS. If you're new to this whole 'I've got pancreatitis. What do I do? thing' I'd like to remind you (as your doctor most likely has) that we can't drink anymore... not at all. Not on holidays. Not on special occasions. Not ever. No exceptions. You may never have another drink for the rest of your life. Now go have fun living your life! It's beautiful out there and now you get to be sober enough to enjoy and remember it!

PPS. I just read on the Zhion site, " It is unclear if rhubarb is anti-cancer or carcinogenic. There are reports that it may cause cancer; there are also reports that its ingredients have anti-cancer activities."

PPPS. I found a couple more rhubard/pancreatitis studies on here. One study shows hints of potential value in test tube studies but also states that most test tube studies don't pan out. The other study states that the consumption of rhubarb probably does not impair calcium absorption. The sources for the studies are mentioned in the link above.

Hot Flashes: Chronic Pancreatitis or Menopause?

hot flashes pancreatitisFor the past week to week-and-a-half, I've been getting hot flashes - suddenly a wave of heat comes over me that is almost unbearable. Currently, the thermostat is either broken or set at 76 degrees. Generally, I would be freezing and wearing a warm sweater at such a temperature. At present, I'm hot, clammy and in need of turning the air temperature down even further.

I have been sick for 9-10 days with a cold... or flu. For the past few days I've been taking Tylenol Cold Head Congestion Day & Night over-the-counter medicine. which I think might be a little hard on my liver. (I've never had anyone say I have liver disease or any trouble at all with my liver. Although I was told it was 'gigantic' but that was 'probably just normal for me'.) Not sure.

There, I've turned the air down to 72 degrees. Maybe that'll help.
pancreas diagram
I haven't been eating a lot. Although, I usually don't. (My goal always two fold: 1. To not over eat. 2. To not lose weight.) Over the last few days my diet has mostly consisted of mixed berry medley with honey, about 12 oz of orange juice a day, a hamburger patty, roasted & salted pistachios and coffee with cream.

Currently, there is mild discomfort at the head of the pancreas at the duodenum. This is where I usually have discomfort.

My eye sight has worsen quite a bit since being sick over the past week-and-a-half. I'm guessing either the flu or the over-the-counter medicines are negatively impacting my pancreatitis.

Is anyone else having hot flashes associated with chronic pancreatitis? If so, I'd love to hear your story, what you think causes it and any other information you might like to share such as how you avoid or prevent it from happening.

Focus Formula (ADHD)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chronic Pancreatitis: A Terminal Illness

Life with a terminal illnessYesterday, I was reading up on pancreatitis. You can never learn enough about it especially when so little is known about it.

One made reference to her disease as being terminal. Although I know it to be true I suppose I've never put it in those terms before. I use gentler working like 'you need to be careful because every attack takes years off your life.'
She's right, you know. The disease is terminal. It's like life. Life is terminal. You know from the get-go that no matter what you do you are going to die. Chronic Pancreatitis is the same. As with life, how you treat your body in many ways determines how long you will live.

For example, my personal goal is to live 20 years from the time I was diagnosed (March 26, 2008). But, if I drink tomorrow (or today for that matter) my life would end immediately. On the other hand, if I eat appropriately, exercise, remain relatively stress-free, etc than my hope is to survive long enough for a cure to be found. With how inept the medical field is regarding their progress toward finding a cure there is a good chance it'll take many years before a cure is found... or even reasonable rates of prolonged life.

For some reason, I felt joy and happiness toward life - my life - when I realized my disease is terminal. Not like I want to die but rather I want to live, live happily and to the fullest. Yes, this is how I try to approach life in general but the awakening that my days are numbered really reminded me how precious life is and how lucky I have it!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pancreatitis & Coffee

Pancreatitis and FunnyI have a friend who has subtitled her blog is "Family is Funny".

Maybe I should subtitle this blog "...because Pancreatitis is Funny".

I was thinking about coffee and how much I like coffee. How I would rather fight you for it than lose my coffee.

Of course, this is silly because coffee is bad for coffee and pancreatitisthose of us with pancreatitis so I should be wanting and willing to give it up. Instead I'm about as smart as this tattooed baby smoking in his little pool... and, luckily, about as happy, too!

Noteworthy: I've read that coffee is not good for people with pancreatitis. Think of it like a "Just say no to coffee" campaign. Why? Not sure I know. I think it has to do with the high acid content...

Hmmm... if that is the case and if you live near a Trader Joe's (which I don't) you could simply by low-acid coffee grounds.

Of course, I'm not sure that's why coffee is bad for you if you have chronic pancreatitis

And... of course, I also just gave you a solution to continue drinking coffee.

Man. I'm not good at giving up my coffee.

Pancreatitis and coffeeOf course, I wasn't good at giving up my booze either and that's what got me in this mess in the first place.

So, the question is do I, or will I, need to give up coffee to protect my health in relationship to my chronic pancreatitis? Answer: I don't know. If that time comes I will probably quit drinking coffee. In the meantime I try to moderate. Whatever that means... Actually, that means that I try not to drink so much that it hurts my pancreas.

Pancreatitis: What to Take When You Have the Flu

Pancreatitis and the FluFirst, I have no idea how to get rid of the flu except to wait it out.

I tried Alka-Seltzer Plus Flu and it didn't do a darn thing to alleviate my flu symptoms but seems to have inflamed my liver.

I try not to drink too much juice because the acidity is hard on my pancreas. Store bought herbal teas seem difficult to tolerate these days. (Check out this post on one of my favorite anti-inflammatory bulk teas and some other fun healthy tea ideas!)

Chicken broth doesn't hurt. I drink chicken broth.

I'm still sick and about 6 or 7 days into being a sickie-poo. Yuck

The only difference between today and a few days ago is that now I know the over-the-counter flu relievers don't work and so I need to just wait it out.

I used to drink tons of Orange Juice to feel better sooner. Now, itTime for Blogging seems like all the things I used to do to get well hurt my pancreas so I'm better off just coughing, resting and patiently waiting to feel better.

On the upside, my inability to do much is lending me much needed and desired time to write on this blog. Yeah! Although, I regularly think how much I'd like to contribute and share my story I often find myself with more desire than time.

Today, I'm a sickie poo with little energy. Therefore, I'm Queen of Time and my blog can benefit! Nice. :-)