Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pancreatitis & Potassium

Everyone's experience with chronic or acute pancreatitis is different. We live different lives and eat different foods which create different reactions in our bodies.

When I was hospitalized with Severe Acute Pancreatitis I couldn't eat anything. That being said I would sneak a potato chip here and there (about 1-6 per day). I would suck all the salt off it and sometimes eat the chip. I eventually confessed this to my doctor. He said it was not surprising and that my body probably needed it.

Apparently, I had a potassium deficiency. Sometimes when someone has Severe Acute Pancreatitis there is a chance their heart can stop. The heart rate can get slow that it just stops. It is possible for any number of organs to fail but for me the problem was the heart.

Nurses would come in, take my pulse and gasp. Honestly, I didn't appreciate their reaction and thought they should be a little more sensitive to the fact that I was there and could see them gasping in surprise. The doctor would come rushing in soon after looking at my legs. Apparently veins pop out or something to that effect when your heart is about to fail. The panic that often pursued was just not optimistic in my opinion.

I spent a great deal of time (me and my IV) walking the halls of the hospital. The reason was to keep my heart rate up so I wouldn't die from heart failure. The thought was that my heart would have a hard time stopping from beating too slowly if I was in the process of exercise. I didn't walk quickly. I just moseyed around the halls. Me and my IV.

Yep. What can I say. There is a good chance it kept me alive.

This experience is fresh in my mind because two nights ago my right arm was sore and lightly tingly as were my fingers. I Googled it and the first thing that came up was a potassium deficiency. I then Googled 'Foods High in Potassium' and quickly found lists of foods that I never eat and don't like. I figured I'd deal with it the next day.

Yesterday came around and I didn't deal with it. Last night came around and I woke up feeling like my heart was going to stop so I got up, walked around, stretched, jogged in place a little, felt light headed and went back to bed only to be reawakened by a feeling that the artery near my heart was going to collapse and I as though I might have a stroke.

I decided to get up and exercise a little more. After, I sat down and again identified foods with potassium and started devouring everything in the house that contained potassium. It seems that it is quite difficult to actually get a full daily allowance of potassium. Thankfully, I had dried apricots and papaya juice along with a few other items which I hoped was enough to get me through the night.

Today, I will run over to the store and buy some potato chips. I love potato chips but haven't been eating them recently. Tomato puree and baked beans are also quite high in potassium. I am a picky eater but I do like these foods.

My body is weak, sensitive and needs me to always listen to its needs. Having pancreatitis can make me more vulnerable to a lot of things and it can make my system struggle where a healthy system might not.

A potassium deficiency can cause heart disease, kidney disease and a stroke. I will not neglect this aspect of my body's needs again. I believe I have learned an important lesson and hopefully my body will feel better soon. Potassium deficiency also makes a person feel fatigued. Maybe that explains my low energy levels recently.

I love finding out what is causing a problem and being able to fix it. It's amazing how so much relates directly to the diet and how we can improve our state of being by locating the problem and correcting it. While I cannot make the chronic pancreatitis go away, I can fix this issue with the low levels of potassium.

Off to the grocery market!

Articles relating to Pancreatitis and Potassium:
Pancreatitis - Acute Pancreatitis - Chronic Pancreatitis - Symptoms - Diagnosis
Diagnose Me: Condition: Pancreatitis
Acute Pancreatitis and Potassium
Pancreatitis Discussion: Low on Potassium

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chronic Pancreatitis & Animal Crackers

pancreatitis and dietI love my animal crackers!

Why? Because they don't hurt my stomach or cause bloating after I have eaten them. While some might find them to be rather bland. I find them to be an absolute joy and luxury!

Animal crackers are cute, fun, make me smile and don't hurt my pancreas!

Sometimes pancreatitis is just about keeping it simple and enjoying life's little pleasures.

Animal crackers are an enjoyable experience.

Have a great day!

Other Pancreatic Diet Links Below:

Chronic Pancreatitis & Healthy Foods

Alcohol, Diet and Pancreatic Cancer Risks

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pancreatitis & Hunger

When I was first diagnosed with pancreatitis it was at the emergency hospital. I had severe acute pancreatitis. I was admitted to the hospital where I stayed for 16 days.

Initially, I was taken off all food and liquids, including water, and put on an IV drip for nutrients.

The nutrients from the IV help to stave off hunger. Still, I wanted to eat. I remember constantly trying to convince the nurses to give me a little yogurt or tapioca, maybe a slice of toast. My pancreas needed to heal and it wasn't time yet.

Now it's about two-and-a-half years later and from time to time I eat something or have too much stress in my life and I will experience pancreatic flare-ups ranging from a big problem to rather slight.

Before my last major flare up which happened last July I weighed about 112 lbs. I've always been small. This is approximately the weight I weighed at age 18. I am now 43. After the flare-up I weighed 105 lbs the first time I weighed myself. I don't keep a scale in the house. I know I had put on some weight before weighing myself.

I think I've pretty much maintained a weight of 107 lbs since then. It's a low weight and even for me, before pancreatitis, I would have tried to put on additional weight to get back up to 112 lbs. Since having chronic pancreatitis putting on weight hasn't really been on the menu.

Putting on weight means I have to be full. Being full hurts my pancreas. I resigned after that last attack to the fact that I would probably not really be able to weigh more. My goal was more about not losing additional weight.

Recently, my teenage daughter moved out of the house and apparently my life has become a lot less stressful allowing me to eat more. I think I've put on a few pounds. That being said, I ate an egg with spices yesterday morning which bothered me, then some berries after. Maybe I shouldn't have had the berries and I should have let my pancreas rest. I feel okay today. But I've learned a lesson. If I don't want to be hungry I should just maintain my weight and not try to put more on because if I have an attack I will be hungry but that will not be an acceptable time for me to eat.

I don't like being hungry so I don't want to put myself in that situation.

Lots of people around the world would be happy to weight 107 lbs at 5'6". It's skinny. But I'm never hungry anymore. I just eat little meals throughout the day and all is good.

If you've recently been diagnosed with chronic or acute pancreatitis you may very well be hungry especially if you aren't being fed through an IV. Let that be okay. It'll pass. You won't die from being hungry but you could die from problems with the pancreas. So just favor your pancreas and try to learn a new way of eating... not now but after your pancreas has healed. You may never eat like other people again. That's okay. We get to choose life. Skinny and alive. I'll take it!

If we don't let the pancreas heal we can have reoccurring bouts, or if you have acute pancreatitis, your organs can shut down and you can die.

A little hunger doesn't sounds so bad now, does it?

It's just hunger. It'll pass. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not even this week. But it will pass whether you eat or not. By not eating you can increase your lifespan and the quality of the time you have left as well as how much you can eat at any given time in the future. Therefore, allow your pancreas to heal. It is in your favor and later you will be grateful.

I'm rarely hungry anymore. I eat small meals throughout the day. My pancreas and I are usually friends. I respect my relationship with my pancreas. When I don't my pancreas goes into a rage. I prefer not to have that relationship. So, I eat small low-to-no fat meals that don't include processed foods or refined sugars and my pancreas smiles on me by taking a backstage and allowing me to live my life.

I wish you the best of everything. I know how difficult this time is for you. Be gentle and forgiving to yourself. Don't eat until it is time. Take it slow. No big meals at first. (My doctor suggested I eat a full meal and I had the worst pain I've ever experienced and I relapsed which kept me in the hospital for much longer.)

You have a scary disease. Respect it. It is possible for you to live longer if you are better to your pancreas. Longevity is good!

No drinking alcohol. No acceptions!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pancreatitis Diet: Bad Spices & Healthy Berries and Honey

pancreas and berriesSoooo, once again, I ate a fried egg with a seasoning I love but which hates my pancreas and inevitably causes pain.

Odd thing happened today, after my pancreas began to flare up I had an urge to eat some frozen berries & honey (red raspberries, blackberries & a few strawberries with ample honey). I'm eating it and I just realized my pancreas isn't hurting anymore.

I'm not drawing conclusions, just passing on information.

My goal is to understand what works, what doesn't and how foods are affecting my pancreas.pancreas and honey

I'm really beginning to love frozen berries with honey more and more.

I would guess fresh berries are better for you but I can keep frozen berries in the house and at my disposal and therefore do!

Chronic Pancreatitis & Bad Spices I Love

pancreatitis and spices that hurtI love Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning on fried eggs and steak.

I've used it for years. Only problem is that now I have chronic pancreatitis and this spice is not good for my pancreas.

I just fried an egg and put this fabulous spice on it. Okay, for my system this spice is more like Halloween than Christmas and my system is terrified of Halloween and panics going into a rage anytime Halloween gets near it.

I just threw out my Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning. I threw it out because I am undisciplined and will continue to use it on the foods I love to have it on if it is in the house.

It is now in the trash can soon to be in the dumpster and if I have any sense about me I'll never buy it again. Rather, I'll have the ability to suggest it to my non-pancreatic challenged friends and to always have very fond memories of it.

The bottomline is that I would rather have an extended life than any spice which inflames my pancreas!

Additional Information:

Pancreatitis: Healthy Foods

Pancreatitis Diet Tips and Information

Cooking With Pancreatitis: Spices

<span class=One major change in my diet, after being diagnosed with pancreatitis, is that I veer from spicy foods and refrain from adding the to the dishes I prepare. At restaurants, I request the spices be held or order items that are not spicy.

Spices are hard on my pancreas. Spices can create a pancreatic flare-up or add in a flare-up if my pancreas is already vulnerable due to other elements - if I have the flu, stress, too much food in general, etc.

Therefore, in the name of feeling good I simply choose not to eat spicy food. Spicy food will hurt my pancreas. I want to feel good and keep my pancreas as healthy as possible for as long as possible. No need to tempt fate or lose wanted years from my life. The elimination of spicy food seems to be a wise choice.

That being said some spices are considered anti-inflammatory. Therefore, it would make sense that using such spices would be a benefit to the pancreas rather than a hindrance.

I've listed some anti-inflammatory spices below:

Black Pepper

Related Information:

Top 12 Superfood Herbs and Spices

Enhance Your Anti-Inflammatory Diet With the Right Spices

The Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet


Friday, December 10, 2010

Pancreatitis & Reducing Stress

stress pancreasA few months back, I was very busy with a project I was working on and found my hours to be non-stop from when I awoke until I passed out from exhaustion.

During this same time, my pancreas began to flare up and become irritated and inflamed.

It took a couple months for the pancreas to heal and to where I could eat without pain and had an easier time with solid foods.

What I learned was that I am not the sort of person who can afford to live a stressful lifestyle.

Now, when something is happening that in the past I would have reacted to I just now thepancreas reduce stress situation is not worth getting myself worked up over.

When it comes to work, I changed my schedule, began to prioritize differently and have become more efficient to keep from getting too stressed out.

I want to live. For me to do this, I must respect the needs of my pancreas. My pancreas does not like stress. Therefore, I work to live a more stress-free lifestyle. Of course, the added benefit is that I get to live a more stress-free lifestyle. So it's all good!

Additional Information:




Monday, December 6, 2010

Pancreatitis & Baby Rice Cereal

pancreatitis and baby cerealA cereal I've always loved, I still love and so does my pancreas. I dunno about my pancreas but I feel just like this cute baby when it comes to my baby rice cereal!

Gerber's Baby Rice Cereal has always been one of my favorite comfort foods.

A little cereal.

A little water.

An ample amount of honey.


Comfort food for me and my pancreas.

It's like you're eating for two when you have pancreatitis and the goal is to make everybody happy... especially the pancreas! Otherwise it turns into the world's bratty kid that you really don't want around.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pancreatitis & Lentil Soup

lentil soup and pancreatitisOver the 2+ years since I was diagnosed with pancreatitis I've made lentil soup on occasion.

I make it from scratch. It's easy.

1. Get the biggest pot I can find.

2. Empty an entire bag of lentils into the pot.

3. Add a can of tomato paste or sauce (optional).

4. Add a little salt (completely optional)

5. Bring to boil.

6. Lower temperature to a simmer.

7. Allow to continue to simmer for a while. How long depends on you. The longer it simmers the thicker the consistency. I generally leave it on the stove for about 24 hours then move it into the fridge or just leave it on a low heat on the stove putting more water into it as needed. Since it is best to have fewer lentils and more broth I tend to add water more than I did before I had pancreatitis.

small portions pancreatitisHint: One of the easier ways to decrease the amount of soup you are eating or putting into your bowl is simply to decrease the size of the bowl. Use a small serving bowl or a child's bowl. I have a couple cute little bowls I use which I used to use for condiments. It's easier not to serve myself too much if I keep the serving size small to begin with.

Even after having pancreatitis for a couple years now it is still easy to forget how small an appropriate sized serving is. It does not help my pancreas to eat too muchsmall serving pancreatitis and can inevitably lead to another attack. Therefore, I don't want to overeat. It is always better to eat a few smaller meals than to ever overeat. Not being able to eat due to previously having overeaten is a bummer. I don't know about you but I hate losing weight and the easiest way for me to lose weight is to have yet another attack. Yuck! I'd rather just eat smaller portions and I have found that smaller bowls help.

Enjoy the lentil soup!

Some spices are bad and hurt my pancreas.

Can Orange Juice Cause Pancreatitis?

orange juice and pancreatitisSomeone reached this site by asking if orange juice can cause pancreatitis.

While this is not a question that ever occurred to me before, it could be an important question especially considering my background.

I have always been an avid drinker of orange juice. So much so that I've actually been warned not to drink so much and told that drinking so much orange juice could rip away my stomach lining.

I never listened to any of this and wrote it off as nonsense.

Nonetheless, it is important to note that there is someone out there who is wondering if orange juice could cause pancreatitis and that I have always drunk an awful lot of orange juice. Well, not anymore. My pancreas cannot handle it anymore. In case it is noteworthy, I preferred Minute Maid with Calcium.

I've read that over time the pancreas - in pancreatic patients - becomes calcified. If orange juice has anything to do with pancreatitis would calcium fortified orange juice be even harder on the pancreas?

Another interjection is that I'm hypoglycemic.

Okay, that's all I got. Did anyone else who suffers from pancreatitis drink an overabundance of pancreatitis and calcium orange juiceorange juice.

Seems like a silly train of thought but it's not. At this point, most everything important about pancreatitis, what causes it and how to live with it is unknown. Therefore, similarities in pancreatitic patients should be noted... even if it is something as simple as an orange juice addition.

One of the big problems is that people with chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer don't seem to live long enough for the medical profession to learn enough about our disease to make much headway with it. Therefore, any patterns or similarities should be noted. We don't have to have all the answered. We just want to log our findings, questions, progress and what we experience and see as similar patterns so that hopefully this information can be used to help us and others!

Note: If you have pancreatitis, this does not mean it is okay to drink alcohol. It is not. If you have pancreatitis you cannot drink alcohol anymore. EVER!

Pancreatitis: Berries & Honey

pancreatitis and dietI eat a decent amount of frozen berries with honey. Fresh berries would be better, most likely, but I don't like to shop all the time, berries aren't always in season and I like having an assortment of berries in the house all the time. Hence, frozen berries.

Note: Although this picture has honey, berries and milk I do not add milk - only honey and berries for me. Pancreatic calcification is something I am trying to avoid.

Berries with honey do not seem to hurt my pancreas. If they did, I wouldn't be eating them. Things that hurt I tend to veer away from.

The other day I learned that honey is fat-free. I've always been thin and have never needed to watch my calories or weight so I've never given these things a second thought.

Pancreatitis is making me look at food a little differently. I no longer eat fatty meats such as steak or use heavy cream in my coffee. Rich foods tend to be fattier which hurts my pancreas about a half hour to an hour later. I don't like how that feels. I know it is bad for longevity, so I have learned (am still learning, I'm sure) to stay away from such foods.

I'm a typical Californian. I've grown up with healthy food - like fresh fruits and natural foods, pancreatitis berries honeynever really one for processed foods - so to some degree I probably gravitate toward more appropriate choices for my pancreas naturally.

Today, after having made myself a bowl of strawberries, red raspberries and blackberries with an ample amount of honey on top I took a look at the nutritional fact on the back of the packages wondering what the fat content is of these food items that I enjoy so much.

Great Value No Sugar Added Blueberries contain 1g fat w/0 grams saturated fat
Great Value No Sugar Added Blackberries contain 0g fat w/0g saturated fat
Great Value No Sugar Added Strawberries contain 0g fat w/0g saturated fat
Great Value No Sugar Added Red Rasberries contain 0g fat w/0g saturated fat

fruit and pancreatitis

Thought for the day: Frozen fruit might not be as nutritious as fresh fruit but if it ends up frozen fruit or worse eating habits I'd rather have the frozen fruit in the freeze and a healthier pancreas. I'm not perfect and neither are my shopping habits. I just try to make it as easy as possible for my pancreas to last longer.

Remember, if your pancreas hurts when you eat don't eat. Wait. Allow it to heal. It can't heal if you don't allow it the time it needs. It might take a looong time. That's okay. When you can drink water. Do that. When you can have clear broth. Do that. When you can have runny tapioca. Do that. Be patient. It's all good.

Never drink alcohol. It's not for you if you have pancreatitis. There are no exceptions to this rule. It doesn't matter if you want just one drink, if it is a special occasion or your birthday. You don't drink alcohol anymore. End of story. Lots of other things to enjoy. Enjoy life!

Have a great day!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pancreatitis & Fat Free Honey!

honey and pancreatitisHoney is fat free.

Yep! That's right.

Zero grams of fat.

0 grams of fat.

0% fat.

Honey has NO fat!

I just like saying that! As someone with pancreatitis this is very good news!

pancreatitis and fat free honeyThis is good for us with pancreatitis who are trying to find a sweetener.

I haven't used sugar or fake sweeteners for years. If I sweeten something it is with sugar.

One time when I was have a hard time with my pancreas and not really able to eat I had a spoonful of honey and felt a nice feeling in my stomach as if it might even be helpful with healing.

Helpful with healing and 0% fat. Oh yeah. I like honey!