Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pancreatitis and Oxicodone

Oxycodone pancreatitisA reader commented about her use of Oxicodone. The entire comment is on the Hot Flashes: Chronic Pancreatitis or Menopause post. Here is an exerupt from it:

"I have chronic disk pain in my upper back and neck so, I had been taking Oxicodone for two years for that and recently discontinued the use of it and switched to a non-narcotic pain medicine called Tramadol, this switch occurred about two weeks before I started feeling the symptoms of the Pancreatitis."

Recently, my dog was not feeling well. I began researching his symptoms online. It appeared that many dogs acquired Pancreatitis as a result of medication prescribed by Vets.

The woman's comment above reminded me of this drug/pancreatitis connection. So, I looked it up.
Oxycontin Pancreas

It appears that Oxicodone can cause acute pancreatitis per the site:

"Use In Pancreatic/Biliary Tract Disease
Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi and should be used with caution in patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis. Opioids like Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets may cause increases in the serum amylase level."

No Drugs pancreatitis
Prescription drug-related pancreatitis might explain why it seems like so many younger people (women in particular, whom often opt for prescription drugs over illegal drugs) would be coming down with pancreatitis.

I don't take pain killers for my pancreas. Yes, I feel discomfort there often but I know it and what caused it because I can feel it since I am not on pain killers which can mask the pain and symptoms. By feeling the discomfort I can detect what has caused it and from there minimize the discomfort by not over-eating or from staying away from this or that fatty food, etc. If the discomfort is masked then I am more likely to continue the behaviors which aggravated the situation in the first place potentially causing greater harm and permanent damage and scarring to the pancreas. I'd rather feel what is going on, know what has caused it and change my behaviors and diet so the discomfort stops and my pancreas is at ease.

To me, pain killers seem like a quick fix with deadly consequences. I guess it's fair to say I'm not looking for either. It just doesn't seem like pain killers are actually the easier, softer way - more like, they are the quiet killer.

Ginger and Pancreatitis
And example of my approach to abdomen discomfort is making an anti-inflammatory tea which will decrease the swollen pancreas thereby taking away the pain and discomfort while protecting the pancreas and it's longevity.

I understand the fear of the pain and how that can take a person straight to the bottle of prescription drugs for immediate relief. Maybe an option would be to have pink ginger which tastes great if eaten straight and works immediately. For me, the affects are immediate. It's an option which a person could try. If it doesn't work within 2 minutes then the medicine cabinet is still there.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving and a Pancreatic Attack

Pancreatitis and ThanksgivingTomorrow is Thanksgiving. I will be making a twelve-pound turkey.

I'm one of those simple eaters with simple taste. You know the kind, the ones who don't like to mix their foods and aren't too adventurous. Yup, that's me. Nonetheless, I love to eat and I am so looking forward to eating some nice juicy turkey for Thanksgiving.

turkey and pancreatitis
The problem with pancreatitis is that when your eyes are bigger than your stomach and you end up eating so much you feel like you could float your pancreas can't handle it and there is a chance that a person who suffers from problems with the pancreas could have a pancreatic attack.

So, the goal is balance. Enjoy the food but don't over eat. If you put to much food on your plate then allow for that error rather than risking an attack.

If I feel my pancreas getting the better of me I go for certain things in my cupboard to fight off the inflammation as soon as possible because I have found that it can stave off a pancreatic flare-up.

Things I do to Fight Off a Pancreatic Attack
Pancreatitis Tea

1. Chrissy's Tea is something I have fairly regularly because it can help bring down the inflammation and also helps with liver issues. When my pancreas is sore this is the direction I most often take for relief. The tea can be made with any number of different anti-inflammatories including fresh ginger from the grocery store and dandelions from your yard.

2. Eat Pink Ginger. This is the same ginger you will find at a sushi restaurant. If I can feel inflammation coming on I go for the ginger and eat several slices straight up. Its effects are pretty much immediate. You can feel the difference right away. Pink ginger is available at my local food store... and probably your local grocery market, as well. It is something I like to always keep on hand, just in case. It's always helpful and readily available.

3. Marijuana soothes the symptoms of a pancreatic attack. I found this
Marijuana and Pancreatitis
out while I was in Amsterdam. I very much recommend it, if it's your thing. Otherwise there are plenty of other options that also work. I do not use marijuana to stave off a pancreatic attack simply because it is not legal in my state. If it were legal, I would keep it on hand for when I needed it and if it ever becomes legal in my state I will certainly do that. It doesn't take much as all. You can eat it straight. Just a tiny bit is enough to do the trick while still not being enough to alter your mind. My suggestion is if you know your kid or neighbor smokes and you are mid attack ask for it. If your system reacts anything like mine then you'll feel the difference. No, it doesn't mean you can go for the munchies but it is an option if it is around and you are comfortable with it.

Wobenzym N and pancreatitis
4. Wobenzym N is something that I haven't used in a while. It can be found in your local health food store or bought online. The lady who sold it to me said that it's like gold when it comes to cancer. It makes me very dehydrated so I make sure to drink a lot of water with it. I find that dehydration is very hard on my pancreas. I do like to take things to are proactive in fighting cancer. I wouldn't like my chronic pancreatitis to turn into cancer or to have problems with my liver which are both very real options for a person who suffers from chronic pancreatitis.

I don't take medication for pancreatic pain. I don't want to mask the pain. Rather, I want the pain to go away by healing the wound (the pancreatic flare-up). Therefore, my remedies tend toward decreasing inflammation and trying to prevent it in the first place.

The best ways I have found to fight off a pancreatic attack are through eating small meals that do not include spicy or fatty foods and not drinking alcohol. Stress is also very hard on the pancreas so try to avoid those pesky little things that really tend to break the harmony in life. I know that can be difficult during the holidays. It's always good to keep in mind though.

Enjoy the holidays!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pancreatitis & Thanksgiving

thanksgiving turkey and pancreatitisIt is possible that I am beginning to have a better understanding of and relationship with food. This more advanced relationship will help with the holidays.

It seems like now might be the perfect time to talk a little about how to survive Thanksgiving without enduring a pancreatic attack.
Alcohol should not be considered an option. People with pancreatitis have a pancreas that is too weak or dysfunctional to properly digest alcohol. Therefore, the only safe option is to stay away from it.

Some people are usually used to celebrating with an alcoholic drink. It is fine that such a place
Martinelli's Sparkling Cider
is where you have come from but it is now time to realize that drinking and holidays are not where you are at anymore. Why? Because you want to keep living for as long as possible and you would like to do that pain free. Therefore, celebrate with something that won't hurt you. Martinelli's Apple Cider might be a nice choice. (Hint: The Martinelli's Website has a whole section on non-alcoholic drinks!) Maybe a cold premade anti-inflammatory tea that you can that you can put in a high baller or something like that if it makes you feel better to have a drink in your hand.

Calories in Turkey





Calorie in Turkey-Dark Meat

3 ounces

Excellent source of protein.


Calories in Turkey Gizzards

3 ounces

Excellent source of protein. Good amounts of zinc and B Vitamins.


Calories in Turkey Liver

3 ounces

Excellent source of protein. Good source of Vitamin A, folate, zinc and riboflavin.


Calories in White Turkey

3 ounces

Excellent source of protein.


Maybe a simple green salad with sliced carrots and radishes and slivered almonds? Remember not to weigh the salad down with added calories. Sugared walnuts are bad. Dried cranberries have added sugar. If you use a salad dressing, perhaps opting for a 'lite' or fat-free dressing will be proactive in protecting your fat intake.
The potassium in potatoes is necessary. Smothering the potato in condiments kind of defeats the point. I love lots of sour cream. Thankfully, there is fat-free sour cream. Fat Free Margarine or the equivalent will be easier on the pancreas then a rich butter.

The goal is to be able to eat and enjoy the holiday food while not suffering the ramifications of a pancreatic flare-up as a result. The goal is balance.

If you eat sugar and want a dessert than go for a fat-free dessert. There are fat-free pies and chocolate dishes.
If you are spending the holidays with others than be participatory and bring a dish. No need to tell them it is because you need a fat-free option. Heck, do you even need to tell them it is fat-free. Just be a helpful guest and bring a food dish. This will also help ensure that there is food to eat. If your sister or friend is also going and the group doesn't know you have pancreatitis maybe your sister or friend can also bring a fat-free dish which will mean you will have at least two dishes you know will be safe to eat. No one needs to know your circumstances if you are a private person. None of this needs to be a big deal. It's just something you can set up as a safety
measure, a precaution to ensure you can both enjoy the holiday in a participatory way while not suffering from a pancreatic flare-up as a result.

Holidays and Pancreatitis
If Auntie Mame is insisting you eat a little of this or that and you know it will hurt you but she's trying to guilt you into it just look at her lovingly directly in the eyes and say, "Auntie Mame, I love you and I want to see you again next year but eating that could kill me so I'm not going to have it so that next year I can come back and see you again." Smile, kiss her on the forehead and continue with what you were doing. She'll probably back off.

Enjoy the holidays!

Note: The above is for not meant for people who are just out of the hospital and not on solids. Each person is different and their process to recovery and maintenance will vary. Toast w/Jam, Chicken broth, baby cereal, jello, tapioca pudding, pureed veggies, etc are going to be much better options for many pancreatitis sufferers who are feeling more sensitive and tender and who have systems that are not in the mood for solids. Some people will only be ready for an IV hook-up. Some will only be ready for clear liquids. We're all different and each stage of recovery needs to be respected and appreciated.

Holidays do not affect our current stage of pancreatitis and what a person, at that stage, can eat. Being alive while enduring a life with pancreatitis gives us an awful lot to be thankful for... and isn't that really what Thanksgiving is about. Homemade Turkey pictures and turkey hats are just as wonderful as any other aspect of Thanksgiving. There are many ways to celebrate the holiday and thankfully we are alive to enjoy our options!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Curry Squid with Rice - Pancreatic Diet

squid calamari pancreasDeep sea fish are high in iodine. Iodine is necessary for proper thyroid function. The thyroid is part of the endocrine system. The pancreas is part of the endocrine system. Therefore, my thought is the healthier I can keep my thyroid and endocrine system, as a whole, the easier things will be on my pancreas. As it is, I have problems with my thyroid so I am trying to take special note of things that could help to keep it strong or improve its condition.

Eating is often a difficult proposition for people with pancreatic problems. My pancreas likes to
squid curry and pancreatitis
become inflamed at the thought of food. Therefore, a goal of mine is to keep my pancreas from becoming inflamed while still eating... and preferably while enjoying my diet!

Today, I made Squid (or Calamari, if you prefer) with rice. The spices I used are ground black pepper, iodized salt, curry and turmeric.

Curry and turmeric are anti-inflammatory spices. My experience has been that these spices tend to decrease pancreatic irritability.

I cooked the squid in a pan (Frozen squid which I took out of the freezer yesterday) with iodized salt, freshly ground black pepper, turmeric and curry.

In a separate pan, I cooked the rice to which I added curry and iodized salt.

Note: I am not currently experiencing pancreatic pain. If I were then I would probably not be eating solids. Rather, I would probably be better off with either straight liquids - if I needed to allow my pancreas time to rest and heal - or easier foods to digest such as yogurt, baby cereal, tapioca pudding and perhaps oatmeal and toast with jam or maybe an english muffin.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pancreatitis & Chicken Lasagna

Low Fat LasagnaLast night, I made a Chicken Lasagna for the first time. I used hormone free, free range, ground chicken instead of ground beef because I thought it might be easier on my system. I love red meat but I keep reading how it isn't good for someone which pancreatic issues.

My step-mom always made lasagna with cottage cheese and to this day it is still the only way I like it. Therefore, I used Fat Free Cottage Cheese with Skim Ricotta on top. Everything else was fairly typical. Pepper, salt, oregano, tomato paste and sliced tomatoes, garlic, dried minced onions, a bay leaf.

I used the lasagna noodles that don't need to be boil. They came out quite soggy. I strongly recommend taking the time to boil the regular lasagna noodles as they are much better!

I followed the recipe (less my substitutions) from The Joy of Cooking. I also eliminated the mozzarella and Parmesan.
The assumption is that fat free, low fat and skim substitutes will make eating such filling meal easier on my pancreas. I ate a very large piece about 45 mins ago and while I can tell my system can feel it slightly, it is slight. (Note: Still felt fine 2 hours out. Had another piece. Still felt fine two more hours out.... but finally full!) Okay, so I didn't need to eat a piece the size of a square pan... but I love lasagna and it was really, really good! Man, my self control is limited when it comes to certain foods!
Chicken Lasagna

I love ground beef in my lasagna and really wasn't sure how the ground chicken would substitute for the beef. Much
to my surprise, it was perfect! I didn't miss the beef at all. I'm not sure the chicken was any leaner so I'll need to look into that next time. Progress, not perfection.

I was also quite skeptical about using fat free cottage cheese instead of cottage cheese made with whole milk, but again, it was really good! I couldn't tell the difference at all. It's possible that I'm finally getting used to fat free foods. Or, it's possible that it is simply as good with fat free cottage cheese. Either way, it was delicious, so it's all good!

I love lasagna! I'm so glad that I haven't had to eliminate it from my diet!
Note: This is not a meal I would try if I were just getting back on solids. This is a meal that I am having while learning and exploring how I can eat the foods I like without hurting my pancreas in the process. Sometimes, when my pancreas isn't being overly problematic, I don't mind living with it. I'd really like it if I could eat more of some of the things I like. People who are better about eating low fat all the time probably have a much easier time when it comes to not irritating the pancreas.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pancreatitis & Shrimp Dinner

Pancreatitis and ShrimpI love shrimp. It never seems to hurt my pancreas, seems easy to digest and tastes great!
Also!! You can cook it with turmeric and curry. Curry is made from turmeric. I use them both anyway. :-) Turmeric is a known anti-inflammatory. Since foods can inflame the pancreas I love it when I can add anti-inflammatories to my meals. The goal is to counter-attack any onset of inflammation from the get-go.
So, I put some shrimp in a pan, Add a little margarine or olive oil. Add some iodized salt and freshly ground pepper. A pinch of curry and a pinch of turmeric. Two bay leaves. A little shrimp juice in the bottom of the pan. And voila! A mid-low heat for 12-20 minutes and I have a
Turmeric and Pancreatitis
fabulous meal that doesn't bother my pancreas and tastes fantastic!

Food for thought: If there is left-over sauce it takes fantastic with a little curried rice. Rice is fairly easy on the pancreas (for people who are back on solids) and again, the curry is an anti-inflammatory which I assume to be helpful in reducing my chances of bloating and discomfort in my abdomen.

The happier I keep my pancreas, the longer I get to live. Well... at least that is the hypothesis I'm working with. :-)

If you have any recipes that work for you, please share them! Especially when we're newly on a diet which is kinder to our pancreas it can be difficult to know what foods and we can eat.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fighting Off The Flu & Chronic Pancreatitis

Flu and PancreatitisI was out with a group of people earlier this evening and everyone was recovering from the flu. I've been fairly nervous about getting the flu recently and I'm not sure how my body with react to it. Although, I have had the flu before since being diagnosed with pancreatitis.

So, in hopes of not getting the flu I am drinking my anti-inflammatory teas and drinking juices with high levels of Vitamin C. I don't drink a lot of juice but will have an ounce or two at a time. Hopefully that will be enough. Plus, I think I'll take some Vitamin C and acidophilus (which seems to help coat and protect my stomach).

I'm also going through menopause so sometimes it's 'Is it fever or is it a hot flash!'. Ahhh, life!
Stay well, everyone!

Happy Health to you!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How to Stop an Acute Pancreatic Attack

Acute Pancreatic AttackLast Friday night, I went to the emergency hospital. It was the first time since my initial severe acute pancreatic attack back in March of 2008 that I had returned to a hospital on behalf of myself.

The blood work showed my Lipase level at 526 and Amylase at 314. According to the National Institutes of Health 'The normal range for Amylase is 23 to 85 units per liter (U/L). Some laboratories give a range of 40 to 140 U/L.'. The hospital nurse wrote on my paperwork
Acute Pancreatic Attack
that the normal range for Lipase was between 28-100. Although I've read a range from 7-160. Any way you look at it both my Lipase and Amylase levels were far too high with the Lipase levels within the range of signaling that I was having an Acute Pancreatic attack. I was sent home and told that I was fine.

The following day, I wasn't feeling any better. In fact, I was feeling somewhat worse. So, I went online to see what the levels meant and to see if I could make any sense out of it. I realized that from the Lipase range the nurse gave me coupled with my Amylase numbers that I was probably in the midst of an Acute Pancreatic attack, that my Chronic Pancreatitis had turned into Pancreatic Cancer or that it was a Bile Duct Issue. We had ruled out a Duodenal Ulcer the night before.

Acute Pancreatic Attack
The reason I had gone to the Emergency Hospital was because I wasn't sure than my symptoms were related to my pancreas. The symptoms felt different. I thought it was possible for the root of the problem to lie elsewhere. If this were the case, I didn't want to create more harm to my system or mask the problem by drinking my teas. So, off to the hospital I went in an attempt to better understand what was happening in my abdomen.

Once the results came back and I was told that the problem was not a Duodenal Ulcer I figured it would be fine for me to drink my Chrissy's Tea. So once returning from the hospital after my Friday night adventure, I got out my trusted teas and started drinking them.

It wasn't until Saturday that I read up on Lipase and Amylase levels realizing that I might be mid attack. At which point, I decided to return to the Emergency Room. The urgency was based on the fact that an Acute Pancreatic attack can shut down other organs killing the patient. I didn't want to be that patient.
Acute Pancreatic Attack

The new tests were done almost exactly 18 hours later. The new blood work showed my Lipase level at 51 and my Amylase level at 130. The Lipase level was very much within range no matter which level ranges were considered and my Amylase levels were high or above range depending on which ranges were considered.

I was very surprised my levels had dropped so significantly. The doctor on duty also had a CatScan done. (The night before a ultrasound was done and everything looked fine. The Duodenum could not be seen, so although that was my main contention spot no results or findings were evaluated for it on Friday night's visit to the ER). The Cat Scan revealed that I have no masses. This means that I have no tumors - most importantly, it means my Chronic
Acute Pancreatic Attack
Pancreatitis has not turned into Pancreatic Cancer.

My assumption (and it is only that) is that my tea, Chrissy's Tea, brought the levels down so quickly. From what I read, it typically takes 5-7 days for Lipase levels to return to normal. Chrissy's Tea is filled with anti-inflammatories. I use it to reduce inflammation. It also has some antiseptic herbs which I assume can help with bacteria or other problems that might be going on internally. Some of the herbs focus on the pancreas, breast, cysts and tumors while other focus on the gallbladder and liver, while others focus on menopause and others on bacteria, sinusitis and congestion and some help vision or the thyroid, etc. Basically, the teas I use work on strengthening the endocrine system.
Acute Pancreatic Attack

I understand the medical community doesn't have the cure for pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer. I also understand that I don't want to become a statistic in the meantime. From my most recent hospital visit, I am even more of a believe than I was before (and I believed firmly in my approach before) that the teas help me stay alive for longer. The teas seem to be the best at fighting off or decreasing inflammation. Anything that ends in 'itis' means inflammation. My understanding is that inflammation is a precursor to scarring and scarring is a precursor to pancreatic cancer. Therefore, if I can keep the inflammation at bay, then I have a better chance of keeping the scarring at bay resulting of less chance of getting pancreatic cancer sooner rather than later.

I doubt that I will always be able to keep from getting scarring of the pancreas. But let's say that by keeping the scarring to a minimum I can increase my lifespan by 5 years... or 10 years... or dare I hope for 15 or 20 years. I know that if I live long enough this disease will most likely
Acute Pancreatic Attack
kill me. So, that's not the conversation. The conversation is longevity and quality of life. I don't want an Acute Pancreatic Attack to take out an organ which is a very real possibility particularly when it takes a long time to get the attack under control. So, the better I can maintain my pancreas and the quicker I can get attacks under control, the better.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stress and Chronic Pancreatitis

Earlier today something happened that stressed me out. Generally, I remember that nothing is worth getting stressed out over and I have, for the most part, learned to let things go. But earlier this evening, I just let something bother and now I can feel the effects of it in the form of inflammation.

My immediate response was to realize that stress just isn't worth it, particularly when it's over something stupid. Second, was to be grateful that I've been feeling so well that I've been healthy enough to forget that stress can inflame my pancreas and make me more vulnerable. Third was to take the pink ginger out of the refrigerator and eat a healthy amount directly out of the jar. Fourth was to make a cup of anti-inflammatory tea to further help reduce the swelling.

Whatever it is that is bothering me doesn't need to be so important that it can cause an pancreatic attack which could inevitably take my life. Nothing is that important.

Note: I also had pizza twice today. First was an individualized cheese pizza around lunchtime then around dinnertime I had a slice of cheese. I don't usually eat pizza. On the slice I had at dinnertime I put a little (rather dull) chili pepper. It is possible that the pizza and chili pepper created the flare-up rather than the stress.

It is possible that the stress caused it. It is possible that a combination of stress, chili pepper and pizza. Don't know. Just wanted to make sure I was giving an full assessment of what might have caused the current flare-up. Had I not gotten stressed or eaten the pizza I seriously doubt I would be suffering from a flare-up right now. Because I have pancreatitis, it is always important that I treat my pancreas with care and respect. Every time I forget to do that potential creates more scar tissue and damage to my pancreas with the very real potential to shorten my lifespan.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pancreatitis Pain & Diagnosis - Letter From PD

Thank you for sharing your personal experiences with Pancreatitis. I was specifically intrigued by the lack of pain with your case. I am a 40 year old heavy drinker with swelling in the upper left quadrant. Aside from the dull aches under my ribs, in my back and left chest, I experience none of the other symptoms like jaundice, oily stool, sick to stomach, weight loss etc. I am wondering what were the symptoms that provoked you to go to the ER? Like when yours was discovered, I feel my pancreas may be huge at this point. Best, PD

Hi PD,

Yeah, your symptoms sound very similar to what mine were... and are, at times.

I did reflexology on my feet. That was how I initially found out about the pancreas in the first place. The bottom of my foot was sore in the spot that pinpointed to the pancreas.

(article continues below)

I had never heard of the pancreas before and eventually looked it up online. I didn't pay too much attention to it over a period of time - probably about three years - until the symptoms seemed to become clearer and perhaps more regular then ongoing.

The only way I can describe what sent me to the hospital is that when I would drink it felt like a waterfall was going over the center of the bottom of my ribcage in the middle.

I had had problems over the past several months before I had gone to the hospital. There were times when I had stopped drinking for a few weeks and times when I had pretty much stopped eating.
I knew there was a serious problem from the 'waterfall' feeling and other symptoms and by the constant soreness on the bottom of my feet in the places that would indicate the pancreas.

If you are having a problem as a result of your drinking then you might consider that you might have a problem with alcohol.

Acute severe pancreatitis is not kind. It has an incredibly high mortality rate, the long term does not necessarily look bright for many who do not deal with it early and even some who do. Eating can end up being difficult and burdensome for the rest of your life.

Pancreatitis can sometimes happen once, or a few times, or it can even take a couple years before one recovers from it then it go away (this is what I've been told but not what I have experienced) and sometimes it can it can turn into chronic pancreatitis which (if you live long enough with it - statistics say that 50% of people diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis die within 2 years) can turn into pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest and most painful forms of cancer. People don't live with it long enough for doctors to be able to study it for very long. It's basically a hopeless disease at this point.

Look at Steve Jobs. He had all the health care money could buy but there was only so long he could live with the disease even though his form of pancreatic cancer was one of the mildest with some of the most hopeful statistics.

My suggestion is that you stop drinking, fix what's going on in your life which has put you in a position to want to drink so much and move forward.

I have heard that Alcoholics Anonymous has meetings in most large cities throughout the world and even many small cities and towns in the US.

It might be worth looking into.
A sonogram or ultrasound are options to have the state of the pancreas diagnosed. A simple blood test (ask them to look for pancreatitis specifically) can tell you if there is a concern with the pancreas.

Another thing to keep in mind is that often the liver becomes the problem. So, even if the pancreatitis doesn't kill you the problems that then can occur with the liver can kill. Again, if you relate this to Steve Jobs, his liver gave out before his pancreas did. Although, as of today, I do not believe the actual cause of his death has yet to be announced.

I believe that each of us has a biological system makeup that is slightly different from everyone else based on lifestyle, diet, etc. Therefore, it only makes sense that the symptoms one person feels will vary from what another person experiences.

Do you have bloating after you eat? If so, it could be a sign that your pancreas cannot handle that much food intake. This is my case. So, for me, less food more often seems like the easier, softer way for the health of my pancreas for the long term.

How to locate the Pancreas Reflexology Zone

Detailed Reflexology Chart

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pancreatitis & Strong Coffee

coffee pancreasI like really strong coffee. Years before my problems with pancreatitis surfaced, I had run into problems that can occur from drinking too much coffee. Now, I try (sometimes more diligently than others) to refrain from going overboard with my caffeine intake.

About a week ago, I bought some expresso. Man do I ever lovely finely ground, thick, rich coffee.

It caused problems for my pancreas. My back became sore. It was no good. I immediately remembered what a NY doctor said to me recently while we were traveling from the airport to the city. He said that people don't drink enough water and so their systems become toxic (paraphrasing). He's thoughts on water intake made me think that perhaps my system would
pancreatitis ginger
appreciate it if I cleansed it with a little water.

Knowing that my pancreas was inflamed, I also got some ginger out of the refrigerator and downed several pieces. Then, I made my favorite tea, Chrissy's Tea, which always helps as an anti-inflammatory.

Since then, it's possible that... perhaps, I'm being a little better about not drinking coffee quite so think or quite as much of it. I still need to go to the store and buy some regular coffee to mix with my extra fabulous expresso paste. I will. Humph!

While it is good to know what can help stave off a pancreatic flare-up and to have those things in the house at all time, and to take them immediately, it is better to avoid those things that can cause a pancreatic attack in the first place.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pancreatitis & Laptops

laptop pancreatitisDo you think resting a laptop on the region of the pancreas cooks it?

Actually, I'm not really kidding.

I used to rest my laptop on my lap. It actually would rest on my upper abdomen. It was warm. Very warm at times.

Would that be the equivalent of leaving something on the stove on a low heat? If so, would the laptop, in effect, be cooking the pancreas.

I used to think the waves from the laptop might have hurt my pancreas. But maybe that wasn't
laptop pancreas
it at all. Maybe it was simply the heat radiating from the laptop into my pancreas and literally cooking it as though I were a turkey being prepped for Thanksgiving dinner.

Now, if I am using a laptop it either rests on a laptop lap desk or on an actual table. I no longer allow the laptop to rest directly on my abdomen.

It feels wrong... unsafe... when the laptop is directly on my stomach. I've never heard anyone ever say anything about my hypothesis. Don't care.

pancreas laptops
There is a saying, 'If it doesn't feel right, don't do it.' It doesn't feel right to have the laptop on my abdomen so I no longer do it.

I don't think that action alone caused my severe acute pancreatitis
but it could have attributed to it.

Just thought I'd put it out there...

Pancreatitis & Surrender

pancreatitis surrenderLife just isn't as easy these days as I would like.

I'm on the cusp of life changes.

Since I have chronic pancreatitis and stress has set off a pancreatic flare-up in the past, it is my goal to handle these changes as effectively, directly and expediently as possible without any undue stress.

For me, surrendering to a situation is helpful. Sometimes I need to remember to keep my
pancreatitis life
expectations in check. Generally, if I am disappointed, it is because my expectations have not been met. Therefore, it is less stressful for me to alter my expectations than it is for me to stress out because they weren't met.

This doesn't mean I don't trudge the road of happy destiny and work my hind end off to accomplish my goals and live the life I want to live -
particularly with the looming assumed decreased lifespan of so many who suffer from chronic pancreatitis. Instead, it means that I 'let go' of those things that didn't live up to what I expected whether it be a goal, a situation, an event, a person or anything. Another way of saying it is that I do the footwork and let go of the results meaning that I can only control my actions not the outcome.

It took a very long time for me to heal from my last flare-up. Each pancreatic attack seems to
pancreas surrender
decrease my food intake levels and tolerance and, in my opinion, probably decreases my overall lifespan and years remaining living.

These days, I try to respect that life isn't always on my terms and sometimes it can be tumultuous yet if I respond as water does my pancreas will be better off and I might potentially
live longer than if I react poorly and set off another attack.

It is important during times of stress that I don't choose rich foods. Stress and rich foods is an awful combination for my pancreas.

Faith and action toward living... and living the life I want is my choice today. It serves me better than the alternatives.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pancreatitis & Serenity

Pancreatitis and SerenitySometimes, some life situations don't promote serenity. Rather, they tend to induce stress.

The reality is that all of us have stress in our lives. Some situations are simply out of our control and we do our best to change it or whatever needs to be done to rectify the circumstances.

I've been going through a lot of this sort of thing lately.

For a person who suffers from chronic pancreatitis and as someone who has had an attack come on at least in part as a result of stress, I am fully aware of the importance to keep my stress levels under control.
serenity pancreas
Denial of the problems isn't the answer for me. Some problems can't be resolved overnight. Some can. I'm trying to 'let go' of the things that I worry about but have no control over. The things that I have control over and situations I can change I am working toward changing.

These changes will take time. So the goal is to remain serene, work toward a positive solution, and remain calm in the process. Exercise (walking, stretching and swimming), eating right, working toward my goals are all things I can do to decrease my stress levels and work toward serenity. I am doing these things.

pancreas serenity prayerFor people like me who suffer from chronic pancreatitis, it is extremely important to respect what stress can do to us. It can become uncontrollable and can kill us. My last flare-up was really difficult to get under control. It took months.

I'd rather be proactive and try to prevent the flare-up now then hopefully recover from it later.

Peace. Love. Joy. Happiness... and positive change.

The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can

And the wisdom to know the difference

The Serenity Prayer and Pancreatitis

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pancreatitis & Diluted Juice

Generally speaking, I don't care for diluted juice. I'd rather have an ounce or two of full strength juice. But today I was Queen of Thirsty and decided to just add the water immediately to the juice rather than wait until after I drank the juice to refill it the cup with water.
A lot of people dilute juice. Even people who don't have pancreatitis. It's just easier on the stomach, I suppose.
Personally, I don't like flavored water. I prefer water.
But if you happen to be one of the many, many people who don't mind - or even enjoy - diluted juice, it is good to know that it is probably much easier on the pancreas than full strength juice.
I would say my juice today was about 1.5 ounces of juice and perhaps 6.5 ounces of water.

Part of protecting my pancreas is learning what hurts it and what does not hurt it. If I drink more than an ounce or two of undiluted juice at a time my pancreas will feel the intake in a negative way.

Therefore, as a sufferer of chronic pancreatitis it is important to offer my body the nutrients the juices contain while not inflaming the pancreas. The inflamation can scar the pancreas which can cause further permanent damage to the pancreas which can potentially shorten the lifespan of the person suffering from pancreatitis.

Diluted juice might be a realistic and pleasant alternative for many people who live with pancreatitis.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pancreatitis & Dehydration

Dehydration PancreatitisDehydration is like the curse of all evils. It's never a good thing and no matter what is going wrong with one's system dehydration only seems to make it worse. Dehydration makes no exception when it comes to pancreatitis.

The pancreas needs to stay hydrated or it becomes more vulnerable.

There are times when people are midst an attack and can't drink anything including water but this is when they go into the hospital.
Pancreas Dehydration

On a normal day when liquids can go down, it is very important to remember not to get dehydrated. Overdoing it is never good for the pancreas and is certainly not necessary for hydration. Just a little gentle respect toward one's needs as they relate to thirst and liquids!

Water Pancreas
I'm sure this is coming up for me today because I was out in the sun and have been quite thirsty.

Water. Water. Water.

I need it.
I feel it.
I'm quenching my thirst.
I love my pancreas.
I don't want itmy pancreas to be mad at me. :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pancreatitis & Sunshine

sunshine and pancreatitisThe sun offers the body Vitamin D. People who suffer from pancreatitis can easily find themselves inside too much or feeling a little down in the dumps.

A lack of Vitamin D can also bring on a depressive mood.

I'm not usually stressed out. I try to control it and keep things in check because stress can bring on a pancreatitic flare-up.

Yesterday, I was a little stressed out.

A lot of change is happening in my life and yesterday was a day for feeling it.pancreatitis and recovery
I did everything I could as far as putting one foot in front of the other to make sure my life is moving in the right direction.

For a woman, some days during the month are simply more stressful. I also took that into consideration.

Then, I wondered if there was anything I could do to help boost my mood.

The answer: Sunshine!

pancreas and sunshineSo, this afternoon, I spent about 15 minutes swimming and upwards of an hour lounging about in the sun letting my skin soak up all of that scrumptious Vitamin D.

Sometimes I forget the basics.

Eat small meals. No stress. Exercise. Sun. Plenty of sleep.

When I realize the err of my ways, I rectify things as quickly as possible.

I believe my pancreas appreciates the effort!