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!

Pancreatitis & Reflexology

I became aware that something was going on with my pancreas more than years before being hospitalized and diagnosed with severe acute pancreatitis.

I thought it was funny. The sore spots on my feel always had these weird names like 'pancreas' or 'duodenum'. I mean really, who has even heard of such body parts? I'd laugh it off and move on. It's not like my family had a history of illness or anything. I would always joke about how we were too ornery to die early.

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reflexology pancreas

Over the years, repeatedly it was my pancreas that was sore so eventually I began looking into it. By the time I went to the emergency hospital, I was fully aware of the problem and told them at triage that I thought I was probably having a severe acute attack of pancreatitis... and, as it turns out, I was correct and admitted to the hell called 'hospital' where I remained for the next
pancreatitis and reflexology
horrific 16 days.

I would rather die than return to a hospital regarding my pancreas. Therefore, I do my best to take good care of myself because I truly understand that death is an option always willing to knock on my door if I choose not to be vigilant in my recovery.

Before I started writing this post I was massaging the bottom of my foot. A person can learn a lot about themselves and the state of their health by simply taking a little lotion and applying a
little pressure to the bottom of their foot.

There are several wonderful reflexology charts easily found through search engines. Which foot chart I use depends on the area of the foot I am working on and which chart I feel will be most useful for that particular purpose.

ear reflexology pancreas
Some reflexology charts seem to be easier to read in some areas than others while other charts are not comprehensive. Still other charts offer explanations of how working on a certain region of the foot can affect one's health in a particular manner.

Reflexology hand charts and ear charts are also available. Just yesterday I was working on my hands and found that both my pancreas and pituitary were sore (no surprise, it's always sore) and my adrenal glands were sore. So, I got to find out a little about the adrenal glands. I was not surprised to discover the adrenal glands to be part of the endocrine system. The pancreas and pituitary are also part of the endocrine system. I often find my system weak within the endocrine system.

reflexology and pancreatitis

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pancreatitic Diet & the Single Egg

pancreatitis eggsI'm not always the best when it comes to eating small meals.

I'm not bad at it next to a non-pancreatitic impaired person. But I have pancreatitis and I should never have a big bowl of lentil soup... even if it doesn't bother me. Why? Because I don't always know if it will be the first, second
eggs pancreatitis
or third slightly over-sized meal of the day or the past couple of days that will set my pancreas off, especially if I'm stressed.

It is always better to be safe than sorry.

That's why I like the Single Egg. It's not like a second egg can jump in the pan or I can miraculously end-up eating an egg-and-a-half when my intention was to only have one egg. With eggs, I put one in the pan I know exactly how much I'm getting.

Lentil soup doesn't work that way. Today, I made some lentil soup. I meant to make one small
bowl's worth. Instead, I made a nice, large delicious looking bowl of lentil soup. And you what I did then???? That's right! I ate it.

I surrender to the fact that I have no control. I see it. I want it. I eat it. Not always. Not everything. But if I'm cooking and I have the opportunity to pour it all in my bowl or just half... apparently I'm the kind of person who doesn't use much refrain and ends up pouring the whole
pancreas eating eggs
thing in my bowl and eating every last delicious bit of it.

Yes, I know. It's that same approach with booze that cause my pancreatitis in the first place! Fiddlesticks!


One egg.


With protein.

Couldn't really ask for any more than that!

Swimming and Pancreatitis

swimming and pancreatitisNext to walking, swimming is my favorite exercise.

It is gentle on the entire body including my pancreas.

Swimming and walking, for me, might be similar to meditating for other people.

It's where I find peace and tranquility. Calm and silence.

Swimming has the added benefit of ensuring I'm catching a little vitamin D if I'm swimming
pancreatitis and swimming
during daylight hours then catch a few rays on the chaise.

When I'm more on the stressed out side I try to ensure exercise is part of my routine. Focus on something other than me. Restful exercise. Sounds like an oxymoron.

If I'm mid pancreatic flare-up, I pay attention to my pancreas and let it guide me.

My goal is always to allow my pancreas to rest when it needs it. If I don't think swimming is going to make it feel better than I would have no business swimming. I never want to do anything that would cause discomfort to my pancreas. I always want to take it slow and easy and allow my pancreas to dictate what kind and how much exercise I do.

Pancreatitis and Walking

tranquility and pancreatitisExercise is vital for health. I tend to exercise in a gingerly manner and have no desire to ever do anything that might strain my pancreas in some manner.

I like walking. I always have and probably always will but now that I have chronic pancreatitis I feel that walking is a safe, verywalking and pancreatitis beneficial exercise to engage in.

I have a dog who needs to be walked daily. This ensures that I get out-and-about at least once or twice a day. It does not ensure that I walk at least a mile each time I walk the dog. This I do because I know that it is probably going to be my main form of exercise for the day and because sometimes I need a break and walking really seems to clear my head and perhaps help me de-stress a little.

pancreas exercise
I don't meditate or do yoga. Although, I hear yoga can be very beneficial for decreasing stress and overall health so that is an excellent alternative if you're looking for an exercise to add to your regime.

I walk. I like being out in nature. Walking frees my mind for unencumbered though

Today, for example, I'm a little stressed so I took an early walk in hopes of giving myself a little space to relax and soothe my soul.peace and pancreas
Stress can increase the chances of a pancreatic flare-up so I do what I can to reduce stress levels and find peace and tranquility when and where I can. Walks benefit me in this way.

Pancreatitis & Oatmeal

oatmeal and honeyI love oatmeal with honey!

Repeatedly, I have read the importance of eating enough grains.

Eating grains is not my strong suit. Nonetheless, I've been craving oatmeal for about the past month.

I'm not the queen of eating whole grains. It is definitely something I am working on.

oatmeal and berries
Oatmeal is a food I can enjoy and know is something I should have in my balanced pancreatic diet.

Sometimes I'll add a few berries to mix things up!

Noteworthy: It is always better to make too little than too much. If I've made too much I tend to want to eat it all. My pancreas benefits from frugality rather than overabundance. Therefore, due to my lack of discipline, I'm always better off making a little, then making more if I am still hungry.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pancreatitis & Chrissy's Tea

lavender pancreas teaI make all my own teas now. I buy the ingredients in bulk and honestly you can either grow or get most tea ingredients if you so desired!

I don't know why but Yogi Teas now tend to hurt my abdomen when I drink them. Before I had chronic pancreatitis, Yogi Teas were always fantastic! Now, the Yogi Teas cause discomfort to my pancreas.

My solution has been to make my own teas.lavender pancreas

I've written several other articles on tea. If you go to the 'search' bar on the left of the screen and type in 'tea' it will bring up the other tea articles.

I think my all time favorite tea includes the below 4 ingredients:

1. Artemisia Capillaris
2. Dandelion
3. Lavender
4. Ginger

tea pancreatitisLet's name it! Let's call it 'Chrissy's Tea'. My favorite grandfather used to call me 'Chrissy' so both the name and the tea have a special meaning to me!

This is probably my favorite tea because it tastes good and seems to flush my system while also decreasing inflammation. It always feels beneficial. I was recently in NYC for 10 days. I didn't bring the tea and noticed such a difference in how the organs in my processed and rid itself of food. Often, when I drink this tea I feel like I'm not really experiencing problems with my pancreas anymore. I think it simply does an excellent job of flushing my system which seems to make life much easier on my pancreas.

The artemisia capillaris seems to flush and protect my system. Note: Especially if you haven't tried this herb in a tea before, you might want to make sure you are home for the night. For my system, it gets things moving. It is also considered to be beneficial for the liver. Many peopledandelion pancreas with pancreatitis end up having liver problems. I think this tea (herb) helps me protect the longevity of my liver! By the way, you can totally smoke this herb but it might give you a headache and it will not get you high. I haven't found that the benefits are the same when smoking it. I prefer it in tea!

Dandelion is high in Vitamins A and B12 (riboflavin), is known considered helpful with hypertension, as a diuretic and is known to prevent the formation of gallstones and possibly dandelion pancreatitishelping to dissolve gallstones. Gallstone problems are often prevalent in people who suffer from pancreatitis.

The lavender seeds I put in my shake herbal tea mix smell so good! It brings a smile to my face. Besides, the seeds are a beautiful shade of purple. I don't use many, maybe 5-10 seeds. I suppose some people might use more but that is the quantity that works for me. Lavender is considered an herb that helps with anxiety and nervousness as well as depression and insomnia. It also is known to help with the digestive tract, in relieving persistent flatulence, spells of nausea as well as indigestion. Many of these symptoms are experienced by people who suffer from the disease of pancreatitis.
ginger pancreas tea
I love ginger! It is an anti-inflammatory. I buy jars of the pink ginger that accompany sushi in restaurants and eat it straight up! I love the way ginger tastes in tea. It has a zing to it! It is said that ginger can help with abdominal cramping and the treatment of kidney stones, as well as having an antiseptic quality that is extremely beneficial in dealing with all manners of gastrointestinal infections. Ginger is also known to help with flatulence (gas)!

Can You Die From Pancreatitis?

From my understanding, a person can die from pancreatitis from their very first pancreatic attack. A person can also completely recover from an initial attack and never have another attack or pancreatic problems again... this is what the doctors in the hospital told me.

I would guess that a person's recovery, whether or not they recover and how long it take them to recover has a lot to do with that person's actions and how they treat their pancreas and whether they give the pancreas ample time to recover.

Alcohol can trigger a pancreatic attack. Therefore, if a person's pancreatitis was initiated by alcohol that person might be wise to steer clear of drinking alcohol particularly during the months following the attack to allow the pancreas to recover.

A pancreatic attack can also be brought on by a severe blow to the pancreas. I don't know (nor do I know that the information exists for anyone to know) if this sort of pancreatitic attack makes the pancreas more vulnerable to alcohol.

Pancreatitis can turn into chronic pancreatitis - which is what I have - which can turn into pancreatitic cancer.

Pancreatitis can kill you, it can become chronic pancreatitis or you can recover completely from it. From what I can tell, it seems that there is more choice than chance in the direction a person goes with the disease of pancreatitis.

If this is a person's first bout with pancreatitis and if it is caught early on - often not the case - then one might assume it is possible to recover completely without additional pancreatitic attacks if a person stays away from alcohol, high levels of stress and fatty foods.

If a person is diagnosed with pancreatitis after having had it for a while - often several years - then it is perhaps more likely that person would be susceptible to the pancreatitis developing into chronic pancreatitis. Chronic pancreatitis is either reoccurring or doesn't go away. In my case, the chronic pancreatitis pretty much never goes away but can still be kept under control.

From what I've read, if you're lucky enough not to have the pancreatitis or chronic pancreatitis kill you then it will in time most likely turn into pancreatic cancer. A brutally cruel disease that usually kills within 6 months to 5 years.... if you're lucky.

One of the reasons it is so hard to find a cure for pancreatic cancer is because people die from it so quickly.

If you or a loved one have pancreatic cancer then heart goes out to you and what you are going through. I hope that in time we are able to find a cure or at least a way to live a longer, pain-free life with this disease.

One of my favorite discoveries are natural bulk herbs that reduce tumors that I turn into teas. Often tumors go undetected. Therefore, I feel like I'm being proactive when I try to fight tumor growth from the beginning.

Alcoholic Pancreatitis

alcoholic PancreatitisIn April of 2008, I created a website called Alcoholic Pancreatitis. From researching my disease, pancreatitis, I realized that doctors didn't know much about pancreatitis, that the disease was often left undiagnosed until at a terminal state, that people who suffered from this disease were often blindsided by the disease and hope and a cure was no on the forefront of medicine. In fact, doctors seem to just accept that if you have pancreatitis there is sore pancreas drinkingnothing they can do for you beyond pain killers and that too little is known about the disease for traditional western medicine to be able to help us.

Hopeless, helpless suffering wasn't and still isn't an acceptable solution for me. I don't want life put in the hands of someone who has that mentality, belief or limited knowledge about my disease. Therefore, I started a website to track my disease and my progress and to share my experience with chronic pancreatitis with others who suffer from the disease of the pancreas.

This blog, Living With Pancreatitis, came out of my website. From a purely technical position, the blog is easier to manage.

life changes pancreasAlthough many factors probably contributed to me getting chronic pancreatitis. I doubt I would have it if I hadn't been drinking alcohol day-and-night for an extended period of time before I went into the hospital and was diagnosed.

Once hospitalized for Severe Acute Pancreatitis, I was told that I would never be able to drink again. I already knew this because I had self-diagnosed the disease before beingdrinking pancreatitis admitted to the hospital.

I no longer drink alcohol. I will never drink alcohol again.

I want to live. My pancreas cannot tolerate alcohol. If I drink, I will die.

There is a very good chance my chronic pancreatitis will turn into pancreatic cancer if the chronic pancreatitis doesn't kill me first. I completely accept this.

no stress pancreasMy goal is to live as long as possible. I'm not done with this life. There are a lot of things I want to do. Therefore, extending my life as long as possible is extremely important to me.

Drinking alcohol would be the equivalent of committing suicide. I don't want to die. I wanted to drink through a period of my life and stop when it was over. I didn't realize I could get pancreatitis. I didn't realize the yoga pancreatitisdrinking so much could kill me. I was ill educated on the subject. I am not today. So, today, I do not drink alcohol.

It feels good to be able to share my story of pancreatitis with others who are experiencing similar difficulties.

Living with pancreatitis can be scary and isolating. Doom and gloom can be a bad neighbor constantly knocking at our door when we are mid crisis and our uncontrolled drinking pancreaspancreas is inflamed and we can't get the flare-up under control. But the pain can be temporary and there are things we can do to allow our pancreas to heal - such as not drinking alcohol, sometimes refraining from eating for a days or weeks and reducing stress levels.

It is okay to be afraid. This disease is very, very deadly and pancreatitis changeextremely painful at times. Be patient. Don't expect your pancreas to heal today, tomorrow, this week, this month or ever really... Do expect that times of crisis can diminish over time and the pain you are experiencing can leave you and you can begin to live a softer, gentler existence with little-to-no pain a daily basis.

Do know that when you give your pancreas the love and care it needs the pain you are feeling can subside and you can regain a normal-to-relatively normal life.

calm pancreasThe last time I thought my chronic pancreatitis might win and kill me was over a year ago. It's a horrible feeling. Don't give up hope even if it feels like you may never get well. Feelings aren't facts.

Deal with what is in front of you. When I am in crisis mode - meaning my pancreas has flare-up and as a result I can not at that time function normally in life - I must refrain from food and stress.

Fear doesn't help. When my pancreas is inflamed I need to deal with it not live in the false belief that it'll never get better and I will die. Love yourself and know that this too shall pass. Patience, timelove life pancreatitis and the loving care you give to your pancreas will help you recover as quickly and in the best health as possible.

It's easy to worry about dying from pancreatitis when you can't eat and you're in constant pain but the reality is that you probably won't die from starvation. If needed, hospitals can hook you up to an IV to ensure you get enough nutrients to keep you alive.

No food. No alcohol.

no stress pancreatitisStress is a killer. Stress is not the friend of the pancreas.

Alcohol is the worst enemy of the pancreas. It can send the system into a state of shock and kill you immediately. So, no booze. Even if you want it. Even if you think it is okay. It is not okay EVER!!!!

If you are having a hard time not drinking alcohol then you are are probably an alcoholic because non-alcoholics don't have a problem not drinking. Alcoholics life changes pancreatitisAnonymous is a place where many people go if they have a problem putting down the drink. If you are used to drinking and all of a sudden you can't drink anymore, it can be helpful to be around people who are also not drinking. AA is a place to find people who live life on life's terms while not drinking alcohol.

As a person who suffers from chronic pancreatitis and who wants to live as long as possible, I no longer drink alcohol. My life and longevity is much more important than booze.

stress chronic pancreatitisIf you are unhappy with your life. Change it. No really. I mean it. If you are here, you are probably on death's doorstep. Therefore, you have nothing to lose by reinventing yourself into the person you want to be. The person you've been stuffing through drinking alcohol. The person you've told yourself you cannot be or you do not have the right or time to become.

Now is the time to be the YOU that makes YOU happy. Happiness and joy are an important part of my healing decreasing stress has the potential to help me live longer!

simplicity pancreatitis

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