2 Years Keeping My Gallby. How Am I Doing?

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Thanksgiving, 2013

The only time I ever remember I have a Gallbladder these days is when someone comments on this blog. When I started Keeping My Gallby, I’d just had my first severe attacks. I had no clue what I was going to do or where this was all going.

It turns out I was on my way to a 100% recovery despite the decision to keep my gallbladder. I’m really happy I kept the blog because everything I did is now documented here and lots of panicked folks find this blog and it seems to be helping others as it helped me. My heart breaks a little bit each time someone writes a comment that they are having attacks. Even though I have not had an attack in 2 years, I certainly remember the agony.

Lots of folks ask if I’ve had a followup ultrasound. The answer is “nope!”. To me, it is not worth the time, effort, or money it would take to find out. I’ll assume I still have stones. It’s well documented that autopsies commonly reveal otherwise-healthy people riddled with gallstones, who never presented symptoms while alive. During my journey to heal myself, I was sure I would do followup ultrasounds… but once you’re healed, you’re better and the whole gallbladder thing drops of your radar. Life is short and there is only time to waste obsessing about Gallby if he is complaining. My battle to heal my gallbladder without surgery took 6 months of my life. I’ve moved on.

While I’m “back to normal” in every conceivable way, I can’t say that the whole experience did not change me. It did. I certainly have a much greater awareness of digestion as a part of overall health. I’ve gone back to eating whatever I want, but I’m now much more conscious when food is clogging me up instead of nourishing me. I have not had anything remotely like an attack in almost two years… but still, sometimes, after eating too much bad food for too many days, I feel those subtle feelings of indigestion that are the seeds of much bigger problems…. and that’s enough to get me to balance my diet a little better.

The best, most concrete example: when my family is away, or busy, and I’m on my own for dinner, I used to order a pizza and eat the whole thing while watching T.V. I would never do that now. I’m now to conscious of how bad that actually makes my body feel. I now eat a salad and 1/2 a pizza while sitting in front of the T.V. 🙂 Ahhh, much better.

Good luck to you who are in pain and have found my little journal. I have no idea if what worked for me will work for you,  but I am living proof you can heal severe gallbladder attacks without surgery.

With hindsight, two things stick out from the experience:

1.) Working with a good nutritionist was critical. I could not have done it with out Dr. Dianne. She had my back the whole time.

2.) It was difficult and required mental commitment. I lost a lot of weight and took almost a year to get it back. During that time I had to tolerate many concerned people saying “You don’t look good. You look too thin.” That annoyed me.

Cheers!

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1 Year: I’ve Kept My Gallby

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Well it has been a whole year and I still have my Gallby. My gallbladder is as healthy and happy as it has ever been and I’d say I am 100% cured. I do zero things for my gallbladder now. I never even think of it. I am living, breathing proof that you can heal yourself completely.

That’s my story. I have left all the tricks I used on this blog. I will note that it was hard, mental work to do this. I also note that I had a good nutritionist helping me out. Don’t skip that step. I certainly did not do it alone. It took enormous discipline to shun every danger food for almost 3 months. I lost significant weight and it took the rest of the year to gain it back. But it worked!

 

Healed?

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Greetings, fans of Gallby. I have been remiss in posting lately. Want to know why? Because I’ve been eating pizza and ice cream and sausage and all other kinds of foods I was told I would never be able to eat again. It’s been 3 months and I’m shocked at how quickly my gallbladder has responded to a a little love and care.

I’ve been slowly introducing naughty foods, mostly just to test Gallby’s response. So far, it appears Gallby is as good as new.

We still have the hard work ahead of dissolving the Gallstones, but I certainly feel much less stressed about it. So while it is unclear if I will eventually have to have my gallbladder removed for other reasons, the strategies I’ve used here at Keepin’ My Gallby have bought me time. I’ve read numerous times that gallstones are discovered during autopsies on otherwise healthy people; people who never showed symptoms or had any clue they had gallstones in the first place.

I want to quickly emphasize the core supplements I’ve used as I believe they were a big part of my success. I strongly recommend you see a doctor, chiropractor, or nutritionist with a good background in nutrition and healing to forge a regimen, but here are the actual core products I’ve used. All of them are helpful in stimulating digestions, thinning the bile, and encouraging the gallbladder to function. All of them are available online:

Standard Process Disodium Phosphate: 3 tablets first thing in the morning before eating anything

http://www.standardprocess.com/display/StandardProcessCatalog.spi?ID=61

MetaGenics Lipogen: 2 tablets with each meal

http://www.metagenics.com/products/a-z-products-list/Lipo-Gen

MetaGenics Metagest (Hydrochloric Acid): 1 tablet with each meal

http://www.metagenics.com/products/a-z-products-list/Metagest

Standard Process Cholac0l: 2 Tablets with each meal

http://www.standardprocess.com/display/StandardProcessCatalog.spi?ID=40

 

My general feeling on supplements is that you should not take anything for too long. I took these regularly, but tried to skip a day every few weeks. It’s been 3 months and I am now stopping them slowly, taking them only every 3 days.

Bilirubin, Stool Color and Gallbladder Health

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And now for a post that may scare some readers away while delighting and enthralling the hardcore fans of Gallby.

Your gallbladder is responsible for storing bile and releasing it when it is needed to digest fat. That’s what little Gallby does. (How could anyone call Gallby a “useless organ”??) Bilirubin is the main substance of the bile and interestingly, it provides color to bruises, urine, and feces. Your stool is brown because of the presence of bilirubin.

It makes sense then that a malfunctioning gallbladder would be evidenced by colorless stool. Pale colored stools are in fact an early warning sign of gallbladder disease. “They” (the Internet) often warn us of clay colored stools, but I’ll be damned if I can really tell you what “clay color” is. In fact, Google searches for “what color is clay” often link back to stool related pages where folks are asking the same question: what color is a “clay colored” poo?

Stool color is mainly influenced by diet. Eat a meal of pure beets. You’ll see what I mean. But the presence of bilirubin is responsible for the overall brown tone and can help you judge the effectiveness of your gallbladder healing.

Personally, I have noticed fluctuation during the process. Overall my elimination has consistently become a lighter shade of brown than I ever remember. I find it encouraging that there is obviously bile being pumped into my intestine. Sometime I do find myself wishing everything was a tad “darker”, but I am suspicious that the change has much to do with the bile salts and disodium phosphate. A key part of any supplementation for gallstones must include working to thin the bile and get it to flow more freely without cogging up the stones. I see stool tone as a way to monitor this progress.

Stool color is something it would be easy to obsess over if you were inclined towards such things. But please don’t. Your diet will have more influence than anything else. But do be on the lookout for radically pale stools as it will be a clear sign that your bile is not flowing and therefore, that your gallbladder is not healthy.

125% Better

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So there you have it.  It’s been 6 weeks of the gallstone and gallbladder health remedy I have outlined so far and I feel 125% better than I did before the gallstone attacks began. If you’ve been following my previous posts there s nothing revolutionary or radical here. Mostly moderation and a general practice of good, healthy nutrition with some targeted supplementation. The results are nothing short of amazing.

To say that my life is transforming would be and understatement. Feeling 125% better is a way of saying I feel like a different person. We all know that bad habits feed on themselves and create negative momentum. The good news is that good habits do exactly the same thing. Once you activate your awareness, you slowly start making positive changes and building on them.

Sometimes I’m shocked how easy it has been. I have not eaten refined sugar, fried food, or red meat in 6 weeks. I’m a normal American guy so that is kind of a big deal. But instead of a constant struggle, I’m becoming healthier and growing attached to feeling good. And Gallby loves every minute of it.

But we still have the hard work ahead of us. The gallstones are likely still in there. We need to get rid of them. I am now entering PHASE 2 and have lots of fun, natural substances to experiment with. I’ll be updating you this week on my plans for Phase 2.

Gallstones and gallstone pain are a nutrition and lifestyle problem. They are a warning sign to your body that you have lost balance. Cutting out your gallbladder  is like removing a smoke alarm. For now, I am unbelievably thankful I’ve kept gallby. Gallby has humbled me brought my focus back to my health.  My fear of Gallby’s wrath is keeping me on track.

Chlorella and Gallstones: Dangers, Warnings, and Side Effects

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One of the foods I decided to try as part of a gallstone diet is chlorella. Chlorella is a an algae, and highly regarded as being a superfood. Despite lots of classic undocumented and sketchy claims (like, it cures everything from Cancer to Aids), Chlorella is in fact a food and has number of real beneficial properties. It is loaded with protein and contains tons of nutrients. It is easy to consume, coming in tablet form and in powders. The powder can be mixed into water or fruit juice.

Chlorella is known to have an extremely thick cell wall. This wall can be difficult for some people to digest. But it has an added bonus: chlorella is allegedly really good at bonding to heavy metals in the body. Because of this it is an important element in “detox” regimes, especially those involving the liver. Since I am doing so much work keeping my liver healthy and well nourished, this could have been an added benefit for me and anyone trying to reverse gallbladder disease and imbalances.

Sounds simple enough, so I decided to try some as an easy, natural way to boost nutrition.

Side Effects

Chlorella is known to have a few side effects. Some people have trouble digesting the thick cell wall. These people can experience some temporary bloating, nausea, and gas. The recommendation for these people is to lower the dosage.

After I started using chlorella, I noticed some gastro-intestinal “disturbances”. These seemed unrelated to my gallbladder so I was not concerned. I’ll spare you the details, but they became extreme enough I wanted to figure out what was going on. After some scientific elimination and a review of the foods I had been eating, I discovered Chlorella was the culprit.

Serious Side Effects

This led me down a number of searches, most importantly, chlorella vomitingEven a cursory glance at some of the those results will reveal that chlorella has an extremely dark side. This dark side is rarely acknowledged at all by chlorella manufacturers and advocates. Bottom line, we’re talking about people becoming VIOLENTLY ILL. We’re talking about trips to the ER, vomiting so badly they burst blood vessels, and painful rashes that last for months. There are hundreds of such testimonials out there. Read them.

I consider myself extremly lucky that my reaction was not that severe. But the risk is high here. For anyone recovering from gallbladder attacks, this would be a terrible thing to have happen. I would avoid chlorella completely.

There is an important lesson here: do your research. From now on, any new supplement or food group I introduce to my diet will be preceded by a (food)+vomit search.

The world of natural medicine is vast, poorly regulated, and documented mostly by anecdote and vague claims. Be careful.

 

Celebrate With A Gallstone Banana Spit

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One of the seemingly most difficult things about the gallbladder is diet is the total elimination of refined sugar. Refined sugar is bad. You don’t need it. Sadly, I am a sugar junkie and absolutely love sweets of all kinds.

I thought the experience of giving up sugar would be harder than it actually is. The truth is, after a few weeks, I am finding that my tastes are recalibrating. Fruits are sweet enough. I’m avoiding all refined sugar, honey, molasses, “organic cane sugar” (deceptive health food store lingo for refined sugar), maple syrup, everything. Instead, I’m eating tons of fresh fruit and loving it.

For fun, I tried some vegan tricks last night for a treat. This is a banana split made of nothing but fruit and nuts. It is unbelievably tasty! Now, this is certainly loaded with natural sugar from the fruit and fat from the nuts, but it is good for the body. Just make sure to share and not each to much.

Banana Ice Cream

Take 4 bananas and blend them in a blender until they are totally smooth. Put them in a container and freeze for an hour. Done! Banana Ice Cream.

Cashew Whipped Cream

While said bananas are freezing, put 1/2 cup of raw (unroasted, unsalted) cashews and 1/2 cup of dates (remove pits) in a blender. Add a cup of water. Let them site for 10 mins to soften, then blend, pulse, pummel with the blender until nice and creamy. Done! Vegan whipped cream.

Toppings

Cut up a handful of fresh strawberries and toast a handful of walnuts. Chop the walnuts.

Delicious

Put the frozen banana ice cream in a dish, top with strawberries and toasted walnuts, add a dollop of cashew whipped cream.

It’s a great mix of fruity and nutty flavors. An excellent exercise for mindful eating.

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