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!

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.

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 vomiting. Even 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.

 

Week 2 Review

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I feel fantastic! I am certainly living proof that there is hope for people determined to keep their gallbladder and fight gallstones naturally. Only time will tell of course, but it is clear that I have reversed the symptoms 100% (for now) and as an added bonus I feel better than I have in quite some time. I would call it a seismic shift: physically, mentally, and emotionally. My whole regime is gaining momentum and rather than being a struggle, is something I am enjoying and hoping to continue. I can feel for sure that my Gallbladder is functioning well and the bile is flowing again.

Taking things slowly and gaining some stability was the first goal. Coming up is the harder work of actually setting out to eliminate the stones. While the first goal was just to stop the painful attacks, I’m not going to call this attempt at keeping my gallbladder a success until an ultra sound shows a gallbladder 100% free of gallstones.

If you have stumbled upon Keeping My Gallby and are faced with the decision to remove a gallbladder surgery or give natural healing a shot, I would  recommend following this basic approach for a few weeks and see if you can stop the attacks and reset your digestion as  have. You’ll at least buy yourself some time to make a carefully considered decision before hastily removing an organ.

How I’m Feeling?

Here are a few of the benefits I’m experiencing: feeling great, no attacks, gallbladder/liver area is no longer swollen or tender, healthy appetite, desire for healthier foods, increased energy, better mood, better sleep, healthier glow and skin tone, feeling stronger, feeling more grounded in my body, healthier mindfulness of my body.

Sounds good, right?

Main Components of My Gallbladder Health Regimen

Here is what I’m doing and what I think is working:

While there are a few magic bullets in that list (for pain), the biggest contributors to success so far has been paying careful attention and being really disciplined. The change in habits has benefited me more than anything else. Keeping gallby is a commitment. I would love it if curing this problem was as simple as doing a gallbladder flush, but it is not.
Your gallstones are a painful message from your body that something is out of balance, and has been for some time. It will take time to reverse course. Be clear with yourself on that point. The good new is, there is no rush. This is an opportunity to create lifelong habits that will support your health and well being. Really, it is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Chamomile And Lemon for Your Gallbladder (and liver)

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While researching things that can help the gallbladder and liver, two things keep popping over and over again. Chamomile Tea and Lemon Juice. Both are seemingly harmless enough and the anecdotes suggest that both are helpful in restoring your liver, and digestion in general, to good health. Seems simple enough and worth trying.

One problem for me is that I really don’t like the taste of Chamomile Tea. In my quest to see what I could do about that, I was lucky enough to find a local herbalist with pure, fresh, dried Chamomile flowers. It is a whole different experience. I strongly suggest you put the Celestial Seasonings to the side and go look for the good stuff. Fantastic.

Best of all, you can combine these to therapies into one simple drink. It seems both are beneficial as a starter and as a nightcap. So I brew a pot of fresh chamomile tea at night and pour a hot cup. I squeeze 1/2 of a fresh lemon into it and drink before bed. I save the rest of the pot for the morning. When I wake up, I pour the cool chamomile into a glass and add the other 1/2 of the lemon (squeeze it in). I drink it first thing in the morning. It’s a great time to take your Disodium Phosphate too.

Lemon Juice is nicely stimulating, particularly for the digestion. I am finding it is great before breakfast, but makes me a little more peckish at night than usual. Overall though, it is soothing and good for you. A fantastic source of Vitamin C.

Core Gallbladder Healing: Disodium Phosphate, Hydrochloric Acid (HCL), and Omega 3

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Working with a good nutritionist is a key strategy for success in beating gallstones without removing the gallbladder. As mentioned before, a good place to start is addressing any vitamin or nutrient deficiencies found in the bloodwork. This will vary according to each person. For me, the core boosts I need are Vitamin D, “good” cholesterol, and B 12/Folate. I’m supplementing daily.

But beyond making sure the body has its general required vitamin, mineral, and nutrient base, there are 3 specific supplement therapies specific to helping your gallbladder out of its mess. You’ll find these same basic concepts cropping up over and over again in anecdotes and web pages around the net. My nutritionist prescribed the following and you should expect to see something similar. If you don’t, ask your nutritionist:

Disodium Phosphate

It appears Disodium Phosphate is a good, all around digestive aid and is used for a variety of purposes including gallbladder issues, liver issues, constipation, and bloating. As a gallstone/gallbladder cure, its usefulness is in its ability to thin the bile and keep it moving. Preventing stagnation in the gallbladder is critical to success.

Hyrdochloric Acid

Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) supplementation has been discussed here before. Basically, the idea is to increase stomach acid as a way of smoothing digestion and correcting imbalance. You want food to be properly digested in the stomach, as opposed to the small intestine. Folks lacking in HCL tend to pass food more quickly to the small intestine where it is digested less efficiently. Flatulence is symptomatic of this.

Omega 3

Omega 3s in the form of oils are often found in gallbladder and gallstone healing regimens. These “good” fats come from thinks like Fish and Flax Seed oils. We have already seen how effective Flax Seed Oil (in the for of Flax Seed Tea) is in relieving gallbladder attack symptoms. Again, the addition of Omega 3 Oils to a gallbladder diet seems to target overall digestive health, and specifically, the thinning and regulation of bile.

All 3 of these are part of my daily regimen. The Disodium Phosphate is taken by gel capsule once a day, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The HCL is taken with each meal (importantly, towards the end of the meal). The Omega 3s are easy to get down. I’m varying my source of them as much as possible, alternating daily between:

  • Fish Oil Supplements
  • Teaspoon of Cod Liver Oil
  • Teaspoon of Flax Seed Oil
And of course, continuing to drink Flax Seed Tea a few times each week.

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