I was in the hospital for 5 days last week with acute pancreatitis. Very painful, that pancreatitis, I don’t recommend getting it. I’m still not pain-free, but I am certainly not in the amount of pain and discomfort I was in last week. I’m still a little leery of eating things, so I’ve stuck to a bland and not-very-interesting diet.
How did this happen? The doctors have no clue. Two of the leading factors that leads to pancreatitis are alcohol and gall stones. Needless to say I don’t drink (or smoke or do drugs), so that cause was obviously out of the question. I haven’t had a gall bladder for 9 years, so this too was an unlikely source for the inflammation, although not entirely out of the question. My GI doctor is so puzzled by my case that he is sending me to get an endoscopic ultrasound done, a test that is so specialized that he doesn’t even do it, so it looks like I’ll have to see a true specialist, and that means a trip to Chicago for me.
The other source of amazement/puzzlement for the doctors is the way in which my pancreatitis presented itself. First off, here’s a little education. Your pancreas is a long organ that sits right under your stomach. It aids in digestion and produces insulin. Typically in pancreatitis, the pain starts in the center of the upper abdomen and radiates out to the left of the body towards the spleen. Not so with me. The inflammation started at the tip and radiated toward the center. I think it is this abnormality that is causing my GI doctor to recommend this endoscopic ultrasound. So I guess you could say I’m a medical mystery.
I will say this on the positive side: I’m awake. I’ve awakened to the fact that my diet, while much improved over the years, is crap. On Monday, my day of recuperation, I emptied my fridge, freezer and pantry of all things that are unhealthy, out of date, have too much fat or sugar and had dairy in them. Needless to say, I emptied out about 90% of my kitchen. I am going to commit myself to eating organic, non-dairy, non-sugar, low-fat from now on. Bland? Perhaps. But if this is what it is going to take to 1) lose weight, 2) eat healthy and 3) never give my pancreas anything to become inflamed over, well then, that’s what I have to do.
So aside from the pity-party I’ve been throwing for myself for the last few days (morning the loss of things like ice cream), I’ve been doing OK. Not great, but at least I’m not in the hospital. I think next week I shall start walking in the mornings – and to keep myself honest, I’ll have to post my progress frequently.