Pancreatitis: My Journey To Beating Pancreatitis

Why should you believe anything I say about beating pancreatitis? The biggest reason I can think of is because I was where you probably are now over 30 years ago. The difference between me and you is most likely that I am pain-free. And I have always found that IF I wanted to get somewhere or achieve a goal that it is prudent to emulate someone who has already done what I want to do.

At the time I was almost positive my pancreatitis was due to an abdominal injury I received while playing high school football; however, since I was also diagnosed in 2009  with Celiac Disease (30 years after my pancreatitis diagnosis) my pancreatitis could have been due to undiagnosed, uncontrolled Celiac Disease [1].

IF my pancreatitis was caused by a football injury it is basically my fault I have the condition because I should have kept my head lower when charging towards that 200 pound fullback. I made what has turned out to be a very serious mistake.

pancreatitis from football injuryI was playing center linebacker for my high school team when the injury happened. He came through the line, head lower than mine, (dummy me) and when we hit, his helmet smashed into my gut. About 200 pounds of meat smashing into my 180 at full-bore. He tagged me just below the rib cage, center mass. It felt great. Like I said it was my own dumb fault.

I sat out the rest of the game and my folks took me to the family doctor. He had me lay flat on my back, put his hand on my abdomen and asked me to do a sit up.

I couldn’t.

He figured the contact had torn my abdominal muscles and told my folks that I was to sit on the bench the rest of the season. I started having some problems soon after.

Heartburn and Nausea

nausea-vomitingObviously our family doctor forgot about the fact I’d been nailed in the gut by 200 pounds of charging meat and when I kept complaining of heart burn and nausea he thought I may have an ulcer.

That led to my first upper GI test.

Barium is so yummy I enjoyed it immensely. The stuff tasted like a thick, white chalk malt.

My GI tract was clear.

So the doc scheduled me for the old dye test for gallbladder disease. I guess teens can have gallstones; however, my gall bladder worked fine with no sign of gall stones. So when tests didn’t show any reason for my symptoms of course I was then a “head case” with possible hypochondria tendencies. Here’s the funny part …

The symptoms simply disappeared.

After several months of feelings less than well, bouts of nausea for as long as 2 weeks at a stretch and heart burn that started in my gut and traveled all the way to the tip of my tongue, those symptoms simply vanished.

I was fine.

Hey, I was very glad they were gone. I didn’t miss them, the doc or the medical tests one bit.

I graduated from high school and enlisted in the Marine Corps.

Here Comes the Pain

flagsTowards the end of my last tour of duty I started getting sick. This time I experienced heartburn, nausea and pain.

The pain would start center mass and bore into my back or visa versa.

I don’t consider myself a sissy but that pain was the worst I have ever experienced. I have never been gut shot or knifed but I imagine the pain of acute pancreatitis to be somewhat close. I can’t say worse because like I said I haven’t experienced being gut shot.

It was really weird to have it start in the middle of my back and bore through the front making my guts feel like they would explode out of my body like the creature did on Alien.

That had me worried.

I went to sick bay.

I was stationed at a small Marine Barracks outside a little Nevada town and the corpsman couldn’t determine what was wrong so he figured whatever it may be was beyond his pay grade so he scheduled a visit to Oakland Naval Hospital.

I felt good about the appointment because military doctors are usually good, they have to be to save lives in war-time trauma situations. I was looking forward to a resolution of my problem.

While at the hospital I was subjected to another upper GI, more blood work, saw a Naval Doctor, and was sent back to duty with a prescription for Librax. The Librax took the nausea away, which was a great thing because I hate to puke, but it did nothing for the pain.

Come to find out later (after my enlistment and an honorable discharge) that Naval doc thought it was all in my head (tests showed nothing) and he put that in my SRB!

I found out when applying for life insurance.

I was told that my SRB showed a possible mental disorder!

I was so angry I could have shot that doc.

Dumb doctor. If I had stayed in the Corps that little bit of info in my SRB could have seriously damaged my career as a Marine. Anyway …

After about 30 days of off and on sickness the symptoms again disappeared. What a relief to feel normal again.

Then in the late 70’s the symptoms came back and this time with a vengeance.

inept doctorI Visited the ER 7 Times

7 ER visits and none of those people could figure out what the problem was. I was beginning to dislike doctors and understood why their business is called a practice.

I was in pain, I was sick and it seemed like nobody cared.

I had one doctor, who was a digestive disease specialist tell me, after a whole 5 minutes of the first and last appointment, that he thought I was to young for a serious problem and was sure I had a spastic colon.

In the late 1970’s I of course did not have a computer or access to quick information online so I spent a lot of time in the library reading about diseases and symptoms.

I found that gall bladder disease can present with similar symptoms and of course passing stones can be quite painful but there are some key differences in symptoms and causes of symptoms. For example …

Alcohol doesn’t affect the gall bladder but will cause major pain with pancreatitis. The pain is usually more severe with pancreatitis and for me, in most cases, comes on suddenly, but, it can also have a gradual build up.

Pancreatitis Symptoms

living-with-pancreatitis-painA telltale symptom of pain starting in front and boring into the back or visa-versa is a typical pancreatitis presentation.

I’ve experienced severe pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, sweating, difficulty breathing, swollen abdomen, rapid heart beat and other symptoms.

One symptom I had when I was real bad years ago (before I found grape seed and curcumin) was that I could not stand something, like an arm or hand, laying on my abdomen. It would make me nauseous and cause pain.

At times motion (driving the car, running) would make me sick and I had never experienced motion sickness of any kind before even on board ship in heavy seas. Anyway …

I finally found a really good doctor who not only ordered tests I had done previously but also ordered new tests, some of which he did himself like sticking a scope down my throat so he could view my bile ducts and then …

He actually gave me 2 drugs while in his office that caused me to have an attack. He drew blood every 30 minutes for approximately 3 hours. Everyone else drew my blood ONCE and as soon as I arrived but Dr. Langdon was a little smarter.

The result?

Enzymes Rocket Indicating Acute Pancreatitis

enzyme elevationMy enzyme levels suddenly spiked – through the roof. I guess that was all he needed to confirm his suspicions.

He again asked me how many times this had happened and I told him again of the 7 ER visits and that those were just the really horrible attacks and he calmly mentioned I was lucky I wasn’t dead. Then …

We had our little “prepare for the worst” chat and that’s when he told me he was quite sure I had been having acute pancreatic attacks for quite sometime (since I told him they started while I was still in the Marine Corps) and that I’d most probably continue to have chronic problems because of chronic pancreatitis.

He went on to say that within 10 years I’d probably be looking at a pancreatic transplant because my pancreas would cease to function, I wouldn’t be able to eat and then the really good news …

I Might Die?

pancreatitis deathThe success of pancreatic transplants at that time wasn’t the best and didn’t look to improve anytime soon. In other words I think he was trying tell me that within 10 years I might be dead.

I had finally found a great doctor. This guy was not only one intelligent dude but he was one of those rare docs that really cares more about finding the problem and an appropriate solution, if one exists, than about how many patients he could run through his office on a daily basis.

He spent a lot of time with me and worked diligently to find out the problem. Maybe it was because he was a military doctor before private practice and he knew I was a Marine and I didn’t strike him as a pansy.

What I do know is that he told me no more alcohol.

None. And …demerol

He prescribed some drugs and told me exactly why he was prescribing them. One drug, robinul was to help slow down the digestive process, another compazine was for nausea and demerol for pain.

The demerol didn’t help.

It didn’t even take the edge off.

One night while I was in massive pain I was going through the medicine cabinet when I discovered my wife’s Motrin.

BIG pills.

It said take for pain.

I was in PAIN so I popped one of those horse pills.

In 30 minutes or so my pain started to subside and was gone in less than an hour.

I was one happy guy.

I told Dr. Langdon about the pills.

ibuprofen-800He told me they were an anti-inflammatory and as long as they worked he sure didn’t have a problem with prescribing them. In fact, he was a little upset that he hadn’t prescribed an anti-inflammatory before since pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas.

Cool!

Things were looking up!

I had pills that would slow down my gut and relax it, pills for nausea and pills that actually took the pain away without the chance of becoming addicted to opiates like morphine.

Now it was time to figure out how to heal and beat the 10 year time period.

I did hordes of research after my diagnosis.

My research led me to completely eliminate red meat, pork, mayo, butter, cream, and everything else with high fat content from my diet.

In other words I was on a diet of fish, poultry (chicken and turkey), fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grain products.

I also started taking vitamins and minerals to enable me to get enough nutrients absorbed because one of the problems or complications that arises from pancreatitis is called malabsorption. Basically that means you don’t absorb nutrients from food like you should. I started taking a multiple vitamin-mineral formula.

Years later I found research on OPC’s (pycnogenol and grape seed) and curcumin (turmeric). The virtues of the two sounded to good to be true but hey I gave it a shot. I started taking vitamin C, grape seed and later curcumin.

To my pleasant surprise they worked. After 6 months of no problems (no pain or other symptoms), to “test” the benefits of vitamin C, grape seed extract and curcumin I stopped taking my meds.

6 months later I was still in a “no problem zone.” The diet and supplements were definitely working. However …

I didn’t know what portion of my program was important so I tried eating red meat. After a few of days of steak, roast and hamburger I was sick as a dog. So that meant the diet was damn important.

Once I was symptom free again I eliminated the grape seed and turmeric.

Soon I was sick again.cartoon-brainiac

Being a right smart feller I figured that meant that BOTH the strict, low, low-fat diet and the grape seed, curcumin and vitamin C were a necessary course of action unless I wanted to be in pain and puking up my toenails.

The bottom line?

30+ years after my diagnosis I’m still alive and can still eat.

In this beating pancreatitis blog I’ll share with you every trick I have learned to help myself live longer than Dr. Langdon expected. I hope you take what I say seriously because I’ve been there, done it and most likely if you don’t pay attention you may be dead in a few years or less.

The choice is totally yours.

It’s your body, your life. And by the way …

I may recommend some products that if you purchase them through me I’ll make a buck or two but ya know what? You can get most everything I am going to share with you at any health food store, I don’t need to make a sale to eat tomorrow and I really don’t care where you buy the products you need just as long as you get them, try them (like I tell you) and see if they work for you.

If anything you learn here helps you with pain, nausea, digestion and gives you the ability to live a higher quality of life, that’s really all I care about because I KNOW what it is like to hurt and be nauseated and puke and I hate that crap. So if I can help you feel better great!

Now, I want you to understand something, it’s important.

If you can’t tell yet, I don’t respect doctors a whole lot. Very few have been helpful to me. I found one that probably helped save me from an early and painful death. I’ll be forever grateful but right afterward he up and left the area to teach at a major medical school.

Go figure.

I find a good doc and he abandons me.

That left me to again be at the mercy of the average incompetent physician. And so IF you have been blessed with a great doctor, who gives you the finest care you could expect then be sure to hog-tie him or her so they can’t leave!

And if you have any reservations about my honor by all means ask your doctor before you try anything.

I am not a doctor.

I don’t know everything and I am not giving you medical advice. I am telling you what I DO and what has worked for me. If there is actual research to back what I say I’ll show ya – if there isn’t any research I’ll tell ya that too and you can decide for yourself what to do.

Like I said, I don’t care where you buy the products I recommend. If you want to buy them from me that’s great, it helps pay for hosting this site and my coffee habit but if you don’t the commission of maybe $1.50 for some grape seed, curcumin and vitamin C isn’t gonna make a difference as to whether I eat or not. And …

Take heed: Any information or product mentioned is to be used strictly at your own risk. I’m not your next poster boy and victim for a lawsuit. The FDA, FTC and Mainstream Medicine have NOT read or approved anything I have or am about to share with you. I am not here to diagnose, prescribe or cure any disease and this information is intended ONLY for your reading pleasure.

References:

  1. Celiac Disease and Malabsorptive Disorders  (Cleveland Clinic article) – Article (read last paragraph under “Clinical Manifestations.”)
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This article has 46 Comments

  1. Thank you so much. I have been trying for years to figure out what is wrong. Your experience has given me a plan. I have prayed for strength & patience to deal with the pain & fear of it coming back!! Thank you thank you and God Bless!!!

  2. I have put your advice to work after my AP in November 2013 and have excellent results, the trigger for me is being bloated and not being able to burp unless I make myself burp, I think this is the first stage and then the pain will come if the gas is not released , this usually starts at about 2am and lasts until 9 am , Tylonol 2 and 3 have set this off twice, no more T2,3 for me, quit drinking, quit smoking and for now just oatmeal , bananas chicken, turkey lettuce, veggies and multigrain soups plus 5 dark chocolate almonds each meal.

    Thank you for your detailed advice,

    HB

  3. Hello my husband was diagnosed with pancreatitis and I tried the ibuprofen and my husband said that it helped with the pain in his stomach. I am wondering if you could help me with the nausea and vomiting he’s experiencing. I have the supplements but it won’t do him any good if he can not keep it down. I have been trying to look and see if you have any posts about it but I haven’t ran across any yet. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Bri – Ask his doctor for phenergan or compazine suppositories. He can’t puke them up. They should handle the nausea. I keep both phenergan (promethazine) suppositories and compazine tabs to handle nausea on hand just in case. If he’s been diagnosed it shouldn’t take more than a phone call to his doc. There isn’t much else I know of that really works to stop the nausea and vomiting. Some people use zofran. I don’t know if zofran works. I do know the other two do work. Hope he feels better soon.

  4. Hi Paul,
    Wonderful and very informative site!
    Hospitalized a year ago for severe gallbladder induced pancreatitis.
    Still sorting out much lingering pain, bloating, etc.
    Your blog has been extremely helpful.
    I’m putting in place much of what you’ve discovered on your journey.
    Great focus on the nutrition and other areas like anxiety.
    A few questions for you as we’ll please:
    What role do you think sugars might play in chronic panc?
    Any thoughts on the really good quality plant based protein powders? The one I’ve tried is vegan and completely natural, no added crap at all. Seems to be a reasonable option for getting good protein and no fat.
    What about Greek yoghurt that has no fat? It is a probiotic dairy, but nutritional label states no fat at all.
    I’m sure there will be other questions too, but thought I would start here.
    Thanks so much for all your efforts and sharing of such hard earned experience!
    Dan

    1. Hi Dan. You’re welcome. Glad you like the info but sorry to hear you have pancreatitis. It does take some time to heal. Now for your questions.

      Sugar. Sugar (processed white) is inflammatory. I don’t use it at all but not because it caused problems. It didn’t seem to but cancer feeds on sugar and since chronic pancreatitis raises our risk of pancreatic cancer it may be best to avoid processed sugar as much as possible. Natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables is still sugar but is somewhat different and difficult to avoid, especially when fruits and veggies need to be the cornerstones of a pancreatitis diet.

      plant based protein powder The plant based protein powder called PlantFusion seems to be a viable possiblity. PlantFusion provides 21 grams of protein per serving with 2 grams of fat however I can’t find any fat source listed on the label so it may be plant based fat. Garden of Life and Orgain Organic Protein Plant-Based Powder, look good with what appears to be safe ingredients and 17 – 21 grams of protein per serving, yet if you read the ingredient labels one has sunflower oil and the other flax seed both of which are high fat ingredients that I would suggest be avoided. I have never tried either so I can not tell you how they work out from a personal standpoint. It sounds like you have found one that works for you and if it causes no problems then that’s a good thing. FAT and alcohol are the enemies. Pure vegetable protein with a small amount of plant based fat (2 grams) should work as a meal or snack. Just add those fat grams into your daily total or 25 grams of fat.

      Greek yogurt is something else I haven’t tried. When you try it (if you do) make sure your diet does NOT contain anything else that has NOT been proven to be safe for you while you are testing it. Test it for a week or two. Foods don’t usually produce immediate symptoms (within 1-12 hours) unless you are still really sick or the foods are really unsafe (pork, beef, lamb etc) and sometimes even the worst like pork and beef take a day or two to actually slam the poor soul who ate it. And …

      Sometimes milk solids (whey) found in milk, yogurt etc cause folks problems even though the stuff is labeled fat free. I can tolerate fat free milk once in a while but to much causes problems. What I mean is I can drink a cup of fat free milk on Monday and be fine even a week later but if I drink it two or three days in a row I have experienced some unwanted symptoms that could only be traced to the milk. So I don’t use a lot of milk or other dairy products. Good luck to you 🙂

  5. Hi Paul,
    Very much appreciated. Good point about the refined sugars. Will be keeping an eye on them as well. The plant based protein has 1.5 gms of fat per scoop, so am only using one per day of those to see. My food diary is unfolding but is a challenge, especially to watch for immediate or those darned subtle delayed trigger foods. Since finding your supportive and informative blog I have now implemented all the supplements. Here’s hoping…
    Any thoughts about diabetic diet foods/menu’s? I am not diabetic but it seems reasonable to be aware of what that diet may offer. I will indeed be watching on that greek ‘no-fat’ yogurt. Appears high quality food, but enduring it needs to be watched for.
    Always great to chat with a fellow soldier. Did sixteen years, many full-time, with Combat Arms Primary Reserve up here in Canada. Put me on course with many things, including school, and personal discipline. I will need that experience now too it seems.
    Thanks again Paul, for all your research, efforts, and sharing. This is one tough disease.
    Dan

    1. You’re welcome Dan. The food diary is a challenge but worth it. Let us all know how the plant protein powder works out for you. I don’t have any suggestions for diabetics. Good luck to you and take care soldier.

  6. Hi Paul, really like and appreciate your blog! Not sure if I actually have had an acute pancreatic attack, however, I recently have been suffering from mild pain and periodic sharp pains On my left side right at the diaphragm, which came on after several evenings of wine consumption. No nausea, vomiting or fever. I went to the ER yesterday and of course, to them, everything looks fine… I am embarking on my first General Practitioner visit in a few days to get this issue diagnosed but am terrified that they will mis-diagnose. I haven’t eaten in several days and am starting to feel quite weak. I have kept up the fluids and started taking the ibuprofen, grape seed and vit C a couple of days ago. It appears that this has worked somewhat, but I still have the occasional sharp pain regardless. I have tried to drink a low sugar grapefruit juice watering it down with water, but as soon as I drink it I get the sharp pains, not debilitating, just a few that I notice them. I am curious if you can tell me what your experience is with the timing of starting to eat “safe foods” after you have gotten control of the pain and inflammation. Does treatment of an acute attack always involve a hospital stay with intravenous fluids and the feeding tube or if you can get the pain and inflammation under control can you be relatively confident in starting off slow with safe foods? I also want to understand if you actually drink the white grapefruit juice as you are having an attack to get it to stop? If so, how does that work since it seems that would prompt the pancreas to start pumping out enzymes. I pray I hear from you soon and God continue to bless you!
    Janice

    1. Hi Janice – thank you for the kind words. I’m glad you like my blog 🙂 Inregards to your health there must be something wrong and hopefully your appt with the GP will prove fruitful. I’m thinking that IF they did blood work in the ER (including an enzyme level check) that you most likely don’t have acute pancreatitis. Anything is possible but what you’ve described doesn’t quite fit. The Ibuprofen and grape seed will most likely help anything to some degree where inflammation plays a role but that doesn’t mean it is pancreas inflammation.

      IF it were me I’d quit taking the Ibuprofen, grape seed and vitamin C because it is hard enough for doctors to find out what is wrong with folks when all signs are glaring so a reduction in inflammation or other symptoms may throw off any other tests that a doc might do to look for the problem. It is extremely important that you find out what is actually wrong. Otherwise you’ll be guessing, your mind will create the worst scenarios and you won’t be obtaining correct medical diagnosis and/or treatment. So MY first goal would be to get a concrete diagnosis that makes sense. I know this may not be what you were looking to hear but it’s what I’d do. I hope you find out what’s wrong, it’s simple to correct and you feel much better real soon. 🙂

      1. Paul, you are awesome and, correct! When experiencing these symptoms your mind tends to go wild with the worst thoughts. I am following your advice and will keep you up on my diagnosis and healing as I believe in the Lord Jesus just as you do and believe He will give me the answers just as he has you. Once again and THANK YOU SO MUCH! God Bless.
        Janice

  7. Hi Paul,
    This is a wonderful site and it leads me to believe there is hope after all. I have had two bouts of CP, and they found sludge in my gallbladder. No other potential cause after EUS (strands) MRCP, upper and lower test. The doc says it may or may not help to get it out, what would you do in this situation?

    Thanks,
    Glen

    1. Hi Glen – I’m glad you like the site. Thank you. 2 bouts of CP or did you mean AP (acute pancreatitis)? Just asking for clarification. Since your doc is recommending GB removal because of sludge I’m gonna guess it’s because of AP. I hate to say this but I don’t know what I’d do since I haven’t been faced with that bridge to cross. There are pro’s and cons to each decision. BUT removing the GB when sludge and/or stones are present certainly reduces the risk of having another attack of acute pancreatitis (at least from sludge and stones). IF my memory serves me correctly the risk of severe acute pancreatitis is higher in those with stones than from other causes. The leading cause of acute pancreatitis is gallstones/sludge with 45% of cases being due to gallstones. Alcohol coming in second at 35%. Using the 80/20 rule or stat with 80% of cases being mild and 20% severe gallstone pancreatitis would account for the most severe AP cases. In that regard it may be a prudent choice to remove it. Good luck with the decision you make. 🙂

  8. Hi and thanks so much for elaborating your story. It really gives some confidence and rules to follow to those who are suffering from this diseases.

    around 6 weeks back I start to have Pain in uppper abdomen which was not nice and I went to doctor and he diagnosed either gastric problem or gallstone and gave some lexatives. After 3 days pain was more aggravated and I went to a specialized GASTRO and she did nothing different but ordered blood test which showed HIGH Lipase and high Amalysae. I had high Cholesterol level as well. So it was deduced that I have accute pancreatitis and CT Scan, MRCP all suggested only inflammed pancreas nothing else. its been 6 weeks now and my lipase is still higher than normal and pain seems to be still coming and going. Even third doctor is unaware what really caused this and I feel sometimes drowsy and pain. I am following strictly low fat diet with no alcohol etc.

    What do you suggest? Should I go for additional tests to know the reason as I am scared if anything else is developing which is causing pain.

    Regards,
    Saurabh

    1. Hi Saurabh – sorry to hear you have become a member of the pancreatitis hall of pain. High lipase, amylase and inflamed pancreas on CT is definitely an indication of acute pancreatitis. How do you know your lipase is still high – did the 3rd doctor recheck it? The best single test for diagnosing gallstones is an ultrasound you may want to have that done. You may have a stone or some sludge stuck somewhere, in either the common bile or pancreatitic duct. That is just a guess since you still have similar symtpms after 6 weeks. However, it does take some time to heal especially if your attack was more than mild. In any event I’d certainly call the doctor you like and trust the best (out of the 3) and tell them you are still feeling ill and need to know why. Were you or are you still taking any type of prescription medication for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc that may the cause?

  9. Hi Paul,

    Well I didn’t go to Third doctor but the second one suggested to wait for a bit and prescribed digestive enzymes. He suspects that it could be chronic Pancreatitis. Good news is that my stool seems OK and since one week no tenderness and no pain as such but just a paranoia that pain might return.

    Also I did full Blood Work done and Lipase, Amlyase returned to normal. No Diabetes found
    And as I said I had HIGH cholestrol earlier but they also returned to normal level.
    Only thing HIGH is TriGlyceride level (Not too HIGH but 250 against higher border of 200)

    The only prescription I am taking after supposed Pancreatitis is Creon (Pancreatic Enzymes for FAT), Cholesterol controlling medicine and vitamins. That’s it

    Also I am taking Aloe Vera Juice early morning and someone suggested its good for pancreas. Yet not found Grape-seed extract. I am on strict No FAT diet with teetotaler lifestyle since 8 weeks now and will continue to do so.

    And Yes I had already done MRCP, Ultra Sound, CT scan and all says inflamed pancreas (Edemetous acute pancreatitis) with no sign of Stone or duct dilation etc (This were done on the onset). Although doctor did say its possible that Sludges cant be detected with these mechanism but surely no significant or visible stones are present in Gall bladder.

    So apparently I am not sure what is the reason of my so called Pancreatitis? As everyone seems to tell hundreds of reason and only abnormal thing I see is Little HIgher TriGlyceride.. Can that be a cause?

    By the way really appreciate your sharing that you do to give guidance to the people across the world which is extract of your sheer experience. Will hope to hear from you soon!

    Regards,
    Saurabh

    1. Hi Saurabh glad to hear you have improved and are feeling better. Sounds to me you are on the right path and hopefully your health will continue to improve. Your tri’s are not high enough to be a concern.

  10. Hello,
    My husband had a sudden attack of acute pancreatitis on August 31, 2015. He had never had any symptoms prior to this attack. He was hospitalized for 21 days. They never found the culprit, but he does have stones in his gall bladder. Three weeks post discharge, he went back to the hospital for 3 days. At this time they performed another CT scan which showed he possibly had two pseudocysts, one on the head and one on the tail of the pancreas. They did not want to go in and do anything because it was in a dangerous location. He was discharged and the surgeon has been waiting for his pancreas to “settle down” before removing his gall bladder. He is still in pain and is taking pain meds at least once a day before dinner…this helps him with pain after eating and to sleep at night. He has been eating low fat diet for the last three months. He cannot take ibuprofen due to complications from the anti-inflammatory from prior medical situation.

    On December 30th, a GI specialist performed the ERCP on him since the CT scan still shows his pancreas duct is snaked shape and inflamed inside, and wanted to aspirate fluid from the two peudocysts. The procedure did not go well because of the inflammation inside the pancreas, he was only able to put in a short stent in the opening of the duct. They also discovered that the “cysts” were really not cysts, but necrosis of the pancreatic organ! This is horrible news for us. We have not gotten the official results back from the two Doctors that are now conferring on his case. We do not know where to go from here. I have been scouring the internet to become more informed about what his options might be. Do you have any suggestions for us at this point in time?

    He is going to eventually have his gall bladder removed. I don’t think that will make the pancreas any better, but it will eliminate a possible source of another attack that could happen in the future. I believe my husband thinks that when the gall bladder is removed, he can start eating meat and butter and all that stuff he loves and cannot have now. I don’t think this is going to be possible. I also worry about him becoming diabetic because the pancreas is also responsible for insulin production. He also hates fish! He is a very picky eater!

    Any ideas you have for us would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Victoria – sorry you and your husband are having to go through some real trials. Since he has obviously suffered severe acute pancreatitis it is highly doubtful that he’ll ever be able to consume a “normal” high fat diet unless he wants to live in pain. Hopefully the docs have him on antibiotics to prevent infection? It would probably be prudent to get that GB removed when possible but that isn’t going to repair the damage already done to his pancreas as you have noted.

      IF he isn’t on antibiotics you might consider colloidal silver. I use Sovereign Silver and I get it at Fred Myers. I’d get an 8 ounce bottle and start taking 10 dropper fulls twice per day for 3 – 4 days. The stuff is awesome. It even kills stomach virus. And from what I’ve read bugs do not become immune to silver like they do antibiotics. However … silver can cause one major problem – BLUE skin. And it is a permanent condition so you don’t want to use it all the time or for real long periods or in extremely high doses. I’ve used it a lot and have never turned blue but I do NOT use it for extended periods and I never use it in formulas higher than 10 ppm.

      Other than that I’d do a lot of grape seed extract and vit C. Probably 1000 – 1500 mgs of grape seed extract per day (3 – 4 doses). LOW, even NO fat diet. In fact it may be beneficial for him to fast for several days. Until that inflammation is resolved he’s gonna be a hurting camper. THAT is what I’d do. Y’all have to do what you think is best. But I’d also make darn sure I had some really good doctors who know how to treat severe acute pancreatitis with complications (necrosis). Keep us posted about how y’all are doing. Godspeed 🙂

  11. I wanted to just say Thank You for creating such a great website with lots of great information on pancreatitis. I recently suffered my second attack of acute pancreatitis and wound up in the hospital ER room. When I had my first attack almost exactly 2 years ago I figured it was a fluke since I had had no signs before or following the attack.

    This time I have learned a valuable lesson that pancreatitis is no joke and should be taken very seriously. That’s how I found you site, doing research on how to prevent this from happening again. I was happy to find all kinds of great information and stories that you have shared with us, and for that I am thankful.

    Thanks again, your work is greatly appreciated.

    1. Ulterios – You’re welcome. Sorry to hear you are like most all the others who visit and have found this site because they are sick and looking for answers. Get well and try to stay well. I know I’m anal about diet and some other things but it sure beats being sick 🙂

      1. Thanks, I am going to try to make some changes in diet as well and I completely agree that making changes beats being sick AND the pain from an attack.

        I also sent out a Tweet (@Ulterios1) about your great site to hopefully catch at least a couple of people that can use the information that you share to hopefully help them with their pancreatitis.

        Thanks again for all you have shared!

  12. I was diagnosed in the ER at 17 with pancreatitis after having doctors tell my mom for years (started at 11 years old) that it was in my head. (Like they wrote in your chart) They removed my gall bladder, and the pancreatitis came back and I was back in the ER two weeks later. Now I am 40, and I still get them periodically, but the attacks only last for about 5-10 minutes now. Thank you for your article, and I agree that most doctors are pretty clueless. :-/

  13. Hi my name is CruzG, I was diagnosed with mild ap I got blood work done and x rays. My Enzyme level is 191 and my doctor told me to stop all alcohol and to start a low fat diet, and to take tylenol for pain no more than 1000mg per day, and that was all! no follow up day just goodbye! I have been doing some research on mild ap and now I am really depressed! I am a hard working family man and I feel like my life is over… Is it that easy to diagnose? and shouldnt have I been admitted to the hospital? Really scared… what are your thoughts?

    1. Hi CruzG – I understand your fear. Most mild AP (80%) resolves with no further occurrences (according to medical stats). I’d be happy you got a doctor who actually recognized it and diagnosed it with a enzyne (lipase?) level of 191 which is about 3.8 x above high normal.

      I say bravo for him.

      I had a lady comment a day or so ago who had a lipase level of 900 and her doc said she could go home with no need for hospital care. I’m thinkin, about that doc, “Dude what is wrong with you?” That’s like 18 x high normal. Yet I’ve had some comments from folks who have had lipase at 2700 – 3200+. BUT enzyme levels do NOT predict severity of disease. They only confirm suspicion and point towards a diagnosis. Other tests confirm severity.

      Did your doc do any other tests?
      Did your doc give any reason/cause for your AP?

      IF you have no underlying reason that hasn’t been addressed you should heal up and most likely never have to worry. I’d do what that doc said. Stop alcohol and eat very low fat, preferrably modified vegan for about 3 – 6 months. You can read about diet here. Let me know how you do.

      1. Thanks so much for responding so quickly! Yes he did blood test and x ray. He said my kidneys lungs ect looked good! my Amylase is 157 which he said is high, and Lipase is 191 which he also said was very elevated. I am not a heavy drinker in my opinion but i could be wrong. I drink two to three times a week 6 to 8 beers at a time, and this is only when i am out of town working, I have a small roofing business, and we travel most uf the summer since it is roofing season. So I am usually out for 2 weeks then go home for a few days and so on. While at home i usually rest and relax not much drinking. I dont have a problem problem quitting drinking at all, I just think the doc rushed to that conclusion. I ve read that the and in pain digestive system could be not working right and other reasons I could have ap. i just want to know the real reason so that i know what to do, and get better. That is my goal to get better and not worse. I Want to be around and watch my children grow up and have children of there own I love life.. I really appreciate you sharing all your knowledge it has helped me understand ap a lot. I wish the doctor would have told me not to eat and drink lots of water for a 3 to 5 days to let the Pan. heal, but he did not and I kept eating and kept hurting. another thing I have had pain now for about 2 weeks and it comes and goes, its in the mid section of stomach and lower back. and now it seems to be going to my mid back. I wish I had more answers. I am basically at home not eating and drinking water. I am taking ibuprofen since a day ago and it seems to be helping. thanks for that tip.. All I want is to get better, but I think that I need to know the root cause in order to do that? Very confused and depressed. ant advice will help.. Thank you so much for your time and knowledge…

        1. Hi CruzG – you’re welcome. I try to respond quickly. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way lol. Anyway there are a couple things I’d do. IF it were me …

          1) I’d keep Fasting (nothing by mouth but water and what I’m gonna suggest).

          2) I’d keep taking the Ibuprofen. I’d do ONE dose of 800 – 1000 mgs (day 1). Then 200 – 400 mgs, 2x daily for one week (days 2 – 7).

          3) I’d go to the nearest health store and buy grape seed extract (100 mg caps), curcumin (400 – 500 mgs caps) and Vit C (1000 mg tabs or caps). I’d start taking the supplements ONE each 2 x daily and in a week increase to 2 each 2 x daily. I’d be thinking a 3 – 6 month deal to start.

          4) I’d go to the grocery store and buy white grapefruit juice. IF you are on any medications other than Ibuprofen and the supplements you NEED to call your doc and a pharmacist (both) and ask them if any of the meds you take will interact with the grapefruit juice. Grapefruit juice can cause some nasty drug interactions (statins and some other drugs can actually cause lethal reactions). If you’re good to go (no problem with meds) I’d be drinking GFJ every day (a quart or more).

          5) I’d check my prescription meds. IF you are on any prescription meds such as:

          A) statins (used to treat high cholesterol)
          B) diabetes drugs (januvia, victoza, trulicity, metformin)
          C) high blood pressure drugs such as: diuretics (furosimide, hydrochlorothiazide or any blood pressure drug that contains them) OR lisinopril

          Any of the above have been known to cause AP. There are lots more that do as well. I’d bring these to my docs attention.

          7) Once fasting (2-3 days) has achieved pain resolution I’d start drinking veggie juice (V8 low sodium). I’d drink that for 2 -3 days to begin re-introducing my pancreas to food and see how that goes. As a roofer, in your busy season, I know you don’t want to lose weight or energy but you also need to heal that pancreas. And hopefully you’ll never have another problem.

          8) Then I’d start trying egg whites, vegetarian baked beans, peas, rice, zero fat and very low fat, high protein foods to keep you going. Veggies and fruit (except avocado and coconut) are safe. No red meat (beef, lamb, sheep, goat, elk, deer, or mystery meat), pork (ALL) or other high fat foods (butter, margarine, cheese, whole milk, cream, OIL etc) for awhile. Let that pancreas heal up before trying your mormal diet.

          9) Quit drinking alcohol.

          IF you do this CruzG and give your pancreas time to completely heal AND there is no insidous, underlying cause except alcohol (you may have the gentic gene variant that predisposes one to alcoholic pancreatitis) and that is the first AP attack you could heal up completely and live a normal life again. According to medical stats 80% who have a one-time mild attack heal up and never have issues again.

          Trust me on this you do NOT want chronic pancreatitis.

          Good luck. Let me know how you come out. 🙂

          1. Thanks again! I I don’t where I would be mentally right now if it weren’t for you! I I forgot to mention that about 5 weeks ago i had mid stomach ache that would come and go during the day with constipation that lasted about 8 days. I took some prune juice and shortly after I had real good bm, and the pain went away. but the my stomach kept making weird noises and still does, and I continue to feel constipated. So would this be my second flare up? Also I am not on any medications at all. Should I get a ct scan or any other test to see if there is any damage? I would like to know 100% where I stand. I will follow the liquid diet as you said with ibuprofen and the modified vegan diet . I am just really concerned, I have never been sick or been to the hospital, so its pretty overwhelming for me.. You are a huge Blessing to everyone dealing with Pancreatitis, and appreciate your time and knowledge! Thanks again…

          2. You’re welcome! I wouldn’t worry about the constipation. With AP the pain doesn’t come and go. It is almost always constant, boring and bad BUT there are exceptions. So who knows maybe that was an early warning of things to come. Don’t worry (it doesn’t help) just do what it takes to get well. Good luck 🙂

      2. Hi there I forgot to mention the doctor said the cause was from drinking 6 to 12 beers a day! which i never said I drank that much! any way that’s cause he gave…Thanks again!

  14. My husband has been dealing with pancreatitis and it’s destructive aftermath for months. He had gallstones so out went his gallbladder. Then he developed a pseudo cyst over 9 cm long so he had an internal drain put in that directs the fluid into his stomach. It was a struggle after that to keep anything down (food, medication, water) and now they’re saying gastro paresis. Sorry if the back story is a bit much, but my question and concern is, the recommended diet for dealing with paresis is almost the exact opposite of the recommended diet for pancreatitis (no fresh vegetables, no beans nuts or seeds, no whole grain / wheat, nothing high fiber, very few fruits) in your research did you come across or experience any of these additional complications, and how one might cope with the opposite guidelines each seems to require? Thanks!

    1. Hi Lacey – I’m sorry your husband is having such a rough time. From what you have told me in the past as well as this time it sure sounds like his days suck. Is his cyst still emptying into his stomach or has that been resolved? How did they come up with the diagnosis of gastroparesis? I’m just curious since stomach surgery (the cyst draining into the stomach must have a stent or two which likely would require an incision?) seems to be a cause. I’ll await your reply before I surge into my thoughts on diet.

      1. Thank you so much for your response. As of right now, the cyst has been linked to his stomach, although I don’t recall mention of a stint….the way they made it sound is they just stitched the two together. Either way the connection has been successful in decreasing the size of the cyst itself, but seems like the fluid is just taking up space in his stomach and not being processed out like anything else. At least not at the rate it should. That’s what I believe was causing the fullness and the vomitting. There’s just not enough room. So they ordered another cat scan and for lack of other findings, they attributed it to gastroparesis. I’d like to add, that the medication they gave him to basically force his stomach to contract and digest what it gets, has been helping. He’s keeping things down and processing them out (BM) But he’s still not gaining weight OR energy, and is generally uncomfortable all the time. Thanks again, any advice you have would be appreciated.

        1. Hi Lacey – At least your husband seems to be making some progress in healing. In answer to your question about the diet dilemma – I’ve heard of others who have pancreatitis and gastroparesis both and the diets do conflict. It definitely creates a more difficult challenge. I can’t think of anything brilliant. The only thing I can suggest is to take what foods are compatible with either condition and work it out as best as you can. I know that isn’t what you wanted to hear but the safer foods for pancreatitis are usually high fiber which isn’t the best for gastroparesis. So, you have a challenge for sure.

  15. I am going to try the grape seed extract and the tumeric stuff. I have had this chronic and acute pancreatitis since December. I had my gallbladder out 27 years ago and had some issues for a couple years . I ate whatever I wanted mostly junk food up till this point. I don’t drink and quit smoking 10 years ago and during December I had lots of heartburn like usual but then started getting indigestion and one night after dinner I was in horrible pain. Went to er hot sent home with ant acid and next night went back and got admitted and diagnosed. The pain pills help but I don’t want to take them regularly and my doctor wants me to look into surgery which I don’t want after the gallbladder one almost killed me. I have been eating less than 4 grams of fat have lost 50 pounds but having a bad flare up past two weeks and after reading what you wrote realized some stuff that I had ate said fat free or low fat and didn’t know soy sauce had alcohol so now back to square one with drinking water for a few days then starting on juices and writing what I eat. I hate vegetables but have been finding ways to eat them. What is helpful is for people to post recipes of how to make nonfat tasty food that doesn’t make you feel like you will never eat anything good ever again. Without milk cheese or sauces on pastas nothing looks good enough to eat. Fat free cheese’s is not tasty and pasta without marinara or Alfredo is just blah noodles. So if you can post recipes that taste good that would be helpful.

    1. Hi Barbara – sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well. Hopefully the supplements will help you. Yeah I know recipes would be helpful. I should think about doing something about it.

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