Friday, May 19, 2006

Gallbladder Pain After Gallbladder Removed - Milk Thistle Saved My Life

About 15 years ago I began having horrible abdominal pain, it was excruciating. The good ole docs decided that it was my gallbladder, even though the tests showed no inflammation or gall stones.

What the hell, I went ahead and let them take that puppy out, I was sick.

3 days later the pain was back but this time it was much worse but when I went back to the doctor he thought I had gone crazy. It wasn't a constant pain, it occured atleast once a week and was a pain like I had never felt. It was on my right side almost under my ribcage and it seemed to travel to my back. It also felt like it went up my chest and down my arm. It would take by breathe and there was nothing I could do to ease it. The day after a pain episode I would be very lethargic and sick to my stomach, the lethargy would go into the next day as well.

I eventually went to a Gastrointerologist, he was baffled by this but he asked me to go to the emergency room the next time I had this pain and get my liver enzyme functions drawn, this is just blood work. Amazingly, my liver function tests were incredibly high. We checked them the next 4 times I had an "episode" and the liver enzymes continued to climb. They would come back to normal in between the pain episodes. My liver biopsy showed some inflammation but was otherwise normal.

The GI doc sent to to the "best GI Doctor in the world" in Racine, WI. (I live in Kansas). This fellow ran more tests and did a sphincterotomy (sp?) and sent me home, still with no diagnosis. Of course by this time I am on 6 different medications for something that no one can put a name on and I am getting sicker by the minute.

8 months into this, I had 4 liver biopsies, my liver enzymes were being drawn twice a week and I think I am dying, the bad thing is no one is telling me I'm not going to die. I'm in my mid-30's.

I just happen to run into a schoolmate of my oldest daughter's who has hepatitis C and is undergoing treatment for it. She tells me about some herbs and vitamins she is taking.... I do some research on them and one that keeps coming up for liver problems is Milk Thistle.

I started taking Milk Thistle, 4 a day, and my liver function test a week later was NORMAL. 2 weeks go by and I had not had a pain episode, my liver enzymes are still normal so I quit taking all of the prescription medications. A month goes my and I have been eating, liver enzymes are still normal and still no pain episodes.

Of course my doctor's are stumped and they really don't want to admit that the Milk Thistle had anything to do with it.... yeah right.

It turns out that I had/have Biliary Dyskenisia or Sphincter or Oddi Disfunction. Basically, the biliary system goes into spasms and backs everything up into the liver, this is what causes the liver enzymes to go out of whack. If this goes on long enough it can do some bad damage. The upside is, the liver can repair itself and Milk Thistle does that. I now take 1 Milk Thistle a day. I get mine from

How I have learned to live with Biliary Dyskenesia or a messed up Oddi:

  • Never let yourself get hungry, I don't know what this has to do with anything but if I let myself get really hungry I can feel the pain coming on.
  • You can knock down the severe pain with buttered bread.
  • A super low fat diet will make the pain worse, I tried Dr. Phil's diet book and the pain came back really bad
  • Eat a little something before you go to bed, my pain usually hit me about 2 a.m., so now I eat a piece of buttered toast or something else small before I go to bed... just as a precaution.

FYI - I read that laproscopic removal of the gallbladder can actually bring on biliary dyskenesia. This was in a "small percentage" of the cases but it does happen. In my case, BD was the original problem and not my gallbladder but if you are still having gallbladder pain after your gallbladder is removed..... here ya go. Don't panic just try some of the things outlined here and see if they work for you. The laproscope still beats the old open surgical removal of the gallbladder.

I would be more than happy to respond to your questions about this here on this blog.

DISCLAIMER: I am just a lay person who has lived through this and want to share what I learned. This advice is not intended to take the place of honest to goodness medical advice from a licensed MD or DO. But please never be afraid to step outside the bounds of conventional medicine, ask questions and do your own research.

I LOVE my Durgesic Pain Patch

I have been on Durgesic for a little over 5 years and can't imagine my life without it.

The active ingredient is Fentanyl. This is one of the medications that is used to put you to sleep for surgery. It is a very strong medication and as far as I'm concerned it is extremely effective for controlling chronic pain, especially back pain.

Before I was on the patch I was taking Oxycontin and I was a drooling vegetable with no quality of life. I had been on this mess for 4 years and did nothing but sleep and go to the bathroom. I ate only if there was someone here to remind me to eat. It was pathetic, I was pathetic.

When we found out that my oldest daughter was going to have a baby I told the doctor that I needed something that would allow me to be an active participant in her life or I was going to kill myself, I did not want to "live" in the state I was in. This is when I was introduced to the pain patch.

Within a week I was out working in my garden, I was cooking meals, I was an active participant once again in my family.... it still brings tears to my eyes to remember back to those days.

Here I am 5 years later doing everything that I want to do which is basically anything that my "new body and life" will let me do. I know my limitations and as long as I stay within those, I'm good. If I do more than my back and body want me to, then I have Lorcet for the breakthrough pain but I take no more than 2 a day. Usually this is 1 at bedtime and 1 about 3 a.m.

I am truly amazed at how many people are still taking the conventional narcotic pain meds when this wonder drug is out there. No, you don't get the head rush or buzz that you get from oxycontin or dilaudid. But honestly, if you are going for the head rush, you are addicted and need to question the level of pain you really have. I have talked to several people with supposed chronic pain who refuse to even try the Durgesic Patch simply because there is no buzz from it. Personally, I want the quality of life with a little less pain that is easier on my liver that I get from the patch.

The Durgesic Patch has been given a bad rap due to misuse, it is not for acute pain it is for chronic pain, and abuse. If you abuse any drug yes.... it can kill you. There has been talk of removing this wonderful medication from use by the public due to this misuse ie. the doctor's are once again prescribing a medication where it isn't indicated and the abuse by folks that will abuse cough medicine if they have enough of it.

I urge you to talk to your doctor about the Durgesic Patch. Over the past 10+ years I have been on just about every pain medication on the market and this is the only one that truly works without horrible side effects.