Laying in the gurney I was exhausted from the overwhelming pain and discomfort. Lightly shivering I tried to curl into the smallest ball to maintain my body heat, despite the fever, under three blankets and a hospital sheet. Hours past ever so slowly as I struggled to catch my breath and I was so terribly thirsty. The IV only partially began to quench my chapped lips, I tried to form spit in my mouth to swallow, my dehydration was ever so frustrating; the dehydration from hours of back-to-back vomiting. I prayed for relief, I prayed for answers, I thanked God for my husband keeping his wits and emotions about him and I was thankful for the staff in finding answers.
The answer I received was not one I expected in the least. After a hard workout that left me in a pool of sweat and deprived of all glycogen, I refueled my body at home with the perfect combination of my protein shake and a simple carbohydrate. Soon after, I felt my body weaken, I was overcome with fever and nausea, then the violence of vomiting. Swearing to myself I had rhabdomyolysis I tried to remain strong and avoid going to the ER. Telling myself I pushed myself too hard. Telling myself I did not eat enough. I told myself a million stories to justify the way I was feeling.
Fear was lying to me. Fear was telling me every other reason than the reason I should go to the emergency room. Fear was telling me I would get better if I toughed out the situation. Logic was telling me I needed to go to the ER. Good thing I listen to logic even when fear was drowning my thoughts.
After hours of prodding, blood draws, CT scans and ultrasounds we finally had a definitive answer. The diagnosis left me stunned and sobbing when I heard the news: gallstones with duodenitis. Gallstones? Me? Not that people don’t have gallbladder issues everyday, but I was more shocked at how I could have this diagnosis despite my clean diet and habitual exercise routine. Finally I was released from the hospital after the many hours and my body was so run down I just could not process what all was happening at the time.
The next morning I was on a mission. I was on a mission to find answers, to determine if the duodenitis and gallstones were unrelated as the ER doctor suggested. Answers were abundant from my books on hand regarding holistic and medicinal healing. The duodenum is the pouch attached to the stomach and upper intestine that receives bile from the gallbladder. Oye vey! They are related. One did beget the other in relation to the inflammation and discomfort. Still reeling from the incident, I lacked any desire to eat food for fear of another episode and the uncertainty of my new future. I stuck to the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet and opted for some bone broth just for the healthful goodness and ease on my digestive track.
Continuing on with my reading I found more information regarding the cause of duodenitis and gallstones. Of the major cause, stress. Secondary reasons, extreme dieting, high fat, low fat, low calorie (sub 1200), hormone replacement therapy found in contraceptives, low thyroid, the list went on which also included female, over the age of 40 and obesity. Basically, anyone could get gallstones and the duodenitis was the inflammation because of what is going on with my gallbladder only perpetuated by the extreme amounts of stress as of late. Moving across country seven months ago AND possibly having to move again definitely can upset the natural order of things.
So here I am today, eight days post incident and not stressing out. Hard to believe since we want to control what happens and the worry that accompanies the unknown. However, I have, strangely enough, let go and am letting God with what happens next. I am taking drastic measures daily, like warm lemon water upon first waking; which is absolutely horrible, I much prefer a warm cup of coffee. Taking shots of aloe vera juice, I really like this company, to keep the stomach acid at bay with the duodenitis. Drinking as much water as humanly possible (which I drink lots of water anyway) with my favorite citrus essential oils, as the limonene constituent found in citrus essential oils is helpful with removing wastes, breaking down fats and detoxing your body. Last but not least, continuing to eat clean, adopting intermittent fasting, reduce my fat intake, and I’ve completely eliminated dairy (*cry, because I love ice cream) and gluten.
While all of these steps sound ridiculous, I have noticed a significant difference in the five days I have adopted these practices. My diet was really pretty low fat, however, I have cut out enjoying bacon, beef, grilled chicken thighs, and the occasional burger and french fries that I would treat myself to when Aunt Flo would come to town. I meet with the G.I. doctor in May and I hope that my results is that I have been able to successfully, and holistically, treat my gallstones and duodenitis that would not require medication for the rest of my life to keep the stomach acid down and would not require surgery. Even though this happens everyday and is pretty common, how common would this be, if we adopted a better ritual of caring for ourselves and our health. By avoiding crash diets like super high fat or no (super low) fat or crash diets with ridiculously low calories, by eliminating the toxins in our life, by eating foods that are happy for our gut, by being more mindful about our stress.