Recently released from the ER. Diagnosed as acute pancreatitis. What's my next move?

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Tonight marks twice within a year and the fourth time in my life that I have been to the ER and diagnosed with pancreatitis. This time the put acute on the paperwork. I'm planning on seeing my primary care doctor Tuesday, but I want some advice on the road ahead. My first two episodes were brought on by my rampant alcohol consumption in my early twenties. I'm 32 now. I stopped drinking hard when I was 27. I stopped completely Sept 2015 after finding out my dad had liver cancer. The first episode I had this year was in February. I drastically changed my diet. Besides a can of tuna once in a while, I eat mostly plant based foods. I cut back on my smoking but my stress levels are through the roof. I lost my father and my job in April. The attack today came about pretty quickly out of nowhere. I guess it's time for drastic change. I'm 32 and have four young children. Any tips, guidance or a detailed " what to expect" guide would be much appreciated.

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  • Posted

    I completely understand what u are going through cuz I'm going through the same thing I can't believe the er told u that u have it cuz every time I went they told me I was fine it's not until I was put to sleep by my GI doctor that they found that I have it but it's . U have to completely STOP SMOKING AS SMOKING CAN CAUSE U TO GET CANCER NO DRINKING ALL WHITE MEAT DIET NO RED MEAT NO CHOCOLATE NO DAIRY PRODUCTS 2%milk only no nuts seeds pop corn or corn absolutely no spicy foods and ABSOLUTELY NO FRIED OR Greasy foods every thing I named will bring on a attack...

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    • Posted

      The ER wants me to follow up with family doctor but listed me that way because my enzymes where high the second time in a row. I don't eat dairy, nuts, or drink alcohol anymore. I'm definitely gonna work on stopping cigarettes. Thanks for the advice.

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  • Posted

    I am a 71 year old female of mult-national origin.

    Fortunately, my early childhood taught me that consumption of alcohol or tobacco in any form was, something to avoid. And turned out to be a wise choice to help prevent complications brought on by their use.

    Nonetheless, after a few very uncomfortable stomach and back pains, and then the acute pancreatitits attack felt like someone had hit me across the middle of my chest just at the bottom rib area. Obviously this was enough for a visit to the emergency room, where they immediately tested for pancreatitis. When they saw the Lipase level at 32,000 they gave me pain meds and other supportive i.v.'s.

    This reading was enough for them admit me to the hospital so my body could calm down. Which means absolutely no water or food by mouth.

    You see the Pancreas wants to disolve whatever it preceives as food. That could include your internal organs, of which the heart, liver and others are targeted.

    The best alternative for my situation was to let pancreas calm down and then proceed to  to the gallbladder removal. This surgery went very well, and I am recovering nicely. The surgery was one morning and I went home the next morning.

    My word to you who have pancreatitis caused by the gallbladder being the culprit, is to have the surgery, which can be done laproscopically through 3-5 small holes in the body cavity.

    Do not put off the surgery by thinking 'this isn't so bad', or time is an issue, because, as I was told, the next acute attack could cause severe internal organ damage and/or death.

    If my reply helps you to rethink the idea of putting of the enevitable and taking

    care of yourself I am pleased. 


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  • Posted

    Hi Cody, you're going through a horrid period, very stressful and yet you've managed to change your diet and cut out alcohol so a big congratulations to you! 

    Yes work on getting rid of the cigarettes, you're not alone with that challenge, and try to reduce your stress somehow.  They say that with AP, if all the preventative protocols are followed, that some people will never have another attack. The diet, no alcohol/smoking etc needs to be followed from then on I'd say although some say only for 6 months.  The fact that you have had several attacks makes it more likely that you could or have progressed to CP.

    You need to be referred to a good gastroenterologist who preferably specialises in the pancreas, that's your first step.  There are tests which can identify damage and can determine whether you have acute or chronic pancreatitis.

    Are you taking digestive enzymes?  If not talk to your doc about getting some they are essential I think, they've made an incredible difference to my life.  It takes a little while to work out how much works for you but rule of thumb is take full amount when having meals, making sure to take them when you're about to eat, they only last for 30 minutes and if having a long lunch/dinner take more after 30 mins.  When having a snack take half your regular meal dose.

    Make sure you're hydrated that's important, don't go overboard but make sure you drink enough water everyday. 

    I add a squeeze of lemon juice to just about everything I eat, steamed veg, fish, chicken, salads, as well as to my water bottle too.  I have CP and gastritis too and it's helped me.  Having small meals often is better than trying to eat 3 meals a day.  Normal sized meals are too much food for our bodies to cope with in one go.

    What to expect, phew, sometimes we can have an acute attack out of the blue, or so it seems, I'm sure there's a trigger but I'm not good at determining that and I try my best to eat well, take my meds etc.  We need to know when to react, that's tricky, we might get a blockage when immediate medical intervention is required for instance, you need a crystal ball to be on top of that one and is when listening to your body is important, off to the ER then.  It's also important to reduce food/fluids by mouth when pain signals an attack.  If pain is manageable you can do this at home however If pain is severe go to the ER immediately as it could be a blockage or severe attack which can be life threatening.  In hospital treatment is usually nil by mouth with IV nourishment/fluids, and pain management of course.  That may be necessary for a couple of days to give your pancreas a complete rest. 

    I think getting to a point where you know your body and listen to it is important.  Always trust your instinct, ensure you have doctors you feel comfortable with and listen to you and will take your complaints seriously.  Good luck, keep in touch.

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