I am fairly confident that I gotten this blog down to a readership of females only. So it’s time to get down to it.
My gallbladder started acting up recently.
What a terrible name for an organ!– right up there with the word bile— and one I had never given any thought to, until last week when I got a bad pain in my stomach and right shoulder. Pocho did not work his usual crazy weekend hours and we had plenty of time to drink and eat with friends. I don’t drink much, but we had a friend from Mexico in our kitchen mixing tequila and orange juice I think and so naturally I took advantage. Then we had a huge barbecue at church, and to make a long story short, I pigged out. (Heh, heh. Yes I know.)
Any-how, come to find out alcohol and fatty foods are huge triggers for that little and so-unfortunately-named-organ, and boy did it let me know the following Monday. (My body usually waits to punish me and get sick until I’m in the middle of teaching, just as a special touch.) I also have been getting yucky headaches and migraines, which I never get.
My Mom, who happens to be a brilliant nurse, is the best. She and I sat down and researched and came up with a pretty solid theory: I have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, which was exacerbated by going on the Pill for a while and maybe stress, all of which are rough on the gallbladder. Also, I probably have an excess of estrogen (yet another great word!).
Why am I telling you this? Two lengthy reasons:
1) Ladies, be wary of the Pill! I know, I know. Allllll the research says the Pill is perfectly safe and every doctor I’ve ever talked to expresses complete confidence in it. But my mother did not raise me on whole wheat and no microwaves to let me trust something that comes in with synthetic progesterone and estrogen and changes hormones which happened to be functioning just fine.
I do not have the stats here to back myself up, because that would take so long and I don’t have any credentials to be talking about this anyway. You can google it if you want (xenohormones and xenoestrogen brings up interesting stuff).
I just don’t get why we don’t stop and think through body-altering drugs after a century of experimentation with processed food, chemical products, etc. with so many disastrous results. An unfathomable amount of money is being made on the pill, too, and it liberated women everywhere, so I am not sure that we will get any good information in the near future. My gynecologist basically laughed me off the phone when I mentioned a possible estrogen connection and offered to switch to a different pill.
The Pill is convenient, yes, which is why I justified a short time of usage and thought it wouldn’t do any harm. Now I suspect the excess estrogen it produces stressed out my poor gallbladder to its breaking point.
2) This may be a good thing. If our theory is correct, then the changes I’m going to have to make were actually things I should have been doing my whole life.
The horrifying list looks like this:
– Go off gluten for about 6 months and see what happens (hey, good thing I married a man from Peru, where it’s rice and plantains and potatoes, not a guy from Italy…)
– Avoid sugar and juices as much as possible
– No alcohol
– Eat lots of broths to get calories and good fats in
– Clean my liver out with an herbal concoction
I tried unsuccessfully to attempt this last week, and caved mid-way when a box of Life cereal took me hostage. From there it was downhill. Then today I went to the doctor, to see what she had to say. After I spent an hour untangling my insurance and waiting, she and I talked for five minutes, after which she wrote up a referral to go get an ultrasound at a radiologist’s office, where I will most likely be recommended surgery. Ack! My insurance is not that good, and that is enough to get me serious.
Lastly– if we are correct, going off gluten may resolve my other chronic symptoms (fatigue, anxiety, cold feet and hands, asthma, weak immune system, bad memory, foggy thinking, and possibly mean-ness toward husbands). So if you suffer from those things too, you might want to do some research as well, or, even better, have a smart mom who can just tell you what to do.
If you are still reading, I will let you know how this goes. It is on my blog and now official. Good-bye, so many delicious parts of my life!