Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Better today!

Last night was not good.  As we watched a movie, I sat on the couch and met waves of pain as my intestines felt like they were all twisted inside.  This morning I woke up still not feeling great.  I ate about half my breakfast before getting very sick with abdominal cramping followed by diarrhea.  :(  This continued throughout the morning.  Finally I got on the computer to do some research that I had started before my surgery.  I had read previously that about 30% of people who have their gall bladder removed experience diarrhea afterward.  Typically the doctors just recommend "watch what you eat."  Unfortunately for me, NOTHING I was eating was abating the cramps.  Even water causes problems.  So I set out to do more research. I came across a couple different sites that suggested a calcium supplement may help.  They particularly said that the form calcium carbonate seems to be the most effective.  Here is why:
With the gall bladder removed, bile is excreted directly from the liver into the intestines.  Too much of the bile salts cause diarrhea.  When a calcium supplement is taken, about 40% of the supplement is absorbed and goes to the bones.  The rest goes into the intestines and can bind together the bile salts and soak up extra fluid. 
Many people reported their symptoms improved the same day as starting a supplement, and that they took the supplement 3 times per day.  Yeah, I should probably be taking a calcium supplement anyways, especially since I drink Pepsi and no milk and my maternal grandmother had osteoporosis.  Leave it to this to finally get me in on it.  Well, I dug into my cabinet containing abandoned bottles of vitamins and discovered that a generic bottle of Tums fit the bill perfectly--calcium carbonate with a minimal amount of magnesium.  Within 3 hours of taking my first tablet, my cramping was finally letting up.  I was able to eat lunch and even lightly snack throughout the afternoon.  At supper I was able to eat ONE taco (spicy!!)...not two, but at least one is improvement.  And I am happy to report that my tummy feels *almost* normal for the most part. 

It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for pictures!



{When you look at this picture, try to imagine how long it will take for all that snow to melt!}


  1. Hooray, isn't Dr Google great? :) Perhaps this is God's way of protecting you and forcing you to up your calcium NOW before you follow in your grandma's footsteps.

  2. Hey Steph,

    I don't know if you remember, but I had my gallbladdar out right before I left for college. I always keep the calcium with me. Now, I generally take 1 and half tablets at night before bed and if I know I'm going to eat a greasier meal I will take another half a tablet about 1/2 hour before I eat. It has pretty much controlled the diarrhea, but sometimes, there seems to be nothing to help it. With time it will get better. I'll keep ya in my prayers!