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Old 10-26-2008, 11:50 PM
 
1 posts, read 28,839 times
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To give you a little background on my medical history, I had an attack of pancreatitis when I was 21 that had me hospitalized for about a week. At the time, those doctors told me that they did not believe it was alcohol related as I hadn't been drinking long enough for it to have caused these problems. I was a college student, so I drank quite a bit, but no more than your average 21 year old. They couldn't find evidence of gall stones, but I was told that it was a possibility. Overall, they decided that the attack had to be a fluke and that I probably wouldn't ever have another problem.

I didn't have any problems for 3 years, and then all of a sudden I started having attacks. I was hopitalized 5 times in the past year, and my shortest hospital stay was 6 days, while my longest was 12. That doesn't include other more minor attacks where I was able to keep down fluids, and thus was able to take pain meds and recover at home. During this time I was suffering from depression and spent a lot of time wondering "why me".

I went through 4 doctors and had more tests run on me than I would have ever thought possible. The amazing thing is that my doctor's kept telling me that they didn't think it was alcohol or diet related, due to my age and drinking history. A direct quote from one doctor: If this is alcohol related, do you have any clue how many 24 year olds we would see every day? I almost never got drunk, would rarely have more than one or two, and was careful about my diet, but I didn't cut out alcohol completely.

After multiple attacks, they made the decision to remove my gall bladder. They hadn't located any gall stones, but there were gall bladder issues in my family, and at my age, they kept telling me it was the only thing that made sense. When they removed it I had chronic inflammation of the gall bladder, so we all celebrated, believing we had located the cause.

Hopes were dashed when I had another attack a month after the surgery. After this, doctor #4 (who is one of the leading pancreas specialists in South Florida), wanted me to perform an experiment, and told me he wanted me to "eat and drink like a normal 25 year old": The theory being that it was better to tempt on another attack and determine the cause than to keep living in fear and getting attacks regardless. Within a week of drinking and eating "normally", and by that I mean I still drank half as much as my friends and I dared to eat pizza, I was back in the hospital. They never determined why my pancreas is not able to process alcohol, only that it isn't able to.

I know it sounds ridiculous that I didn't make the lifestyle changes sooner, and that I didn't just cut out alcohol regardless of what my doctor's were saying. The only thing I can say is that I am 25 and a single young professional. My entire social life revolves around alcohol. Not only the weekends, but EVERYTHING. You end a long day with a happy hour, you go to the beach or to football games and there is beer, you go to a friend's to watch a movie and they pull out a bottle of wine. It is very rare that I am with friends when alcohol is not around. So being told that I had to give up drinking was almost like being told I had to give up my entire social life.

I am happy to announce that it has been 5 months since my last hospital stay, and I'm feeling the best that I have in a year and a half. I have become the queen of soda water with cranberry and a lime (it tastes like a cocktail), and found that giving up alcohol wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be. My friends are all extremely supportive, and whenever I have the temptation to have "just a glass", they are very quick to intervene. Additionally, I completely altered my diet to be very low fat, and almost entirely have cut out fried and greasy foods and red meat (I still eat these things on occasion, but probably less than once a month).

Unfortunately, they have still never figured out the "why" of my problem, and I've been told that I will probably not be able to control it with diet forever. So there is a strong chance that I will have more attacks coming in the future.

I guess I just wanted to see if there were others out there in similar situations. I have met older alcoholics with these issues, and younger people with gall stone issues. However, I have not yet met another person my age who has had pancreatitis as severely as I have, nor as recurrent, nor as inconclusive. I was even told by one doctor that they only see a case like mine once every 5 years or so.

I have been able to find very little information on pancreatitis in younger people that does not revolve around gall stones or genetic or developmental abnormalities (they ruled this out with an ERCP and a bizillion blood tests). So any information would be appreciated, but primarily I would just like some support. So please share your stories. Thanks!
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Old 10-27-2008, 12:19 PM
 
Location: SE Alaska
959 posts, read 2,085,375 times
Reputation: 453
Holy cow, this is amazing. I posted very similar to this recently---check out my thread, "alcohol induced acute pancreatitis."

I am 31 and just had my first pancreatitis attack a couple months ago. The doctor believed it was caused by alcohol, which I now believe to be true. I didn't think I had been drinking that heavily but in looking at my use more honestly, I was a habitual and pretty heavy drinker.

Regardless, I have not had a drink since and it was brutally hard at the start. But now I am in AA and things are looking very much brighter.

I have had no attacks since and my doctor seems to think that eliminating alcohol will be the key for me to stay healthy. The doc did say my pancreas appeared healthy and that my gall bladder was not the cause of my pancreatitis, so I have a better than average chance to stay healthy.

I have not really modified my diet, which was also suggested. I think I need to start working on that, as my diet is overall pretty high in fat. But alcohol seems to be the root of my problem. I know it sucks --but, as you know, pancreatitis is a serious problem and whatever you can do to manage it, you should dive into whole-heartedly. Good luck--check out my thread; my whole diagnosis and mindset afterward is pretty interesting to see (not that I'm claiming to be a fascinating person but man, I was willing to believe anything EXCEPT that I might have to give up drinking).
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:45 PM
 
1 posts, read 27,085 times
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WOW!! I know I am a few years late on this thread BUT I am a 21 year old female (just turned 21 a month ago today) and I just got out of the hospital for the SAME thing! Mine was NOT alcohol induced nor from gallstones. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks and wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything for 12 days :/ It was definintly one of the hardest times in my life. The declared my Pancreatitis Severe, which I could feel that it was definintly a severe amount of pain! That's for sure! The doctors told me the same thing, of course no more alcohol. How are you to tell someone who JUST turned 21 NO MORE ALCOHOL?! It'll be really hard but we have to do what we have to do to stay healthy. I'm extremely scared to have another attack, because the pain was unbearable and of course the many, many labs, cts, blood work, and nights at the hospital was extremely scary! I'm hoping that next time I go in for my ct scan in a couple months the drs will be able to look more into why this happened to me. must I also add I really didn't drink enough to throw me into this attack. I drank here and there but not on a daily basis. More like on the weekends. It sure will be a longggg road but hopefully they'll find a cure soon!! Best of luck!
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:53 PM
 
8,240 posts, read 15,016,700 times
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Just think of all the things you're avoiding when you don't drink- CALORIES for one. You're lowering your risk for cancer and diabetes. AND you'll be everyone's best friend as the designated driver!
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:46 PM
 
1 posts, read 26,124 times
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I haven't read a blog as bad as mine. I developed panceatitis at age 24. I have been in and out of the hospital and multiple ER visits for over 1 1/2 years. I have not been able to work. I was just award full disabiity at age 25? I did drink at time but no alcoholic. I went into the hospital and discovered I was also diabetic-insulin dependent. I take pancreatic enzymes, blood pressure meds, triglyceride meds, insulin, nerve pain meds, and strong pain meds. I have not been out of an ER or hospital for more than 4 weeks in-between visits. I wish I knew there was someone out there going thru the same pain. Any help out there?
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:09 PM
 
1 posts, read 26,070 times
Reputation: 10
Default There is someone out there

Quote:
Originally Posted by lar2627 View Post
I haven't read a blog as bad as mine. I developed panceatitis at age 24. I have been in and out of the hospital and multiple ER visits for over 1 1/2 years. I have not been able to work. I was just award full disabiity at age 25? I did drink at time but no alcoholic. I went into the hospital and discovered I was also diabetic-insulin dependent. I take pancreatic enzymes, blood pressure meds, triglyceride meds, insulin, nerve pain meds, and strong pain meds. I have not been out of an ER or hospital for more than 4 weeks in-between visits. I wish I knew there was someone out there going thru the same pain. Any help out there?
Hello,
I sent a message to you directly. God bless!
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:53 PM
 
Location: AZ
741 posts, read 1,344,597 times
Reputation: 1451
My last hospital stay was almost a year ago..and besides pancreatitis being the 2nd worse pain possible (after bone cancer), it is excrutiating to be stuck in the hospital without even being able to have water!! I was sneaking into the bathroom and drinking handfuls of water from the shared sink!! YUCK! I had drank 1 can of Loco (or something like that)--it is alcohol/energy drink in a can..it almost killed me! They have banned them in a lot of states!
FOR EVERYONE WITH PANCREATITIS--warning--dont ever eat a McD's hot and spicy chicken sandwich! Both times that I had one I ended up with that horrifying pain ..

I am 41 but have had this pain since my late 20's and finally went to the hospital last year and found out what it was... I also had my gall bladder removed about 8 years ago..
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:55 PM
 
Location: AZ
741 posts, read 1,344,597 times
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For those that dont have pancreatitis, it feels like a big, rusty, steel rod stabbing you in the stomach..you can't walk or talk because the pain is so intense.. It is worse than hard labor!! Much, much worse..
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:10 PM
 
Location: Largo Florida (Tampa Bay)
36 posts, read 78,134 times
Reputation: 46
Are you getting CT scans ? Do they know for sure the duct is not impaired?

I had chronic pancreatitis due to a blocked pancreatic duct, discovered on a CT or MRI, not sure which. I also had many ERCP's and MRCP's and all the labs, looking for pancreatic cancer. After a year of many many episodes of pancreatitis, some brought on or made worse by the ERCP and MRCP, I had a Whipple procedure where part of the pancreas (the head, for me) was removed. I don't drink but had in the past. It's possible that chronic high triglycerides caused scarring in the duct.

I wondered if anyone else has had this surgery or if it is being proposed.

Pancreatitis to me felt like you said, pain from front to back right below the sternum, and a feeling like I was trying to digest rocks.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:23 PM
 
Location: AZ
741 posts, read 1,344,597 times
Reputation: 1451
Well, I pray that you all don't have any more attacks--and I feel really bad for anyone that does, including myself lol

I have had CT scans and bloodwork--The Dr said that I should look into surgery if these attacks continue, but so far I am being really careful about what I eat and drink..I have a weird list that triggers it... I cant have slurpees--they trigger it.. Just differnt items..at different times too.. Once I had 1 slice of pizza and had an attack ..got into the car, headed to the hospital but by the time I got there the pain had subsided somewhat, so I didnt go in...With this illness I have found that you better plan on staying if you go to the ER cause they are gonna keep you!!
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