Let me start out by saying that this blog post is nearly a year in the making.
For quite some time, I have been healing a mysterious internal issue that arose shortly after my son was born. If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen me mention the back pain, the gallbladder healing, and the dietary changes I’ve been making.
With my healing making marked strides in physical wellness, I’m finally ready to share a bit about how I knew something was wrong and what I’ve been doing to heal it.
Get yourself a snack and a drink, because this is going to be a long read.
It all started escalating about a month after my son was born in November of 2015. Looking back, I can say that I experienced symptoms during pregnancy, but not overly so, and it was easy for me to attribute it to just random pregnancy symptoms.
In December of 2015, I suddenly experienced what I thought was a back injury. I suffered crippling pain in my mid-lower back and upper back that WOULD. NOT. RELENT. No matter what I did, it wouldn’t stop. I was nursing an infant around the clock, so it was easy for us to blame nursing posture and an intense labor.
4 months went by, and the pain was non-stop. 24 hours, around the clock, I was in pain. I took OTC pain relievers to get by, tried gels, creams, random chronic back pain remedies, chiropractic, and more, but nothing would work.
On top of that, that back pain was accompanied by abdominal pain, and sometimes I would experience nausea and vomiting. All symptoms were attributed to the back pain, as a compensating and taxed body.
Until one morning, I woke up and my skin was yellow. Then my eyes. Then my skin itched.
Oh, shit, I thought.
I panicked, felt shame for taking so many pain relievers, and blamed myself for causing it.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that western medicine can’t do much for liver failure, so I began to treat it myself. (Hold your pitchforks - I’m a shaman, it’s what I do.)
I found this blog post, written by a guy who healed his own liver. From that post, I chose the healing remedies that resonated with me and were easily available for me to acquire at that time.
I started alkalizing my diet and put myself on strict bed rest.
Beet juice, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, kale, and all things alkalizing and detoxifying became my life.
I only emerged from the bedroom to nurse my son and lived on ice packs and heating pads. During that week, I went deep down into the rabbit hole of dietary healing and healing the body through a plant-based diet and detoxifying foods and supplements.
At this point, I still thought it was liver failure brought on my pain killer toxicity from the back pain.
But, at the end of the week of bed rest and an alkalizing diet - the pain vanished and the yellowing disappeared.
I WAS HEALED!!! Or so I thought.
In the days after the self-imposed bed rest was over, my husband and I did a 3-day juice cleanse, following a protocol from this book. I also ate small salads during the cleanse.
Everything got better. It was happily ever after. We were eating mostly plant based and I gave up dairy when my son was born.
But, after a few months, the pain came back and would flare up from time to time.
For a while, I couldn’t form a connection or figure out what was causing it.
I kind of lived with it, figuring that I was still healing and these things would happen.
But then, one day, after eating something and experiencing a pain episode, I realized that the pain flare-ups occurred after I ate food.
When the next one happened, I noted what I had just eaten. And the next one, and the next one. Trying to find a pattern to it.
One night, during a back pain flare-up that was accompanied by abdominal pain and nausea/vomiting, I experienced a divine revelation.
I heard a voice, probably my spirit guides, say it was my gall bladder and that I had gallstones.
Over the course of the next month, the episodes got more and more frequent to the point where I was always in bed, sick, and in excruciating pain, AGAIN.
I was experiencing gall bladder attacks, and I realized that’s what it had been all along.
The back pain and the location of it, the abdominal pain, the liver failure, the nausea, the vomiting, all pointed to gallstones and gallbladder attacks.
But, y’all know I wasn’t about to have my gallbladder removed.
My spirit team said it could be healed and I was determined to heal it.
Against the wishes of most everyone in my family, in the midst of week-long gallbladder attack, I formulated a healing plan that would NOT involve removal of the gallbladder.
I started the official healing plan in August 2016. At the time of this writing, it is November 2016 and I have not had a gallbladder attack in over 2 months.
Below, I will detail to you everything that I have done to heal the gallbladder without surgery. Some things I have now phased out, and I’m not doing everything ALL THE TIME. I will try my best to include when/how, where applicable.
This has worked for me. I have not had an attack or experienced pain since the 2nd gallbladder flush (see below). And just a note, this blog post isn’t the place for me to scientifically validate everything for you. You can do that yourself if you want. I’m sharing this because it healed me and I know it can heal others.
And, being completely honest, when you’re looking for info whilst in extreme pain at 3am, there’s not much out there except some obscure and very alarming message boards that will convince you you’re dying.
I’m sharing what worked for me to help fill that much-needed gap in information.
Western medicine isn’t the only way, folks.
How I Am Healing the Gallbladder Without Surgery
1. Alkalizing the diet
The basic premise of this is that an acidic internal environment is harmful to your inner health and kills gut biota. Foods that are alkalizing bring the internal gut flora back into balance and helps to heal inflammation, which is a huge problem with the gallbladder if you’re experiencing stones. I drank lemon water, fresh grapefruit and orange juice, and ate a mostly plant-based diet - all things that alkalize. This blog post and others explain this more in detail.
2. Juice Cleanse
Not a cayenne pepper and lemon juice cleanse, a juicer-style juice cleanse. Tons of nutrients, enzymes, and detoxifying compounds. Watch the documentary, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead,” for more details. We followed the protocol in the accompanying book, and did a 3 day juice cleanse as A. it’s a lot of work, and B. we had a newborn and I was/am breastfeeding, so we didn’t want to push our levels of sanity and my health.
Nightly, I visualized healing energy flushing through my internal organs, gallbladder, liver, and digestive tract. I visualized healing energy calming the inflammation. During the gallbladder flushes (below), I visualize healing energy flushing out stones and healing the gallbladder.
4. Beet Juice & Kombucha
Beets are super-detoxifiers and they can also calm the inflammation of the gallbladder. I drank beet juice on the regular during the initial bed rest period, during attacks, and now, whenever I’m feeling the need. I have found fresh-pressed juice to be the most effective.
Fresh beet juice can be hard to find, so if you’re not able to track it down, I found that fresh carrot juice was a decent substitute - but not as immediate in relieving pain.
Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage which is not only alkalizing, but it’s also supports the detoxifying to the gallbladder and liver. I drank one daily during the height of my gallbladder attacks.
5. Apple Cider + ACV
Drinking ¼ c apple cider vinegar (ACV), the unfiltered kind, in a glass of apple cider worked surprisingly well for me in stopping an attack and easing the pain. Apples also help soften gallstones for easier passing of them.
6. Gallbladder flushes
This step is KEY. I started my first flush in August and have now completed 3 (It's early November at the time of this post). This is the protocol I use. Constant attacks stopped after flush 1, and after flush 2, I didn’t even get them periodically anymore. It’s tough to say if it was JUST the flush, or the flush in combination with all the other things. But, after all flushes I did see significant stones, some as big as dimes. Gross, but oddly satisfying to see those suckers flush out of you. I am completing one gallbladder per month until no more stones appear for at least 2 flushes, which is said to take anywhere from 6-12 flushes.
7. Eliminating inflammatory foods
Before my son was born, I had a feeling he’d be sensitive to dairy, so I eliminated that from my diet in the early days of breastfeeding. Then, when the attacks started, I did some research on the inflammatory food items that can trigger gallbladder attacks, and I cut them allllllll out. What worked for me was cutting out any land/sky animals except seafood, soy, gluten, eggs, dairy, and anything fatty or fried (peanut butter was even a trigger at a point because of the fat). I was a soy free, gluten free, low-fat vegan for a time.
In the beginning, it felt like all I could eat was raw fruit and vegetables. Most vegans eat soy and gluten, so many vegan recipes included those things. I felt very restricted, and I'm not gonna lie, it was hard and I slipped. Now, through the help of Minimalist Baker’s awesome website, it doesn’t feel that way anymore. And if I do try and add back some of those foods NOW, while my gallbladder doesn’t freak out, I find that it makes me personally feel sick and unwell. It takes some time to see what your triggers and inflammatory foods are - and they’ll likely be different from mine. I’ve found that I have been able to add back high quality, organic, well-treated poultry and white meat, in small quantities. Part of my theory is that the energy of the food matters in all of this, too (Hey, I’m a shaman!).
8. Practicing not owning the pain/illness
I had a tendency to refer to the pain as “my pain.” Ack!! It’s not mine - I don’t want it. Whenever I heard myself doing this, I immediately corrected myself and called it “the pain.” I talk more about this in this video and why it’s so important to do.
9. Castor oil packs
A castor oil pack is when you apply castor oil to a piece of flannel so that it’s saturated. Then, you lay this soaked piece of flannel over the gallbladder/pancreas, cover it with plastic wrap to keep it moist and not as messy, then apply heat with a heating pad for 30 minutes to an hour, or longer.
It can help soothe inflammation, may help to pull out impurities and toxins, and may also assist in softening gallstones to make them easier to pass.
Plus, you get to chill for an hour while it does its magic. I recommend wearing clothes you don’t mind getting oily while you do this. This stuff is STICKY, and even after you wipe it all off, it somehow gets onto whatever you were wearing. I also recommend laying a towel down on your bed before you get into it with the castor oil on your belly.
10. Herbal Tea
When I’d feel an attack coming on, I’d prepare and drink THIS TEA, and it would calm the whole thing right down.
11. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is a herb that supports bodily detoxification, specifically to the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. When I first learned I had stones that needed to be removed, I started taking a milk thistle supplement (this one), 1 capsule twice a day. It’s not recommended that you take this herb for longer than a 3 months period. I started taking it at the same time I started gallbladder flushes and stopped when my supply ran out.
Turmeric can help decrease inflammation, which is part of the problem with you have gallstones that are triggering a gallbladder attack - inflamed insides. I took 1 turmeric capsule twice a day for about 6 months, then slowly stopped as I noticed the pain disappearing.
Probiotics help keep your inner biota healthy and functioning properly. If you’ve ever taken one, you know they flush you out. The last thing you need when your gallbladder is freaking out is a build-up of gunk, bile salts, and cholesterol hanging around your digestive tract. Probiotics help clear it out. This is the one I’m currently taking.
14. Fish oils
Decreases inflammation and heals the inner gut lining, both great for healing your inner organs. I found that fish oils in capsule form made me feel nauseous, but liquid fish oils (not fishy tasting!) worked well. This is the kind I currently use.
15. Switching from coffee to matcha or green tea
Sadly, yes. I realized that coffee was an inflammatory trigger for me. I switched to a homemade hot matcha latte with cashew milk, or a cold iced green tea, and it’s really helped! For the matchas, I use this matcha, this recipe for cashew milk, buy this brand of cashews, and use this bag to strain the cashews silt from the milk. Really easy to do at home. If I'm out of cashew milk, I sub almond milk.
BUT, now that I'm feeling better, very occasionally, I will have a coffee/espresso drink with a non-dairy milk, as a treat or a once in a while kind of thing.
16. Forgiveness work
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the gallbladder represents repressed anger, emotions, and sadness that has yet to be released, acknowledged or expressed. When gallbladder issues arise, you are asked to reflect on your life and think about where and with whom you may have unresolved anger. Forgive this person or thing, and release it. For me, a big issue was that I had unresolved anger towards my dad, for dying 10 years ago as a result of an alcohol addiction. I felt abandoned, left to fend for myself, and unloved - all amounting to ANGER at him for dying.
To start your forgiveness work and to help identify what it is you need to forgive, I highly, HIGHLY, recommend this meditation and the healer who created it, Laura Biddle. Through Core Pattern Clearing Work with her and a Soul Session with Imogen Walters Intuitive, I was guided towards identifying clearly the thing that I needed to heal.
17. Digize Vitality Essential Oil Blend
I recently became a member of Young Living when my husband got Lyme Disease and we were looking for some oil blends to support his immune system and health during the healing process. When I purchased the Premium Starter Kit, this oil came with the set. Every now and again, when I eat something against protocol or when it's getting close to a flush, I can feel when my gallbladder and pancreas is getting a bit inflamed and the pain sets in. To support my body's digestive function, I take Digize Vitality internally in an empty gel capsule (1-3 drops), and the pain settles. You can purchase Digize through Young Living here and learn more about becoming a member here.
And that’s it. I know this seems like a lot. Healing yourself is NOT easy work, but, with perseverance, you can do it and have positive results.
It worked for me and at the time of this writing, I no longer experience gallbladder attacks or pain.
I'm a huge proponent of each person finding their own path to wellness, and it may not be THIS path. I encourage each person to do their own research, listen to their own intuition, and to take the path that's right for them.
I hope this post was helpful for you! It’s probably the most intention and time I’ve ever put into a single blog post - so, if you can, help me out by pinning this post and sharing it!
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Last Updated: November 16th, 2016