Inspired by Life: Oh Gallbladder… I Miss You Already

Arvada acupunture

In a surprising turn of events I ended up in the ER on Tuesday night, and that turned into a 2 day stay at the hospital to get my Gallbladder removed.  In the hospital I was experiencing pain unlike anything I had ever known, but was still convinced I’d be sent home for indigestion or something equally lame.  I was shocked when the doc came in and told me I was going into surgery in the morning because my gallbladder was inflamed, infected and full of huge gallstones. Fast forward several days, and I’m feeling pretty good, except for a major case of cabin fever and needing to nap every few hours.  With this experience, I can’t help but think like an Acupuncturist and wonder how this will affect my body from a Chinese medical perspective.  So let’s talk about the Gallbladder…

In Western Medicine the gallbladder has one major function and that’s to store bile until your liver needs it for digestion.  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a bit of a different idea of what the gallbladder’s job is…  Any time I talk about TCM, it’s important to remember that we have an entirely different way at looking at the body, and in our world organs have more than just a job, but almost a personality.  They tend towards certain issues, have certain “cravings”, and have times of the day when they are at their best and worst. Most importantly… gallbladders are connected to every other organ in our body via meridians (think of them like little highways).

The Gallbladder gets blamed for many different issues… have neck and shoulder tension, lumbar/hip pain, tight muscles and tendons, talk to the gallbladder. Don’t have great digestion, talk to the gallbladder. Don’t have great willpower, talk to the gallbladder (unless you’re just being lazy… then talk to the spleen), but you get the idea.  Similarly, each organ has a “best friend” and when there is an issue in one, there is usually an issue in the other. In this case, it’s the liver (another trouble maker in the body).  Moodiness, anger, pain, poor self esteem, lack of direction, addiction, and indecision are all associated with the Liver organ. Muscle spasms, numbness, tremors, eye diseases, hypertension, allergies, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis are also a result of Liver imbalances according to TCM.

So the question becomes… what will happen now that I don’t have a gallbladder anymore?  If all of these issues are connected to the gallbladder and if the physical organ is missing does that mean that I should expect some of these issues to start creeping up? Or does it mean that since my gallbladder wasn’t working anyways, that any of these issues that did apply to me will improve because the diseased organ is removed, and so things can go back to “normal” (think of clearing a bad accident off a highway and traffic starts flowing freely again)? I don’t know the answer.

For now I’ll do what I can. Things like acupuncture, massage, good food and rest will all be on my agenda for the next couple weeks and while I don’t know what to expect, I will keep you updated.  For now, it’s time to go, because it’s nap time again…

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Blog by: Jana Royer-Morian

Jana Royer-Morian