By Eunice Minford, MA FRCS Ed, Consultant General Surgeon, N.Ireland
Gallstones are quite common (25-40% of the population have them) and they can cause a variety of medical conditions. However, it is only the minority of patients (10-20%) with gallstones that develop symptoms requiring removal of the gallbladder – many people live with gallstones without even knowing they have them and without any symptoms. Some conditions caused by gallstones, like pancreatitis, can be quite serious and even life threatening. Much more commonly, patients present with pain in the right side or across the top of their abdomen, often associated with nausea and vomiting. Some people notice it is brought on by eating fatty foods in particular, as the gallbladder is involved in digestion of fat – it stores bile and contracts to release bile into the gut when we eat a fatty meal. The pain can occur when a gallstone gets lodged, preventing the passage of bile from the gallbladder into the bile duct and gut.
Being a surgeon myself, it was not difficult to self-diagnose gallstone disease when I first developed symptoms about 10 years ago. I had been out for a meal and had eaten too much, along with having a particularly rich chocolate dessert. It tasted yummy at the time, but several hours later when I was in agony my body was saying something else! I eased the pain and the nausea by making myself sick – off-loading what was clearly an over-loaded system.
Over the next couple of years I had intermittent attacks, often precipitated by eating something that was too fatty.
On one occasion, I had a heap of melted cheese on top of a chilli con carne, a few hours before I boarded a flight home from Chicago. It was only when I was in the air on the plane that the pain and nausea started. Airplane seats are not the most comfortable at the best of times – the pain under my ribs on the right side was excruciating and no amount of adjusting my position could ease it. Making myself sick in an airplane loo was a feat in itself – but a necessary one that brought some relief. On another occasion it was mayonnaise in a coleslaw that sparked it off.
Now I wasn’t in any rush to get my gallbladder out – being on the other end of the knife was not something I relished. Perhaps I had seen too much and was aware of all the things that can go wrong – even though most of the time they don’t! So I had put off getting a scan or seeing anyone about it. At the same time, I didn’t want to land in hospital as an emergency case either, and it was probably the fear of the latter that eventually inspired me to get a scan. This confirmed I had a large solitary gallstone about 2-3cms in size. Quite a corker!
I cut down on my fat and dairy intake (but not chocolate!) and this helped to keep the symptoms at bay. It was around this time that I started attending Universal Medicine presentations and finding out there was perhaps a bit more to understanding gallstone disease than I had been told in medical school.
I was taught – and medical students are still taught – the process of gallstone formation, whereby there is an imbalance in the constituents of the bile (e.g. too much cholesterol) leading to tiny crystal formation initially, and over years these develop into stones. In addition, the risk factors for gallstones are those who are Female, Fat, Forty, Fertile and Fair – the Five F syndrome.
However, at Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon was presenting that energetically emotions are the root cause of illness and disease. In particular, with regard to gallbladder disease, it was associated with the emotions of rage, frustration, resentment and bitterness. This was all news to me and went beyond what is currently understood in medical science, in terms of gallbladder disease. Yet, when I looked deeper into the science, there are understandings that support it. In particular, the field of psychoneuroimmunology is showing how our thoughts and emotions can affect our immune, endocrine and nervous systems to result in disease. There is also the science confirming that everything is energy and thus everything is interconnected – so emotions can and do affect the physical body.
It was therefore not too big of a leap to see how emotions like rage and frustration could have a role to play in gallstone disease. I had certainly experienced these emotions throughout my working life, and the hardness and toughness that I displayed on the outside was – if you like – mirrored by the development of a large hard rock in my gallbladder!
I arranged to see a surgeon about removing my gallbladder, as I knew there was no way this rock was going to disappear without me going under the knife! I knew that the operation to remove the gallbladder and the stone would be part of the healing process, but not the whole package. It would and did cure me of the symptoms, for which I am very grateful, but in itself it would not address or heal the root cause of why I formed the gallstone in the first place. In order to do that, I needed to look at why I got so frustrated at work when things did not go according to plan, my need for control and to have things be a certain way, as well as the underlying causes for any rage, bitterness or resentment I was carrying.
I didn’t consider myself to have much resentment or bitterness – but my body was saying something else! By looking more deeply inside and being honest, I discovered there were indeed issues where I was holding some resentment and bitterness. Through having esoteric healing sessions I was able to come to a deeper understanding of why I had these issues and to heal them. In addition, I had the support to start making more self-caring and loving choices for my body. Raising my awareness of and addressing these emotional issues is all part of the healing offered to me through developing gallstone disease.
Would I have become aware of these issues without the disease? Removing the gallbladder alone and leaving these issues unaddressed might just mean they would come out somewhere else in my body eventually.
By addressing these underlying emotional issues, my body has the opportunity to be more harmonious and at ease. As I make more self-caring and self-loving choices and stop being so hard on myself and those around me, that is reflected in my body and the state of my being. This example shows how conventional medicine and esoteric medicine work very well together – where conventional medicine addresses the symptoms of the gallstones and esoteric medicine heals the root cause of why I formed the gallstone in the first place, restoring me to a deeper place of harmony such that going forward I can make more caring and loving choices for my body – no longer ruled by these emotions.
A win–win all round – not just for my body and me – but also for those who get to work with a considerably more harmonious, much less frustrated and furious me!
Disclaimer: The understandings presented here are based on the understandings of esoteric medicine, esoteric philosophy and my personal experience supported with some scientific understandings. However, the specific understanding of the link between rage, frustration, bitterness and resentment and gallstone disease is not currently part of what is known as evidence based medicine and is to be discerned by the reader as to whether it is true or could possibly be true or not.