More on Imitrex . . .

Friday’s post made a pretty radical statement about Imitrex, so I thought I should put it in context by posting the entire relevant section of the e-newsletter Dr. Sears sent out last week (my wife read her copy on Thursday, I think).  So, here it is:

“I treat a lot of different kinds of chronic pain at my clinic. The patients most desperate for relief are the migraine sufferers.

If you get migraines, you know they can knock you out for days at a time.

The World Health Organization says migraines are to blame for more lost years of healthy life than multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, ovarian cancer and tuberculosis combined.1

But mainstream medicine knows very little about the cause of migraines or how to treat them. Most doctors prescribe Imitrex. That’s a drug to help relieve headaches, pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound.

But Imitrex can actually cause headaches. They’re called rebound headaches.

And it has other terrible side effects like slurred speech… diarrhea… hallucinations… twitching muscles… vision changes…

And over-the-counter remedies are no better. Aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen can make the pain worse. They can cause an “analgesic rebound effect.” This means your headache can come back when you stop taking them.

And we’re learning more every day about just how dangerous these drugs really are…

In fact, a study published earlier this month in the journal BMJ found that your risk of having a heart attack increased as much as 50% after taking ibuprofen

Regardless of dose or length of time you take it…

Sometimes, nutrient deficiencies — like a magnesium deficiency — can be behind migraines. But for some patients, making sure they get enough of the right nutrients isn’t enough to stop the pain. Still, that doesn’t mean I resort to Big Pharma’s meds…”

So, there you have it.  It is a vicious cycle for me – because it all started with pain management following the treatment of a bone tumor.  The pain meds continued over a period of  around 15 years almost daily, before I even got an inkling of an idea that this might not be smart.  Shortly after that, I had my first migraine – which I later learned was likely CAUSED by the long-term use of the pain meds.  So, I start using Excedrine for the migraines, and my joints started to decline more rapidly – so I try to medicate them (by this point I was using non-prescription liquid pain relief as much as possible) and the migraines got worse.  Eventually I got word that Imitrex would help, so I asked the VA for that and got it.

In the last 6 years I started using reading glasses – and about a month ago I asked my wife to get a new pair with stronger correction.  And here is something I didn’t even think to connect to the whole cycle – I get random muscle twitches pretty much everywhere, but especially in my eye lids and legs.

So, to answer a question asked about Friday’s posts – no, this is not sustainable.  Not really.  But, I still have little choice but to bear with it until we get the cefaly device to see how well it helps me. If we get it ordered by the end of June, I’m thinking I should know how well it does or doesn’t do the job by mid September.

I’m hopeful, but I am also realistic enough to admit that it may fail to help – if it does, I’m not chasing any more rainbows.  I’ve seen people bankrupt their families trying to buy a few more days.  I will not do that.  However long I have remaining – and let’s be realistic, no matter how bad my quality of life gets, it could still last another 40 years – I will accept and use to be the best partner for my wife that I can be with what I have to work with.

Veteran’s Hospitals have a math problem . . .

Ok, first let me acknowledge that I DO understand that there are health issues to be concerned with.  Still – this goes way beyond health, into absurdity.

The specific problem I’m talking about is with the prescriptions for Imitrex that I’ve been getting.  Ever since I started getting it – they have only sent me 18 pills at a time, and limited me to one refill every 3 months.  About 2 weeks ago, I sent them a secure message asking for another refill.  So far, they have only given me 25mg tablets, but I know it is available in dosages as high as 100mg, so I asked if I could get either a higher dose, or more pills, or both, since I keep running out.

They replied that they limit the number of pills they send because they don’t want me to exceed the 200mg maximum dosage per day.  So, here is where they have a math problem.

They only send me 18 pills every 3 months.  It takes 8 25mg pills to REACH 200mg for a day.  Each of my migraines lasts 3-4 days, and I usually have about 3 migraines every month.  I run out of pills if – ONLY on days I have a migraine – I only take 1 pill each day.

To actually risk excessive dosage, I’d first have to have enough pills to TAKE an excessive dosage – because running out is a MISERABLE option.  So, 8 pills per day for 9 days a month for 3 months.  The ABSOLUTE minimum number of pills I need for a 3 month prescription is 216, IF I was taking 200mg per migraine day.  Some months I’d need as many as 336 at that dosage level.  Still, even at the minimum – the actual prescriptions they have given me have fallen short by almost 200 pills every 3 months.

And the fools wonder why I haven’t gotten enough help from their treatment protocol to be able to return to work.

Endometriosis . . .

Today I saw this BBC.com article about Endometriosis, and I have to say that it’s all a load of crap.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/39364958/endometriosis-treatment-unacceptable-and-women-arent-diagnosed-quickly-enough

The article explicitly states that there is no cure. Bullshit!

My wife was 27 when we met, and she had extreme and severe endometriosis. Being a state employee at a college, she also had very good health insurance. Her endometriosis pre-existed the diagnosis by years, but was finally diagnosed when I rushed her to the hospital and she had an emergency appendectomy. We went, together, to many specialists over the next few years. The AMA treatment protocol was followed TO THE LETTER. Every treatment not only failed, but made her condition worse.

Before she turned 30, the last specialist she saw told her the bad news. “Everything we can do for you has been done. The only option left is a radical hysterectomy, and there is no guarantee it will help.” Desperate for relief, she agreed to the procedure, which was scheduled for 6 months later. The intervening time was intentional – to allow her to save sick days and vacation time to cope with the 3-6 MONTH recovery time after the surgery.

However, there was a problem.

Every month she still experienced debilitating pain when her cycle started, and she was using all those sick days and vacation time just to avoid having to go to work while incapacitated. As the months passed, it became obvious she wasn’t going to save anywhere near enough time off to allow a proper recovery before returning to work.

Fortunately, we were active in a church at the time where we knew some very excellent chiropractic doctors. One of them did work with nutritional therapy supplements, as well as acupuncture and spinal adjustments. I called him out of the blue one day, described my wife’s situation, and asked him if anything could be done “to get her enough relief that she can at least make it until the surgery.”

It shouldn’t have been such a difficult thing to ask, but at the time it felt like we were grasping at the moon. The doctor told me to bring her in right away, so he could do a proper evaluation. I had to help her walk to the doctor’s office, because she was in pain at the time.

After the evaluation, he did an adjustment, and told her to take some nutritional supplements (that he provided) and come back in a couple of days. By the time she returned, she was walking on her own. He did another adjustment, and changed her nutritional supplements a little bit.

She saw him 2 more times in the next 2 weeks. By the end of the 2 weeks, she was symptom free. The next time her cycle came, it was “normal” and she called the OB/GYN to cancel the appointment for the hysterectomy. She has remained free of endometriosis for the last 15 YEARS.

There is a cure. It is proper nutrition. Anyone who says otherwise has a snake-oil to sell, or profits from doing surgeries.

Health update . . .

You want to know something?  If it weren’t for the migraines and arthritis, I’d probably live forever with this body.

That’s only partially a joke.

Today I had my annual physical at the VA health clinic I’ve been going to for nearly 10 years.  They drew a fasting blood lab first, and then I went to see my primary care doctor.  He got the results of the blood work while we were talking.

EVERYTHING – Yes, everything, was within “normal limits” except for my cholesterol numbers, which have been elevated since the first time I was ever tested.

When the team nurse tested my blood pressure, she had to do it twice.  The first time it was 128/94 – which I would have accepted.  But, she said she got distracted talking to another nurse, and she and I had discussed the logistics of the VA moving the clinic to another town (which is supposed to happen late next year), so she wanted to do it again.  The second test was 120/87.

Keep in mind – I’m now 54 years old, and take no medication for blood pressure control.

But, when I saw the doctor, he didn’t like the numbers because he said the second one was too high.  So, he tested it himself.

And the numbers HE got were 110/80.

For the first time since he met me, he didn’t even bother asking me to take medicine for my cholesterol.  When he pulled up the blood test results, he did say that it was still high, but when my wife asked him how it compared with last year he acknowledged that the LDL was down 50 points from last year.  So he just told me to keep doing what I’ve been doing, and dropped it.

My bear to cross . . .

When I was growing up as a child in a small Kansas town where EVERYONE was a member of one or the other of two churches, one thing I heard people say from time to time was, “This is my cross to bear” – by which I understood them to be saying that some burden was theirs to deal with.  Nobody could help, and the problem might never go away.  Much like Jesus on his way to Calvary.

Well, in circles of those who seek spiritual growth, there is a similar notion – that the universe seeks balance, and those who seek spiritual growth may be “balanced” by physical limitations or self-imposed restrictions.

I’m facing a growing awareness that this may be exactly the description of my own physical limits since the bone tumor in my leg back in 1980.  The arthritis (which the No Grain, No Pain book describes as an auto-immune disorder caused by intestinal leaking after prolonged NSAID pain killer use) is going systemic, my migraines are taking on extra symptoms (by which I mean that the 3 classic symptoms that earn a headache the term “migraine” are now arriving in pairs) and my physical strength is declining despite my workout program.  No, not the strength – the endurance.  I have no energy reserves.

I’m not saying all of this to wave a white-flag, or imply that I’m giving up.  I fully intend to keep trying to heal my body. It just seems that every time I take one action to fix one area of my health, it throws another out of balance and my health in that area declines.

I just have to accept – in advance – that it may be a fools errand, and be prepared to live with that.  With my family genetics, it is entirely possible that I have another 30-50 years to live, so accepting this “as it is” while seeking ways to make my life and this world better are key ideas to balance against each other for inner peace.  I think.

10 days grain-free . . .

I thought it was a good idea to turn off all the politics and just do an update on this grain-free experiment my wife and I are doing.  We’re now 10 days into eating NOTHING with any known grain in it.

You know what?  I’ve felt like this before.  Back in 1995, when I was a newly minted Minister in the Church of Scientology.  Completing the ordination was the final step on my being fully-trained for my post, and thus opened the door to my doing training/processing that wasn’t just about my job.  The first action I did?

The Purification Rundown.

I can’t say anything bad about the Purif (as it is usually called).  It was the first step in opening my eyes to the environmental hazards this “modern” world has forced us all to live in.  That, and I did get some awesome results.  That said, the last 2 days of the Purif were, for me, a total living nightmare.  The pain was worse than anything I’d ever experienced, with the exception of passing a kidney stone (I’ve done that 7x now).

This grain-free program is bringing that all back.  I got my very first migraine in the Purif (although I didn’t know to call it that at the time).  Now I’m getting what I’m calling micro-migraines.  The pain is the same as a migraine – usually in the same place.  However the headaches only last between half an hour and 90 minutes, and I can have 3-4 of them a day.  Every day.

There is another reason I deliberately tied this experience to my experience doing the Purif.  They are both processes aimed at better body health, and as such, you have to expect things to get worse before they get better.  Think of it this way – something made your body ill – to get better you have to chase that something out of your body.  While it is stirred up and running out, it is going to be affecting everything it passes through on it’s way to the door.  Sort of like chasing a wild bull through a china shop.

So, even though I feel lousy right now, I have enough awareness of what is going on to accept that this is what is SUPPOSED to happen, and I’m going to hold on and tough it out.  I’d think it should start getting easier in a few days, except that I have no honest idea just how bad the damage to my intestines was.  This might actually take a few months to get all the way through, for me – because I took NSAID pain killers like breath mints from 1980 to 1995.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time.  The way out is the way through.  Whatever turns it on, turns it off.

I think you get the idea.  Mostly I’m trying to remind myself.

Fine Tuning . . .

First off – let me state with no reservations that the paleo diet has helped me fantastically.  It managed to accomplish what no other diet I’ve tried over the last 20 years did – I lost weight and kept it off.

I recently had to go to a chiropractor, because I got a little too ambitious with a deceptively effective easy exercise – the Hindu Squat (to see an example of how to do one http://www.cbass.com/Furey.htm  ) and over the next day my lower back and hip muscles practically locked up. When I was at the chiropractor (who I’ve been seeing off-and-on since 2006) his jaw dropped and he congratulated me on how much different I looked.  He totally understood that the paleo diet has been helping, and he said my other exercises were putting the muscle in the right places.

So, I’m pretty much on track to taking back my life – with one exception.  The migraines and arthritis still get in the way of much that we’d call normal living.  However, my wife and I have already established that a healthy diet can do fantastic things for our bodies – she confronted and BEAT endometriosis using nutrition and chiropractic – so we decided to see if it would work for migraines and arthritis, too.

Turns out – going paleo for weight loss was a huge step in the right direction for that, as well.  My wife recently found Dr. Peter Osborne’s new book “No Grain, No Pain” (ISBN: 978-1-5011-2168-5 or ebook ISBN: 978-1-5011-2170-8) – and one of the big bombshells we got right away is that migraines AND arthritis can be caused by the EXACT same thing – a gut made unhealthy by the use of NSAID pain killers.  Which I used very heavily in the first 15 years after the surgery on my bone tumor – back when I didn’t know any better.

The good news is that the book also said that the unhealthy gut is reverseable, with the right diet controls.  First on the list was getting rid of all grains – which is a lot harder than it sounds.  Grains are EVERYWHERE these days – thickening agents in canned soups is just one example where you wouldn’t think to look. Another is instant coffee – all of them. If your meats are raised on grains, you’re still getting grain in your diet even if you try to avoid it.  HFCS is also a trigger – and has the additional warning that it is one of the vehicles by which you’re putting poisonous MERCURY into your system.

Oh, I got a bit off track.  Anyhow, the book has 3 sections – part one covers the science behind the program, part 2 tells you what you’ll be doing, and part 3 has a diet and menu plan to put you on the track to hopefully the best health you’ve ever had.  We aren’t quite at the level of starting the 15 day challenge yet, but we’re taking steps in that direction.  Finding a reliable source of grain-free meats is tough – at least around here.

Vaccine transportation revolutionized . . .

Ok, first let me be very clear: I am firmly convinced that all vaccines are greatly over used, and even when they are used correctly, they might not be the best choice.  That said, here is a link to a story about a British student who has perfected a means of maintaining vaccines at the ideal temperature while in transit, that works for up to 30 DAYS.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/37306334/this-invention-by-a-british-student-could-save-millions-of-lives-across-the-world

What gets my attention is the possibility that the same tech can be used for transporting organ transplants, camping foods, and a lot more.