Saturday Posts . . .

The Lectin-free diet is a bust – for me, at least.  If you’ve been following my story, you know that at one point my weight was just a couple of pounds short of 250.  To get that under control, I started the Paleo Diet, and lost nearly 60 pounds.  Well, when we switched to the lectin-free diet, my weight went back up to 230.  The solution, then, seems to be that the best diet for me is the paleo, sometimes also called the Caveman Diet.  So, we’re switching back.

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Saturday Posts . . .

I’ve written before that one of my fitness challenges is the existence of a huge tear in the upper abdominal wall, which several different doctors and fitness instructors have told me makes exercising my abs dangerous.  Yet, through the years that I’ve carried  this trouble, I’ve found no way around the problem.

Until very recently.

About 3 months ago, I began to wonder if something like the old-fashioned women’s girdles might offer enough support to the hernia to allow me to exercise.  I kept this suspicion to myself, because I don’t want to spend money on anything – ANYTHING – without a good chance that it’s worth the cost.  I’ve been burned too many times.  So, I tried to research the idea myself.

Then, about a month ago, my wife came to me with the revelation that she’d read an actual medical journal article about a trial of this very idea – with incredibly positive results.  That was when I first shared with her what I’d been looking into, and I agreed to try it.  She found an adjustable girdle with velcro fastening that I could place high enough to support the heria, and I began.

I had to start slow – I haven’t exercised  my abs in over 25 years.  But, as I built strength and endurance, I also started to see a physical change.  I haven’t lost much girth, perhaps an inch, but I do see definition starting to form in the muscles, which is encouraging.

Saturday Posts . . .

I’m feeling a bit vindicated at the moment, over the whole “Lectin Free eating” idea.  But, it isn’t the idea itself that has me grinning, but a thought I remembered having as a kid.

If you were like me, your parents probably did two things: told you to take a multi-vitamin every day, and told you that drugs were bad.  That was probably the end of the similarity between us, because when I was a kid, my family got our vitamins from the local drug store.

I admit that this is very simplistic thinking, but to my childhood understanding, if drugs were bad, why were drug stores legal?  If vitamins look like drugs, why take them?  Shouldn’t people be able to get all the nutrition they need from the food they eat?

Well, it turns out that the “Lectin free eating” idea was a huge chunk of the missing data.  You see, if we never damaged our intestine, most of our standard health problems would probably never happen to us.  So, that 10 year old (me, a very long time ago) was right – we can get our nutrition from our food, at least as long as we’re not deliberately eating things that work against us.

Saturday Posts . . .

Well, it’s time to slam on the breaks, for me anyhow.

As my wife and I approach the one months mark of the lectin-free program, we have had mixed results from taking Dr. Gundry’s Total Restore product.  I have no problem with that – it was fairly obvious that I was in worse shape than my wife to start with.

No, what is giving me pause is the price of continuing.  When we ordered the first shipment of the product, we paid about $130 for 3 bottles – a 6 week supply with both of us taking it.  I knew that was an introductory price, but I did not expect for the refill price to be over $190 for 3 bottles.  Which is just what we learned it would be when we started getting ready for our spending on bills that needed paying yesterday.

As for the diet part, I’m going to continue with it.  If nothing, that makes the grocery shopping a lot easier for my wife, so it’s worth doing just for that.  However, the Total Restore is an expense I can’t justify,  at least not right now.  We have a lot of other needs, and they all require spending money.  This one will have to wait.

Saturday Posts . . .

Lectin-free, Week 3 update . . .

Well, this is exciting.  Not really.  This is currently my 3rd attempt at posting this update.  Firefox is giving me fits today.

There hasn’t been much change from last week, as far as physical symptoms go.  What has changed is that the local weather has gotten so hot during the day that I can’t sleep, making doing our laundry at night a serious challenge.  I think I’m going to have to adapt a “1 load per day, just before sunrise” type of program to get through the summer.

Going lectin-free is proving to be a more difficult challenge than we had hoped.  Some of our basic staples have lectins in them, and finding substitutes is a continuous experiment.  For example – sweet potatoes can substitute for Idaho potatoes in some things, but sweet potatoes make lousy hash browns.  They don’t cook right.  Rutabaga has an unusual flavor, but will do a good job as a potato substitute.

Anyway, we’re still trying to meet the challenge.  Life is Strange.

Saturday Posts . . .

If you found your interest peaked by my previous post about leaky gut and removing lectins from your diet, this will be an update to that.

If you are new to the leaky gut idea, please see my previous post.  I have a link there to a website run by a former world-class cardiac surgeon who now focuses his practice on healing instead of surgery.  He explains, far better than I can, what this is all about.  Just realize that, according to him, symptoms of leaky gut can include brain fog, arthritis, migraine headaches, chronic fatigue, obesity . . . .

Now, to the update.

It has been just over 2 weeks since my wife and I started taking the daily supplements recommended for this program.  My wife saw almost instant benefits – she told me on day 3 that she’d already noticed that her nearly-constant craving for refined sugar was almost gone.  After a week she told me that when she wakes in the mornings it isn’t a struggle to get out of bed anymore, she wakes with more  energy and mental sharpness.  The two together have her convinced that this was a definite move in the right direction, for her.

My results would best fall into the category of “proof that one-size definitely does not fit all in health care”.  I’m not saying this has failed to work for me, just that at the 2 week mark my results are far less spectacular.  If anything, my mental fog has worsened.  I’m constantly tired, and get confused if I have more than one thing going on at a time.

So, what makes that a positive result?  Let me regress – to the results of my doing the paleo diet.  When I started the paleo diet, I weighed 248 pounds, at 5’8″ tall.  I was just short of 100 pounds more than what I weighed when I got discharged from the US Army in 1982.  Without exercising, using the paleo diet my weight dropped to 190 pounds.  However, with all of that weight loss – my abdominal girth did not decrease AT ALL.  I’m now convinced that this is, perhaps, the greatest proof of my having leaky gut – and that all that girth is due to toxic waste that had built up around my intestines.

I’m not sure if this qualifies as proof, but one thing that has changed is the smell of my waste when I go to the bathroom.  Of course, I’d be lying if I told you it didn’t smell bad before, but now it is so offensive that I wait until the last possible minute and hold my breath as much as possible until the event is over.  Passing gas can clear the living room – of our cats!

I’m choosing to take this as an indication that my body IS trying to process that toxic waste, and flush it from my body as quickly as possible.  It is just overwhelmed by the scope of the job at this point, but continuing should eventually get me over the hump.

At least that is what I’m thinking right now.

Saturday Posts . . .

Not so long ago, I posted that I’m done chasing the recovery of my lost ability.  I’ve been seeking a way to reverse the physical decline of my body, which began 37 years ago with a bone tumor, for so long it seems to be the only thing I’ve ever done sometimes.  You could call it my career.  The only thing I’ve pursued longer would be spiritual growth.  I’m frustrated, and tired.

However, I recently saw a video made by a former cardiac surgeon – Dr. Steven Gundry, MD.  He worked at Loma Linda University Medical Center until he had an epiphany – that he was just putting bandaides on conditions.  He realized he could do more good for his patients by helping them to NOT NEED surgery.  Foremost on his mind was the fact that, despite doing “everything right” he himself was 75 pounds overweight and heading for cardiac trouble.

Well, he tells the story far better than I could.  You can find it at http://www.thenewgutfix.com

Anyhow, after seeing that video, I shared it with my wife – and she agreed that his description of the “typical patient” with the problem he now treats – with NUTRITION alone – was a total description of how I’ve been feeling the last few years.  Everything  – chronic fatigue, joint pain, migraines, brain fog, memory lapses – it is all just symptoms of a leaky gut. And he’s figured out how to repair it without surgery. So, making an exception to my former declaration, we’re going to give this a shot.

Yes, “we” – my wife has several of the same symptoms, so she’s going to do the regimen with me.  With a little help from the gods, perhaps we will both soon be in the best health of our lives.

My apologies . . .

My wife has pointed out that not only did I miss making a post last Saturday, but that it has been a while since I’ve posted anything other than Saturday posts.  Here is why.

I’m still holding on – waiting for the chance to place the order for the last device I’m willing to try to change the conditions living in this body is forcing me to cope with.  My wife said that we should be able to order it by the end of June – and that means before the end of this month now that the calendar says it is June.  I’ve been bouncing from one storm to the next, and one migraine headache to the next.  Sometimes they overlap, sometimes the migraine fills the gaps between the storms, but it is indeed rare that I don’t have to put up with how my body deals with either.  Sadly – I vaguely remember writing a similar statement during the spring a year ago.  Or was it 2 years ago.  Oh well – the heavy storm cycle won’t last forever, and I’m still hopeful that the migraines can be altered as well.

My sleep, when I get it, doesn’t leave me feeling rested or rejuvenated.  I walk about with a mental fog so thick that even things I know need doing get forgotten.  I have a “brilliant idea” for a blog – and by the time I get to my computer I either forget the idea or how I was going to make the point.  It happens to other things as well – I once boiled a pot of coffee almost dry by forgetting to reduce the burner temperature after it started perking.

Anyhow, before I get up from the computer, I’ll be selecting the post for tomorrow, and getting it scheduled to post.

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.

RIP to an uncle . . .

I learned a little while ago that one of my mom’s brothers passed to his next adventure early this morning.  While I can’t say he was someone I felt close to, he treated my family alright when we got together while I was growing up.

Still, it is a fitting capstone to a particularly gruesome week.  In my last post, I stated that I woke up with another migraine.  So, imagine my surprise when my wife reads to me from an email newsletter by Dr. Sears (I hope I spelled that right) that Imitrex actually CAUSES migraines – and makes them worse by both intensity and frequency.  This is because of a physical manifestation known as a rebound effect.  In other words, what it does to provide relief is only a treatment of symptoms, and the problem is worse when the medicine wears off.

Well, I’ll vouch for the “makes them worse” part – this last migraine lasted 5 1/2 days, and for the last few months the classic ID tags of a migraine (light sensitivity, upset stomach, audio distortion) have been showing up in pairs about half of the time.

Oh, and the rest of the story on how this week went?  Before the migraine had run it’s course the National Weather Service was posting severe weather watches for this whole area.  The storms started about 10:30pm (2230 hrs) last night, and it’s been pretty steady ever since.  MIGHT end tomorrow, but no promises.