Friday, March 30, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Three years ago, my mother had cataract surgery. Immediately after the surgery, she noticed that things didn't look right. Since she was an avid reader, her best description of how things looked to her included the page of a book. Take the page, cut it in half lengthwise, then move the right side of the page up about half an inch. THATS how things looked to her. Her doc tried and tried to correct this, but couldn't. She got tired and quit pressing. I had my reservations, but I learned long ago how far forcing my mother to do anything got me. Nowhere, maybe even back a few steps...
Last year, she developed clouding in her vision and it turned out that she needed to have her implanted lenses 'lasered off' - I don't remember the technical name for this procedure right now, but that's basically what they do. It clears the proteins and other organic substances that build up on the lenses.
Immediately after this procedure, she remarked how her vision was markedly different. Not good. Her doc sent her to a specialist and the diagnosis of Macular Degeneration took my breath away.
My mother is a go bug. She is independent. She's stubborn as an old horse and anyone who has tried to physically pull a horse anywhere they really didn't want to go knows how tiring that is! She smokes (gah! I've preached, begged, cajoled, all to no avail... at least she's using the extra filters now...)
This diagnosis hit her like a ton of bricks. She was down and sinking.
Started doing some reading and research. Learned a lot about macular degeneration. Thank God it was the dry one.
Discovered some really interesting things about supplementing for Macular Degeneration. Like many ailments, there are claims that folks have reversed it with nutrition and supplementation. I took those claims with a grain and decided that while I would certainly hope for improvement, my aim was to put my size 11 foot right in the middle of the degeneration and stop that in it's tracks!
My mom is a pretty healthy eater, she just smokes. Smoking depletes some vitamins/minerals. She gets the little filters she puts on the ends of her cigs that prevent her from getting ALL of the garbage from those dang things. I'm just grateful for every tiny bit of trying she does in that aspect because I truly think she just likes to do it.
I made some minor suggestions for her diet and then I bought her a load of vitamins, minerals. Specifically, melatonin, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin b2, lutein, glutathione and Magnesium. She takes others, but these are specifically for her eyes.
Also talked to her about the power of positive thought - she's not really a negative person, but this got her down. I reminded her about the time she tore her meniscus and the doctor was going to schedule surgery, but she delayed him. By the time she went back to visit him again, it was well. She said she 'thought it well' because she didn't want that surgery. I implored her to employ that again for her eyes..
Last May, her vision was in the 20/200 territory and she'd miss letters right in the middle of each line she was reading. Yesterday, she got 20/50 and, while she did miss the occasional middle letter, she didn't miss all the middle letters.
The word 'phenomenal' was used over and over by the specialist!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
You need Adobe Acrobat Reader - it opened rotated for me, so you can change that by clicking on VIEW within Reader.
If the Government knew about our soil depletion problem in 1936..........
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Just over a year ago, in May of 2010, my doctor and I had an interesting exchange.
I had begun having terrible down times after every workout, no matter how small. I'd been doing Cross Fit for a while and was loving it - even making some really nice progress. But every time I worked out, I would have DAYS where I was too sore, too tired. Even though I was SO tired, I would have trouble sleeping.
She explained that my self inflicted combo of thyroid drugs (I didn't feel 'good' on my dose of thyroid and added a little tiny bit more - BAD move*) had worn my little adrenal glands down. That I needed to take it easy for a while. How long? Eight to 12 months.
In typical me fashion, I wanted her to give me a shot or a pill or ANYTHING so that I could keep pushing. LOL Nope. Not gonna happen. Rest.
But I AM superhuman! "Then you're just going to have to get used to being merely human again."
Yes, that exchange really took place. Frustrated as I was, I knew in my heart that she was right.
As I embarked on my year, I set all these unreasonable limitations for myself such as "I will not gain weight even though I can't work out"... Yeah. That didn't go the way I planned.
In my year, I learned a LOT about the adrenal glands and what they do. The adrenal glands are SO important to health! If they're not working right, your thyroid tries to pick up the slack. If your thyroid isn't working right, the adrenals try to pick up the slack. If your Ferritin (a protein that stores iron in the body) is low on top of either of the above, a crash is in the cards.
My ferritin was 22 in March of 2010. Taking a huge amount of iron - which, if you take vitamin C WITH it (has to go down at the same time as iron) it doesn't hurt the tummy - got me up to 28 by September. Started adding 1 Ferritin capsule and got my Ferritin up to 55 between September and December. By April of this year, my Ferritin was up to 72. My target was 80. I did notice that the higher my Ferritin got, the better in general I felt.
I was getting my feet wet with just a few movements - squats, back extensions, GHD situps.... a little cardio on the bike or treadmill. I had hurt a tendon in my left wrist and could not start lifting heavy so I did therapeutic stuff. Working lightly in my vegetable garden - not a HUGE garden this year, but a bit.
Then my sleep started getting weird again some nights. Hmmm... maybe it's stress, I did have to run my mom around to a bunch of eye appointments....
Then odd tiredness. Whether I slept really well or not, I REALLY wanted that afternoon nap some days.
Then I had my TOM & less than 2 wks later did that again. Uh oh... THAT is a big symptom of iron issues (yes, it's a paradoxical thing - the lower the iron/ferritin, the heavier and longer TOM gets). Blood test showed that my ferritin had slipped between April and July to 36! Dang!
I'd been keeping VERY good notes during all this. I noticed that when my ferritin had gotten so high, I had used this nifty little supplement called Ferritin. I called the company and had the good fortune to speak to someone in research. I wondered if this supplement could have given me a false high reading. I did mention that I was of Native American descent and that I remembered both my maternal grandparents having anemia issues from time to time.
Did you wait 5 days before getting tested? yes. Well, then, no false high.
Then she went on to explain that in native populations, because of the way we ate, the body didn't have the imperative to convert vegetable based irons into ferritin. That we got so much actual ferritin and heme iron in the way we ate, we just dropped the ability to convert non heme irons readily. She then asked me if I ate meat (OH YEAH!) and told me that if I could find it, spleen was a better choice than liver for this.
Seriously, this conversation meant SO MUCH to me. Here, I thought I'd made all this false progress and I really had made progress, just needed to keep doing 1 more thing...
When my ferritin was ZERO back in 2006, I had eaten liver almost every single day in addition to taking iron. For two years. To say that I tire of liver quickly now is somewhat of an understatement. :)
So, my quest for spleen began... My butcher enabled me to order spleen, but had to order a lot in order to get a deal and I guess to make it worth his while. Not a lot out there about it as far as recipes go... I will tell you that it has a lighter flavor than liver, has something like 10 times the amount of iron over liver - mostly in that delightful form of FERRITIN... It makes a beautiful paté and served on crackers made of baked cheese.... YUMMY. And sort of primal.... I know my ancestors didn't get to eat little crisps of burned cheese, but I bet they wouldn't turn it down! LOL
At any rate, taking iron, too. Instead of taking a huge amount, I'm taking better forms (for me) - heme iron, the ferritin, a little non heme. 3x a day.
Really want to see if I can get the ferritin back to where I was kind of fast, then maintain. The blood test after 1 month will tell how this is working and I can go from there.
During my year, I reacquainted myself with soaping. My great grandmother had made me help her make soap when I was a teen. Heck, it's a lot of fun. Now I make all natural (REALLY natural - even colors come from spices and herbs, NOT fd&c chemical colors) bar soaps, liquid soap and laundry soap. I had kind of dreaded making some at first, but once I got going, it was fun. And I love the smell of soap curing in my oven or crock pot.
During my year, I read another PILE of books, papers, etc. about adrenal glands, the hormone cascade, thyroid, etc., and the HUGE part nutrition plays - or rather lack of it in development of disease. I learned a LOT. Seriously. A LOT.
During my year, I gained weight back. In my reading, I learned that many people just do while they're taking care of the other things that are going wrong with their body. While having to wear larger clothes has been dismaying, it's not nearly the disappointment of not being able to pick up as much weight as I could last year (which is how the tendon got REALLY hurt - I had aggravated it, then while it was still aggravated, I tried to pick some really heavy stuff up and dang near detached it at the wrist OW), but I know that things will get right. As much as I want to put my head down and just push as hard as I can, I also know that crashing in a few weeks will take all the gains away again and set me back.
So, instead of looking at set backs, I have decided that this time is the SET UP.
Like preparing delectables for a party or meal, lining up plates on the bar to lift, making all the plans for a trip, setting up all the checkpoints for a marathon, racking up the balls for a game of pool, this is my set up.
I'm setting up myself for the rest of my life. A HEALTHY and happy life wherein I can work out and work my kids out without having to worry about how many down days that workout just cost me.
Set UP not set back.
*The adrenals put out cortisol. When they fatigue, they put out less cortisol (and in many people MORE adrenaline which makes for anxiety attacks out of the blue). Without adequate amounts of cortisol, no matter how much thyroid meds one takes, they're not working at the cellular level. Even tho the TSH will look 'normal', the thyroid hormone isn't being escorted into the cells by cortisol because cortisol is missing, so the feeling is generally hypothyroid symptoms. Increasing the thyroid dose in this situation actually makes the adrenals fatigue more, then it makes the hypo feelings WORSE.
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