Posted in Health

Health Update

This morning I awoke with the usual numbness in my hands. When I finally got out of bed my legs were shaky and maybe even kind of weak. I walked a lot yesterday so I expected a little soreness. But the weakness was a little different and somewhat scary.

I am afraid I may have reached a point where I need to really, and I mean, really watch my blood sugar levels. I was already insulin resistant. The next stage is diabetes. I’m afraid that the next time my doctor does my next blood test I will get the sad news that I am diabetic.

In addition to my the weak feeling in my legs, I just didn’t feel right. I immediately thought of the pop-tarts I had for breakfast yesterday and the pizza for lunch. I was out of town with my daughter and son and their mom. We were at Limestone College where my daughter will be attending next year. I always seem to disregard my way of eating when traveling. And yesterday was an exceptional mishap in my diet.

I need to do better. I must do better. Diabetes is a killer. My mom had it. It made her life miserable. She had a real problem keeping her blood sugar under control. I had a cousin who’s blood sugar got so out of control she ended up in a coma. She died after only a few days.

It has been stressful knowing that there is a cyst on my kidney and a spot on my lung. I have received authorization to see a specialist. I just have to schedule the appointment. I guess I am stressing a little about my health. Now every time I feel the slightest abnormality my mind goes to the worst possible scenario.

So I guess I should make my appointments with my various doctors and get some updates on my health so I know where I stand. I will let you all know when I have news.

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Posted in Health

Today’s Doctor Visit

Well, I finally went to the doctor today. Actually, I ended up at the emergency room on this past Saturday for very a  sharp pain in my left side. They initially thought I might have a kidney stone, so they did a CT scan. There were no stones, but they found a cyst on my left kidney. And that is why I was in the doctor’s office today following up.

I think we’ve determined that I had a muscle spasm as far as the pain in my side which stemmed from an area in my lower back. However, my doctor has scheduled a full work up of my kidneys to determine if there is something serious is going on there. I think it is probably nothing and hopefully, the test will bear that out.

The CT scan on Saturday also showed something on my left lung. We will be checking this out as well. Both items are very very small. They just want to make sure nothing serious is going on.

So, I covet any prayers. But again, I’m not worried that they are going to find anything serious going on.

Posted in Health

Awake Again

Lately, I have been able to sleep again at nights when I am supposed to be. For the longest time, probably 2 years, I have suffered insomnia. No matter how I tried I could not fall asleep at night. And then, of course, I couldn’t stay awake during the day. Pretty soon it became kind of permanent. I didn’t think I’d ever get back on track.

I don’t know what happened recently, but for the last 3 weeks or so I have been going to bed kind of early (before 11). For the most part, I have remained asleep for most of the night.

I am pleased to be awake with most of the rest of the world. It is an awful thing to be awake at a time when nothing is open and everyone you know is asleep.

Actually, it may have been the music practice. While I was still awake at nights I started practicing the saxophone at around 4 in the morning. Several times I got so into it that I was staying awake later and later in the mornings. Normally I’d be falling asleep around 8 in the morning. The more I practiced, the later I stayed awake in the mornings. Then I was staying awake into the afternoons. I guess before I knew what I was doing I had reversed my sleep schedule.

It has been easier to stay on my diet as well. I had not made the connection until now. I have also resumed losing weight. Probably due to access to more activities now that I’m awake a the right time of the day.

How ever I got here I’m glad to be back on the day shift. I’m glad to be practicing music again. Soon I hope to be reaching new levels on the saxophone. And of course, I intend to continue regaining my health through diet and exercise.

 

Posted in Health, surgery

Report on my Dad

daddyI am back home in South Carolina now. For the past two weeks, I had been in Texas visiting my Father, who has been ill. I went there because when I heard about his condition it scared me. I lost my mom in 2013 and I never had the chance to tell her how much she meant to me. I wasn’t about to miss that chance with my dad.

I was there to assess what his health actually was. It was not as dire as it could have been, or as bad as my imagined scenario. And now that he is getting the proper help he will be even better. I left him in good hands with my brother and two sisters and his nieces and nephews; all of whom care about and love him very much.

achalasiaHis issue was related to not being able to eat. His diagnosis is a condition called, Achalasia.

Achalasia is a rare disorder of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. It is characterized by enlargement of the esophagus, impaired ability to push food down toward the stomach (peristalsis), and failure of the ring-shaped muscle at the bottom of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), to relax. It is the contraction and relaxation of the sphincter that moves food through the tube (http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/achalasia).

For the past two weeks my dad has been on a clear liquids diet; chicken and beef broth, protein shakes, juice, and water. He is very tired of it. He has lost a lot of weight. He is being scheduled for surgery to improve the condition. The goal is to dilate the ring-shaped muscle at the bottom of the esophagus, or lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which will hopefully enable him to eat more solid food again.

Coughing Man - ArrowsNow I was adopted, and I don’t think this condition is one that is hereditary. I think anyone can get it. I have already had problems with a hiatal hernia and GERD. I have taken medications for years to reduce acid reflux. I now control it by not over eating, and not eating certain types of foods. You’re probably thinking I avoid spicy foods, but you’d be wrong. It is high carb foods that are the real problem. My digestive system does not appreciate high carb foods. I get gassy, painful digestive movements, and the worst smelling waste possible in a human. Whereas, when I eat high-fat carb and high fat diet digestion is very easy, less gassy, and therefore painless, and waste is not so smelly.

When I first encountered the problem of gerd/hiatal hernia I was in my 30’s. I ate a lot (I mean a lot) of high carb foods. I was literally stuffing myself beyond my stomach’s capacity. I also ate very fast. Maybe its a military thing. My father was in the military and also eats a lot (more than he should), and he eats very fast. I think the way we eat has a lot to do with digestive conditions we may develop later in life.

I am glad my father is getting the help he needs. I hope he will slow down and eat better foods. I have, and I feel 100% better when I really stick to low carb and high fat, or Keto. This is not where I was intending to go with this post. I guess it was on my mind more so since my dad’s recent stomach issues. Well I guess I will end this here.

Take care yourself and your digestive system. It is very important in the long run.

Posted in Health

In Texas for mY Dad

My dad has been sick lately with some digestive issues. So on Saturday, I drove to Texas to assist him with doctors visits. The issue he is having will require surgery, which we are hoping will take place on tomorrow with Dr. Zamil, a gastroenterologist at Hermann Memorial hospital.

His condition caused him not to be able to eat. He hasn’t been able to swallow or digest any food. A surgery on his esophagus will get things back to near normal. He has gotten weak from a lack of nutrition. He was also dehydrated, so we took him to the hospital on Monday. He is feeling better after receiving fluids and meds for pain caused by constant vomiting.

I am looking forward to a full recovery. My dad was always a strong willed man. He was also strong physically. It is very disconcerting to see him in this weakened condition. Hopefully, this will all be over soon.

Posted in Fitness, Health

Missing Youth

I read a great post the other day on https://dictionarydutch.wordpress.com.  The post was called, Acceptance (aka It’s Better To Humour Yourself Than To Have Someone Else Do It For You). It was about accepting yourself and not worrying about what others think about you. She had come to the realization that she was not ugly, and that she looks good. I agree with her.

I used to think I was ugly when I was young. Then when I was older, like Sam, I realized that I was not ugly and that I looked good. Now I’m even older and I know for a fact that I am quite ugly, but I don’t care. These days I mostly care about being healthy.

I still care about the way I look. And I know that I’m not that ugly, but youth had its perks. Every time I go to one of my daughter’s ballgames I long to be able to run without pain. Though, no matter how healthy I am, I will not be able to run without pain ever again. Youth. I took it for granted when I had it; just like my son and daughter do now. I never doubted I would be able to run for as long or as fast as I wanted, ever. However, at 54, and have degenerative disc disease, running is not an option. I can’t even do many of the exercises in the gym that I used to do.

Youth is powerful. So, if you still have it, enjoy it. I never ate healthy when I was young. I developed some not so healthy habits in that area. I drank too much alcohol and I only exercised enough to keep my job in the Navy. Youth is the only way I could do that. Now I couldn’t pass a physical fitness test if my life depended on it. Ironically it sort of does.

I do get as much exercise as my body will allow; mostly walking. I also do some exercises that only require my body weight. I do what I can do. The weird thing is that on the inside I still feel young. On the outside, there is just pain. As I have stated before, aging is not for cowards.

So for sure I truly hope for that new body that the apostle Paul was talking about. I long for youth again.

Posted in Diet, Health

1st Doctor Visit of the Year

I had my first doctor visit yesterday. It was just to get new scripts for my medications. The real fun doesn’t start for a few weeks, blood work, and test results the following month.

I don’t necessarily look forward to it. For the past ten years or so I have been moving ever closer to type II diabetes. It is one of the reasons I chose to try the keto diet or low carb-high fat diet.

Throughout the years I don’t think doctors have been very clear on what was moving me in that direction. All they talked about was me needing to lose weight.  So I tried several diets. However, many diets are high in carbs and low in fats and they didn’t help. Not one of my doctors had talked about carbs or hidden sugars in certain vegetables and the way they affect blood sugar. And most grains certainly have the same effect.

It has only been nearly a year since I have been trying to change my eating habits to a diet without high carb foods and sugar. I am addicted to carbs & sugar. It has been mostly easy. However, there are times that I fall off the wagon like an alcoholic, and it is very hard to get back on, as demonstrated this past holiday season. I’m sure you have seen the recipe posts.

So every doctor visit where I get the results of my blood test I’m worried that they will tell me I have finally reached my apparent goal of getting type II diabetes (not really my goal). I have been told I’m becoming, or, have become insulin resistant for several years now, but with no ideas or suggestions about how to change that. That is until Dr, Tara Hughes, my current doctor. She has been extremely helpful, and very supportive of my current diet. She is a very supportive person. You’d think all doctors would be.

Anyway, I have given myself nearly a month to get my act together before my first blood test of the year. I have for the most part been back on track since around Jan 2. I have until Feb 1 before I have blood drawn. A month after that I will sit down with my doctor to go over the results.

I’m not sure a month is enough time to help me because I really went off the rails in November and December. I was completely out of control. If I was a crack addict (or something worse) I might even be dead. And if I don’t get things under control I still may end up dead before my time.

Still, I am starting the new year almost 20 pounds lighter than I was last year. That is a positive start for me. I don’t intend to die before my time. My daughter has already told me I’m not allowed. So I’m still in the fight.

Keep watching for my success.

Posted in Diet, Health, pain

Still More Pain

The pain in my neck is increasing still. I made another appointment with the surgeon who performed my surgery. The medication I am taking does n0t stop my pain, but, makes me pretty dizzy; hydrocodone.

The surgery was supposed to  relieve neck pain but it seems to have made it worse. It was the same with my lower back. I don’t know why I keep listening to these doctors. I can promise you though, I have had my last spinal surgery.

If this pain ever goes away I will not complain about any other pain that may come, at least not to a doctor. I don’t think I can take another pain increase.

Posted in Diet, Health

Keep it Keto Simple

Recipe: Baked chicken, Miracle Noodle tossed in a few tbsp of the chicken fat from the pan, and lightly seasoned with salt & pepper.

Meals on the ketogenic diet usually are not that complicated. I usually eat some protein with a good concentration of fat. The discovery of Miracle Noodles has allowed me to eat really low carb and get some fiber into my diet as well. They also leave me the room in other meals to eat more nutrient dense foods; usually broccoli or asparagus or spinach or something. And of course, they are great if I happen to get too close to my carb limit in foods I really shouldn’t be eating.

I have probably said it before, but, the easiest thing to do when trying to eat low carb is to stay away from anything that comes out of a box, has been processed, or man made in general. I usually eat with my protein some sort of whole food vegetable; things that steam, like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, or even Brussel sprouts. To get my fat calories in I usually will pour olive oil, coconut oil, or even butter over my veggies.

My macro goal is 5% carbs, 20% protein, and 75% fat. I know it sounds like a lot. But this diet has been around for a very long time as treatment of epilepsy and other conditions. My blood pressure has come down. My blood sugar seems to be normalizing and I’m losing weight. I couldn’t be more satisfied, literally.

Fat satiates hunger like nothing else. The low amount of carbs doesn’t spike blood sugar, allowing me to go longer between meals, AND eat less, which is the real contributor to my weight loss. It’s almost fail proof.

Posted in Diet, Health

Ending Acid Reflux

In 1993, I was diagnosed with a Hiatal hernia, Gerd, acid reflux. The Navy docs put me on Tagamet and as the years progressed and the condition getting no better, I progressed to using Prilosec and then Nexium, which I have used until very recently.

Sometime last year I started reading the side effects fo medications I was taking. Nexium was one of those medicines. Nexium is supposed to be a temporary fix until your doctor figures out what is causing your problem. However, I have been taking these medications since I was diagnosed. Perhaps not many people experience them (I didn’t), but, there are some pretty significant side effects.

My doctors in the Navy never tried to figure out what was causing my acid reflux (big surprise). They just kept prescribing the medications. And sometimes civilian doctors are no better. I have been out of the Navy for 9 years. I am still prescribed Nexium for acid reflux.

However, since I have been on the ketogenic diet, I have noticed that I am not having issues with reflux like before. In fact, the longer I do the diet, the better it gets. This week I don’t think I have taken the medication at all. But I have been very careful to follow the keto-diet very carefully.

When I deviate from the low-carb, high-fat diet (consuming too many of, and, the wrong kinds of carbs) is when I notice that I have an issue with reflux. One of the reasons I thought I’d give this diet a try is because of Grains, Beans, Nuts, and Seeds, an article I read about how grains really are not that great for humans.

That lead me to the Paleo diet, and then I found the Ketogenic diet. Both of these ways of eating eliminate grains and things made from grains. Of course, like everyone else, I was educated to believe that grains are a source of good nutrition, and good for us. But since eliminating them from my diet, I have felt 100% better.

I have found that it is not the low-carb diet per se that keeps me acid-free, but, specifically the lack of grains and things made from grains that are the key. Now I’m no doctor and not even a nutritionist. However, I am capable of noticing results when I change something in my diet.

The so-called “cheat days” where you get to eat anything you want, always end with me taking Nexium (when I really over do it). My goal is to eliminate as many of the medications I take as possible.

I have figured out the acid reflux thing. Now I am hoping to eliminate blood pressure meds. And very soon I plan to end my meds for cholesterol control. These are not so good for the liver. It is my ultimate goal to be med free.