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Currently (2020) my most updated blog is pinkfeldspar.

Spaz is a useful side blog for sorting other stuff out.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

luxurious


Been awhile since I dug into assessment. At this point, the best word I can find to describe where I'm currently at is luxurious. I don't know if some of you would find this incredulous, but I've not been able to simply lay around in bed in the morning and luxuriously stretch without instant charlie horses, nasty joint pain, or a rush of dread from the chemical cocktails my brain sloshes over me for most of my adult life. Over the last couple of months, those 'early to rise' dilemmas seem to have ALL died down and gone away. Yes, I still have arthritis all over my body, yes, I still have fibromyalgia, yes, I still have mood disorder challenges, BUT they don't smite me first thing waking up. That is luxurious.

I've been very surprised. The only two big changes I've been compliant with my new doctor so far are adding losartan to my blood pressure meds, which kinda sucked getting used to because of the headache thing, and adding vitamin D to my diet. She discovered immediately that I'm D deficient (not just low), which no other doctor has ever checked on.

For years (decades) doctors kept me on meds that rashed me out in sunlight. A few of my worst years were so bad I'd actually break out in near boils within minutes of going outside. All I'd have to do was walk across a parking lot, a real challenge back then anyway, made worse by polymorphous light eruption, sometimes with fevers. Sometimes just a few minutes of sunlight could even trigger an autoimmune flare, and then I'd wind up on prednisone. As you can imagine, I didn't get a lot of sun, especially not enough to get sufficient vitamin D going. 

How to Safely Get Vitamin D from Sunlight 👈 click that

You'd think it would be a given to just take vitamins. I had two problems with that.

1- My mom, in her enthusiasm, gave me vitamin poisoning one year, which later a hepatologist was shocked to learn and he called it child abuse. I was loathe to take vitamins after that for a long time.

2- Doctors back then kept me so medicated with handfuls of drugs that adding vitamins was frowned on as causing interactive problems. In order for the meds to work, I had to back off on taking vitamins.

That's horrible, you say. Yes, I say back. Imagine how many adults are suffering in this world with severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies because the medical culture we wind up trapped in deems it more important to keep adding medications instead of investigating malnutrution with comorbidities like diabetes and stuff.

So I was instructed to take 5000 units of D a day for 3 months, and then go down to 2000 a day. I usually wind up around 3 or 4000 a day. I'm not terribly stringent with my compliance. Still, I started noticing changes within a week, more within a month, and now at two months I'm experiencing so much change that I can legit say the vitamin D has got to be what's doing that. Simply bringing my blood pressure down a little more starting losartan doesn't account for all of this.

One of the first things I noticed was that my gabapentin withdrawal wasn't bothering me any more. For several weeks I sludged my way through the last of my receptor grumbling adapting back to my own normal, but that faded fairly quickly once I started taking vitamin D.

Click this 👉 Understanding GABA 👈 

Gaba receptor meds essentially take over body production and when you withdraw, having to restart making it adds its own level of pain to existing pain, like having raw nerves ringing all day. I've been withdrawing off the last of my xanax, as well, so that is a double receptor challenge. I've done it before, and as ridiculous as it sounds, even a teeny tiny amount is still hard withdrawing from if you've been taking it for years. It's worse than quitting smoking, which I've also done. Much worse. The nerve sensitivity is pretty miserating. Fortunately, it's gotten way easier over the last month to the point where I'm barely noticing it. That's pretty huge for me.

8 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency 👈 click that. 

Right? That's a pretty spot on list for me. Muscle pain? I am the queen of muscle pain. Hair loss? I've blogged about years of hair loss. Depression? I'm a depression blogger. Bone and back pain? Ha, please, to the point of nearly complete immobility for several years. Fatigue and tiredness? Just shut up already, we all know how fail I am at keeping up with life.

To be comprehensive in a nutshell, I've become so relaxed over the last month for the first time in my life without any meds making this happen that I'm laying around in bed stretching like a cat for the first time since I can remember, with no sudden muscle cramps snapping me back, no sudden pain stabs dragging me down, and no sudden sloshes of weird adrenaline responses springing me out of bed. Just stretching because it feels good to stretch.

That's quality of life.

Before we go on, no, taking vitamin D has NOT cured anything. It's not a cure, ok? It's a nutrition problem solver. I'm still dealing with arthritis and neuralgia in my feet, knee challenges, other joints all over my body, etc. I'm not insinuating that anyone should start taking vitamin D without first checking with your doctor and investigating your current malnutrition status. I grew up on homeopathic 'cures' and can verify not a single thing ever EVER stopped me living a miserable life, so be smart about this, ok? This isn't about curing, it's about living better, feeling better, functioning better. This blog is about using our brains ever since I started it in 2011. If you are new to me, there are many things I've covered on my own healing path.

And I really thought I was getting enough because I'm a big dairy fan and vitamin D is added to dairy. You do not know until you get a blood test. You can see here I was clearly deficient, not just low on it.



I'm not going to go into any more about supplementing and how it works. You are big kids and can find and read it yourselves. Researching is important, but there is more to it than believing you must need it and then self diagnosing and self treating. Go ask for a blood test. This goes for anything you want to know about your body. Nearly everything is measurable, and if you are willing to pay cash for what your insurance won't cover, just tell the doctor that and you should be able to see where you are with your bloodwork.

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The next thing I'm dealing with is wrestling with comorbidity control. A comorbidity is any variable that makes a health outcome worse. When you add up comorbidities, you can basically project the potential complications you can die of.

One very strong comorbidity variable across all diseases is a person's weight. Being too skinny or too fat greatly increases the likelihood of not recovering from illness or not surviving a disease process well. Learning how to use a BMI calculator is my latest challenge. I'm right at 35%, which isn't the worst I've seen when I look at people around me, but still projects me into congestive heart failure with my diabetes and arthritis challenges, even well controlled.

As I age, my body can only keep doing so much. My new doctor is currently watching me for diabetic kidney disease. We have evidence that there is a level of damage that likely occurred in the past and hasn't yet gotten worse. That makes sense because I've had some very ill years in the past, oddly, no one back then addressed that kidney damage could have been happening.


As you can see, no other doctor has ever checked me for kidney disease before, despite a rough medical history. This is the only microalbumin test I've ever had despite years of autoimmune flares.



Know Your Kidney Numbers: Two Simple Tests 👈 click that

But that is an anomaly at the moment because my history of creatinine is fine.



Again, this new doctor is the first one to do really rigorous testing. No one else ever checked for the deeper impact and now we're going to watch and see if the microalbumin test is for real or a one time catch.

From What is a microalbumin creatinine ratio?

If your microalbumin creatinine ratio shows albumin in your urine, you may get tested again to confirm the results. If your results continue to show albumin in urine, it may mean you have early-stage kidney disease. If your test results show high levels of albumin, it may mean you have kidney failure. If you are diagnosed with kidney disease, your health care provider will take steps to treat the disease and/or prevent further complications.

If small amounts of albumin are found in your urine, it doesn't necessarily mean you have kidney disease. Urinary tract infections and other factors can cause albumin to show up in urine. If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

So there you go, possible big comorbidity with my BMI and diabetes. BMI is correlated with higher blood pressures, which I've had for many years, and higher blood pressures are correlated with kidney damage. It's high time I got all over this.

Another big comorbidity with BMI and diabetes is liver disease. Let's look at my current basic tests. You can see in the past that I had liver enzyme spikes.



My liver has been watched a long time. A doctor in 2010 brought up possible autoimmune liver disease, which would have killed me by now, and my new doctor recently ruled out hepatitis again.


My problem around the 2010 time frame was actually cytomegalovirus which is 👉 tested thusly. 👈 This is part of my medical history and it's very important because if it ever flares up again, I am somewhat high risk for death. Most healthy people have no idea they even have this virus, they don't get real sick. I was very ill for months. This is one of my main concerns for getting as healthy as I can and not fail into poor health again.


I also had a condition called NASH, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis that went even more years back into my history, originally caught in a different medical system after about a decade of very strong meds for continual autoimmune flares. An endocrinologist warned me to get off those meds, which left me with about a one inch long hard spot on my liver that showed up like neon on MRIs and CTs. That spot was there for years and has now resolved and the condition was dropped from my list of current health problems. However, I still had that problem when I got the cytomegalovirus infection, and I'm sure that was part of what made me so ill with it.

So I've had two liver diseases in my history, both cytomegalovirus, which inflamed my liver, and NASH. The hard spot resolved after I lost 50 pounds in 2011. So far I've not seen that return, but as I'm aging I'm having a harder time with slower metabolism and more arthritic challenge, so again, my BMI comorbidity with my diabetes needs some serious thought if I'm going to continue aging more gracefully. Obviously, my weight ratios are having a big impact on organs, and I'd be silly to dismiss it. I've already experienced how painful and crippling organ involvement can be. I may be hovering just above 200 pounds, which probably sounds laughable with so many people over that nowadays, but if I'm already experiencing health impacts, I know you will, as well. I'm sick of being sick, as it were. Keep in mind that many people don't have symptoms before they find out what's going on inside their bodies. Never hurts to go get a checkup.

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As my D deficiency is being addressed throughout my body, my comorbidity control is coming into focus. I'm finding myself more capable, although I was still having so much trouble continuing a mild daily 30 minute workout that I could barely move my feet the rest of the day and it was very painful walking afterward. I'd have to lay down with my legs up to get relief. It was like when I was young and trying to roller skate after I'd sprained my ankles. Every step felt like so much extra work.

Intro new shoes. These are Asics Gel-Kayano 26 in 'Voilet Blush Dive Blue'. They are currently on sale direct from their website, not paid to link it. I'm really loving the color, it feels more autumn than the seafoam green next to them. You can tell I take really good care of my shoes, the green ones barely look used at all, but I've had them well over a year. Ah, yes, I mention it in June 2019.


I'm frugal. I'm horrible to not spend money on new shoes, even though I know I really need to stay on top of that if I want to keep walking, per my podiatrist. I'm commanded to keep my feet in top of the line athletic shoes at all times. I'm bad to not wear them around my house unless I'm working out, and then the workout increases my foot pain so badly that it's hard to walk the rest of the day. Guess what. That means it's time for new shoes. If your top of the line athletic shoes are no longer helping you through workouts, they're probably worn down enough to no longer be supportive. This means they aren't good for you any more. Junk shoes are like junk food. They make your health slide down that slippery slope to more misery.

I put the new shoes on yesterday and my workout was. a. breeze. Total validation for new shoes.

It's really important to keep walking to keep up healthy elasticity in the veins in my legs. Congestive heart failure creeps up slowly, basically starts with fluid in your legs getting stuck down there, and other comorbidities don't help that at all. Diabetes shreds veins, and higher BMI means there is that much more work getting those fluids back up. It's a horrible and very painful way to die, and I can say that after my dad dying from it. He wasn't diabetic at all and lived to 90, but that didn't make it any less excruciating. I have comorbidities he didn't have, so I'm higher risk to die earlier than he did, plenty of incentive now that I've seen it.

In 2011, all I had to do was stick to 1500 calories a day and 50 pounds melted off me over 4 months without any exercise at all. That's not happening this time. Even when I cut to 1400 calories a day, I'm not losing weight. When I look it up, aging does that. Metabolism slows down. There are ways to stimulate it, like with doing weights and other core workouts, so I am modifying my workouts again. I'm also looking into 👉 intermittent fasting. 👈 I have days where I'm naturally not hungry, especially when I'm going through euphoric episodes, and I was trying to make myself eat to keep my moods more even. I've decided that now I'm off meds, I need to pay more attention to my body, biorhythms and whatnot, moods. If I don't feel like eating, I can always sling a small protein shake down sometime during the day with my vitamins. Instead of just counting calories, I'm further spacing out the snack thing on hungry days.

I counted calories last month and noticed that even stopping at 1400, just snacking through the day seems to keep the weight on. I think I need to cut that out. No more something in my mouth every couple hours, which, if you are diabetic, is really normal because glucose drops are rough. Even when my glucose stays level, I crave to eat. The only way that stops is to just stop eating. The dangerous part of that is not realizing when I'm sliding into a hypoglycemic state, which doesn't have to be actual low blood sugar. For diabetics, that kicks off abnormally because the entire disease is about living with a broken feedback loop concerning digesting carbs in general. It reminds me of my drinking days. I was hardcore into alcohol in my mid 20s and was able to drink around the clock and still hold a job. I got really skinny doing that, so yeah, that's tempting but I'm an alcoholic and don't dare. That steady every so often alcohol intake made life bearable back then, and I've been noticing diabetes is exactly like that, a steady intake of carbs feels very much to my brain the way taking a drink every little bit did. It's a brain chemical feedback malfunction. It's a terrible lie I live with, thinking it feels better to nibble and not getting anywhere truly healthy with it.

I've noticed also that when I skip a meal and stay really engrossed in writing or gaming, I don't miss food at all, and I generally feel better through the afternoon and then sleep better that night. My body doesn't seem to miss the skipped food at all. I don't put anything into my digestive system to trigger the faulty feedback. That's a simple way of looking at a complex issue, but it's helping me see how I can try moving forward another way.

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern. I think I need to study that some more and try it for a few weeks. If I'm naturally doing it anyway on my own when I'm not paying attention, maybe I can adapt it into a lifestyle. I just need to be smart about it and pay attention to how my diabetes responds. I'm the kind of person that can suddenly experience hypoglycemic symptoms out of the blue even if my glucose is still in the 80s or 90s, so being smart about this means not taking off to run errands or starting a workout if I've skipped meals through the day.

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Since I was shopping for vitamin D, I decided maybe it's time to add a good supplement back into my diet. I found a basic multi for 50+ with all the Bs, C, D, E, zinc, selenium (supposed to help with hair problems), calcium/magnesium kind of thing. I also picked up CoQ10 on the advice of my new doctor. She said it's to help with the problems taking statins can cause, but I'm taking it anyway. Haven't started the statin yet since I'm already dealing with fibromyalgia. A doctor long ago put me on a statin and I didn't do well on it, so I'm taking my time for now. After 30 years of meds with a full range of side effects and intolerances, I'm enjoying being on so few meds for awhile. As long as I don't eat junk and watch my calories, my cholesterol won't be getting worse.

Since I brought up supplements, remember not to take them within two hours of thyroid and blood pressure meds.

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I'm kind of in limbo in psychological assessment. I'm taking a big break, thanks to covid, just really sick of the whole 'we gotta wear masks' push and how stupid it is to be told in an empty waiting room at a mental health clinic to keep my mask on, and you tell me how in the world that is a psychologically healthy 'mandate' for people who are already messed up with fear porn and hypochondria. And then my psychologist was ok with masks being off during therapy while the whole covid thing was a hot mess, but once it all settled and the world went to mandating masks even harder, he suddenly became glued to his mask but kept moving it over to sip a drink while we were talking. That is worse than trying to have private phone convos with other people in my house.

So yeah, taking a long break. I've been privately working through some more of the progress I started making on depersonalization and dissociative issues on other blogs, and I'm not in the mood to talk about them here yet. This blog, weirdly, is seen more prolifically lately than my other blogs, probably because of covid, so I imagine a lot of us are working through all kinds of things with all the 'me' time on our hands. I think I'd like to reach a place where I feel more solid with some conclusions than I currently feel. Consensus, though, is that this explains a *lot*.

Hope you guys are doing ok. I'm staying busy. 🙂