Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pills, pills, pills: What's in them?

Well, I purchased the supplements the doctor ordered today. Not going to list the meaningless brand names, but here are the active ingredients in them.  I note a couple items are double-covered, but we're almost a factor of 10 below dangerous levels for B6, and factor of 100 for B5.  I am going to lay off the multivitamin and the Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc.  I should probably pick up some plain calcium to replace the latter with.  I'm going to work up to the Vitamin D levels slowly given my previous poor experience with high levels of D3.

Supplement/Drug Amount DV
Riboflavin 10 mg  588% 
Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCl) 25 mg  1250% 
Pantothenic Acid (as D-calcium pantothenate) 50 mg  500% 
Raw Adrenal Concentrate (bovine) 80 mg 
para-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA) 25 mg 
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) 330 mg  ** 
DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) 170 mg  ** 
Other Omega-3 Fatty Acids 60 mg  ** 
Palmitoleic Acid 105 mg  ** 
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 240 mg  400% 
Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCl) 100 mg  5000% 
Pantothenic Acid (as D-calcium pantothenate) (vitamin B5) 500 mg  5000% 
Magnesium (as magnesium oxide) 75 mg  19% 
Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex 100 mg 
Protease 104,000 USP units 
Amylase 104,000 USP units 
Lipase 16,640 USP units 
Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM®
Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07
Zinc (as zinc arginate† and zinc glycinate†) 20 mg  133%
Vitamin D 5000 IU 1250%

Mini Mackerel-Pumpkin Quiche

I went to a social occasion this weekend, and brought way too much smoked fish which I came home with.  The fish is rather salty and needs something to pare it down.  I also purchased about a half a ton of pumpkins from a stand closing up shop at the end of the season (for the sheep).  Among those pumpkins were some little acorn squash sized ones I thought might make decent lunch bases.  Thirdly, I now have chickens and am starting to explore more uses of eggs in preparation for the oversupply I expect in summer.  As a result I came up with this unlikely lunch.

1/2 pumpkin, seeded
1-2 Tablespoons of peppers and onions, chopped (leftover in the freezer from a previous lunch)
2 teaspoons olive oil
Sprinkle of salt (probably didn't need that)
Microwave for 2 minutes
3-4 Tablespoons of shredded smoked Mackerel
1 egg
Remember when adding the egg that it is only nominally a liquid and may try to run entirely off the top of the pumpkin and escape if you don't quickly mix it in.  Perhaps next time I'll break the egg first and then add the solid ingredients.
Microwave for 5 minutes.

I'm not entirely sold on this preparation.  The edges of the egg were done way before the center.  Perhaps a stir after the first minute or two?  Also with no milk or separate bowl for beating the egg, it came out much less smooth than a normal quiche.  The little pumpkin itself has a spaghetti squash like texture, and may do well with some sort of sauce. An acorn squash has a smoother texture and might do better with this.  The squash releases moisture as it cooks, so it's a bit difficult to see when the egg is done, if the moisture is uncooked egg or pumpkin juice.

I'm not entirely giving up on the concept of pumpkin shelled quiche though, I'm going to try a larger pumpkin, in the oven, with italian sausage, peppers and onions, and the eggs properly blended before baking.

Health Blogging as a Diagnostic Tool

I know hardly anyone reads my blog.  I've got one family member that comments occasionally, occasionally I strike a nerve with someone that has a similar issue or a religious stance on my diet.  But overall most of the hits on my blog are indexing robots.

I'm ok with that.

I will continue blogging even if I have nobody listening.  If it annoys people perhaps I'll turn off all the social plugins that announce the fact that I'm blogging.  But the most valuable part of blogging is the search tool.  Before I started this blog I had a user group that I discussed many of my health issues with, which is also searchable.

Yesterday, my Dr. proscribed a high level of Vitamin D for me.  I recalled vaguely that I'd tried that before and had a negative reaction, but wasn't able to say what time of year it was or what dose I'd been taking.  So when I got home I went to my blog and my old usergroup and did a search.  I was able to update the doc with a lot more detail:
I looked up my records, I previously tried 4000 IU vitamin D in late May 2011.  I was getting a lot of fatigue, sleeping in, needing caffeine to function.  (I don't make a regular habit of caffeine.)  I stuck with the regimen for over a week, and then backed down to 1000 IU.  I was not yet on the Paleo diet at that time.  I was also taking K2 and Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc at the time.
Another time I was able to look back through my records and discover when I started moving from a low carb diet to a ketogenic diet, and line it up with symptom patterns.  My commentary on two meals with similar macronutrient profiles was staggeringly different over time.  Lots of habits drift over time, and only by blogging minutia am I able to pick up on what exactly happened.

Doctors have encouraged health logs for a long time when tracking down obscure problems.  I encourage you to do the same, either in a paper journal, a private blog, or a public blog like my own.  The public blog has the downside of muting some TMI info that I might write in a private log but not a public one, but the occasional feedback is also an incentive to keep it up regularly.  To each their own on that one...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pills and more Pills

For three years I've been off the prescription muscle relaxants and pain killers, and doing better than ever before.

Today my test results came back.

Low adrenal function.
Borderline Vitamin D3
Possible low pancreas function
Low Zinc
High inflammatory markers
Slightly high cholesterol, but favorable HDL/LDL ratio.
Thyroid looks ok, but she suspects that may test differently when adrenal function is fixed.

The doc has 8 new supplements/medications for me to take, at 4 periods during the day.  :(  I'm gonna get one of those big pill organizers.  This better work...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Unpleasant Subject Warning: Poo...

My mother always kept Imodium in the house.  For me, it is effective, way too effective.  Just one pill binds up most any issue into the complete opposite problem, so I tended to radically different treatments, like eating coarse fiber to flush out whatever was bothering my system faster and get it over with.

A couple weeks ago, I got bit by a tick.  Not even sure it was a deer tick, though the best course of action was to take it to a doc and let them decide.  They wanted to send The Tick off to the lab for analysis, and give me the preventative antibiotics just in case.  No big deal, I had a tick bite a couple years ago and went through the same thing.  Except last time I wasn't already experiencing some chronic err...  loose & frequent stool.

The antibiotics played havoc with my already upset system, giving me indigestion with each pill, even looser stool, and slowly taking away my appetite in general.  Well, I took the last pill, and went to the grocery store for lunch, and the only thing that looked appetizing was dates and peanut butter.  Now I know, why on earth would an intelligent person eat a high fiber food when their digestive system was already upset?  Because I was calorie deficient but couldn't find food appetizing, that's why, and normally such foods bind me up for a short while and then take not terribly long to find their overly merry way out.  This time however, I was to learn a very severe lesson in self care: DON'T RISK IT.  The predictable bind-up occurred, then about 2 days of intense cramping and hourly bathroom visits.  Even all through the night when my poor little digestive system normally gives me a break.  The first day was not so bad because I was at work and stayed well on top of the rehydration with broth, poached eggs, and lemonade.  I was fatigued from not having been asleep enough at night, but felt manageable after a long lunch including a nap in a quiet corner.  But then I went home, leaving the support groceries at work, went to bed early without any extra nutrition or hydration, and I crashed hard from the lack of calories and dehydration.  I started out just very cold, but once I started shivering I couldn't stop.  It took me a bit to even be able to reach the phone beside me to call hubby on the other side of our soundproof house.  Once I managed to clearly communicate to hubby that he better bring me sugar water NOW and not caffeinated soda either, I started to recover, but took about 20 hours of sleep (with a missed day of work and hourly hydration, carbohydrates, and further dehydration breaks) to start feeling human again.  Yesterday we went out to dinner and I was able to eat half of my normal fare, including all of the simple starch (mashed potatoes, which I normally don't like but called me as one of the few low-fiber sides.)  I even managed to make a late night snack of the leftovers and make it gone.  (The best ribs in town will perk up anyone's appetite, and I don't care if you're not supposed to have fatty food in that condition, it never bothered me much and I needed my first real food in days.)

Back to the Imodium.  A sane person would have taken the Imodium.  I actually did on day 2 of this, when the uh... dermal side effects were becoming too much to ride out.  It happened to be the last pill in the house and as I was contemplating putting a box on the grocery list, I had a "why are smart people so dumb" moment.  Just because mother bought this stuff doesn't mean I should.  It's horrible for me.  There are other brands, there may be other active ingredients that work better for me.  Egad, some are even liquids that can be dosed out in smaller units than one pill...  So Pepto Bismol is getting a trial in this house.  Granted I'm already on the mend, but a half dose seems to have a positive effect for 10 hours or so without side effects... (label directions allow 8 doses a day)

I have an appointment to look at the chronic issue in a few weeks.  The doc is waiting for some test results to come back.  Hopefully I'll mend enough over the weekend to not have to call Monday for a sooner appointment for the acute one.  The last doc I saw for an acute issue thought I should ride it out a bit longer, that I was managing my hydration well enough to combat it, so why waste the appointment fee and lost work time if I have hydration back under control?