health

American doctors, and medicating the effect rather than treating the cause

I recently went through a period where my blood pressure (BP) went up to 150/100 and stayed there. My normal BP is ~115/70, so I monitored it for a few days, and when it stayed there I made an appointment with my primary care physician (PCP). I explained everything to her, how I eat almost exclusively organic foods that I prepare at home, and I exercise harder than I have since 2011. I told her that I started feeling a little sick about two weeks ago, and that I was now feeling worse. I suggested that I probably had an infection, because that had been a recurring problem before we knew about the mast cell disease, and I had also just had a surgery in December. To me there was no logical reason that my BP should be that high unless I’m having an infection or some sort of heart issue.

Nonetheless, without doing any tests, her recommendation was that I should increase my Lisinopril dosage from 20mg to 40mg — which is the max you can take, and also has potentially severe side effects. My response was along the lines of, “Okay, whatev,” and after I left her office I made an appointment to see a specialist. I felt like she was just medicating the effect, and had little interest in understanding the cause.

The long road back

I’m glad to say that I’ll be going back to regular consulting work again very soon. If you’re interested in the gory medical details that led me to quit consulting work (and write five computer programming books and a couple thousand blog posts), here you go:

Edible marijuana is causing a lot more health problems than inhaled marijuana

For folks in states like Colorado where marijuana is legal, per uchealth.org, edible marijuana seems to be causing a lot more health problems than inhaled marijuana. A few notes:

  • It can take up to four hours for the high from an edible to take effect
  • Edibles are 268 times more likely than inhaled marijuana to cause users in Colorado to seek help at an ER (despite the fact that many more people use the inhaled form)
  • Edibles have a more severe toxicity than inhaled forms and the effects are psychiatric in nature

I think they made a movie about this

After my surgery last week I went to see the doctor on Wednesday, and to my surprise he handed me a piece of paper that says that the biopsy on the body stuff he removed shows that I have cancer. But then he quickly added that he thinks it’s a mistake. He did two surgeries that day, me and another person, and he said that he knew going in that the other person had cancer, but the lab test results show that I have cancer and the other person did not test positive. So he hopes the results got reversed somehow.

To get to the truthiness of the matter they took a DNA sample from me and they’re going to compare that to the cancerous material that’s still in the lab. (I didn’t think to ask how long they keep that stuff laying around.) He said it could take ten days before they know the result. I think they’ve made movies about this, but I don’t think I’ll be racking up any huge credit card bills or anything like that. ;)

The amino acids supplement chart from The Diet Cure

This is the amino acids supplement chart from the excellent book by Julia Ross, The Diet Cure. With this chart you look at the first two columns to find whatever “deficiency” problems you may be having, then look for the amino acid supplement(s) that are known to help with those problems.

I originally learned about this when my thyroid was failing in 2011. L-tyrosine was a major help in living through that problem.

Back home following surgery (July 3, 2018)

As a brief update, I’m home from the hospital following my surgery last week. I’m not back to writing any software or books, but hopefully I’ll start getting back to work next week.

Day 20 of the low iodine diet (before radioactive iodine treatment)

Dear Diary: Day 20 of not having a thyroid (because of thyroid cancer), not taking thyroid medicine, and the low-iodine diet.

I didn’t know if a person could lose weight without a thyroid, but I’ve dropped six pounds so far. In all I’ve dropped 20 pounds since I finished writing the Scala Cookbook (when I was working around the clock, not exercising, and eating crap).

Blood pressure is usually about 96/56, heart rate 48-54 BPM, and that’s without taking any heart meds. (I’d pass out for sure if I took those.) Low on energy and can’t take my usual long walks without getting the shakes.

Hopefully I’ll pass the blood test on Wednesday — my TSH level needs to be 30 or higher — so I can start the radiation treatment.

~ a note from June 16, 2014, after having my thyroid removed

How an 82-year-old woman with dementia improved significantly

From a story of how an 82-year-old woman with dementia improved significantly by changing her diet:

“A change in diet, which was comprised of high amounts of blueberries and walnuts, has proven to have had a strong impact on Sylvia’s condition that her recipes are now being shared by the Alzheimer’s Society ... Sylvia also began incorporating other health foods, including broccoli, kale, spinach, sunflower seeds, green tea, oats, sweet potatoes and even dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao. All of these foods are known to be beneficial for brain health.”

“Mark and Sylvia devised to diet together after deciding that the medication on it’s own was not enough, they looked into the research showing that rates of dementia are much lower in Mediterranean countries and copied a lot of their eating habits.”

Created a vision board and it all came true

I created a vision board many years ago during a retreat, and I have to say, everything on the board came true. I was thinking recently that it would be even more true if I didn’t have health problems for several years, and more recently providing financial support for family members. If it weren’t for those things I’d probably be living in Talkeetna or Palmer, Alaska today, writing more books.

How LeBron James overcame his back problem to continue playing basketball (and inspiration)

LeBron James is a basketball player who’s had a back problem and now does a lot of hard work just so he can play basketball. As a former business owner and consultant who has a rare blood disease and is working to get back to a regular 40-hour work week, I found this espn.com story about LBJ’s training regimen inspirational. Two good quotes:

  • ...his thoughtful and ever-evolving approach toward training and recovery...
  • “It’s every day. Around the clock every single day, working on my body.”

And this:

Work hard.
Train hard.
Play hard.