Puppy Dogs and Rainbows

I’m feeling a lot better the last couple of days.

I stopped taking thyroid.  I stopped eating raw carrots.  Mood and energy are good.

Blood pressure is now in a respectable non-hypertensive range (132/82), thanks to my new medication, Losartan, in addition to hydrochlorothiazide.  Between the two of them I’m practically brimming with good health.  I don’t seem to be having sustained side effects to the new drug so far, so maybe this one is the key for me, for now.  It’s a relief actually, so I’m glad all this happened with my new job forcing me to go back to the doc.

I guess that’s all there is to say!

Puppy dogs and rainbows all around.

In The Way

My high blood pressure almost cost me my new job.  That would have been a huge loss for me and my family.

It’s a government job, and part of the hiring protocol is a simple health check-up with a nurse.  She took my blood pressure, commented that it was high (and it was pretty fucking high), and told me I was going to need a doctor’s note stating that I can perform the duties of my job.

Now, if I were a doc, would I be signing something saying that my patient – who I haven’t seen since July and whose blood pressure has never been well controlled – could perform all duties of her job that include lifting up to 50 pounds?  No, I probably wouldn’t.

I stopped going to see her because it was pissing me off and it was expensive.  I tried 4 blood pressure meds.  Lisinopril gave me a sore throat and cough and uvulitis.  Too bad, because it worked really well otherwise.  Metroprolol made me so tired I couldn’t go for a walk with my family around the zoo without taking breaks to rest – and it didn’t work particularly well.  Diltiazem made my ankles swell and gave me constant pins-and-needles on the soles of my feet.  Hydrochlorothiazide worked a little – it lowered my BP by about 10 points – but was otherwise not effective alone.  Each time a new medication was tried the doc wanted me to try it for a month and then come back for an office visit to check my blood pressure.  Apparently this is a very special blood pressure check that can only be performed by a doctor, so each time I came back I had to pay for another expensive office visit, in addition to paying for the new medication.  This was costing me a couple hundred dollars each time I’d try something.  I have stupid-bad health insurance that costs me about $450 a month for my family and covers nothing short of a catastrophic event.  I finally stopped the revolving door thing with the doc, resolving instead to try to manage it on my own somehow.

Well, not my best decision, and it failed.

Anyway, my doc managed to squeeze me in to see her yesterday and prescribed me a new medication – Losartan.  It’s a “cousin” to the Lisinopril – the medication that was effective for me but that had intolerable side effects.  We’re hoping this one has the benefits without the problems, of course.  Unfortunately I’m already developing a cough and a bit of a sore throat.  Hard to tell for sure if it’s the medication causing that, but it seems likely.  I’ll probably keep taking it until it becomes clear that I’m not tolerating it well and then go back for something else.

Fortunately, though, the doc did sign something saying I’m cleared to work, so I haven’t lost my new job.  Wouldn’t that have been a kick in the pants?  Get a full time job in part to have decent health benefits again and then lose the job because my health is so poor because I couldn’t afford health care before getting the job? Practically the definition of irony.

At my physical with the nurse yesterday my pulse was over 100.  I didn’t want to admit I’d been experimenting with supplementing thyroid hormone (because really, in the real world, who but a nutjob does shit like that?).  So I’ve decided to again stop with the T3.  I’ve stopped and started it at least 3 times now, never getting to a significant dose because my pulse always gets too racy.  I was just going to ignore it this time but at this point I really don’t want anything to interfere with me getting this job.  Between my blood pressure and my pulse over 100 they’re likely to think I’m about to drop dead.  Plus, who the hell wants their pulse that high anyway.

I know I’m doing things wrong.  I just don’t know what to do differently. I just want to feel better.

A Quick Update

I got a full-time job.  I start on November 3rd.  This will be the first time I’ve worked full time since my body completely crashed from stress and malnutrition back in February 2012.

I’ve given up starches.  I can tell my intestines are inflamed – or perhaps just serotonin is being produced at an alarming rate – because I can’t tolerate ANYTHING fibrous or starchy anymore without becoming very irritable.  Thanks, mainstream wisdom, for your stupid fibrous vegetables and fruits.  Still recovering.  I did have one day of feeling great.  Last Sunday, I think it was.  It’s over now.  I’m functioning, but not happy about it.  The only thing I’ve been eating lately that is difficult to digest is raw carrots – like 2-3 baby carrots – and that’s enough to make me feel like crap.  So they’re gone too now.

I figured out that my magnesium supplement was causing me hemorrhoids.  Awesome.  So no longer taking magnesium.  I recommend Epsom salt baths to the mag deprived.   Interestingly, it was NOT the aspirin causing bleeding, as I initially suspected.  I’m back to taking aspirin 3x a day now.  No bleeding.

Current supplements:

  • Aspirin: 100mg 3x a day
  • Niacinamide: 100mg 3x a day
  • B1: 50mg 3x a day (just started this yesterday)
  • Vit A – 5000 IU/day
  • Vit D – 5000 IU/day
  • Vit E – 400 IU/day
  • Vit K – 1-2mg/day
  • T3 – 3-4mcg 3x/day
  • Progest E – 9 drops/day

I’m also going to attempt, starting today, to eat lower fat.  I think that’s the only way to produce less endotoxin and help my liver detox estrogen more efficiently.  Currently I’m kind of a mess, but it does feel like things are gradually improving.

Till Laters.

The Long Haul

Things are gradually getting better.  My weird neuro tic is abating again – it shows up a couple times a day, but isn’t persistent anymore.  I’ve been eating more easily-digested fruit (OJ and watermelon, primarily) and have realized that I still have a serious Paleo-inspired sugar phobia.  I feel well on the Peat plan, lots of carbs, lots of sugar (including fruit sugar, people. Don’t be yelling at me that I should eat more fruit and less sugar). However, every few months I seem to pull back and question everything…and that’s what gets me in trouble.  When I start questioning and thinking that all this sugar must be bad…How can carbs be ok when so many smart people say they’re not?  And of course everyone universally understands that sugar is bad for you…and yet, they all recommend eating fruit and starchy foods.  Don’t they realize it’s the the same glucose and fructose molecules? I tried to explain that to a family member recently and she said, “So What!?”  And again I crawl back into my sparsely populated corner of the nutritional world.

I have noticed that now that I’m drinking entire glasses of orange juice, an entire quarter of a watermelon at a time, or a bowl of ice cream before bed I don’t get hungry in the middle of the night anymore.  I don’t wake up with the heart-pounding of adrenaline or the feeling that there’s a hole in my stomach through which all of my nourishment leaked out.  I can sleep through the night now.

I’ve decided, I guess, that Ray Peat makes me feel the best I’ve ever felt and I’m just going to trust him.  More sugar, more carbs, less meat, more salt.  It goes against all information from the outside world, and no one believes me, when I tell them that it might be good for you.  So I’ll stop trying.

I seem to have stopped compulsively measuring everything.  Haven’t measured my blood sugar in a week or so, only measure blood pressure when I change one thing or another, to evaluate the effect.  I still weigh myself daily – to torture myself, I suppose.  I barely care about my fatness at this point though….I just want to feel better.

I’ve sabotaged myself many times over the last year by looking for the quick fix – the diet that will make me look and feel like I did 20 years ago. That’s what our culture does – it sends an insidious message that this or that will be the quick fix.  I grew up watching my mom fall prey to that mentality (and she still does), so it’s just always been there.  I now accept that this is going to be more like watching paint dry.  It’s going to happen over time if I stop messing with it, stop picking at it, stop touching it up….but it’s probably better to just do the things that make me feel good and get on with my life.

My fantasy about finding “the answer” and sharing it with the world so that millions can benefit isn’t likely to come true.  I can’t even get my mom to stop eating margarine.  I can’t get my friend with rheumatoid arthritis to give up gluten for 30 days.  I can’t get people in my world to question WHY they feel anxious or depressed…rather than just medicating themselves.  No one will listen to me.  So the game gets smaller…it’s just about helping myself.  And the best way to do that, it seems, is to follow what Peat says and get on with my life.

I wonder who I would be if I wasn’t that girl obsessing about her body?

Degeneration and Disease

I have to get my thoughts out here before I go to bed, or they might disappear forever.

I’m going to say some things that might appear to be disjointed and completely unrelated to anything…but bear with me.

Huntington’s Disease – according to the Mayo Clinic:

“…an inherited disease that causes the progressive breakdown (degeneration) of nerve cells in the brain. Huntington’s disease has a broad impact on a person’s functional abilities and usually results in movement, thinking (cognitive) and psychiatric disorders.”

It’s thought to be genetic.  If a person has the Huntington’s gene there’s a 100% chance they’ll develop this devastating disease, and each of their children has a 50% chance of having the gene and developing the disease too.

At least, that’s what mainstream medicine says.

Ray Peat, however, says the following:

Other movement disorders, including akathisia and chorea, can be produced by serotonin. In autism, repetitive motions are a common symptom, and serotonin is high in the blood serum and platelets of autistic children and their relatives. … One of the side effects of oral contraceptives is chorea, uncontrollable dancing movements. Some research has found increased serotonin in people with Huntington’s chorea (Kish, et al., 1987), and positive results with bromocriptine have been reported (Agnoli, et al., 1977).

The neurosteroid, allopregnanolone, for which progesterone is the precursor, facilitates the inhibitory action of GABA, which is known to be deficient in some disorders of mood and movement. This suggests that progesterone will be therapeutic in the movement disorders, as it is in various mood problems. Progesterone has some specific antiserotonin actions (e.g., Wu, et al., 2000).

So while modern medicine gives Huntington’s patients a sentence of degeneration and early death, Peat says it can be fixed (or avoided) by reducing serotonin.

If you’ll recall, I mentioned I have a neurological type of “tic” that has shown up both times I tried to eat a lot of vegetables (see here and here).  Well, I had the tic today.  Out of nowhere…I asked myself why I would having this issue today?  Well, yesterday I ate a bunch of gluten free pasta.  I know, I know…It’s terrible food, terrible for me, but I spent all day taking care of people and was STARVING when I got home (poor planning), and that’s what was there so I ate it.  It was yummy…but I digress. Today I braced myself expecting my mood to be terrible, as it typically is after eating starches.  Well, it wasn’t terrible, but this tic showed up.

I UNDERSTAND IT NOW!  I know why my mood wasn’t terrible and I know why my tic showed up. The tic showed up because serotonin was high from eating all that hard-to-digest starch.  Starch = gut irritation = neuro tic (see Peat quote above).  But why no mood symptoms?  Well, this is the first time I ate starch or anything difficult to digest in over 2 weeks.  My gut probably did some mending.  Looking back, I was always able to get away with starches ONCE.  If I continued eating them the next day I would have mood problems.  So what I think is happening is my leaky gut sealed up a little so while serotonin was high from the starch, the endotoxin that probably resulted from the meal DIDN’T GET INTO MY BLOODSTREAM.  If I continue to eat this way my gut will become more permeable, endotoxin will end up in the blood, and I’ll be a sad sack.

Movement (neurological) disorder = increased serotonin resulting from intestinal irritation

Mood symptoms = endotoxin + leaky gut (…and Ray Medina agrees.)

I’m so excited to understand this.

I LOVE RAY PEAT.

On a more somber note…I hope I’m wrong, but I’m afraid one of my parents has Huntington’s.  If that is the case, I’m going to get genetic testing.  If I test positive for that gene I’m going to prove they’re wrong about the prognosis.  I’ll prove the disease can be avoided.

Small Steps

The past two days after eliminating orange juice (and having eliminated garlic several  days ago), I have had no heartburn.  It’s been a relief.  I had a couple ounces of orange juice this morning with breakfast to see if I can re-introduce it in small amounts.

Otherwise things are fair.  Lots of family stress right now, and I’m having trouble managing everything.