Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Your Sleep Has Been Delayed

"Your sleep has been delayed." Imagine hearing that as if it were announced in an airport. That's how I'm imagining it, anyway.

I'd be sleeping now. But an hour and a half ago my wife told me that she was having trouble swallowing. Turns out she just took a new-to-her med, Trazodone, to help her sleep through the night. The idea here is that maybe her extreme fatigue is due to her inability to get a full night's sleep.

Ironically, one of Trazodone's more common side effects is dry mouth, which is also a huge problem for folks with Sjögren’s Syndrome, which she may (or may not) have. And excessive dry mouth can lead to difficulty swallowing.

Another thing that can cause difficulty swallowing is swelling of the throat due to an allergic reaction, which, as you might imagine, requires immediate medical attention. My experience is that it's easier to seek immediate medical attention when you're awake.

Hence, the delayed sleep and a time-wasting post about it.

Anyway, she's sleeping now. I don't have to check on her breathing -- the snoring says it all.

Good night!

Wednesday Weigh-In 20090429

Waist = 37.25"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In 20090422

Waist = 37.00"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Blood Type Diet

It's been two years since I first heard about The Blood Type Diet, or BTD.

I was at my first appointment with a naturopathic doctor. I was concerned about excessive appetite and sugar cravings, weight gain, plus brain fog, especially after lunch when I'd sink into a semi-vegetative state. I had already started to buy pants two sizes larger.

But I knew a bit about nutrition. I had already realized that cereal for breakfast was not good enough. It was pretty obvious, actually. I'd eat breakfast and then shower and shave. By the time I was heading out the door, I'd have a terrible empty gnawing feeling in my stomach, plus a case of the shakes. I figured my blood sugar was on a roller coaster ride.

When the ND found out that I have type O blood, he urged me to try the Blood Type Diet. I borrowed his copy of the Peter D'Adamo book, "Eat Right 4 Your Type," which described this new way of eating, which involved red meat and fish and certain vegetables and a little bit of "ancient grains." Some foods such as beef, lamb, cod, broccoli, kale, were classified as "Highly Beneficial;" others such as wheat, diary, corn, were classified as "Avoids."

The first change I made was to eliminate bread. Lunch changed from a sandwich to some slices of roast beef and salad greens. The result -- I no longer dozed off after lunch.

As I avoided wheat and corn, the pain in my joints went away. Without dairy, my sinuses were clearer and my allergy symptoms were much milder. We decided to get a cat, and, with the help of "Allergies: Fight Them with The Blood Type Diet," the usual symptoms of watery eyes and runny nose and asthma failed to materialize.

Best of all, my waist line shrunk. I lost a little weight and had fewer cravings. The weight-loss increased the more compliant to the diet I became.

I feel like I've gotten my life back. I managed to reverse a collision course with decrepitude, and I'm looking forward to living out my best years with health and strength!

Money Bags

I'm noticing a pattern with our daughter. It's a pattern of getting mom or dad to buy stuff for her and promising to pay back.

So on Saturday (after buying the family dinner) I lent her the money to buy the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, breaking my last twenty.

When we got home, she dutifully went to fetch her money. "Here dad," she says, handing me a $50 bill.

Aghast, I said, "Where'd you get that?"

"Grandma. For Easter."

"Don't you have anything smaller?"


I think I'll stop giving her allowance for a while.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Maintaining Personal Medical Records

It's becoming obvious that we have to start keeping our own medical records because:
  • After transferring records from an "old" doctor to a "new" one, by law the new one cannot release the records of the old one, not even to the patient. This scenario comes up when we switch doctors due to changes in insurance coverage. We have to go back to the old doctor repeatedly.
  • My wife's condition requires a team of specialists that include pain management, neurology, rheumatology, Naturopathic care, chiropractic care, any of which can order MRIs and blood tests, and each specialist may want to see the records of the other.
So I did a simple search on Yahoo and came across these articles, which I plan to read when I don't need to hold my eyelids open:
  1. ... family's medical and health records. ... Options for medical record keeping ... printable medical history report and health diary to journal chronic conditions ... - Cached
  2. Keeping an accurate record of your personal medical history is an important step ... Consider keeping a health diary to record your symptoms and side effects of ... - Cached
  3. provides information on health and wellness, along with daily health news, full-text journal and magazine articles, personalized newsletters and ... - 66k - Cached
How do you manage your medical history?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In 20090415

I'm back at work after a week's vacation. I'm trying to maintain that same active & relaxed lifestyle that I had before I came back, where I was having too much fun to eat. It also helped that we didn't have much to snack on in the hotel room.

Waist = 37.00"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April is Sjögren’s Syndrome Awareness Month

Last year, I wrote that April is Autism Awareness Month. It still is. But April is also Sjögren’s Syndrome Awareness Month.

Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder. It's characterized by dry mouth and dry eyes, because the body's immune system attacks the moisture-producing glands. But it can affect other organs and the central nervous system as well. Click here to read more about Sjögren’s Syndrome. The FAQ may be helpful, too.

About six months before my wife had her attack of Transverse Myelitis, she had swelling of both her parotid (salivary) glands. This was very painful, and it baffled her primary care doctor. Eventually, she found herself in the care of a rheumatologist who suspected Sjögren’s Syndrome. But the tests were negative. Researchers now know that Sjögren’s can cause Transverse Myelitis.

So the Grand Unifying Theory of What's Wrong With My Wife is most likely that she has Sjögren’s Syndrome. This would explain the dry mouth and the parotid gland swelling, the Transverse Myelitis, the instances of joint and muscle pain, the fatigue, the brain fog, the neuropathy. My guess is that it will eventually be linked to PUPPP (Pregnancy Rash), which my wife had about nine years prior to the start of this Nightmare.

As more patients and especially doctors become aware of Sjögren’s Syndrome, folks with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and/or Fibromyalgia might be properly diagnosed and find some relief with immunosuppressive drugs.

Monday, April 13, 2009

From Spinal Stenosis to Tendonitis

In a previous post, called From MS to Spinal Stenosis, I described how three neurologists told my wife that she had MS before they finally ordered MRIs and noticed the narrowing of her C5-C6 vertebre. This ultimately led to the diagnosis of Stenosis.

The last neurologist referred us to a neurosurgeon who pointed out the narrowing in the MRIs and said that there's a good chance surgery would eliminate the bi-lateral arm pain she was experiencing.

We went to another doctor for a second opinion, a highly-regarded neurosurgeon. He looked at the same MRIs and examined / interviewed my wife. His conclusion was that the narrowing was not significant enough to account for the problem. At best, surgery would have a 25% chance of relieving the pain. His opinion made sense to us because my wife has no neck pain, and significant narrowing of the spinal column would certainly cause neck pain. (Also, his waiting room was way more crowded than the first.) But he did recommend that we get an EMG test (Electromyogram).

Taking a different tack, we went to an Interventional Radiologist who dealt a little with pain management. At this point, we were starting to suspect that this had nothing at all to do with the spine, and that it was a more severe case of Tendonitis in both shoulders, with pain radiating down into the arms. This Radiologist injected the more severe shoulder with a steroid, which actually helped.

But this isn't the last round of musical diagnoses....

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Huge Gaping Hole Where The House Was

Every time I return home from vacation I get worried as I make the last turn onto our road. I imagine that our home was destroyed, and that nothing is left but a huge gaping hole and smoking ruins.

This time the hole was real.

Our pet sitter called on Thursday night to tell us that our youngest pet cat was not moving and his breathing was very shallow. Then the emergency vet called to tell us that he died.

Our daughter was devastated. Our other cat is too nervous around her and avoids her. But Inky would sleep with her.

He was the quintessential lap cat. He was not shy around strangers, and he became tolerant of the dog quickly.

We had him only one month, but we loved him dearly. We thought about our pets during our entire vacation. I couldn't wait to get home to pick up Inky and feel him melt into my arms and purr contentedly.

He was a bit small, but he left a huge gaping hole in our hearts.

Wednesday Weigh-In 20090411 (on Saturday)

This weigh-in comes right after a vacation in Florida.

Despite eating out for lunch and supper for the past seven days, I weigh less than ever, and have the lowest body fat since I can remember.

All I did was avoid wheat and many snacks in-between meals. And I was very active.

Waist = 37.00"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In 20090401

The extra quarter inch in the waist measurement probably is from the pizza I ate last night. Wheat causes inflammation in the gut. And we have something like sixteen thousand miles1 of intestines in there, so a little inflammation can cause a big change in the waist size.

Waist = 37.50"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

1 Actually, it's more like twenty-eight feet long. Sixteen thousand miles was actually the length of a booger that I pulled out of my baby daughter's nose once. Anyway, the intestine length factoid is according to Length of a Human Intestine. Did you know that the top search on Yahoo that starts with "how long are" is "how long are the intestines?"