Saturday, August 6, 2016

When your body has had enough ...part 3

As I said in the last post dedicated to health issues, I'm not trying to be pushy, preachy, or your doctor. I'm sharing things that have been my own experience. I want to be open and "out there" in hopes that you might recognize any problems or symptoms you might be having and to at least give you something to think about.  Have you read my last 2 posts in this series? Here's Part 1 and Part 2.

I've been writing these posts all this week, so I'll try to get to the comment replies soon. You all have had so much to say and so many of you have been through similar situations with health issues. Thank you so much for sharing them with me and the rest of the readers. Often times there is a wealth of information and knowledge in the comments from you all, so I don't want you to think I don't read or appreciate them. Please feel free to share your experiences or those of your loved ones, in the comment section. You'll be helping others in doing so. I didn't want to put off getting these last posts out. I had only intended to do this in one post, but as I got started, I realized this is important subject matter and that there is so much information (not just about my issues) entailed in my searches, that to do it justice I needed to include it all.

For a year I've been having extreme fatigue, daily dizziness, headaches bordering on migraines, and a constant barrage of gut symptoms that I'll just have you imagine. I can talk all day about heart issues, but I'm not going to get into the details of all my GI tract problems. I've felt like one of those festering pools of toxic chemical waste; way too many drugs, all with side effects. It was like I was being slowly poisoned by some kind of drug and chemical overload, and I didn't think there was anything I could do about it.

I'm having a lot of information to process...yes, I'm still uncovering things day to day. It's been like a scavenger hunt in a way. You learn one piece of information, then that takes you to something else. That's the way I like to study. Take notes, and follow the trail. Dig and re-read. Ask questions... in this case I've "Googled" hundreds of questions about blood tests and symptoms, and drugs, and side effects. Patient forums, sites like the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Heart Clinic, WebMD, etc. And yes I've even run into a few of the fringe element, But I've learned alot and hopefully I can encourage you to do your own investigations.

Here are some concepts I've had to consider in figuring out what has been going on with my body this last year. I'm not claiming to be an expert by any means, and I don't claim to have a handle on all of these. But I am aware of their importance in the big picture of my health and I'm trying to keep all this in mind as I get a grip on my health issues. They aren't in particular order of importance, just as they came to my my mind.

1. Keep a Health Journal. List all your current medications, foods, supplements, symptoms, and when you notice them. Carry it with you if need be and jot down how you're feeling. If this sounds a little extreme, you'll be glad you have it at some point. It will help you start putting the puzzle together./ This started when I needed to keep track of my blood pressure. I noticed being dizzy sometimes went along with my BP lowering, then I branched out into other areas.

2. Know the medications you are taking. Research all you can about them. Find out exactly why you were prescribed this med. Know what the side effects are from the beginning. Read reviews and forums that patients join who are having side effects. Keep your drug handout you get from the pharmacy.There have been numerous times I've asked a doctor a drug question only for him to tell me just the opposite of the drug manufacturer handout. Just because they haven't heard of the problem before doesn't mean it doesn't exist. 

3. Research every health supplement, vitamin, or herbal supplement. This includes diet supplements, health drinks, fiber pills, laxatives, protein bars, protein powders, sugar substitutes, etc. anything over-the-counter. Read customer reviews, testimonials, contents, added ingredients. Most have loads of chemicals in them, even if they say they are natural health products.This was an important aspect of finding out what my problems were. I'm allergic to most if not all whey protein powders. It took me awhile to realize this. Multiple bladder infections/sensitivity later I finally wised up. I'm currently trying to find a fiber pill that I'm not sensitive to. The last one I tried has caused a pesky rash.

4. Make notes of foods and drinks that might be giving you problems in your health journal. Read all the labels. Could you have food allergies or triggers? This especially is helpful for children, who might not put foods and symptoms together. Gluten is a common problem, with lots of symptoms. GI problems: are you lactose intolerant? Do you drink coffee? Caffeine or decaf? what do you put in it?/
Make notes of what you had and when you noticed a symptom.

5. Can you exercise? Even a little exercise is better than none. But if you can't exercise because of health issues how do you feel during exercise? Do you have specific pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, etc?/ Last Fall, I started having problems on my exercise bike, I immediately started yawning, and then finding it hard to get enough air into my lungs. I finally had to quit, and that was a big wake-up call.

6. Check Inactive Ingredients, dyes, chemical additives. Look up each element. I know this is time consuming, but you will probably find things you didn't know where there. You may be finding a common denominator in products with your symptoms. Do you feel bad and/or have symptoms after having certain OTC meds or foods? /This has been another biggy for me, I'm finding several culprits hiding in OTC health items.

7. Cleaning supplies, personal products such as bath wash, shampoo, soaps, make-up, etc. Try to find products without fragrances, and dyes, etc. Research products for problematic ingredients. Read testimonials and reviews./ With body rashes and sensitivities, I started looking for body washes and shampoo that were not loaded with junk, right now Summer's Eve is working for me. I usually use Clinique make-up, but don't have too many sensitivities to those kind of items.

8. Processed foods. These packaged items and drinks are full of unknown caffeine, sugar substitutes, dyes, preservatives, and chemical additives. They are one of the worst culprits, as they are usually full of tons of bad stuff you don't need or want./ More on this later, I've cut way back on processed and packaged foods.

9. Are you drinking water? I know... there are so many of us that just find it hard to drink enough water. They say take your weight and divide it by 2. that gives you the ounces you need each day. Squeeze or infuse lemon and lime, other fresh fruits such as strawberries, oranges, watermelon, cucumbers etc. Stay away from water flavoring mixes, or flavored waters, they're full of chemicals./ I've had to learn that water is my friend...need I say more?

10. Sodas. I think we all know how bad these are for us. Not to mention all the chemicals they contain, they keep us from being properly hydrated. I can admit I used to be one of the biggest offenders. Regular and diet are both bad news. If you want to treat yourself once in awhile, just don't let it be a habit, and then drink lots of water to flush out your system./ Just can't do it anymore...

11. Alcohol Intake. So many medications can be altered and have warnings about the use of alcohol while taking them. Alcohol can cause them not to work, or even make the effects stronger. Just be aware of the effects on your medications./ I love a glass of white wine with dinner, but I cut that out months ago, just too many side effects from one little glass.

12. What are you eating? not enough protein? too much protein? fresh greens, salads, raw veggies, too much fiber? watch the starches and carbs, do you know the glycemic index of foods? Types of fats, good vs. bad fats. dairy?, desserts? I eat pretty simply now, most nights I have a big salad and some kind of protein like chicken.

13. Sugar. do you have desserts, treats, candy, ice cream, sugared drinks and sodas, even sweet tea, and chewing gum throughout the day? Too much sugar, or a constant consumption of sugar can cause Insulin Resistance. Too much sugar during the day can mess up how you process it, causing diabetes and metabolic syndrome, it's also a contributor to heart disease, high blood pressure, hormone problems, diabetes, and Alzheimer's etc./ One lonely lemon oreo cookie is about it. 

14. Do you diet, or making lifestyle changes in the way you eat? It's so easy to get in a "ditch" if you're dieting. Make sure you make adjustments in what you eat, not just temporarily cutting out food groups unless you're having problems. Generally a diet of whole, unprocessed, natural foods will be your best approach. Concentrate on your health and wellness, not so much a number on a scale or a dress size./ A few years ago, I did a fad diet shake replacement based on a Soy Protein Powder mix.(Everyone and their big brother was doing it) I thought soy was good for you, but found that in women after menopause it can act as an estrogen.This is a no-no with heart disease. Thats when I had the blood clots. I may never know for sure, but it feels like that was a part of it.

15. De-Stress There are lot's of ways to do this. many people do yoga or exercise. I like to go on a walk, take a time out to sit down and read a bit of scripture and pray. Take a bath before bedtime, read a little. The main idea is clearing your mind and disengaging from outside stimulus, meaning tv, electronic devices, and other people. take some "me-time"./ I've learned my limitations and to say NO, too.

If you don't have problems then just tuck this information away for safekeeping. I know I'm the extreme right now. But you could have a friend with problems or a grandchild that's sick. I know you'd want to know if any of this is pertinant to them.

I have the last post coming out on Sunday morning so watch for it. I'm finally at the place where I can share what has been working for me. This is a huge deal for me since I've been sick since early last Fall. I know that it may be anti-climactic for you all, but it's the "process" that I've been through to find my problems that is the important part, since everyone has different issues and sensitivities. Thanks for hanging in there with me through these posts. They've been cathartic for me, as I'm a person that likes to talk things through in order to come to a decision. This can make my husband crazy, and want to wear headphones. I think most women are like me. We also want to know about other people so we can learn all we can in order to take care of ourselves and our families.

I'll be back Sunday with the rest of the story...

telling my story here:

Best of the Weekend at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


  1. Thank you for such clear points and your reactions. Very much appreciate reading these specific posts.

  2. Debra,
    I do believe that many times, I, too, Have been over medicated by my Physician.
    In the past year, I have suffered many un~pleasantries and she and I are in agreement
    to begin to lessen the prescriptions that I need to take.
    I, too, try not to eat "packaged" foods.
    If I can't make it from "scratch". . .I don't need it!
    I do wish "Mr. Ed" and I had success with a vegetable Garden.
    Again, many thanks for sharing your story!

  3. I'm definitely tucking the information away, but am wholly engaged in the information/ dialog here, Debra. Again, thank you.


  4. i always go on line and research the medication. MY last bout with Bronchitis/COPD - they had me on so much stuff that I wasn't getting any better. After 2 weeks of very strong antibiotics and steroids - I just quite taking all of them and it has taken me almost 2 weeks to feel better. but I do.

    Thank you for sharing a;; of this with us. A journal is a very good idea.

    Enjoy your weekend.


  5. Thank you for sharing all this information--the journal idea is awesome!...I have loved these post not for just the healing aspects but because the post almost sounds like you are doing better by writing them--kind of like "healing for your soul"...Blessings to you and continued healing from the "Great Physician"..

  6. This is a very comprehensive and well written list, Debra. It's taken me sixteen years of ignorant doctors and my own research to learn many of these things, too. What a great gift you're giving your readers, and I'm sending your link to my own daughters. Thank you. I wish you peace.

  7. Journaling is a great idea and you gave some great specifics...can't wait for the next installment.

  8. You are helping a lot of people out there with your information!!

  9. Debra, I had to share your last post with my family at the dinner table because I was so outraged by the poor care you've received. They were disgusted and felt so bad for you. I have had a chronic illness for 7 years. At first, I was seeing local doctors who were giving me strong medications (like Lyrica - for fybromyalgia) without running a SINGLE test (literally). Well, I would have none of that!!! Then, I traveled to doctors in a larger city an hour away. I had a neurologist tell me I should try Advil. What an nitwit! I spent my time and money to see a doctor for a serious problem and he thought I hadn't tried Advil? I left that appointment in tears of frustration. Finally, I was my own advocate and I took matters into my own hands. I have traveled to see the best of the best at UCLA, Stanford, and Mayo Clinic. These are the people who know what they are doing. It has been EXPENSIVE and so, so, so hard for my family. We have had to do a lot of penny-pinching and there are so many times I feel guilty about the toll it has taken on my 3 children. However, being healthy (and having a healthy wife/mom) is priceless. Nothing can come before your health. Thank you for sharing your journey. I hope and pray you can get the proper care you need and deserve.
    Michelle from Simply Santa Barbara

  10. I totally understand what you are saying, as my grandpa died because of undiagnosed galbladder problems.which could have been prevented. It's every important to be your own advocate and ask questions. Still praying for you . Hugs

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this important information. As a former nurse I certainly agree with your idea of journaling. Just as a note as I saw you are looking for a fiber pill you are not sensitive to......if you need that due to constipation then magnesium might work for you if you can take it with your heart issues. I have had that problem for so many years and tired so many things and finally tried the magnesium high potency 400 mg. by Nature Made one daily. They work so well for me and if by chance I do start to have an issue due to travel, etc. I take two. I will continue to pray for you. It seems we are all in this together as we become more vintage.

  12. You are to be commended for the research you are doing. So many people don't bother and your searches may help someone else. I am very careful about the meds I take because so many of them will affect the Coumadin. I go to a clinic each month to have my levels checked and that's when I can check to see if all is going to plan. It sounds like things are paying off for you ,Debra, if you are at this point in time, so eagerly await Sundays post..Happy Weekend..Judy

  13. You are not the first virtual acquaintance that I have who has had to do this kind of research to get to the bottom of their health problems. Doctors can be your worst nightmare at times. Two years ago, my feet and legs started swelling. My doctor put me on lasix to reduce water retention. No result except more swelling. He increased the dosage. Finally changed doctors and she put me on a different water pill. More swelling. It got to the point where I could not climb stairs. My legs felt like they had concrete in them. Additionally, my entire body was swelling. I went to my cardiologist to see if perhaps my medication for my SVT was the culprit. He didn't think so but said to try going off of it to see if it got better. It didn't. Finally, I quit taking all of the water pills. Within two weeks the water retention and edema were gone. The only other thing that I did at that time was to discontinue drinking diet soda and tea. Still don't know for certain what was causing it and what stopped it. Anyway, you list of things to do would have helped greatly when I was having those problems so I am going to put it into an action plan for myself. Thank you so much.

  14. Im here with you and for you dearest Debra... been following along with your posts and praying for you... I too do what you do... I research each and every thing we put in our mouths these days, all medications, and am not intimidated by anyone whose medical opinion I question... you are right... we need to be our own "doctor" much of the time... by my own research, mainly on the internet on legitimate sites, such as Mayo Clinic, I have learned so many things none of my doctors have ever told me... many of which have helped me immensely... as you know since we have known each other for so long, I suffer from kidney stones, having had seven of them and two surgeries... I recently found out ON MY OWN that excess fluoride is a BIG contributor to kidney stones... the prescription toothpaste from my dentist is almost ALL fluoride... no more!... my little story is just one of many... but like you, I don't often share these things... so proud of you for sharing your stories, hopefully making some peace of mind for yourself, as well as providing valuable information for all of us... thinking of you so often dear lady, and always with a prayer... much love... xoxo... Julie Marie PS I so hope you are feeling better... xoxoxo

  15. Thank you for all of the information. I appreciate all the time and work you put into posting this for us. Hugs to you, and wishing you the best of health in the very near future.

  16. You're right, research is the thing to do! When I had blood clots I started researching because the doctors don't tell you jack-crap! I am thankful that I did not know how deadly it could be until I was out of the hospital. I found a forum that someone put together because she wanted others to know what she could not find any place else... stories from the survivors and what they went through after being diagnosed with blood clots. I felt so much better hearing others talk about their experiences, knowing that what I was feeling was normal. I knew what to expect later. I didn't feel so alone. So, that being said, I believe that what you say here, Debra, will give others the knowledge and the courage to be their own advocates and learn about what they should be looking for to help themselves. These blogs, although fun when they're about gardens and shopping and redecorating, can also serve a much higher purpose by bringing us all together to help each other and encourage each other. In my little world, I believe this is why we are help the next person. Blessings to you as you seek your answers...I pray they are within reach.

  17. Debra,
    Thanks so much for sharing your experience with everyone! I totally understand where you are coming from about being your own advocate. As a nurse, I have seen many a Doctor brush patients aside. Sad, but true . However, that is not all Dr.'s.Looking forward to your next post ans sending prayers your way!

  18. You are on point with all that you've mentioned, Debra. It is incredibly brave of you to be open up so publicly. In many ways, I find it encouraging. As I mentioned in another comment, I have dealt with health issues for the past ten years. Saying that its been difficult is the biggest understatement of the decade. It doesn't matter what we each battle with health, what matters is that we're able to openly communicate, share, support, and love each other through the fight to overcome this crap.

    Personally, I believe we're all being poisoned through our food and water supply. It's not normal for people to get sick or have allergies to grains, corn, eggs, even beef, pork, and chicken??? What the heck?! Everyone's having issues with soy because much like gluten and corn it's used in everything these days. It's never just some little edamame deliciousness sprinkled with sea salt kind of soy protein-Nope! It's all chemically altered garbage now that ends up with unpronounceable names that looks like something out of a science fiction movie filled with creepy scientists doing undercover testing on genetically engineered humans that were grown in petri dish. Okay... maybe that's a bit of a melodramatic stretch. Ha ha. 😂 In all seriousness, I find that making outrageous claims at least gets a laugh out of most people, and laughter is said to be the best medicine.

    As far as gluten goes, I have Celiac disease, as do two of my cousins. I've spent years researching everything about wheat, how it's farmed, when the uptick in Celiac Disease began, its effect on the body, how gluten increases inflammation and pain in a disturbingly lengthy list of other illnesses, autoimmune disorders of all types and even in infectious diseases. It is a huge contributor towards depression, anxiety and causes rapid mood swings. I've dealt with it all and as a result I fully support and believe those who say they are NCGI or NCGS.

    I still have an inkling of hope that western docs will wise up and begin truly listening to the voices of their patients. There are tons of us who eat healthy, don't drink soda, don't eat fast food, who eat wholesome nutritious real food and drink massive amounts of water, take high-quality vitamin supplements. We feel better but we're still unwell, end up with freak flare-ups and in bed like we have the flu.

    We are many. We will be heard. Answers will be found. It would be nice if western doctors would listen and listen with their hearts instead of just their brain. Those of us battling to live and enjoy life are not crazy people. We want to do more than just exist.

    Blessings to you, Debra! Things will get better. There are too many of us talking, sharing and creating awareness.



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