A journal of healing

Posts tagged ‘medicine’

Risky business

ashwagandha

If you knew that doing one thing in the hopes of a better situation would automatically cause another difficult situation to occur, would you take the risk. If you take any form of medicine, you do that daily. There is not one chemical drug out there that does not have some risk when you take it. They even put this in writing now on the drug pamphlets that come with the prescribed drugs. “Your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.” Are you willing to take those odds?

Sometimes there is no choice. You have to live with the side effects. I have gone through a series of drugs and have come up with some real doozie side effects. I took a drug and after four days it covered me with painful hives from head to toe. The answer from the doctor was stop taking the drug. But I was taking it to fight off an infection. I have gone through three major biologics and now a pill for my psoriatic arthritis in less than a year and half. I reacted to one with blood pressure readings that were stroke level. “Stop the drug.” The next one put my glucose over 350. “Stop the drug.” The newest one causes incredibly leg cramps. But I am sticking with it because it is helping my arthritis and my skin is clearing. But I only take half a dose.

In my research to find out more about the side effects of the Otezla I started reading about natural remedies. I have always preferred a holistic approach to my wellness. I have dabbled in alternative medicine now for years. I even worked with a homeopath, but got concerned with the lack of certification requirements for that approach. I have participated in energy therapy training. I have been interested in green medicine or herb tinctures for years.

I have been learning about Ayurveda medicine and find it fascinating. There is so much about it that it makes great sense to me. I like that the practice really delves into the body makeup and the whole person from the on-set. I have never had a doctor ask me if I like or tolerate spicy foods. But in Ayurveda, everything about you from the foods you eat, to how you relate to the world is important and part of the symptom management.

What started me looking was the horrendous leg cramps I was getting. I also noticed I had an eye twitch and was experiencing sleep issues. The solution was magnesium. I have been taking 400 mg at night and the leg cramps have all but gone. But I was also waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety attacks and only sleeping for four hours or so and not getting a good night’s sleep. I added melatonin for sleep but I was worried because you are not supposed to take melatonin for long periods of time. I also started to have really bad nightmares.

In my research I came across an herb that is supposed to be a wonder remedy. Everything I have read about this herb is amazing. But I do not go by the ad information; I go to patient user boards and medical evidence based journals. What I find amazing is that this herb and so many have been around for thousands of years. You want to talk about evidence based time studies. We do not have that amount of prescribed time on any man made drug. Right there is reason to get interested.

The herb I am trying is Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). It proposed to do so much for so many areas of wellness, many symptoms I experience. It helps with sleep issues, boosts the immune system, can lower blood glucose and also blood pressure. I encourage you to look it up because there is a lot out there on this herb and I do not want to sound like an ad.

I am fascinated with the possibilities of getting off as many man made drugs and all their rotten side effects as I can. When the drug I took that raised my glucose A1C to 9.3, the remedy was to take another drug at night to bring it back down. The second drug costs $421.00 a month (without insurance). It can cause pancreatic cancer. Wahooo…. Just what I want. I truly cannot tell if it lowered the levels, or getting off the drug that caused the higher level is what is lowering the levels. I would have to go off it and see what happens. Another risk, but I think I have to try it. I cannot take certain cheaper meds like metformin because my kidney was compromised years ago when I was prescribed a pharmaceutical nightmare. This is a never ending circle that many folks get caught in as the body ages and they start taking more and more drugs to feel better.

My cholesterol was normally low most of my life, again surprising the doctors. It has steadily increased over the years to the point of being 238. My doctor wants me on a statin to bring it down. I tried it and had an immediate reaction and said no. I started taking fish oil religiously this winter. My last lab showed my reading at 188. I dropped 50 points in two months with taking the fish oil which costs nothing. My husband also got off his prescribed statin and took fish oil and lowered his back down significantly as well. Fish oil has no side effect and is a cheap OTC solution.

The issue with non-prescribed and non-regulated herbs is dosage and interactions. A prime example is teas. Chamomile is a very popular one for calming and sleep. It can significantly thin your blood if consumed in quantity. What is that amount, I do not know. Many herbs and minerals can become toxic to the body and do more harm than good if taken in large doses, and that matters by the individual. If the government steps in to regulate this area of health, the cost will skyrocket. The Ashwagandha could possibly aide me in getting off two drugs, cost together over $650.00 a month (uninsured). A bottle of 60 capsules cost me $16.50 and that was a high end product and an expensive store.

I will share with my GP doctor next week when I see him my viewpoint on delving into more natural remedies. He is going to be surprised with the lab results as my A1C dropped over two points also in two months. He is a young Indian doctor and we have talked about natural remedies. I am not sure if this is a conflict of interest for him, but I want him to be aware. He did not prescribe the arthritis medications and was upset with the reactions I was having.

I also want to be clear that your wellness is a team effort. Unless you are a doctor, self-prescribing can be dangerous. But I also feel very strongly about forced care plans. I am very warry of any practitioner who promises the world or threatens patients who they deem non-compliant. “If you do not take this medicine I will not see you.” But patient centered care is my vocation and a whole other topic.

 

 

 

To Boldly go where no man has gone before…….

Potty I had so many titles for this post.  “Which end is up?” “Danger, blast site!” “It’s all water in the end.” All’s well that ends well.”  “Up periscope!”  Can anyone guess what I am prepping for? I have been perseverating about this for about a month.

I have been having some digestive issues…well actually my whole life. It started when I was a kid. My mom’s remedy was horrible and she used it frequently. I think this is one of the reasons I am having such a hard time. It was quite common in the fifties before they had prepared medicine you could get at the store. (If they had them, my mother never used them) Instead it was a humiliating process with hot soapy water. Ghad! Even now I cringe.

I cannot believe I have shared this memory as it had lurked in my head hidden for years. But there it is. I am usually not bothered by tests such as scans, scopes and so forth as I have had several. I was diagnosed about seven years ago with diverticulitis. It is highly probably that it is part of the disease process from my psoriatic arthritis.

About three years ago, I started having real issues. Scary, “I hope I can make it and no one is in the bathroom” moments, that are the nightmare of anyone who has an issue like this. People with IBS and Crohn’s know of what I speak.

When I was a younger woman, it was the fear of a monthly accident.  And I had some horrible moments that including leaving my uterus in a chair in a conference once. I escaped with blood pouring down my legs. “Gee, I hope no one saw.”  Yeah right. I was so prolific that I used carry a drug store of protection with me everywhere along with a change of clothes. Instead of the riding the cotton pony, I would eye ball sheep!

When I had my period medically stopped, it was like a new lease on life. My last period lasted for three months. I was heading for a transfusion when they decided to stop it at first with a shot and then with a procedure. Lucky for me, I went into menopause and never had an issue again with that.

And now, I still am tied to being near a bathroom for a completely different reason. I joked with my friend that we are only changing the need of protection but we came in wearing diapers, went to pads for different reasons and back to diapers, I am sure.

So I am hopeful that the colonoscopy will not discover anything that can’t be easily fixed. I am also hoping to get some help with the digestive issues that are part of the problem.  I am talking about that food comes and goes almost in the same form. I normally eat a high fiber diet: salad, veggies and fruits. Now,  I can eat like that for only so long before I have an issue. Then, the opposite occurs for a while and on it goes in a cycle of on again and then off. Either way, I am in pain much of the time. I am almost used to it.

Like an idiot, I have done research…. It’s what I do. Unfortunately, I have discovered and now it is haunting me that I have every symptom of colon cancer except bleeding, which is fascinating because I am on a blood thinner.  The one that is weird is feeling cold. I never have felt as cold as I have in the past months. It is an internal chill that does not dissipate with warmer clothes or even tea.  The other symptom is losing weight. I have lost about 23 pounds. But I am trying to lose weight. But in all honesty, I am not trying all that hard. And it is coming off.

So I am off from work tomorrow to drink the Kool-Aid, so to speak. I am scheduled early Friday morning for the actual procedure. I took off not only because of the shared bathroom issue, but because I have been a blithering idiot the last two days. Some people know why, but not everyone. I am frightened also that the prep may cause damage. I am actually scared I will have a blowout. And although I am sounding like I am joking, I am not. I won’t sleep much tonight. I just hope everything comes out alright….. literally.