Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Diverticulitis-Will Somebody Help Me?

Okay I will. Even though no one helped me, I will do my civic duty.

My horrible experience began somewhere near the end of October 2012 and lasted through the end of the year. It was the worst experience of my life (worse than my hemicolectomy) because of the duration. I was in bed most of the time between November 15 and December 25, cramping horribly in my sigmoid colon.
Diverticulitis generally strikes the sigmoid and will affect the bladder, back, gluteus muscles, lungs, hemorrhoids, sex organs, vitality.
I may have had the infection longer than I think, as I did not notice exactly when my stool changed from diarrhea to constipation.
Diverticulitis can manifest as diarrhea or constipation, but diarrhea is sort of normal for me. I'm used to bowel changes post-surgery. So I procrastinated about 3 weeks with the constipation. Still, better than most guys.
By November 18 nothing was coming out. I was in the fetal position most of the time because of the pain.  So my wife did a very romantic Fleet enema for me. The stuff that came out was unbelievable (from the sigmoid colon). My wife was in health care for 20 years but had never seen anthing so nasty looking. Yep, our suspicion was confirmed, diverticulitis. The next day I managed to sneak into a gastroenterologist's open time slot. He had plenty of open slots because he got his license out of a cereal box. We told him I had an infection but he said no. He sent me home with Citrucel and Miralax.
After 3 more weeks in bed, with excruciating pain, I went to another doctor and begged for antibiotics. He gave them to me but didn't tell me to take probiotics also. Antibiotics kill everything like chemo does. Take at least 8 billion probiotic live organisms per day with antibiotics. Optimally, take the probiotics about 4 hours (at least 2 hours) from the antibiotics or the antis will kill the good bacteria you are trying to replenish.  
The 3 weeks between the first and second doctor were unbelievable. Blood and mucous all the time, much of it in my pants when I didn't make it to the toilet. (Diverticulitis rarely causes bleeding but can. I also bled from constipation hemorrhoids.)

The antibiotic I was on was pretty strong (875 mg. amoxicillin/125 mg. clavulanate) and I had to take them longer than the original 10 prescribed days because I was infected for so long. The directions will say "take with food" to avoid nausea. But be aware that food will somewhat hinder the absorption of antibiotics.

Here's the very worst: I saw two "specialists" in gastroenterology. They both said to eat a high fiber diet, which keeps the colon working hard. When I finally got the meds prescribed the doc did not say "I don't think the antibiotics will do any good, but if you did have diverticulitis you would have to do this..." He only said the part before the comma.
High fiber my butt! High fiber is what you want after being cured.
I was eating 35 grams of fiber per day and keeping the sigmoid colon working hard and inflamed. Therefor, the infection was gone but the inflammation got worse and worse. I was now sure I had a blockage or abscess. Bowel movements were excruciating. Little pebbles and strings all day long, like passing stones one at a time, every 10 minutes. I could not wish this brutality on anyone. This had been going on the same way now for more than a month. My hemorrhoids were killing me! I knew the infection was probably gone but all of the symptoms remained (blood, mucous, pebbles, strings, constipation, incomplete evacuation, pain).
Then finally I found which saved my life, my sanity, my wife's sanity. So I was on a liquid diet for Christmas.
Let me clarify a little here. You DO NOT need high fiber with an active diverticulitis attack! Your bowel needs rest, not work.

Referencing the article I cited, do the LIQUIDS for 2-3 days until you feel better. Yes, you will be weak and hungry. Do not cheat at all and rest in bed a lot. Supplements are probiotics only. I normally take all kinds of anti-cancer stuff but refrained.
After the liquid diet, do FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, DAIRY PRODUCTS (IF you are not lactose intolerant of course. Add soy milk and tofu to the list), and OTHER FOODS. Do this for 2 weeks! Do not cheat and take it easy. Six small meals are much better than three big meals. It is difficult, but aim for 60 grams of protein per day for healing.
Finally, after 2 weeks on the "soft-diet" go to 35 grams of fiber per day to avoid future diverticulitis. Drink at least 1/2 gallon of water per day always. Not 1/2 gallon of beer or coffee or soda. If you are not properly hydrated, fiber causes constipation and worlds of trouble.
Hope I helped if your doctor didn't. I would have been better off without my doctors if I could prescribe my own meds. They both said I did not have diverticulitis, which I did have. They said I had a motility problem. They did not help me but hindered me. The second guy just wanted to high-dollar scope me. The first guy would do nothing. At least the second guy gave me antibiotics when I begged. Ah, our beautiful health-care-for-profit system.

If you have had a diverticular infection for as long as I did, you may need surgical intervention to repair blood vessels or to drain an abscess. There may be a fistula or a need for colectomy due to stricture. Permanent stricture may involve much pain and pencil-thin stool. Only a doctor and patient can decide if this can be lived with.

Words to the wise: If you have chronic bowel problems you are much better off with pureed fiber. For instance, beans and almonds are wonderful for health. But I think maybe what started the whole debacle could have been an almond piece stuck  in my diverticula. Pureed is not just for babies but also for babes with bowel issues. Drink at least 64 ounces of water everyday.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Probiotics Review

I never knew that one should take probiotics, especially when taking antibiotics. General Practitioners are very weak on natural healing techniques. Until I was diagnosed with cancer I never took probiotics daily. They are cheaper than yogurt and do much more good. Right now I am alternating brands as they all have something different to offer. Not all probiotic strains are equal for everyone.
Some brands must be refrigerated although it is smart to refrigerate any probiotic for superior shelf longevity.
Some are super expensive and are worth the money, but there may be budget concerns. And I already have TCM herbal formulas in my budget-not cheap.
P & G's Align and Ultimate Flora cost about a dollar per day. Not bad for good immune support. But I am currently under 30 cents per day with good quality (Garden of Life's) Primal Defense Ultra and Jarro-Dophilus EPS. In fact the Jarrow formula is rated above Align in a "Better Health Review".
It does take time to get used to probiotic supplements if one has never tried them. I used Enzymatic Pearls Immune as my introductory brand. They are economical (the regular Acidophilus Pearls) and their delivery system is as good as anyone's, but now I want something stronger. And Enzymatic probiotics are missing the critically needed L. rhamnosus.
Here's the rundown on what specific strains are for:
To take with antibiotics=Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae boulardi, Bacillus coagulans
For immune function=L. rhamnosus, L. acidophilus
For eczema=L. rhamnosus
For IBS=L. plantarum, Bifidobacterium infantis
For urinary function=L. rhamnosus, L reuteri
For traveler's diarrhea=S. cerevisiae boulardi
Some day I be ready for ReNew Life's Ultimate Flora Critical Care. It is the apparently the current leader. Bang for the buck best may be Jarro-Dophilus EPS.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Read "How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Natural Medicine"

This book from 2002 (M. Murray et al.) taught me that I should be a millionaire if I want to use natural means against cancer. Also there is not enough time in the day to take all of the pills and stuff. Granted, I'd  love to try these guys' methods if $ and time permitted.
It's still a worthwhile book as I did learn:
Pre cancer surgery, take Modified Citrus Pectin (wish I had known).
If salt, sugar, or fat are listed in the first 3 ingredients of a product it =NFG.
Don't just eat salmon (Alaskan wild caught). Halibut is also worthy.
Do your Tai chi even if it is rudimentary.
Post surgery, Lactobacillus rhamnosus is most important. Generally, for maintenance, L. acidophilus and B. bifidum.
Post surgery, Gotu Kola helps prevent adhesions (I sure could have used this information. Adhesions were a big problem).
Here's how to do your own hydrotherapy in your shower=5 minutes hot, 20-30 seconds cold, 1-2 minutes hot, 20-30 seconds cold, 1-2 minutes hot, 5-30 seconds cold. Obviously, too much discomfort demands editing until one is used to the temperature changes.
One's gut can break down products eaten by putrefaction or fermentation. The former process will cause disease.
I should have been taking whey protein many years ago. Same with proteolytic enzymes. They fit my symptoms perfectly. Do not take p. enzymes 2-3 days before or after surgery. (Finally I have some Zymactive ordered, 15 years too late.)
A small d  prefix indicates a natural product. For instance Calcium d-glucarate is good, dl-glucarate would be artificial.
Antioxidants zinc, vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium are to be taken together for efficient results.

Anyway, a not too hard read for laymen. The gist can be gotten. The authors forgot to enclose a check in the book though. The appendix sections in the back of the book are great. The recipes aren't.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cardiovascular Help and Hope

Here are my bad numbers: My blood pressure is 109/70 and that is at the doctor's office. So I am nervous, waiting for my cancer blood tests results. I've seen it as low as 90s over 50s. My pulse runs as low as the 50s sometimes. Whadayamean bad numbers? Those are athletic type numbers. That is the problem.
My LDL and total cholesterol are high. This is probably due in large part to heredity. AND MY LACK OF CV. Exercise that is. I have wondered why I can't get my cholesterol numbers where I want them. I have given up. So I asked my oncologist what I could do. My BP and pulse are so good. What could I possibly do better? I hike I bike I play tennis I do tai chi. I think nothing of climbing a thousand vertical feet.These are all great aerobically. My last oncologist would have nothing to do with discussing Lipid Panels. But this new friend told me to do 30 minutes of CV most days and eat almonds.
Isn't aerobics as good as CV? For some things yes. For some things aerobics is better.
But for flushing the arteries of LDL, moderate cardiovascular exercise is the only way to go. I never realized that I could be in good shape with a dangerous arterial flow issue.
Luckily my LDL is the large buoyant kind. Or the good bad kind. Yes now there is not just good and bad cholesterol but also good and bad bad cholesterol. Got it? Here, it's easy. Divide your triglycerides by your HDL (or if you prefer divide HDL into triglycerides). If that number is 2 or less you are good. Less than 2 supposedly means large buoyant LDL (good) instead of small dense LDL (baad). My verry bad numbers are 240 total and 170 LDL. My HDL is a little lower than I would like, as over 60 is optimal. My triglycerides are very low (probably thanks to aerobics). Anyway my triglyceride to HDL ratio is very good. I'm large and buoyant at 140 lbs.
Here's the thing: I think that my blood pressure and heartbeat are so low that I do not pump the the cholesterol out of my arteries. "Why should we move even if we are buoyant?" they say. Well I don't like their attitude. I don't want an over abundance of any LDL and so now they will get moving with 30 minutes of cardiovascular moderate exercise most days, I hope. For me, at 60 years of age, that means a consistent pulse of 88 to 112. To get this formula subtract your age from 220. This leaves 160 for me. 55% to 70% of 160 is my moderate CV exercise number FOR A HALF HOUR STRAIGHT. One should not be able to carry on a conversation at a moderate exercise pace. I've worked much harder than this temporarily on a vertical climb or on a mountain bike, but not for 30 minutes straight.
I will try to blow the LDL away. Hope it works.
Oh yeah, almonds. Did you know that what you eat doesn't have as much to do with your cholesterol numbers as you think? I do not even eat an average of 1/4 the healthy amount of cholesterol per day on my "anti-cancer" diet. My stupid liver is making the stupid stuff just like all of our stupid livers. Give the liver a brain will ya? It's so important that it could use one. So my liver is no doubt over producing. Oh yeah, almonds. 1 ounce unsalted per day. They block LDL production. Not cashews buddy.
I hate almonds. I love cashews. I hate moderate cardiovascular exercise. I love aerobics. Oh well, do what you are told.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

A New Morning Then the Same Old B.S.

I remember telling my original oncologist that I always felt better when I left his office than when I had come in. But of course those were the early days of just being glad to be alive, you know what I mean, when everything smelled like new flowers and fresh strawberries. The euphoria for me lasted about 6 months I guess. I was just thinking that the new oncologist doesn't fit into the same mold, for all of his worth. It's not him, but unfortunately it's me. As I try to make my benchmarks the hum drum of life persists as in pre-disease times. I do not think that a day goes by where I don't feel lucky to be alive, but it sure doesn't compare to the first 6 months of new life. The survivor's bane (and I'm not even one yet).

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Health Facts-Did You Know?!

Heroin is more effective and less expensive than morphine for pain (such as post-surgical pain).
One can be "regular" and constipated at the same time. Especially with IBS.
We all have 2 brains. One is enteric. No, not what you were thinking women.
There is such a thing as "Exploding Head Syndrome". Eureka, I've got it!
Although most IBS sufferers are women, irritable bladder in conjunction with same is more common in men.
If "practice makes perfect" the Chinese have been practicing medicine for way over 2000 years. They say concentration  should be on "rebound" pain.
It seems that not all bad (LDL) cholesterol is bad. There is large & buoyant (good) to acknowledge.
A "well differentiated" pathology grading is a hopeful consideration in a cancerous growth.
Cancer is not a hand-me-down disease. Only 15% is genetic. The rest is environment, inside and outside. A putrefying environment cannot be disease free.
Apples are probably the dirtiest fruit (containing the most pesticides & poisons), celery the vegetable. One cannot do without apples, buy organic.
Carnivores have short intestines. Humans do not.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cancer-Here's How Nutrition Does

Before I get going: I learned something the other day on public radio. It's hard to see the expression on a mosquito's face.

Well I haven't made it yet but I haven't had to resort to chemotherapy or radiation treatments. I'm 2 1/2 years past the surgery for appendix cancer. I am and have been trying nutrition. Boring! I know it is but it's cheaper and less traumatic than some other Stage 3 treatments. I don't dismiss the standard treatments lightly. Mom and Dad both had good old chemo or some such thing. Their lifespan after drastic treatments was 2 years each. AND THE FACT IS WHEN CANCER COMES BACK AFTER TWO YEARS IT IS UNSTOPPABLE USUALLY. Well then you may be offered palliative chemo-not so unpleasant.
Some may find my diet very unappealing. I find chemo unappealing.

Here's a typical dinner for me so that you know how nasty I have to live:
Three (organic) Bean Chili
Garlic & Cheese Breads
Organic Lettuce With Extra Virgin Olive Oil & (organic) Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Quart Water Boiled & Chilled
1500 milligrams Chinese herbs (mushroom immunity formula)
2 Squares (70% (I love Lindt) cocoa) Chocolate
and vitamins: zinc (dosage 50), vitamin E (400), folic acid (400), time release vitamin C (500), selenium (200), multi-vitamin w/o iron, calcium & vitamin D supplement
Yep, boring. Everything I eat here is aimed at reducing inflammation. DID YOU KNOW THAT CANCER IS INFLAMMATION? I DIDN'T. MEAT CAUSES INFLAMMATION. Chemotherapy is not inflammation control either. I still can have a pizza or baby back rib occasionally. (At least I have been.)

Admittedly, I still haven't made it the standard 5 years. And why is that the standard? Does the health care system figure a person is broke enough at that point? Why not 4 years and 300 days? What a load.
A friend of mine had relapse after 7 years. 5 years as the standard did her wrong.

Okay, here's the biggest tragedy: A discussion between the oncologist and the patient about nutritional advantages and disadvantages vis-a-vis cancer almost never happens. As a matter of fact, I asked my doctor if I would see a nutritionalist. I like him but he acted like I wasn't speaking English. No nutritionalist I guess.
So I had to research all of  the dietary stuff myself while trying to manage the other traumatic things too.
So why do we have to go to an "alternative care" practitioner for nutritional guidance? (This will not usually be insurance covered either.) BECAUSE THE $ IS IN DRASTIC TREATMENTS. There is no money for mainstream medicine in good diet.

Almost every medical person I have talked to is baffled as to why I didn't get chemo. Like I missed something and I just must try it. They seem to think that my oncologist must have been asleep at the wheel. Well I like him because he said that chemo has side effects. I didn't tell him "Duh, I knew that". I just thought that chemo/cancer was like bacon/eggs. Didn't we all think that?

Don't just sit there. Look at these!