Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Year Update

Over 6 months passed since my last post.  I'm so busy with living life that I don't really have much to post about health challenges or discoveries.  However, my blog stats tell me that my readers continue to read my posts about health challenges and treatments, esp. tapered/pulse dosing for c-diff, toenail fungus treatment, T3 only therapy for hypothyroidism, etc.  I'm glad posts about my experiences can help so many people.  So I'll add an update about my current health status ...

I've been relatively stable on 75 mcg of  T3 (in 3 divided doses) daily for the past 4+ months. That amount sounds like a lot, but 75mcg of t3 is an average dose for people on t3 only. I don't have overdose symptoms, but neither do I have hypo symptoms. I love being at a level where I can take whole pills (3-25mcg pills every 4.5 hours), rather than splitting pills into little (often uneven) pieces to make up a divided dose. That was a lot of work, but I wanted to increase my dose in small increments until I reached a stable dose, which took about 2 years.

I successfully treated my toenail fungus with 2x daily applications of a mixture of  DMSO and oil of geranium (2 drops per application).  My toenails (on both big toes) are pink, healthy and growing out ... until they reach the upper end of my toes.  Instead of growing over the toe flesh, they try to grow into the toe flesh and create an ingrown toenail. So I went to a podiatrist, who x-rayed my toes. Apparently I developed bone spurs at the top of the toes during the years I had thick, fungus infected toenails on those big toes. Now my choices are: (1) ingrown toenails (OK, not a choice), (2) keep trimming new growth to prevent ingrown toenails (very tricky, but I'm doing that), (3) complete removal of both big toenails (been there, done that, as a treatment for fungal nails, but won't do that again), and (4) outpatient surgery to remove bone spur and tuck extra toe skin to allow toenails to regrow naturally.  Actually (4) is the best longterm choice, but for now I'm doing (2). I may consider surgery during the summer, when I can wear sandals, while my toes heal.

I played tennis almost every week last summer, as well as all my usual right-handed activities (sewing, gardening, baking, etc.).  By fall I thought I had sprained my thumb. So my ND recommended taking P5P (B vitamin derivative) to heal the tendon.  However 2 months of P5P didn't decrease my thumb use pain. Then my doc suggested getting x-rays of that thumb joint. That revealed moderate degerative changes to the upper joint (just below the thumbnail) and mild degerative changes to the middle and lower thumb joints. Ironically the lowest and middle joint hurt the most after use.  BTW degenerative changes means osteoarthritis, which is caused by injuries and use, unlike rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune condition, probably caused by antibodies from food allergies and/or gluten. (Many celiacs who abstain from gluten notice less RA pain.)

So my doc recommended niacinamide (a form of B3 which doesn't cause flushing like straight niacin) plus a good multiple B vitamin to help my thumb recover and/or not get worse.  Unfortunately niacinamide causes gut pain, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea.  So I could only tolerate one dose daily during the first month, while my thumb didn't improve, but didn't get worse.  Now I can tolerate 2 doses daily with only slight gut pain, no nausea. My thumb pain is decreasing.

For years my fingers have bruised easily. My fingers would tingle, swell and turn black and blue after bumps that most people wouldn't notice.  Granted, my blood pressure was abnormally low during all the years I had hypothyroid issues.  So the nerves and veins were rather exposed.  I developed broken veins on my ankles after wearing too tight boots.  However, I also had hemorrhoids during the time when hypothyroidism caused chronic constipation.  So my ND suspected 'venous insufficiency' and recommended horsechestnut twice daily, about the same time she prescribed the niacinamide. The bad news was I became very ill after taking both horsechestnut and niacinamide at the same time (with meals to delay absorption).  Googling the side effects of both supplements told me that both caused the same side effects (gut pain, nausea, diarrhea, etc.).  So I needed to find a schedule to take both supplements with meals at different times.  I decided I needed the niacinamide more than I needed the horsechestnut. I started taking niacinamide with breakfast and dinner, but taking the horsechestnut only at lunch.  That schedule has eliminated most side effect symptoms, though I still get slight gut pain after taking either of those supplements.  Fortunately after years of undiagnosed celiac disease, I have a high pain tolerance and can ignore gut pain, when I know the cause.

My husband and I are taking a meditation class at our church.  We've both tried various forms of meditation, but neither of us continued to meditate regularly. Our curent class will explore many different forms of meditation. The teacher's approach is that the only 'right' way to meditate is the one that works for the person meditating.  Before the group meditation session our teacher encouraged us to take any position that felt comfortable. Some sat in chairs. Some lay flat on the floor.  I sat on the floor against the sofa with my knees bent and feet on the floor. I discovered I was most comfortable in that position after mediating in my 'papasan' chair with my feet propped up on the edge of the chair, during a 40 days of mediation to a mantra (suggested by my church).  I don't know whether I actually reached a deep state of meditation, but I learned what position was best for me.

Our meditation teacher gave us 'homework', besides reading more of "Meditation for Dummies". She recommended that we eat one meal in absolute silence with no distractions, like reading material, to become totally aware of what we ate and how we felt during and after eating. (That was easy for me, because I did that with the Thin Within program.) Also we were told to mediate for at least 5 minutes daily.  I like meditating when I need a break in the morning and just before sleep at night. Amazingly I don't fall asleep while meditating sitting up in bed ... okay, yet. lol  I did notice that I slept more soundly when I was meditating daily during those 40 days.  I also observed that I was calmer and more detached from whatever happened the rest of the day, after meditating this morning. I anticipate more good results from taking my current class.

I'll try to post more often this year.  I finished most of my garment alterations, but I can always sew new clothes. I'm getting more piano tuning today (tuned earlier, but one key still stuck) so that I can play more often. Sewing and playing my piano are other creative pursuits that could distract me from posting. However, I'll try to add updates when I have health news for those of you who read this blog for health treatment suggestions.


Olia said...

I just realized that I've never heard you play piano. I'd love to hear and see you play next time I visit.

sue said...

I play "Sounds of Silence" pretty well, but struggle with reading other music. Also my piano still has a broken key. The piano repair man supposedly fixed that key, but it still sticks. We haven't been able to coordinate schedules to get him back yet.