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Coping with Yesterday's News

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Good morning all and thank you for all of your positive feedback on yesterday's blog. I'm actually very glad I wrote those things down yesterday and got the encouragement, because, boy did I ever need it! After writing down all my goals, feeling great about myself, etc, I went on to my follow up ortho appointment. I had already received a call after the bloodwork was done from my PCP informing me that I needed to start taking 5,000 of Vitamin D3 each day due to a deficiency. After looking into it more, I think I narrowed it down to that stupid beta blocker death pill that I was on for blood pressure. Reading up on it, I realized that it causes vitamin D depletion. That was encouraging! emoticon

So, anyway, after a 3 hour wait yesterday in the waiting room, I finally got in. The x ray machines had been down all morning and threw everything way behind. It was crazy. Anyway, my doctor immediately started going over the results of the blood tests explaining everything as best he could, but there is a mystery in my results. Besides the vitamin D deficiency which was obviously bad enough to raise a red flag to him and my PCP, there were two levels that were not where they should be, and I'm very afraid. He says that he believes that I may have either the beginnings of, or a very low-grade autoimmune disorder. He does not know what it is, but my rheumatoid factor came out normal and so did my lupus test. So, that's not it. He just doesn't know what. I haven't fully researched it yet, but I did a little. What they said was not "right" was the SED rate and CRP. Both were elevated, and one was over the limit. I was first in panic mode then I got pretty depressed. I have always heard that autoimmune stuff is painful, detrimental, and horrible. emoticon

So, I don't know what all of this means. Basically, this is what I have gained so far from what I have seen myself and been told: my red blood cell count is low, I am very deficient in Vitamin D, I have an over-the-limit SED rate, and a high CRP level. So, I'm trying to piece all of this together and make sense of it. Crazily enough my vitamin B looks completely normal. Ok, so I know vitamin D mostly comes from the sun. But, I always spend a TON of time outside in the spring/summer/fall. It can only be the depletion from the beta blockers. That is all I can figure. I have been eating a well-balanced diet for the most part--just not enough of it. It has to be the pills I was on.

I got very frustrated with my doctor because he just doesn't seem to want to worry with x-rays and stuff. He is hesitant to x-ray me without me being on birth control; says there is a way to do it with a special cover, but would rather avoid it altogether unless I'm 100% SURE I'm not prego. Well, I was due to have TOM today, which I am, but how was I to know 100% yesterday. With all the diet and exercise, many of my PMS symptoms have either lessened or completely subsided. So, I'm having to relearn my body in a healthier state--tricky. But, I confronted him, not in a harsh way, but assertive and said, "please excuse me for seeming blunt, but how can you tell anything about my feet without an x-ray or MRI or anything. You are the 7th doctor I have seen who can't explain this to me, and I'm starting to think it's in my head, and I'm just so tired of unexplainable pain." He told me that he thinks everything that is wrong is on the level with this autoimmune issue, because these two things are indicators of inflammatory issues. He says he will push the testing as far as I want to go, but he doesn't see it as necessary. He thinks that my bloodwork needs to be monitored and that he believes that I can conquer this by continuing with diet/exercise/nutritional supplementation. There are a couple of things that I appreciate about his viewpoint. 1) He's not trying to stick a name to my issue just to shove me out the door--he is willing to lay the normal "doctor pride" aside and admit that he doesn't really know what is wrong with me. 2) He's willing to keep working with me on figuring it out, but doesn't want to pressure me into excessive testing that will throw me into debt needlessly.

Regardless of my news, I forged on. I went to my aqua attack class just as I had planned last night. I wakened this morning and stuck to my menu for breakfast. I went on to my swim class, and had the opportunity to really learn this morning. The Wednesday morning teacher is setting me up on a specified program that works just for me. She is teaching me how to use proper swimming techniques. I'm so blessed, and when I'm in the water, my pains really do subside, even if just for a while. I know I can beat this. I was strongwilled enough to stop smoking, eat healthier, start riding my bike to work, lower my own blood pressure naturally, relearning how to get sleep, managing migraines. I can tackle this thing right down to the ground just like everything else. And that is exactly what I intend to do. emoticon

Interestingly enough, I logged in to spark people just this morning, and one of the featured articles was about vitamin D deficiency, side effects/symptoms, how to fix it, etc. I was intrigued by a particular section of the article which I will cite here:

Cancer. Preliminary research suggests that vitamin D has an anti-cancer benefit. It may stop the growth and progression of cancer cells and be beneficial during cancer treatment, too.
Hormonal problems. Vitamin D influences the functions of insulin, rennin, serotonin and estrogen—hormones involved with health conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression and premenstrual syndrome.
Obesity. Some research shows that a vitamin D deficiency can interfere with the "fullness" hormone leptin, which signals the brain that you are full and should stop eating.
emoticon Inflammation. Vitamin D may help control the inflammation involved with periodontal disease, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
emoticonWeakened immune system. Vitamin D may play a role in a strengthening your immune system, especially in autoimmune disorders (when the body attacks itself) like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Hmmm....Let's see how taking 5,000 IU vitamin D might fix this. emoticon
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JULIAOAK 12/21/2012 9:34AM

    emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 12/21/2012 1:15AM

    Sorry for not getting the mystery of your feet solved :((( That is bad news if its an autoimmune disorder. I hope not. If this Dr. doesn't have the answers, maybe you need a specialist, an orhtopedic surgeon to make sure its nothing mechanical that can be fixed. Some of my nastier foot problems were taken care of by surgery. Make sure you take a Vit D3 supplement, it absorbs better than D2 -the difference? D3 is of animal origin and D2 is plant based.
I am so glad you have found a fun way to exercise that doesn't cause you pain!.
Keep up the great work!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DATMAMA4 12/19/2012 6:54PM

    Two of my family members have autoimmune diseases: my mom has scleroderma (tightening of the skin and organs) and my sister has fibromyalgia (causes her a lot of joint pain). Each of them started a regular exercise program after being diagnosed -- and their doctors are always very surprised and pleased at how well they're doing. Especially in my mom's case -- her doctor said when he diagnosed her over ten years ago, he would have expected her to be in a wheelchair by now. But three days a week of mild exercise has kept her very active and healthy, even to the point of being taken off most of the medicines originally prescribed for her. She said she really feels it when she doesn't keep up with the exercising.

Keep in mind, she is a 74-year-old woman, so her exercises are not high intensity...but she is doing great! She looks and acts ten years younger now than she did when she actually *was* in her 60s.

Your swimming lessons and general lifestyle improvements will definitely be helping you in this area. You're doing all the right things. Don't be discouraged.

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CHANGINGSAM 12/19/2012 3:56PM

    I'm sorry to hear that your doctor appointment wasn't wonderful, but I am proud of you for finding positives as well as for having a good attitude. Not knowing what's wrong with our bodies is frustrating, but you have a great attitude! That's half the battle! I hope that your doctor is able to shine a little more light for you in the near future. Until then, just keep pushing along with your diet and exercise! emoticon

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SWAZY33 12/19/2012 12:56PM

    Hope the Vitamin D helps. My friend at the gym sells a vitamin supplement (called something like) isotonix and has been trying to get me to purchase but it's quite pricey. I'm working on him creating me a custom mix of vitamins I need most but still keep it affordable!

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POOKASLUAGH 12/19/2012 12:52PM

    Well, if you're going to be increasing your protein and such, especially if some of it comes from red meat, that can help your red blood cell count. Do you have cast iron pans you can cook in? I believe that can help with red blood cells as well, or at least with iron levels. It's funny - I actually have the opposite problem. We tend toward a high-blood-iron-count disease in my family called hemochromatosis, and I'm constantly trying to get my red blood cell and iron counts DOWN. They are on the border of being too high, and I get red-flagged for them all the time.

I think sometimes doctors just can't explain what's going on. Recently I have had them all puzzled, because no matter what i do, I can't get my good cholesterol up. Over the last 3 years, I've gotten all the numbers to drop by half or two-thirds, from total cholesterol to triglycerides to fatty liver deposits to bad cholesterol, but my good cholesterol was low at 34 when I weighed 255 lbs, and was still at 34 when I had new tests at 185 lbs, and are down to 28 now that I'm at 160 lbs. They say you're supposed to gain a point for every six pounds you lose. Um...yeah. The doctors are at a loss.

I hope that your doctor can help this with diet and exercise and nutrition and whatever suppliments you need, without forcing you onto meds that will hurt in the long run like those ones that affected your vitamin D!

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