Thursday, April 24, 2008
In fairness to those who suffered through some pretty emotionally charged rants/complaints/bitching from me about my health and my frustration with the entire medical/pharmaceutical mega-conglomerate-corporate evil empire... here's some news. I'm much much, much improved and thank you so much for sympathizing. :)
I'm taking less than half the blood pressure medicine I took previously and almost certainly will continue to decrease that amount. My blood pressure is fabulous! I stopped taking a diabetic medication that was bad for my kidney disease, and have adjusted the dosage of two other diabetic prescriptions. My blood sugars have settled into a range that is better than it was before I discontinued that medication, primarily because I have really paid attention to my carbohydrate intake. It remains to be seen what will happen to my cholesterol and triglyceride levels. But, at least I no longer need a wheelchair to shop at Wal-Mart. My muscle fatigue/weakness which had turned me into a semi-invalid is completely gone since I stopped taking the cholesterol medications and the side effects which were causing it. I am vigilant about cholesterol and "bad" fats, so, hopefully I can control that as well. I can take niacin if I'm not successful, but I'll never, ever take a cholesterol or triglyceride lowering prescription drug again... ever!!!
I got better for two .. maybe 3 reasons.
3. Restructured nutrition.
1. I got very, very angry because I felt I had been sucked onto a scattershot, lazy, inattentive medical conveyor belt that is operated and dominated by the corporate greed of pharmaceutical and insurance companies. And, far from being healed or helped, I had been spit out with complications that were entirely avoidable if anyone had paid even the barest attention. Yes, I know I sound like a raving lunatic. So be it. I'm not a newbie to the medical community. I've done my homework. I stand by my statement.
2. Thank all the Gods for the world wide web. Once I got a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease, I launched myself on a self-education regime that bordered on the fanatical. Given my energy level at the time (very close to zero), it definitely was fanaticism (and fear) that kept me going.
3. I was already on a diet. I was already patting myself on the back for counting calories and embarking on an exercise regimen. I had already lost almost 20 pounds since joining Spark People in January, this year. However, the diet for CKD demanded some moderately radical (to me) changes. Now, I don't have end stage renal disease and I'm not on dialysis. The diet requirements for that are even more stringent. But, I did have to limit protein and drastically lower my sodium intake. Both of those restrictions are a little tricky, but I venture to say I probably eat a tastier, higher quality, enjoyable diet on a daily basis than I ever did before I embarked on this journey. Check my food log!
Here's the sermon part. If you have high blood pressure, PLEASE lower your salt intake. I first started taking anti-hypertensives 36 years ago!!!! When this current health problem started, I was on 4 HIGH dosage prescriptions for blood pressure. I had one very serious episode of hypertensive crisis about 4 years ago. I've had renal arteriograms and doppler ultrsounds of my kidneys trying to find the reasons for my sometimes uncontrollable hypertension. What I'm trying to say is, I had SERIOUS hypertension issues!! The one thing I NEVER did, and this is entirely my fault, i.e., not the mega-conglomerate-corporate evil empire, is limit my sodium intake. Because I had to, I have experienced an incredible and completely unexpected benefit. My blood pressure is like.. normal? One of the reasons I had to lower the dosages of my meds is because I was having dizzy spells from low blood pressure. I haven't had a blood pressure above 120/70 in over a month, and usually they're more like 100/60. I think it's possible I don't even need those medications.
I woke up this morning and felt like a 30 year old.. I'm not kidding!! My blood sugar was 88. My blood pressure was 106/56. As I write this, I have 12 home-made, low sodium bagels rising in my kitchen ready to plunk into a water bath, dunked into toasted sesame seeds and then baked into golden, mouth-watering perfection. My herb garden is shaking off morning dew on a sun-dappled deck in my backyard and I'll soon be harvesting basil for lots of pesto recipes this summer. My bum knee is improving; my treadmill is waiting patiently. Thanks to my family, to my bestest Louisiana team, and to Spark People for providing such a terrific atmosphere for all these good things to happen.
Ain't life grand?