Friday, February 29, 2008

Bringing back colds from across the country

My husband and I have both been sick all week. He had an upper respiratory infection when we flew home nine days ago, which made his ears hurt on the plane. When we landed he could not hear out of one ear, but it opened up the next day. Two days later I came down with cold symptoms, and they got worse before they got better.

I've stayed in most of the time since then except for picking up the mail and walking the dog. The weather had been cold and exerting myself outside brings on painful coughing spells. The good news is that we are finally feeling better.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Little Help from Prozac

As we planned our trip to visit my husband's sister, he decided to go back on Prozac (fluoxetine). He was on it before for anxiety (and a nasty temper) but had been off it since early fall. His anxiety and crankiness had returned, and I blamed it for a yelling session he blasted upon his son-in-law over the holidays and also for my going into therapy around the same time. I try to be understanding - having diabetes and cancer is stressful, after all. But his frequent screaming spells were hard to take. Sometimes I yelled back, and sometimes I just got depressed.

Then he started experiencing stress that woke him up at night, which had been one of the reasons he went on prozac before. This and his fear of having a big argument with his sister were the reasons he started taking the medication again.

Well, I'm glad he did. He is much pleasanter - still yells but not as often. I will probably stop needing therapy! And our visit with his sister went well, although he got pretty upset with her fast driving. (I was scared by it too, but said little about it.) I'm sure he would have had a big screaming fight with her if he wasn't on medication. It has happened before.

Personally I would like to see him manage stress without medication, but he really isn't sufficiently motivated. Being verbally abusive has its rewards, after all. People avoid crossing you, and try not to annoy you with loud sounds, etc. In the long run, though, they withdraw from you. And maybe start to dislike you. Not good.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Which is worse: Teflon or Microwave?

We returned yesterday from a week-long visit with my husband's sister. She's a nice person but doesn't cook much so her kitchen space and supplies are limited. All her pans are Teflon - not the improved Autograph stuff but the old kind with dubious safety claims and (of course) a few scratches. Ugh, scratches mean the coating can flake off into your food.

My alternative was microwaving food in ceramic dishes. I'm not a big fan of microwave cooking - it can yield unappetizing stuff, and it can degrade vitamin B12.

I wound up alternating between the two methods. Neither is ideal, but with the Teflon I was careful not to overheat the pan, which is particularly risky.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sensitive to Elastic

My skin is sensitive to some substances including aloe vera, elastic and some kinds of bandage adhesive. Avoiding elastic on the skin can be a challenge; I have to shop carefully.

Here are a couple of places where you can buy non-elastic underthings:
  • Cottonique - Underpants are sized small; I had to get a larger size than usual. Also, they did not enclose a packing slip which made returns a bit frustrating. However, I am now happy with my items. Got an organic cotton camisole which is super-soft!
  • Decent Exposures - Underpants are sized more generously but cost more. They will custom-make a bra for you and you can return it for adjustments. Custom items take several weeks. Quality is high, selection is good. I'm a repeat customer.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Medicine has much to learn about Prostate Cancer

Outcomes Vary for Prostate Cancer Patients Choosing Surgery; Overall, No Treatment Proven Superior

Press Release Date: February 4, 2008

Patients who undergo complete prostate removal are less likely to experience urinary incontinence or other complications if the operation is done by an experienced surgeon in a hospital that does many of the procedures, according to a report funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

However, the new report concludes that scientific evidence has not established surgery or any other single treatment as superior for all men. The analysis compared the effectiveness and risks of eight prostate cancer treatments, ranging from prostate removal to radioactive implants to no treatment. An article based on the report is posted today in the online version of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"This report is a reminder that patient outcomes may vary according to treatment settings," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "But this analysis also underscores a broader message: when it comes to prostate cancer, we have much to learn about which treatments work best, and patients should be informed about the benefits and harms of treatment options."

See the rest at AHRQ.GOV News
It also states that "All treatment options cause health problems, primarily urinary incontinence, bowel problems and erectile dysfunction. The chances of bowel problems or sexual dysfunction are similar for surgery and external radiation. Leaking of urine is at least six times more likely among surgery patients than those treated by external radiation."

It's discouraging that the "best" treatment is still unclear. The more I read about medicine, the more I think we are in the dark ages.

Some Advice on Diabetes Proves Risky

From the NYTimes:
"For decades, researchers believed that if people with diabetes lowered their blood sugar to normal levels, they would no longer be at high risk of dying from heart disease. But a major federal study of more than 10,000 middle-aged and older people with Type 2 diabetes has found that lowering blood sugar actually increased their risk of death, researchers reported Wednesday.

The researchers announced that they were abruptly halting that part of the study, whose surprising results call into question how the disease, which affects 21 million Americans, should be managed."

Good grief! If you work really hard at controlling blood sugar, you may be risking your life! What to do?

It's important to know that insulin and pills were used to bring the blood sugar down in this study. But it is unclear whether the drugs were what caused the deaths.

Here's the Reuters version of the story: Just how low should blood sugar go?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Feeling a little down

Partly because it's hard to get enough sunshine in February, and partly because my husband has been irritable, I'm feeling a bit down. Husband alternates between feeling tired (napping for hours, not wanting to go anywhere) and being anxious. When he's anxious, he yells a lot - occasionally at me or at the dog, and often at his computer or some other uncooperative object. I wish I could just ignore this behavior, but often it makes me angry.

I don't know whether his diabetes makes him irritable or whether his anxiety is inherited. (His mother was highly anxious.) He says he doesn't feel well, has a headache most of the time. He has lost some of the feeling in his feet and his fingers tingle from the diabetes. Yet he still eats a lot of carbs, although he has started exercising more.

I don't want to be unsympathetic but he makes me upset.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Is the Gardasil Vaccine Safe?

See for a report on what's wrong with the HPV vaccine. Judicial Watch reported the deaths of three girls right after taking the vaccine.


This blog is still fairly personal -- that is, hardly anyone sees it besides myself! I hope to get some traffic and feedback, so I'm getting it listed in
  1. LS Blogs

  2. My Blog Log (Yahoo)

  3., The Blog Directory.

I hope you will read my my latest posts and leave a comment if you'd like.

Oh, the bacteria...

Interesting piece on bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine at Diagnose Me. I had a test which indicated that I had this condition. I took flagyl for it, which had miserable side-effects. That seemed to help but now the condition may have returned.

Other than antibiotics, various sources indicate that the following MAY be helpful: yogurt and probiotics, enteric coated peppermint oil, Grapefruit seed extract, Oregano oil capsules, Garlic, Berberine, Olive leaf extract, Pau d'arco, and colloidal silver. I'm trying a few of these but if I don't see results quickly, I'll have to call the gastroenterologist's office. (Hate to call them -- they have an automated phone system which pretty much makes it impossible to get through, and it's a long-distance call at that.)

Back to the article: Bacterial Dysbiosis is the technical name for the condition. Several causes of the condition are described. Here's the one that fits my case:
Fermentation / Small Bowel Bacterial Overgrowth (SBBO). This is a condition of carbohydrate intolerance induced by overgrowth of bacteria in the stomach, small intestine and beginning of the large intestine... Gastric bacterial overgrowth increases the risk of systemic infection and the sufferer develops an intolerance to carbohydrate. Any carbohydrate ingested is fermented by the bacteria and results in production of toxic waste products.

Carbohydrate intolerance may be the only symptom of bacterial overgrowth, making it indistinguishable from intestinal candidiasis; in either case dietary sugars can be fermented to produce endogenous ethanol... British physicians working with the gut-fermentation syndrome have tentatively concluded, based on treatment results, that the majority of cases are due to yeast overgrowth and about 20% are bacterial in origin. The symptoms include abdominal distension, carbohydrate intolerance, fatigue and impaired mental function.

Under treatment and prevention, the article says that fermentation dysbiosis can cause starch and soluble fiber to exacerbate the abnormal gut ecology. When the upper small bowel is involved, simple sugars are also contraindicated. A diet free of cereal grains and added sugar is generally the most helpful. Fruit, fat and starchy vegetables are tolerated to variable degree in different cases. Oligosaccharides found in some vegetables, carrots in particular, inhibit the binding of enterobacteria to the intestinal mucosa.