Category: Aging

A World of Anti-s (depressants, acids, seizure, virus, anxiety…)

Ingenious Cindy Guandolo made a birthday bouquet of all my favorite paintings.

As I get older, I feel more intolerant of pain, anxiety, heat, cold, sickness, smoke, perfumes; actually, just about everything that doesn’t suit me. However, if I don’t want to have these feelings, should I run to the easiest fix—a medication to solve my problems?

When it comes to medications, I probably take too many already. However, when I try to balance the idea of having a difficult and painful day with a normal quality of life, I always choose normal. However, as I have become healthier with each day on a low carb, vegan diet, I feel as if I’m able to let go of some of the anti-s.

This is important for all of us to remember as we get older:

Sometimes the medications we take have worse side effects than if you try to manage your health with different food choices and certainly with consistent exercises that not only strengthens the body, but also stretches it.

I had been diagnosed with a bad case of arthritis about 15 years ago. Since that day, I have been trying to find a great balance between diet, exercise, and medications. I can’t seem to get entirely off of these pain medications without some discomfort, but I hope that some day I can.

Hope holds a great amount of power in our minds. If we believe that we can get off the medications and hold the idea in our minds that we are pain free and medication free, we could very easily see this day soon!

The opposite side of the preverbial coin is that we may have days that feel worse than others when we titrate from the meds. For example, when the weather is rainy, cold, or overcast, my arthritic condition seems to worsen. When I trust my practice and my truth, I can generally get through the uncomfortable feelings with a small amount of medication.

I feel great about this change in my life. At 57 I feel better than most people my age. Instead of getting weaker, I’m getting stronger with each day of exercise and yoga. I have a very small amount of body fat as a result of the vegan diet. My heart is stronger. My cholesterol is lower than it has been in a long while. And, I’m actually able to swim 3x the amount of laps that used to do when I was 30. I actually do the laps faster and and with more strength, as well.

Is all of this because I have become vegan? I’m not completely sure, but I’d have to guess that diet has the most to do with any physical change in health, since I have changed little else in my life. I don’t expect everyone who is reading this to go completely vegetarian or vegan.

  • Even if you start with 3-4 meat free meals a week, you will make a huge change in your body’s digestive system. Vegans clear almost their entire digestive track twice a day in most cases.
  • Meat eaters hold meat protein in the large intestine, sometimes, for days before all of the food has been evacuated from the body. This is the cause of most of the physical problems.

Drink water instead of any kind of soda or juice.

Third on my list would be eating healthy snacks instead of junk food and sweets.

I don’t even crave junk food anymore. The fruit I eat at night holds everything I need to sate my hunger. If I want something really sweet, I eat a couple of dates. If I want something salty, I’ll eat some freshly popped popcorn with nutritional yeast and bit of salt. Both of these snacks have become staples. Neither of them add weight unless I go overboard.

Perfection is a state of mind, not a right of passage. You will never have the perfect diet, but if you begin by not buying the food that causes you the most weight gain, you will certainly turn to the healthier food when you’re hungry. You will give yourself no choice. This part of the equation is definitely in your hands (and in your shopping cart).

Most people say that they can’t do this because of other people in the family want the junk. This is just pure bullshit. Your entire family’s diet is in your hands as well. It’s time you take responsibility for what groceries go into your cupboards.

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Coming of Age (in other words… Getting Older)

self-portrait.

Today is just one short day after I was born 57 years ago. Holy Moses. I heard myself telling a piano student last week that I have been playing the piano for 52 years. Then I said it, the words that made me really wake up to my true ancient age: “OVER A HALF OF CENTURY!”  UGGGGH

I could not even believe it myself. I had to say it again. Then I changed it to “Over a half of a decade.” No, that’s not right. Oh, Lord, I really am this old. 

If I am this old, how did I land a 34-year-old, hot husband? I had to tell myself something that brought me back to my feet again, because I had fallen and couldn’t get up.

Yesterday, Dave and I were shopping and the lady at the service desk thought Dave and I were the same age. Her comment made the entire day better. Her comment was even better than the clothes he bought me and the massage in the center of the mall with the Asian man.

Birthdays are a strange phenomenon because they count the years you have been human, but give you no idea of how much you learned compared to those years. Birthdays don’t necessarily remind you of all that you have weathered to feel the greatness of the now, they simply celebrate a day. For me, I feel all of it. I have taught myself to bask in it for the entire day, no matter how uncomfortable, at times, it may feel. What has become so interesting about honoring those years is, now, the day has become a great time to look at the past year and be thankful.

My sister asked me yesterday as she took me to dinner, “Why do you like celebrating your birthday so much?” She and my husband had a good chortle.

I said, simply, “Because birthdays remind me of how many wonderful people in my life care about me. These people take the time to honor the day you were born. Is it so wrong to enjoy that love?”

I certainly don’t think so. Then, she and my husband continued to say why they don’t care about their birthday.. Bah hum bug! Birthdays are great.

I look forward to the family celebration on Sunday and all the gifts.. Yes, I said it. I like the dinners and the gifts too. I’m like this little kid who can’t wait to see what everyone got me on Christmas morning, secretly hoping it was either from the list my mother conned me into giving her or gift cards.

I love gift cards. They just keep giving for weeks and months after your birthday. Add a gift card to a 75% off sale and it’s like heaven to me. OH Joy! Here is my address in case anyone wants to send me one:  117 Lake Emerald Drive…. lol

I didn’t want to take time away from the people who wanted to celebrate with me yesterday, so I was just now getting to the over 600 birthday wishes on Facebook. I was destined to read every one of them and answer them. However, Facebook thought I was a robot 3x and locked me out from answering anything for 24 hours. Those rotten sons a bitches. Didn’t they realize I was answering messages?

They let Russians change our elections, but have a problem with me answering birthday messages. Come on, Mark Z! Figure this out.

Well, I write all of this to tell you that you all mean a great deal to me. I looked at the statistics for this Blog and I have surpassed a million hits for this year already. This truly is amazing to me. I remember when I was getting only 5-10 and I thought those statistics were amazing. What this shows me is that every seed takes time to grow. I have no idea how many people I’ve helped with my writing, but I know that people are reading. The people who take the time to comment help me to understand a little more what exactly people come to this site for. However, I’m just moving with Spirit knowing that pertinence and authenticity is all I can be as I get older.

Lots of love and all of my extra weight. I love you more than my luggage.

Bo

 

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How to Measure Pain

If you’ve been at a doctor in the past five years, you realize that the medical industry is more interested in knowing your assessment of your own pain than ever before. For instance, you may go into the ER and say, “I’m having a really bad migraine. Can you help me?”

Medical practitioner or nurse on duty responds: “Describe this pain on a scale of 1-10 if 10 is the worst pain you have ever felt.”

This change in practice is a relief to me who feels pain about 5-10 times more than most, because I have a condition called “Sensory Defensiveness.” This means my neural pathways fire much more quickly than most people. I can smell better, taste better, feel the slightest touch, and sometimes even have very intuitive or empathic senses, as well.

Does this 6th sense come from being too sensitive? No one really knows for sure. But I do know a great many empaths are sensory defensive.

From the time I was a little boy, I couldn’t stand to play hard or tumble or fall. I also disliked most food because of texture and smell. I was sensitive to cigarette smoke and had allergies that kept me inside most of the time. I felt fragile and, in fact, was called names because I couldn’t play like a boy.

Now, because I practice yoga and I’m a vegan, most people ask me why I take medication, almost as if they are incredulous that I could possibly put a pill in my mouth.

For this reason, I write this article. You can live the healthiest life known to man, but have genes that give you the propensity to have arthritis, heart issues, high cholesterol, and even psychiatric issues. No matter your belief about binding and barring the past from affecting your present, genetics are passed down from generations. Denying this would be like saying an African American man and and Asian Woman could have an Italian baby. Genetics are not only looks, they are chromosomes built into the very DNA fabric of our lives—the good and the bad. Knowing this, you may perceive my story to be similar to yours, or you just might understand the dynamics of pain. Either way, I’m glad you’re reading this article.

I saw my mother and father begin to develop problems much like their parents. At only 19 years old, I decided to be a vegetarian. I committed to a life without medicine, as well. I even tried to use any and all homeopathic and medical alternative instead of traditional medicine.

Many people came to me with problems during that time. I would help them modify their diets, their exercise plans, the vitamins, and start on holistic treatment. Never did I imagine that I would wake up one day and barely be able to get out of bed from so much pain. Never did I believe that I would be doing something as simple as vacuuming and would end up on my back in pain for a week. This couldn’t be possible, and yet, there it was.

Still, it took me trying every modality of alternative medicine and four years of teaching my yoga classes every day without traditional medical intervention. After the fourth year I had had enough. The first doctor I went to was a sports medicine doctor. I told him of my pain at 40. He asked me to bend over slowly and try to touch my toes. As I said, I was a still teaching yoga, so I was limber and in pain at the same time. I bent down and put my palms to floor fairly easily. The doctor politely said, “Get out of my office!” He didn’t understand my pain. In fact, it took a very kind and empathetic nurse practitioner to actually listen one year later.

My angel practitioner started off with blood tests. From their, she thought I may have a tumor on my brain. After an MRI, I was diagnosed as having an under-active pituitary gland.  I was sent to an Endocrinologist who immediately started me on a testosterone replacement program. The same nurse practitioner also helped me to understand my depression from this same pain and how the three migraines I was getting a week may be a result of little serotonin to the brain and lots of pain.

However, until I actually saw a rheumatologist years later, I received the diagnosis of having Osteoarthritis. There are no disease-modifying medications available to reverse or eliminate osteoarthritis or centralized pain syndrome, There are effective medications available to treat inflammatory forms of arthritis and related diseases. Reducing inflammation will help reduce your pain. So, the drugs that are used to reduce problems with arthritis are for generally for those with Rheumatoid arthritis. Most people with any other kind of arthritic pain must use pain medication to eliminate the problem. (All information in this article about medication came from Arthritis.org.)

So, the rollercoaster begins.

Medications you take by mouth, rub on the skin over the joint or have injected into a joint include the following:

  • Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter (OTC) analgesic that helps to relieve pain and reduce fever.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are available over the counter and by prescription. OTC NSAIDs relieve pain and reduce fever. Prescription-strength NSAIDs can both relieve pain and reduce the inflammation that causes pain.
  • Topical pain relievers may contain combinations of NSAIDs, salicylates, skin irritants and local anesthetics that temporarily relieve pain. Salicylates make it harder for nerve endings in the skin to sense pain. Irritants stimulate nerve endings to cause feelings of cold, warmth or itching, which distract attention from the actual pain. Some topical pain relievers contain capsaicin (the chemical that makes chili peppers taste hot), which blocks pain messages to the brain.
  • Sedatives and sleep medications can help you get more restorative sleep, helping to break that part of the pain chain.
  • Anti-seizure medications can be used to treat neuropathic pain and centralized pain through their effects on the central nervous system.
  • Antidepressants are used to interrupt pain signals in the central nervous system.
  • Opioid pain relievers work on receptors located in the nerve pathways that start in the brain and move to the joints and other tissues.
  • Corticosteroids are medications that mimic the effects of the hormone cortisol, which is produced naturally by the adrenal glands. Taken orally, given by infusion or injected directly into inflamed joints, they can quickly bring down inflammation and ease pain.
  • Viscosupplementation involves injecting the lubricating substance hyaluronic acid into the knee to ease movement of the joint and relieve pain.

I was placed on sleep medication, because the pain woke me up throughout the night. I was encouraged to stay on the antidepressant. I was given Tramadol to help with the pain. I was allowed 8 a day. After trying to slowly integrate the medicine and assess the pain, I ended up taking the smallest amount of antidepressant, a light sleep aid, and 3 Tramadol a day to feel normal again.

So, when I say that I feel normal, I don’t mean high. I mean that I experience little to no pain. I have simple aches and pains, as one would at 56, but I don’t fret about them unless they are becoming worse every day.

You see, many people who are young, been living holistic lives, and have a disdain for Western Medicine have a real distaste for pills. I feel as if I need to write this to help me people understand, some people, even the ones who have vowed against them, may be the ones who need them the most.

For me, this is Spiritual Growth at its best. I don’t know of too many times in my life that I have sworn off something that Spirit hasn’t shown me my fragile, judgy little human mind  just how wrong I can be.

Let’s take care of ourselves and stop judging others. We can’t get inside anyone else’s mind and decide what’s best for them. Nor can tell each other what to think or how to respond. 

 

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