Category Archives: Health

A New Breed Of Crazy

I thought I had heard all the crazy conspiracy theories out there until I stumbled upon this one – there is a group called Alive and Well who  believe that HIV does not cause AIDS and to make things even more kooky, they believe that HIV medication actually causes AIDS.  “Alive and Well founder Christine Maggiore, who believes AIDS may be caused by HIV-related medications, anal sex, stress, and drug use, and implies that people should not get tested for HIV nor take medications to counter the virus”. (Quote from Mother Jones)  It really boggles the mind doesn’t it?

To make matters worse, the Foo Fighters have gotten behind this “alternative AIDS information group” and are promoting their message at their concerts. Now this really makes my blood boil. I really don’t care what someone chooses to believe but when celebrities start promoting dangerous lies to their impressionable fans, then I start to get really angry.  This group preaches that not only are HIV and AIDS not related, but HIV is not transmitted by sexual activity and that HIV doesn’t cause any disease.  They also believe that if you do test positive for HIV that you shouldn’t take any of the conventional drugs that have been proved to halt the disease process, but instead you should explore homoeopathy, acupuncture and  imagery. What utter rubbish!

Yet this is what the Foo Fighters are telling their teenage fans and who are teenagers going to believe the boring medical and science community or the lead singer of their favourite band? I bet it isn’t the medical and science community.  Do we really want teenagers to start having unprotected sex due to the misguided belief that they can not get infected with HIV?

I wonder if these HIV deniers are also anti-vaxxers who believe vaccinations cause autism.  It is the same kind of rubbish “science” based on lies and fears – and it is dangerous.

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In A Flare

Long time readers will know that I have fibromyalgia, a neurological/pain disorder that causes widespread pain and muscle weakness. I don’t talk much about it, because since November of last year, I have been in what I guess can be called remission.  My medication has been keeping all my symptoms at bay and I have gotten physically stronger which has helped the muscle weakness.  Because I have been doing so well my rheumatologist and I are attempting to reduce the amount of medication I am on.  I have successfully dropped from two tablets of both Dothep and Lyrica a day down to one tablet each a day and was now attempting to drop the Lyrica down to every second day.  That has not gone so well.  I started on my new medication regime last week and since then I have found myself feeling increasingly exhausted (another lovely symptom of fibro – fatigue) and getting a little achy.  Yesterday, I felt all twitchy and horrible like I was about to flare up and unfortunately, today I have.  I am sore and achy and the fatigue this morning was bone crashing, I simply was not able to get out of bed.  A couple of extra hours of sleep this morning has left me feeling somewhat human and I have graduated from the bed to the couch.  A day of doing not much and an early night should see me back to a more normal level of energy.  However, this has pretty much put a stop to tapering off my meds.  I am now back on one tablet of each of my meds a day and will probably stay on this dosage for a while.

In hindsight, tapering off my meds when I am stressed and injured was not the best plan at all. I feel at my best when I am feeling centred and can exercise.  Fibromyalgia is one of those freaky diseases where doing what hurts  is actually the best thing you can do.  My podiatrist summed it up the best when he said, “Oh yeah, fibro is that disease where you have to keep exercising, isn’t it?”  It is.   If you have fibro and don’t exercise, the pain gets worse as the muscles start to atrophy and then you get into a horrible vicious circle where it hurts so you stop exercising and then hurts because you have stopped exercising and it just goes on and on.  You need meds to break the cycle and then you need to start and then keep exercising to prevent flares.  When you get anxious and stressed, stop exercising and cut down the meds, it all turns to shit.  Valuable lesson learnt.  However, thanks to me building up my muscle strength, this flare hasn’t resulted in me needing crutches to walk.  I hate those crutches.  In fact my legs which were the part of my body mainly affected are feeling okay all things considering.  My fingers on the other hand are a different story.  They are not happy.

Okay, pity party is over.  Law & Order: SVU is on and I am off to indulge in some eye candy.

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Tender Tendon

Yesterday, I was sent off for x-rays and an ultrasound to see what I have done to my right foot.  The x-rays were clear but the ultrasound showed a ganglion cyst between the first and second metatarsal.  Since ganglion cysts usually go away on their own, I thought I had completely dodged the bullet and would hopefully be back at training on Saturday.  However, my appointment with the physio this afternoon revealed that the ganglion cyst was a red herring and I have actually strained the extensor tendon that runs up my second metatarsal or as it is known in medical circles, extensor tendinitis.  I have been told that I have to keep off my foot as much as possible and will not be able to go back to training for at least 2 weeks.   My right foot is now covered in tape to reduce the load on my tendon and give it a chance to heal.

I have no idea what I am going to do with myself for the next two weeks.  I can’t sit on the couch and do nothing – I will go insane.  I am thinking that there has to be some exercises that I can do without using my feet.  Sit-ups and girly push-ups don’t involve the feet and I might be able to do some pull-ups as well.

If you can think of any exercises I can do, that will not aggravate my tendinitis, please let me know.  I’ve gotta find a way to get in some exercise or my stress levels are going to go through the roof.

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Fitness Update

I thought I would give those of you who don’t follow my fitness blog, Spud On The Run, a bit of an update on how I am doing fitness wise.

I seem to have become a bit like a born again Christian in terms of my diet and exercise.  I am trying to do my best not to tell everyone I meet that they shouldn’t eat refined carbs and to only eat real whole foods and that high intensity exercise is much better than spending hours on the treadmill.  I have done a complete 180 on the me of last year and become some weird exercising fitness nut version of myself.  It is kinda scary.

I have also done something I never thought I would do – post photos of myself on the internet wearing only a sports bra and boxer shorts.  This from a girl who hates photos of herself fully clothed.  However, it is for a good cause.  It is to show everyone how much my body has changed in the four weeks that I have been trying to eat properly and have taken up CrossFit. It is also a good visual reminder for myself to see that what I am doing is working and to just keep doing it.

I have also taken up kickboxing and Kung Fu in the last two weeks and am loving it! I am surprised that I am not the unco fat chick up the back who is struggling with the class but am up near the front powering away and actually doing the routines correctly.

My life has become very surreal lately, but it is a good surreal.

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I think I have pissed off the fibro community

Out Sick Today
Image by pixieclipx via Flickr

I received a comment from a reader about my latest update about my medical problems linking to a rant she had written about a news article saying that fibromyalgia was a “murky aliment”.  The thing is I kinda agree with the article and the comment I made on her blog said so.  I am expecting a serious backlash as people do not appreciate when you say that you don’t think that fibromyalgia is a real disease.

Now I am not saying that I don’t think that the people who have fibromyalgia are not suffering from a real medical aliment, I just don’t think that it should be termed fibromyalgia.  The reason being is that I have heard from medical experts that fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease, a neurological disease and a pain disorder, now no single disease can be all three.

Also, people suffering from fibromyalgia do not always have the same symptoms as other people with fibromyalgia.  Now my understanding of  disease is that the symptoms of that disease stays the same, it does not change from one group of people to another.

Then there is the “test” for fibromyalgia which is the pressure point test.  If you scream when someone presses on 11 of your 18 pressure points, you have fibromyalgia.  Now this all depends on how the person performs the test and how good or not they are at hitting your pressure  points and how much pressure they use.  It is way too subjective for my liking.

Now, I have the official diagnosis of fibromyalgia.  I aced my first rheumatologist’s pressure point test, yet I do not have all the classic symptoms of fibromyalgia.  When I had my first attack,  I did have widespread pain in all four quadrants of my body, now however, I only mainly have it in my legs.  I do not have the level of toxic fatigue that is common in the fibro community but I do have some level of fatigue which can be explained by an underlying sleep disorder. I do not have any cognitive problems which are also common.  I also have problems with the muscles in my legs, they are weaker than they should be and they tighten rather dramatically when I am having an attack – this is not a symptom of fibro.
So you don’t have fibro, I can hear you all thinking.  Maybe, maybe not.  But I am on and responding amazingly well to the FDA drug approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia.  So according to the drug company, I would be listed as having fibromyalgia and responding well to the treatment for it.

My personal belief is that fibromyalgia is not one disease but instead a collection of diseases with very similar symptoms.  It may be that science will find that it is three separate diseases; one which is an autoimmune disease, one which is an neurological disease and one which is a pain disorder.  I don’t think that lumping these diseases together and calling them one disease is doing anyone any favours as I think this will prevent research finding out as much about these diseases as they could if they didn’t think it was one disease.

This belief will make me extremely unpopular.

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Awkward

life made colourful with prozac
Image by Jackal1 via Flickr

This morning I had my first rheumatologist visit since starting on the amazing medication combo and getting off the crutches. I thought today’s appointment would go something like this, “Wow, you are doing really well, that is great to see. Here is a new script for your medication. Come back and see me in 6 months time.” Instead it went something like this, “Wow, you are doing really well, that is great to see. Now we have fixed the chemical part of your disorder it is time to fix the mechanical part of it. You look extremely awkward in your body. (This is followed by long list of problem areas that are apparently noticeable to the “trained eye”). Go and see the physio and start work on them. Here is a new script for your medication. Come back in 3 months time and we will start tapering off your meds.”

Just when I thought I had finished with frequent medical visits, they start all over again. Work has been extremely generous with giving me time off work to deal with my medical issues, but now I have to schedule in physio visits as well that are likely to be once a week. I am really concerned about work getting a little pissed off. However, I know that I do have problems that need to be fixed through physio and I will feel better once that is done, so I guess I need to get in and get it done and try to work my physio appointments around work.

When my rheumatologist mentioned tapering off my meds, I will admit I froze. The thought of coming off my meds is absolutely terrifying. For one, I never want to go back to how I was, but then again, I know my doctor would never do that, if I did go backwards I would be put straight back onto my full dose again. It is just that my meds have the bonus side effect of reducing my anxiety levels and I have really enjoyed not freaking out these past few months. Also, my moods are much more stable on my meds then they were when I wasn’t taking them. I guess that this is a pretty clear sign that I have an anxiety disorder plus perhaps mild depression and I should get them dealt with separately. Buy hey, when you can kill two birds with one stone, it is preferable plus the added bonus of not having a mental illness recorded on your medical file. Doctors shouldn’t discriminate against patients with mental illnesses but they do. Then again, maybe I have learnt some good coping mechanisms whilst I have been medicated and it would be good for me to see how I go on a reduced dose. If I don’t cope, I can always go to my GP and start getting treated. At least I would have some compelling evidence that there is a problem. On the drugs I don’t freak out but off the drugs I do. Well, I have about 3 months to get used to the idea.

Then there was the issue of the doctor telling me I looked awkward. Yeah, that comment didn’t hurt a bit. Just call me un-co girl.

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Weekly Weigh In: Week 2

Starting Weight: 83.3kg (183.3lb)
Last Week’s Weight: 83.3kg (183.3lb)
This Week’s Weight: 82.7kg (181.9lb)
Loss: 0.6kg (1.3lbs)
BMI: 27.63
Waist to Hip Ratio: 0.9

My weight has been all over the place this past week. It went up to 83.8kg before coming back down. I like to tell myself it was because I was gaining muscle without burning. Not sure if it is true or not.

This week I have cut out having a glass of fruit juice with breakfast and a bottle (500mL) of Green Ice Tea with lunch which has reduced my sugar intake by about 50g per day.  I have also added an egg to my breakfast which has really helped cut down my morning cravings and when I get those cravings I have some fruit on hand.  I think that I still need to work on my diet so any suggestions will be appreciated.

Exercise Tally

WiiFit: 221 minutes

Walking: 285 minutes

Total: 506 minutes (8.4 hours)
Distance Walked: 22.86km (14.2 miles).

I need to start adding in other exercises, so if you have any ideas please let me know.

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