Category Archives: Health

The Cleanse

One of the strangest things about getting older is that you suddenly start talking about some things that as a younger person you’d never talk about because they’re uncomfortable. I hear that women talk about a lot of stuff that men would never entertain broaching, but even this topic is beyond many of them.

Some quick history. I’ve had a problem with my left leg for almost 2 years. My thigh is numb almost all the time to some degree. Actually, not the entire thigh, but the left outside area, near my knee. Sometimes it’s fairly mild, not even an inconvenience; sometimes it’s much worse and spread over a larger area of my thigh.

In the last 6 to 9 months I’ve started having some other issues with my leg. Sometimes it hurts a lot, and sometimes it adds burning into the mix. Every once in awhile I have this nerve, called an IT Band, that pops out and goes down my leg and on the outside of my knee, and that’s when the most pain comes.

Mitchell doesn’t let pain stop him from doing anything, but I’m not a total male idiot either, so I finally decided to go to a doctor to take a look at it. He had me get a back x-ray (the first ever after having back and related trouble for more than 20 years), which I didn’t quite understand, but when the results came back it showed that I had some degeneration in my lower back on the left side, the result from back injuries in the 90’s, and he recommended I go to physical therapy.

I was about 3 weeks into physical therapy when the therapist asked me to go into one of the treatment rooms for a private conversation. Once in there, he asked me if the doctor had ever told me anything about the x-ray. I told him just that the doc said I had arthritis of the back, which is why I was there. He said that the x-ray also produced a second result saying that there was excessive stool in my colon. Supposedly, it’s not something radiologists will ever point out unless it’s serious, as it could have something to do with back pain.

I didn’t have any back pain before physical therapy, but now I was having some. However, I’d had that colonoscopy back in November, and the docs ended up saying my colon was slightly twisted, and that could be messing things up (yeah, I see the pun lol).

I came home to talk to my wife about it and I knew what was coming. If there’s anyone who’s always talked about colon health, it’s her. She’s done all sorts of things to keep herself regular and cleaned out, stuff I’d never consider doing. However, her suggestion to me was to go on a 14-day colon cleanse of some sort. She said it would get things going and that I might even lose some weight behind it (look another pun).

I decided to give it a shot, so I bought the product you see in the image above (click on it & it’ll take you to the page I bought the product from ) Organic Total Body 14 Day Cleanse, which is what my wife recommended I try. It’s an all natural thing that comes with 3 different bottles of pills, each one numbered.

Each day I started out taking 2 pills from the 1st bottle first thing in the morning. You have to take them either 30 minutes before you eat anything or 2 hours after eating; I took all of them before eating anything. Thirty minutes later you take 3 pills from bottle #2, then go about your day. At some point early evening you take 3 more pills from bottle #2 and 2 pills from bottle #3. Then you’re done for the night. The package also comes with 3 small packages of a natural laxative, in case you need a boost at some point.

I needed a boost on day one because I felt like I was already locked up. For years I’ve taken Metamucil to help me “go”, but I wasn’t going to take any of it while on this stuff. So I took the laxative the evening of day one.

On day two, things started happening, and I was mentally prepared for it but not physically prepared. I went to the bathroom 5 times that first day. Thing is, 3 of those times weren’t what I’d term “normal”. Okay, since I’m disclosing stuff, and you need to know it, the 3 non-normal times everything came out in liquid form. That’s kind of how it was when I had to clean my system out for the colonoscopy, but it just felt different this time around.

I’m not going to go into an every day thing, even though I kept a journal, just to see what would happen. Every day after the second day, except 3 days, I went 4 times. One day I went 6 times, one day 3 times, and the last day only once; that was weird. The day after the last pills I went 4 times, and I’m back on a regular schedule now.

How did I feel? Truthfully, at the end I didn’t feel any different, but based on how often I went I had to have been much cleaner than when I started. Every day when I went 4 times half of those times it came out as liquid; on the day I went 6 times it came out as liquid 4 of those times. I didn’t have any “cheap” bowel movements during this period either.

And I lost 2 1/2 pounds, which, along with previous weight loss, brought me to my lowest weight since 1997; wow! I’ve since put on a couple of pounds but that’s about it, and I think, since it just ended this week, that after the weekend I’ll get back on the stick and see if I can lose those couple of pounds and even more weight.

That’s my experience with a cleanse. My wife believes I should think about doing it every 3 months to protect myself. It seems that, if you do some reading, going regular is important to remove poisons from the body, and some of the stuff you learn if you don’t have good colon health is scary.

As for my leg… well, physical therapy has ended after 10 sessions, and I’ve learned some stretching exercises that help a lot. I have fewer episodes of pain when I’m not exercising and the pain I do have is less extreme. When I exercise, I know how to alleviate some of the pain every once in awhile and when I can’t, ibuprofen in my friend. I might end up having a nerve conduction study to see if more can be done about it, but one therapist said I might have to deal with the numbness the rest of my life; sigh… well, if it’s not painful, I can handle it.

Yes, this was one of those “I’m Just Sharing” posts that I’ve shared that you might not want to know about, but it’s important that you know, especially as you get older. Now I have to go find some cookies! 😉
 

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Don’t Lie About Your Health

Some of you might remember that last week I helped my friend Beverly Mahone promote the free download of her book Don’t Ask & I Won’t Have To Lie. Since that day I started thinking about some things that I’d been keeping to myself, and then a brief encounter with my mother on Thursday got me thinking even more about my silence as it pertains to my health. I decided that I needed to finally come clean, and last night I decided to record the video below explaining myself while hoping that you listen to what I have to say and start thinking about your own health. First, the video:


https://youtu.be/CAtVv_Pxjy8

There you are. By the way, I’m now down 14 pounds and with the doctor reducing the amount of insulin I inject twice a day, we’re both hoping it helps my weight loss goals. So, now that you’ve heard my tale, I hope you do the right thing for the right reason for yourself, your family, and of course your overall health.
 

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How I’ve Lost 11 Pounds

For the last couple of months I’ve been part of a test being run locally on diabetics. Since I’ve been diabetic since 1997, I know a heck of a lot of it but have learned a few things here and there. It’s been an interesting process, and there’s still a ways to go.

spinach stir fry

One of the things I’ve sort of been forced to do is look at foods I’ve been eating in a different light. I’ve had to track the meals I’ve been eating every day, along with the times. I was given a book to help me “diagnose” certain things in certain foods and come up with daily totals. One week I had to measure carbohydrates and try to stay under a certain number. Another week I had to measure fat, and another week I had to measure protein.

Some of the numbers were eye opening. I was told that I was supposed to be having less than 55 grams of fat a day. That meant that what I’d been eating for breakfast, a meal I normally skipped but was told that I needed to try to eat during this study, was putting me on the wrong road immediately. Turns out 2 English muffins with butter and peanut butter was 37 grams of fat; ouch. One day I went to a restaurant for lunch and had 6 grilled shrimp, 1/2 rack of ribs, a small baked potato with butter and broccoli; that meal came to 71 grams of fat. You don’t even want to know how many grams of fat one trip to one of my favorite restaurants was, where I had a burger, fries and ice cream.

I was also told that I’m supposed to eat around 4 – 5 carb groups a day. That’s between 60 and 75 grams of carbohydrates per meal, 4 meals a day; yes, I was supposed to eat 4 real meals a day. My English muffin breakfast was at 4 carb groups, so there it was a fine meal. But that second meal I mentioned above came in at 6 groups, and the third meal I mentioned came in at 9 groups; definitely not good.

Once you start thinking about how you eat, you’re ready to make some changes. That’s probably the goal of the program in the first place, getting us actually thinking about it instead of just knowing it. There was also an occasion to view a movie online that my wife sent me called Knives Over Forks that my wife sent me via email that I had no plans on fully watching, but I’m glad I did. There was a guy in the movie who described symptoms that I often feel, and except for the fact that he also had high blood pressure and a cholesterol level that blows mine away (as in way too high), his symptoms matched mine.

I decided to change up my eating habits for awhile, just to see what would happen. The movie talks about a “plant-based” diet, which of course means more of a vegetarian diet, and that was going to be an issue since I eat few vegetables. I had to think about what I would eat. I like spinach and I like beets, both of which stuns many people because I guess it’s not a favorite of anyone else.

I decided I had to change up how I ate spinach, because I would boil it to death then add lots of butter and salt. I decided I was going to saute it in olive oil along with a few other vegetables that I will eat, those being cabbage, onions and carrots.

I also knew I had to toss some kind of meat in there to help make me full because there was no way just eating vegetables would last me longer than maybe an hour. To that end I decided to go with chicken, shrimp and salmon. I have more of the vegetables than the meat, but it’s a nice mix. Along with some spices, I’ve been surprised by how much I like this meal, and my wife has even bought fresh baby spinach, which not only cooks really fast but brings a better taste than the frozen spinach I’ve always purchased.

Obviously I couldn’t only eat this though. So I bought salad stuffs and have that from time to time, and even though the fat content of the only dressing I eat might be a bit high, since it’s the only real fat I have it’s fine for an occasional meal. I also discovered lactose-free milk, being lactose intolerant, and the dietician recommended eating bran and corn flakes if I liked it, which I always have. Since I buy 2% milk it’s only around 5 – 10 fat grams per bowl. And when I eat out I’ve been eating Caesar salads with grilled chicken, grilled shrimp or both.

Oh yeah, y’all knew I just couldn’t totally leave my sweets. So I get to have one chocolate milk a day if I want and I get to break from Friday dinner time through Saturday midnight. However, I’ve found that when I break from the other meals that I can’t eat all that much, so I’ve brought foods home and thus not had to buy a second meal out unless my wife ate what I brought home.

The question is what changes have I noticed? I still don’t sleep all that well, but I’ve only had a couple of instances where, after eating, I’ve felt bad, and none of it was due to the new foods I’ve eaten, but due to eating something when I didn’t have a choice to eat healthy, such as at a couple of meetings, and in those cases my chest burned and one meal put me to sleep 30 minutes after I got home. Not feeling bad after many meals is a major step forward.

The big two, however, are that my glucose level overall has come down, and I lost 11 pounds in less than 3 weeks; whoa! I expected the first might happen, but never thought about the second at all. Frankly, the second one is having a bigger impact on my staying good than the first, because it’s been 6 years since I’ve been able to actually lose some weight, and right now I’m at my lowest weight since 2006; just amazing. I’m 10 pounds from the weight I was able to get down to back then, and if I can continue this I’ll get there.

Oh yeah, I have done some exercising as well, but I haven’t gone overboard. I’ve maybe exercised 2 or 3 times a week, mainly walking, and that has a big influence on my glucose, and the cardio probably doesn’t hurt with the weight loss either.

I don’t want to say my buddy Evelyn is right, but I guess I have to say she was on the right track. I’m not going to become a fanatic, and I know that at some point I’m going to have my ice cream and cake. But I think this is a meal plan I can stick with easy enough because it doesn’t cost as much as what I’d been doing, cooks fairly quickly, and I like it. Still, I might have to find something else I’ll eat besides spinach that I don’t feel I need to add a bunch of butter to.

So, what do you think? Is this something you could do for yourself?
 

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CPAP Followup

Back in August I wrote that I was getting ready to start using a CPAP, which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. In general, it’s a machine that helps people sleep better so that they’re less tired. Or at least that’s what’s supposed to happen. I’m going to tell you the real deal and give you an update on what’s going on with me.


by Robert
Anthony Provost

I guess the most important thing for you to know is that I’m still using it. This must mean that something good is happening for me. Here’s the truth. I still feel tired at some point throughout the day, and still have those times when I just have to take a nap. Sometimes it’s within a couple of hours after waking up, even before I’ve eaten something, which tells me it’s not related to eating the wrong thing, although it’s still possible that it’s related to diabetes.

But here’s a truth. When I sleep with the CPAP, I wake up actually feeling better than I do if I don’t wear it. The proof once again came to me two weeks ago, when I was out of town for a couple of days on a consulting assignment. I decided to leave the CPAP at home, worried that I might not hear the alarm going off each morning. I won’t be making that mistake again.

The CPAP actually helps me sleep better during the night. What I think it does is keeps me from shaking or moving as much because I stop breathing. Not that I don’t move or even wake up, because that still happens. However, I wake up and I’m breathing, and fairly deep as well. And I’m not always in the same place I was when I fell asleep, which can sometimes be scary (my wife and I don’t keep the same hours; I think that pleases her some lol).

So I wake up and have energy. Often it’s enough energy that I can head to the gym without being tired and I’m alert. It’s a pretty good feeling, one I’ve not had in my life. However, it doesn’t always last a long time. As I said, sometimes within a couple of hours I feel like I need another nap, and often it’s before I’ve eaten anything, since I rarely eat within the first hour I’m up. If that’s the case then I’ll set myself up to take a nap, but I’ve learned to take naps with the CPAP as well. I think it must be a breathing thing because every once in awhile I just need the mask on for maybe 10 minutes and I’m fine. Other times I do fall asleep, but when I awaken I feel pretty good.

Now, there are some other issues as well. I didn’t talk about it last time but I had this issue for the longest time with air blowing in my eyes. I tried 4 different masks until I settled on the one I have now, which blew the least amount of air into my eyes. Then my wife got me a sleep mask, and that’s taken care of that problem. Yes, it’s weird waking up all the time in darkness until I take the mask off, but that’s easy to get used to.

Another issue is how one breathes. I have what’s called a full face mask, which means it covers both my mouth and nose, so I can breathe either way. However, if you breathe too much through your mouth your throat can get really dry.

My CPAP has a humidifier, and the settings on the humidifier can be interesting to figure out, especially if you can’t stop breathing through your mouth too much. Too much humidity and you’re coughing a lot. Too little and you might as well not even be using the humidifier. And then there’s the temperature in the room. If it’s hot, it negatively affects using the humidifier, no matter what it’s on. The humidifier actually heats up the air you’re breathing, so if it’s cool you breathe the best, but the rest of you might not be too happy.

And of course there’s the noise. Initially you hear almost nothing, which works okay because I run a fan to help me get to sleep anyway. Later, once the pressure gets to maximum, you have to hear noise because the machine is making sure there’s no build up of carbon dioxide; wouldn’t pay to have the machine kill you when it’s purpose is to help you live longer. If you’re breathing properly the noise is minimal; if not, it’s much louder, and if you don’t like the sound you’ll go nuts. I like the sound so I always fall back to sleep like a baby.

The two major signs of sleep apnea, which the CPAP addresses, are that you always wake up tired, or you snore really loudly when you sleep. I was the first one, although my wife said I had times when I did snore loudly; that is, if I slept at all. If you have either of those on a consistent basis, go see someone for it and at least get tested. So many people said they couldn’t imagine wearing a mask while trying to sleep. Well I said the same thing about that as I did about injecting myself. You’ll try whatever you can to feel better.

Yes, I’ve gotten used to it; and I’m never going back from it again.

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