Monday, February 29, 2016


I've written about the bacteria issues I have with my digestive system, ad naseum some might say, wondering why I dwell on it, besides the obvious I have to live with it until it resolves itself. And so here's an update from the last entry last December.

Two weeks go I finally had the colonoscopy the gastroenterologist was supposed to do last June but didn't because he wasn't satisified with the preparation. So this time I had two days of preparation, one two days before and one the day before. Even with that he wasn't satisfied but did it anyway, and the photos show a clean colon.

In the end he didn't find anything, but then I didn't expect him to find anything since the problem wasn't physical but bacterial, which was all flushed out with the preparation, so there wasn't any signs of it for him to see or take samples for biopsies.

And that's the end of the tests, besides needing and a new one because the gastroenterologist is leaving to be the director of another clinic. What I've needed is, as a gastroenterologist wrote, a gut bacteria specialist, but as the person also wrote, they don't teach that in medical school.

It goes back to the premise gastroenterology is about the physical side of your digestive system. They also understand the physiology of it in relation to the whole body, but are uninformed about the bacteria said outside of knowing what good, or what they said is good.

They have a few limited tests for known digestive diseases, infections and overgrowth because, again, the signs are obvious and there's lots of people who have experienced it, so there's a wealth of knowledge. But there is a dearth of knowledge about other bacteria which cause adverse conditions which aren't obvious.

That's shown up when the labs could on identify the bacteria which seems to the cause of my problems as "aggregate bacteria", meaning they don't know outside the fact they're bacteria. It doesn't phase them these bacteria are either not supposed to be there or not supposed to be in such huge numbers.

What's ironic is that one gastroenterologist suggested what I hear most common, try probiotics, under the assumption, "Good bacteria will drive bad bacteria out.", which isn't proven and some have said is pure nonsense, especially from gastroenterologists.

That's because probiotics, if it's the right kind for your digestive system, will only proliferate more bacteria and can or will worsen the problem, especially if it's the wrong bacteria for your digestive system, like adding reinforcements to the enemy, the last thing you need.

And that's where it's back to the old adage, "Patient heal thyself.", and leave to the body to find a way to get the bacteria in check or flushed from the system. And that's the reality. It's up to the body now unless sometime my PCP prescribes anti-biotic for another problem and it also solves this one.

What I Know

What I know, and have known the last few years since I started walking to town and back, a 6-8 miles roundtrip depending on the route, is that this is my last best hope to get into the shape I want to be the rest of my life. I walk 20-25 days a month no matter the weather, something I’m used to from 13 years of fieldwork. It’s shown as I was around 190 lbs when I started walking and now am 140-142 lbs after walking 4,260 miles. I still have another 5-7 lbs of fat to lose before I can walk to keep in shape than get in shape.
I know this because at 66 I know my body won’t get better if I don’t not just try but try my hardest to get and stay fit. There won’t be another time I can do what I’m doing now. Age simply isn’t on my side, unless I keep going, for the rest of my life. It’s the one truth I know about my body and my life, and the one choice I have when and where I can work hard to make it happen. From here on out, it’s the fight to keep from getting worse. 
That’s not just my life, it’s everyone’s life.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

My Father

My father celebrated his 75th birthday and later that evening he went to bed. He had accomplished the three things in life he valued most, paying off the 30-year mortage on their home, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and celebrating his 75th birthday, all in a span of about a year. He had a quintuple heart by-pass a year before just to survive long enough to achieve his goals.
When he went to bed he didn’t wake up the next morning. He was in a deep sleep nothing to wake him. He didn’t recognize anyone voice, not even his wife’s. He kept talking out loud to people long since dead as if they were alive. He died in his sleep two days later. He simply decided to die, without regard to who and what he left behind.
Suicide is defined as one intentionally taking their own life. It’s often restricted to deliberate acts, but sometimes it can be someone who just gives up on their own life. The death certificate says he died of natural causes, but where it is written that choosing not to live and giving up isn’t suicide.

One Thing

One thing I know. Either the rewards center in my brain doesn’t work, the neural network to it doesn’t work, or the chemicals aren’t produced to make it work. I know this because I rarely feel happy or excited. I’ve tried all the physical exercises to create dopamine, and nothing changes. I’ve tried all the activities for personal and professional happiness and nothing changes. I’ve even tried illegal drugs and they didn’t do what people said they would but were interesting experiences. 

The only thing I haven’t tried is prescription anti-depressants, which I won’t try because I’m more afraid of who’ll I’ll be on them than who I am without them. The one thing I know, and can rely on, is myself. On drugs I wouldn’t know if it’s me or the drugs, and that’s the one thing I won’t try, because I value my sanity.

Some of this can be explained by the diagnosis of having genetic, lifelong Dythymia 25 years ago. The psychiatrist then showed me how to recognize the signs when my Dysthymia worsens and I've learned over the years how to tread mental water, or as they say, practice sweeping the floor, during the worst periods.

And even with Dysthymia and a non-functioning rewards center, I would rather feel on the rare moments of feeling happy than the artificial feeling anti-depressants give people. I know the drugs help a lot of people, and they would help me, but it would also be, as the doctor said then, a lifelong need chasing the one that worked while living with the side effects, some of which would actually worsen my thinking.

So that's the one thing I know. Happiness will always be the illusive feeling I'll only rarely know. But I'd rather work for those moments knowing I know who I am, than the false sense of it on drugs. I can live with the reality, but not the wrong one.