Sunday, December 27, 2015

Bacteria Infection

I call it a bacteria infection despite the doctors saying all the tests for known bacteria infections and overgrowths are negative, because it's an introduced bacteria, not normal in the digestive tract, and it has adverse symptoms and effects. But that's my take on it.

What I've learned this month is that one of the effect is weight. As I wrote earlier, for reasons I didn't know then was that over a 4 day period I lost 4 lbs, from 150 to 146 lbs and a few days later lost another pound to get to 145 lbs, which I kept for a week.

That followed a complete loss of the symptoms, heaviness and tiredness in the legs, lower back pain, fatique, and mental effects, feeling tired and occasionally mildly depressed. All those went away and I was almost normal again, compared when I feel my best.

But then I noticed the symptoms of the bacteria came back the last two weeks. First, the weight gain which fluctuated between 145-147 lbs as the body flused the bacteria out (yes, it's obvious and numerous) and then didn't.

And then over a 3 day period I gained 3 lbs to 149-150 lbs again, back to where I was at the beginning of December. It was a Deja vu, all over again as Yogi Berra is credited with saying. This is followed with bloating and a distended abdomen, and tells me there is 4 lbs of bacteria in my digestive tract.

Yes, 4 lbs of it (since I weigh myself the same time every day). Sometimes the body can flush some of it out for some relief - the 4-5 lb loss in early December was a fluke - which I notice happens when I recover from a cold, the body seems to fight both simultaneously.

Now the issue is for the Primary Care Physician (PCP) and gastroenterologists to find an answer and a treatment, something they haven't done for the former and refuse to do for the latter. They won't prescribe antibiotics since they haven't identified it and the labs (two different ones) on call it "aggregate bacteria", meaning they don't know.

And as of now it's been a year and a month since it started, but a year when it took over the body and became a resident persistent bacterial infection. It's been worse, and better on rare occasions, but it's not going away, not without help.

And yes, I've tried 4 different probiotics, all of which were disasters as they made the symptoms and effects worse. They simply added more bacteria to an already overloaded digestive tract of bacteria. It turned into a war of bacteria for 1-2 weeks. Not fun.

So that's the story to date. I know more, and have some more tests to go through, but clearly the body needs help fighting it, and it's up to the PCP and gastroenterologist to act than just over words, which is the point about the medical profession.

They don't always know or have answers, and will leave you without any help. So, it's, "Good luck, next patient please."

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Getting There

November 2015 was an interesting month and December is turning into more of the same, which is good news considering the events of the past year, amd more so with the health problems last year, with the bacteria infections, which is what I call it but not what gastroenterologists call them.

Once the cold weather started in early November I started have a mild-to-moderate cold a week, which turned into a 3-4 day period of getting the cold, getting through it, and getting over it, and then 2-3 days of feeling good before the cycle started over.

I suspect it has to do with all the walking in the morning, often in the early, pre-dawn hours. I walked 25 days in October and 23 in November (didn't make goal of 25 days that month due to a severe cold)  3 miles to Starbucks for coffee and then home about 30 minutes later.

This is shorter than the 8 miles I was walking for awhile before cutting back to 6 miles for various reasons over the last two years. I don't plan to increase the distance until next spring as this distance is losing the fat and the weight, albeit slower.

This cycle of colds and recovery resulted in getting to what I call my base weight (minimum I reach every day) down to 149-150 lbs when I felt good and up to 151-152 lbs when I had colds which seems to foster the bacteria in the digestive tract.

Then in the last week of November into the first week of December everything changed. I had a severe cold (two days off) the last week of November where I gained the weight and then lost it over the week, only to get a mild cold into the weekend.

In getting over the second, mild cold, I lost the typical weight, but then I kept losing the weight over the week, from 150 lbs on last Sunday to 146 on this last Thursday, and I have kept the weight down around 146 lbs, longer than anytime to date.

It's as if the immune system found the combination of antibodies to fight and flush the bacteria out of the system as I've hadn't had but more than a few small bacteria masses since losing the weight. And while it's only been a few days where the bacteria may, as it has in the past, come back, it doesn't appear so far.

This is what happened a year ago when I had the bacteria from last October to late November when the body suddently flushed it completely out, only to return a month later which started the 10-plus month episode having and fighting it.

What surprised me was the weight loss, which means there was several pounds of of the bacteria in the digestive tract the whole time, which was flushed out this week along with some masses, seen here, which are the source of the flushed bacteria.

What also has surprised me is how much the bacteria effected the whole body, including the mind. Some gastroenterologists have called the digestive system the second brain as it's connnected to every organ in the body including the brain.

This means everything it does, good or bad, has an impact throughout your body and mind. I've learned to understand this for me to know during the bacteria episodes, but didn't realize the extent when I lost effectively all of it this last week.

I'm surprised how much weight I lost in a short period from the bacteria to not only get below my original goal (150 lbs), but shows me with the fat I have now I could get to down to about 140 lbs by next spring, barring new health problems or the bacteria returning.

I'm not holding my breath but I'm continuing to walk 25 days per month for the winter months. The rain and cold weather gear may have to be replaced. I've lost one coat when the Gore-Tex liner peeled off inside, so it's the one better quality North Face Gore-Tex coat for now.

I'm looking at a new North Face rain coat with a down liner along with new rain pants to cut off for shorts. Pant length rainpants become too hot in fall and spring rain where shorts don't. I've noticed the legs below the rain shorts don't get that wet even in the worst rain since they're moving.

The only problem with the current rain shorts is walking against the wind in a rainstorm. The Gore-Tex rain shorts are good for fall or spring rainstorms, but just don't hold up against stronger (> 10 mph) winds or intense rain. This is why I need a better pair for the winter storms.

Anyway, that's the story to date. I'm getting there and getting better again. From around 190 lbs in September 2012 to 146 lbs this week walking over 3,800 miles has paid its dividends. And it's good to have a 66-year old body that feels fitter.

It only means much of my old wardrobe now is not wearable, as now I'm too big for the small size and too small for the medium sizes, but it will be next year before I address that, budget issues.