Monday, November 28, 2016

Normal III

It's been two weeks since the last update with some progress in the midst of a few setbacks. Seems finding normal will take time and it may not be consistent anymore, or that's the events so far. What I've learned is food isn't so much my enemy anymore but my risk.

Since I've been take a special probiotics, practitioner (clinical) standard for rebuilding digestive bacteria, and an pancreatic enzyme (also practitioner standard), the system processes foods easier and quicker most of the time.

I say most, which is why food is now a risk than the enemy. My basic diet keeps things working, more or less, meaning weight gain or loss is ~ 1/2 per day. The weight has dropped to the 141 lb range, which means I only gained 1 lb from the hiatus and resuming walking.

I've tried some food experiments, but sadly most of them were not favorable to add them to the diet. I have added sweet potato and yam but not white potatoes. Not sure why but the system doesn't like them and especially not one of my favorite foods, potato chips.

The walking has been intermittent. More than October but far less than I wanted. It seems after two days of walks I always come down with cold/flu symptoms which stops the walks for 1-3 days depending on the severity and the body's reaction.

The walks are getting easier with most days not experiencing the problems I had with the bacteria overgrowths. The distance is, and will be through the winter, 6 miles, just to stay on the safe side of not pushing the body and muscles too much for awhile.

The winter walks are better for the weight and fat as the body has to burn more calories getting and keeping the body warm. I dress just warm enough to avoid being cold or getting too warm. This means dressing where I feel cold for the first 1/2 mile when the body gets warm.

The hope there is to get more consistency to the walk schedule, but right know that's just hope than reality, but sticking with diet, not adding too many food experiments, helps, but gets boring eating the same fairly restrictive diet.

At least I have wheat now. I still have to limit it for small quantities at a time and for a day, but the system isn't bothered by it, when it's gluten or gluten-free. I still avoid most wheat products and restrict it to regular or sour dough baguette bread, croissants, cornbread and Ritz crackers. Any other wheat products put them in the food risk catagory.

Anyway, that's life so far. It's better than a month ago and a quantum leap better than 2-3 months ago with almost no signs of any bacteria problems, only small, occasional problems but no sure if it's normal or overgrowth bacteria.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Normal II

It's been a week since the initial post-antibiotic update, so here's some more thoughts on events of the last week. First, the antibiotics didn't kill and flush all of the bacteria overgrowths but enough the body is working on the rest, even a week later. This will last awhile.

Second, the probiotics are also working more to replace the bacteria overgrowth and restore the digestive system bacteria, but it's clearly a different dynamic balance than I've had before so the digestive system is adjusting to it with a range of reactions.

Third, I've added more foods than I have eaten in years without any severe adverse reaction, which in part was due to the bad or other bacteria in the system than the current bacteria. This includes wheat where I've added baguette bread, cornbread, croissants, and my favorite Ritz crackers (sorry, we all need our junk food).

The new foods still take time for the system to get used to them, which to date is just a few different vegetables, eg. broccoli, cauliflower, etc. I have a whole list of foods I want to eventually try from all the food groups, but I'm parsing the food experiments out slowly, one or two per week.

Fourth, I've resumed my morning 6-mile walks. I moved the time I walk out the door from 5 am to 6 am to give me more time in the morning and have daylight on the walk home (3 miles to town and back with a break at a Starbucks) until latter this winter when sunrise is later than my walks. This also allows me to run errands at shops that open early.

Lastly, the weight. During the problems with the bacteria I gained 3-5 lbs depending on the day and the severity of the bacteria's effects on the body. During my 3-week hiatus from walking I also gained 1-2 lbs, which is normal as I've pushed the body lower than it wants so it adds it back quickly.

Since the end of the antibiotics, it took awhile, but I managed to lose all but 1+ lb of the weight, from the loss of the accumulation of the bacteria masses and side effects, and from the walking getting toward losing weight again.

For now I'm about 1-1 1/2 lbs above the weight I was two months ago when the worse problems started. This will take about a month to work off with walking and watching my diet. I don't eat on a regular schedule or eat full meals, but just snack my way through the day eating about every 2-3 hours or so.

I've calculated my basal metabolic rate with and without walking and calculated the approximate calories with the diet I normally eat, nothing exact or specific, but enough to be in the ballpark to know where I'm at everyday. It doesn't mean I skimp on foods, I just make sure I don't do overeat too often or too many days.

For now I can look to work toward my goal I've had for over a year, to get to 140 lbs. I've come close a few times for a few days but never longer due to the bacteria problems. I also know my body likes to be about 150 lbs, so I'm pushing it below my genetic predispostion.

I'm pushing it not to lose the weight but lose the fat. The genetic predisposition includes a fair amount of fat I've never lost, even when I was my healtiest and fittest, I still weighed 150-155 with 10-15 lbs of fat. It's just my body type.

The reasoning when I started walking and still is that at 67 I'm at the point it's my last, best chance to lower the weight and risks from the fat through an activity, walking, I can do consistently throughout the year to stay fit. I'll likely get back to some weight training.

Anyway, that's life so far.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Down Vest

After I started working for the USGS in Eugene, Oregon I was assigned the upper Willamette River basin field trip for a year (1978-79) and then moved to the McKenzie River basin field trip the following year.

During the winter working in the upper McKenzie River, which overall was my favorite field trip of the three for field technicians (the Oregon coast trip being the third), each taking 7-8 working days with almost all being overnight for the week staying in small towns.

I loved the McKenzie River field trip because for most of the year you worked alone often seeing no one else outside of those you saw at breakfast or dinner if you went to a restaurant. The McKenzie River trip had only two restaurants for dinner.

I like the trip because I (other technicians and/or I) stayed at one motel which kept a room open for us which had an common open area with a small kitchen. We were often the only guests in the winter so the room was next to the common room.

One day driving back to the motel I saw a bundle in the middle of the highway, and since I was the only truck for hours on that stretch of the road it wasn't hard just to stop and see what it was. It turned out to be this North Face down vest.

The only other folks working up there were the US Forest Service and the local utility company for the reservoirs and power station feeding the Eugene-Springfield area. It's a size medium and fit me, so I kept and used it all these years.

The patch is over a tear I got one day from a branch. I lost the down out of that section but someone at the office brought me a ziplock bag of down and I bought a iron-on patch kit to repair it. It's interesting to see how little down they put in new coats, like the jacker for my North Face GoreTex rain coat.

This coat has so much down it fluffs up 2-3 times larger than the new coats so only gets worn on the coldest, non-rainy days here, but still after over 35+ years it's still keeping bodies warm.

Monday, November 7, 2016


It's hard to tell what is normal anymore after this bout of bacteria problems. At least for now the antibiotics did their job taking the full 10-days regime to fight and flush it from the system and the probiotics to overwhelm the system with large amounts of very specific good bacteria.

That said, today was the first day in over 5 months I had one of those "Whew" and empty feeling moments with the body realizing the fight is over and it's time to recover to whatever the new normal will be after the two years of it and the recent 5 months severe problems.

What I learned from this experience is several things.

First, medical doctor can and do fail. All the tests the naturopath did was available to doctors, especially the two gastroenterologists who focused on physical causes than even more than a casual thought to the bacteria, which was the cause all along, the physical side being symptoms.

Second, believe what your body is telling you. You're the only one listening. Doctors only believe in tests results, and can't do anything that isn't a known conditions (diagnosis) with a known treatment. They won't just try to learn more, but give up, which they did for me.

Third, try specialized naturopaths. The naturopath, who specializing in digestive problems, ran the right tests to find the cause and two other problems beyond the bacteria overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria. First my pancreas doesn't work so I'm on pancreatic enzymes for life. Second, I'm pre diabetic which could worsen into type two diabetes if I don't monitor it.

Note. One test they didn't take was a full culture stool sample, tests gastroenterologist do routinely but only look for known infections than culture all bacteria. Had they done that they would have found the opportunistic bacteria overgrowths.

Also, my physician didn't do a hemoglobin test, easy done with normal blood tests. That found the pre diabetic condition. I also have very low ferritin level with normal iron levels, but can't take iron supplements for genetic predisposition for hemochromatosis, so I can't increase iron to increase ferritin or risk hemochromotosis.

Fourth, try clinical standard herbal supplements, available through naturopathic clinics. You might need an initial appointment to get assurance they're the right supplements for you, but it's worth the money and tests they want.

The probiotics I'm taking isn't available through stores, just clinics because it's medical standard, not consumer standard, probiotics with specific genetic strains of bacteria types than just a bundle of the family of each type.

The strains are specific genetically derived and bundled into supplements for very specific treatments. They're worth the extra money to know you're getting better quality and guaranteed quantity probiotics for your specific needs than just over-the-counter supplements which may or may not work.

Anyway, I'll see what happens now and at least this problem is under control again so I can get better and resume walking, eating normally again, and feeling good. What's not to like about that?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Maybe Normal

Well, I'm in the nineth day of the 10-day routine of antibiotics (tetracycline and metronidazole) and things finally changed significantly yesterday into this morning with the what we now know are some type of partial obstructions, seemingly bacterial in nature with food and other stuff.

I have an appointment next week as a followup for the results of the antibiotics with one 10-day regime refill available if this round isn't fully successful or the problem returns, which it has over the last 2 years of similar problems.

It's now (me anyway) thought this latest episodes started recently based on the body's reaction and the often not discussed in public bowel movements, indicated in was an obstruction, confirmed after the flu shot disloged 4 large masses (reported here before).

And the weight  is beginning to return to normal, still 2 lbs more than normal (before episode), but far better than the 3+ to 5 lbs over normal with the problem (assumed accumulation of food from the obstructions).

In short I'll take it. I still haven't resumed walking as any walking over 143 lbs (normal 140-141 lbs) caused physical problems with the legs (feeling heavy and tired) and body (fatigue) during and after the walks beside the mental fatigue.

What I've learned is that naps are a good way for your body to heal. Often during this episode I've been taking 1 to 1 1/2 hour naps once, sometimes twice, a day, meaning the body is tired from any activity but also from the war going on inside, and naps gives the body the respite.

What I've also learned is the help probiotics gives at times, especially when antibiotics destroy the digestive system biota. And I can't say enough about clinical standard brand (not OTC brands) probiotics and health supplements to help even more.

Anyway, that's the story to date. Things are looking better than over a month ago when it started and nine days ago  when I started the antibiotic routine. I'm down to the weight before before the antibiotics but not the weight before the episode, but it's real, measureable, and felt progress.