Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stomach Story Part Two

So, I took the six doses of anti-biotics and was feeling much better. I did get a call from my dr's office that she wanted to see me about the bloodwork. I made the appointment for yesterday (Oct 30). On Sunday (October 28), I had diarrhea again. But on Monday and Tuesday I felt strangely constipated. I still have no appetite. My biggest concern is that my symptoms match Crohn's Disease--an Irritable Bowel Disease; which is common with Ankylosing Spondialysis--the type of arthritis I think I have.

So the doc felt my tummy, it didn't hurt this time, and said my liver results were high, probably from being dehydrated. She thinks it's viral but if it doesn't clear out soon, she thinks I should have a colonoscopy and she wanted some more bloodwork done.

I pretty much scratched Crohn's off the list on Monday night as Huey was quite sick with diarrhea! Then, on Tuesday morning, he threw up. The doc looked at him too, he had no fever and no pain when she felt his tummy (despite having had tummy pains on the weekend). For the rest of the afternoon, we drove around, went to the lab but it was closed, went to the bulk food store where he suddenly perked up, especially after a handfull of candy corn. We dropped off a bag of baby hats (including two pumpkin hats) to the hospital, and went up to Camilla Valley Farm for some yarn. By the time we got Lucy he was fine, and after school we cleaned out the pumpkin guts, but I could feel myself getting worse.

But not worse in the tummy way! A cold or something was settling in. Monday night I was hot and cold and had bizarre scary dreams--very unusual for me. Tuesday morning I still was fluctuating hot and cold. By the time Rob came home Megan was clearly sick with a runny nose and the two of us were flaked out on the couch. Rob took Huey and Lucy to the school Fall Fair, and Megan fell asleep on the couch. I vegged, sweated, talked to my Ma, shivered, watched TV, etc until bedtime. It was not a good sleep, and I slept in this morning and Huey was late for school. He didn't eat all his breakfast.
Once home, I was trying to take some vitamins and my meds, when I started having trouble drinking the cold water. I started gagging and then throwing up. And up. And up. That's so odd for me. I so rarely do that, but that's the second time this year! I think the anti-nausea medication on the ship must have really helped keep me from puking! For awhile after that I felt worse, but now I'm feeling not bad, except for this cold. So hopefully I am getting better--or at least my stomach is.

Stomach Story Part One

(Totally copied from my knitting blog, so if you read it there, skip to part two!)

Over (Canadian) Thanksgiving, I became ill---nausea, stomach pains, and then the lovely diarrhea. I RARELY get issues like that. On October 4th, I had an eye exam, and the usual drops to dialate my eyes. But they took forever before they began to contract again (the drops went in around 2:40 and at 6:30 I was still very dialated) and I was getting nauseous--from the extra sun, I thought.
Thanksgiving Monday was really bad, but then I felt better for a few days. But on the Thursday, it all came back. We had to leave for the airport at 2:30AM Saturday Oct. 13 (we were going to leave at 3AM but Rob forgot to pay the hydro bill). I was nauseous and couldn't eat.Over the week, I was all shades of green. The diarrhea would come and go, slowed by Imodium which I hated using but I wanted to enjoy our trip!
But by the time we got back on Saturday, there was no stopping it. I couldn't eat, or drink, and could feel myself getting dehydrated. I'm usually a big water drinker, so I was feeling BAD.
Yesterday I got in to see the doctor, who thinks it's a bacterial gastrointeritis. Similiar to a 'stomach flu' but bacteria instead of viral. I guess viruses have fairly short lifespans (well, except for HPV and HIV), and bacteria love to multiply. I took one antibiotic late Monday night and one Tuesday morning, and had NO bowel action until about 4:45pm on Tuesday! I'm less nauseous, and most importantly, I can get fluids down again.I'm the only person I know to go on a cruise and lose weight. But my clothes are still tight; I guess from bloating (oh, the gas has been horrible. Totally horrible. Imagine my fear with a 3hr plane flight?).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Which Would You Rather Have?

This was published two years ago, but is even more relevant now. Hearing about young adults with shingles is becoming very common, but I was stunned to hear that a 6 year old boy in Huey's class had the shingles!

Chicken pox vaccine associated with shingles epidemic
Medical Research News
Published: Thursday, 1-Sep-2005
New research published in the International Journal of Toxicology (IJT) by Gary S. Goldman, Ph.D., reveals high rates of shingles (herpes zoster) in Americans since the government's 1995 recommendation that all children receive chicken pox vaccine.
Goldman's research supports that shingles, which results in three times as many deaths and five times the number of hospitalizations as chicken pox, is suppressed naturally by occasional contact with chicken pox.

Dr. Goldman's findings have corroborated other independent researchers who estimate that if chickenpox were to be nearly eradicated by vaccination, the higher number of shingles cases could continue in the U.S. for up to 50 years; and that while death rates from chickenpox are already very low, any deaths prevented by vaccination will be offset by deaths from increasing shingles disease. Another recent peer-reviewed article authored by Dr. Goldman and published in Vaccine presents a cost-benefit analysis of the universal chicken pox (varicella) vaccination program.

Goldman points out that during a 50-year time span, there would be an estimated additional 14.6 million (42%) shingles cases among adults aged less than 50 years, presenting society with a substantial additional medical cost burden of $4.1 billion.

This translates into $80 million annually, utilizing an estimated mean healthcare provider cost of $280 per shingles case.

After a child has had varicella (chickenpox), the virus becomes dormant and can reactivate later in adulthood in a closely related disease called shingles--both caused by the same varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It has long been known that adults receive natural boosting from contact with children infected with chicken pox that helps prevent the reactivation of shingles.

Based on Dr. Goldman's earlier communications with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Goldman maintains that epidemiologists from the CDC are hoping "any possible shingles epidemic associated with the chickenpox vaccine can be offset by treating adults with a 'shingles' vaccine." This intervention would substitute for the boosting adults previously received naturally, especially during seasonal outbreaks of the formerly common childhood disease.

"Using a shingles vaccine to control shingles epidemics in adults would likely fail because adult vaccination programs have rarely proved successful," said Goldman. "There appears to be no way to avoid a mass epidemic of shingles lasting as long as several generations among adults."
Goldman's analysis in IJT indicates that effectiveness of the chickenpox vaccine itself is also dependent on natural boosting, so that as chickenpox declines, so does the effectiveness of the vaccine.

"The principal reason that vaccinees in Japan maintained high levels of immunity 20 years following vaccination was that only 1 in 5 (or 20%) of Japanese children were vaccinated," he said. "So those vaccinated received immunologic boosting from contact with children with natural chickenpox. But the universal varicella vaccination program in the U.S. will nearly eradicate this natural boosting mechanism and will leave our population vulnerable to shingles epidemics."

For decades it was thought shingles increased with age as older individuals' immune systems declined. However, Goldman's new research shows this phenomenon seemed primarily due to the fact that older people received fewer natural boosts to immunity as their contacts with young children declined.

Gary S. Goldman, Ph.D. served for eight years as a Research Analyst with the Varicella Active Surveillance Project conducted by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LACDHS). The project was funded by the CDC.

About Gary S. Goldman, Ph.D.: Currently serves as Founder and Editor-in- Chief of the peer-reviewed medical journal Medical Veritas ( Has recently authored five manuscripts concerning varicella, herpes zoster, and capture-recapture published in the European journal called Vaccine.

Research published in the International Journal of Toxicology, 24(4):205-213, Universal Varicella Vaccination: Efficacy Trends and Effect on Herpes Zoster. Also, Vaccine, 23(25):3349-3355, Cost-benefit analysis of universal varicella vaccination in the U.S. taking into account the closely related herpes zoster epidemiology.

I found this report on Children of God for Life; a fairly militant pro-life/anti-vax website. While I don't support much of the website, it has an interesting perspective on vaccines--particularly the ones (13 at present) that are cultured onto aborted human fetal tissue. No matter what your 'pro-life/anti-choice/pro-abortion/pro-choice' stance, it's still something to think about.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cruising and Food

This came in an email newsletter Rob signed up for when we were cruise shopping. The Freedom of the Seas is basically the same ship we went on, except that one has a rollerblading track and ours (Liberty of the Seas) had a mini-golf instead. And of course, ours was newer, LOL.

What is it about cruising that attracts so many travelers to the seven seas? Is it the opportunity to see the world? The remarkable cultures waiting to be experienced in exotic ports of call? The promise of a perfect family vacation?Or is it the 1,400 lbs. of lobster?Cruising has long been associated with delicious, abundant food, so just for fun we asked what it takes to supply a typical week-long cruise on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, the largest ship afloat. Here's what is consumed every 7 days:
234,000 appetizers; 105,000 meals and 300,680 desserts
20,000 lbs. of beef, including 69,000 steaks
12,000 lbs. of chicken
4,000 lbs. of seafood; 2,500 lbs. of salmon and 1,400 lbs. of lobster
65,000 lbs. of fresh vegetables and 35,000 lbs. of fresh fruits
5,800 lbs. of cheese
28,000 fresh eggs
18,000 slices of pizza
8,000 gallons of ice cream
1,500 lbs. of coffee and 1,500 gallons of milk
11,500 cans of soda; 19,200 bottles and cans of beer and 2,900 bottles of wine Weighing in at 158,000 tons, the 5-star Freedom of the Seas currently offers alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries out of Miami. For more information on upcoming Freedom of the Seas cruises, click here.

How much of that did I eat? Not too much! Rob had several slices of pizza...every day!

Getting Better?

So, I took all my anti-biotics and am feeling much better. I didn't make a follow up appointment with my doctor because I noticed a huge improvement right away. But today, they called and want me in to discuss the bloodwork. It was a pretty standard work up, including TSH (thyroid), postassium, sodium, and lipase (pancrease functioning). I expect the sodium/postassium will be off due to the dehydration, but I think she'd take that into account. I'm actually hoping something is up/down with the TSH. I have complained for years about low-thyroid symptoms, but the tests have been 'normal' (although the normal had changed and my other doctor didn't seem interested in acknowleding that). I'm really curious as to what's the concern. Even back in June when I was at the ER every night, I never got a call from the doctor's office. I wonder if the Lipitor has caused some issues. I never got around to taking the 6 week blood work for that.....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The First Post!

So, I'm setting up this blog to host all the other aspects of my life, other than knitting. Yes, there is more to me than yarn :) This will be a mix of kid stuff, family stuff, babywearing, etc. Very eclectic, but I'd like to get my knitting blog back to knitting. I'm hoping to start with cruise pictures. Stay tuned!