Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Structural Cause, Barefoot Running, Rash Finally Gone

This image is subtle, but it shows the area between my shoulder blades, it is somewhat sunken in. I tried to do a back handspring when I was about 8 and landed on my head. I felt no symptom at the time but was worried about long term effects, even then. As I have tried just about every lung remedy available, with little if any effect, I am beginning to realize that addressing my problem structurally may be the key. There is very little to be found on COPD without emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and even less with it related to central nervous/spinal issues. I am seeing a Dr. near Tampa at the Quantum Vitality Center. He has some high and low tech apparatus' to address my structural issues. Short wave diathermy, decompression, electrotherapy, and PulStar chiropractic.

After reading "Born To Run" by Chris McDougal, I was inspired to try barefoot running. I struggle so much as it is with running and breathing, that I thought anything that could make it more effortless, would be worth trying. It was a little painful at first, although I remember wanting to run on my toes when I began running over 30 years ago. With the Vibram shoes (they offer no cushion or support, just a little protection), one must run on ones toes, it is too awkward and painful to run heel first. Strangely, I also developed large red callus-like spots on my "lung" area of the ball of both feet. They begin to hurt at the end of a 30 minute run, and then the pain goes away. Running this way, does allow me to run just a bit more effortlessly, so I can at least remain running, although often slowly, even when my lungs are not so good.

I am still taking serrapeptase, but a stronger version. I am trying this Lung Flush also.

The photo of the rash is from when it was at its worst a month or so ago. This rash lasted about 5 months and confounded 2 conventional doctors. My instincts suggested that is was due to my sinuses clearing residue from decades of conventional meds and infections. Maybe I was right.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Blood Analysis and Possibly a Healing Response

Today I had a nutritional blood analysis at a local health
food store. It was found that I had a little trouble digesting protein, a had some fungus in my blood, and a little uric acid crystals and some spicules that indicate a congested/stressed liver. These problems could be remedied with some probiotics, digestive enzymes, milk thistle (for the liver) and oil of oregano for the fungus.
These little improvements may make my blood just a little more efficient at moving and getting the oxygen where it needs to go.

My red blood cells looked good. I had a feeling they would be plentiful and healthy, or with my lung function, I would be in big trouble. I attribute that to my dedication to working out. With my lung poor function, it is as if I am at altitude, so my blood has to pick up some of the slack.

I am continuing to take the serrapeptase, and was able to shake a recent sinus infection, and can go 24 hours before I must use my Symbicort (it is supposed to be used every 12). I have found that I respond much better to the conventional meds when I take only what my body suggests I need. Otherwise, I tend to have side effects and less relief of symptoms. This rash that I have been experiencing for the past few weeks, is not bumpy, just red, slightly swollen and itchy. I have not had one like it ever. It seems to be on my face just over where my sinuses are--I am hoping it is some kind of healing response and indication that I am getting past some of the sinus issues.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Becoming Stable Enough to Stay Out of the Hospital

Between 1986 and 1996 I was hospitalized for asthma/status asthmaticus 16 times and was intubated 4 times (the longest being 4 days in January 1995).

1992- 1998-- I worked in the fashion industry in Miami, and had several hospitalizations. So I went to school to study art education, worked in a high school and ended up having to be hospitalized before what should have been an outpatient knee surgery, because of my bad pulmonary function. I was working out with weights and running. Peak flows between 150 and 350.

1998--2005--As exposures to bad air and sick people while working appeared to continue to put me in the hospital, I went on disability and worked part time in a nursery and volunteered at a botanical center seed bank. I continued to work out and run. I had a sinus surgery in 2004 (deviated septum, polyps and overgrowth of tissue removed), and saw much improvement with that --I could breathe through my nose after years of total sinus congestion and breathing only through my mouth. Peak flows between 200 and 300.

2005-- 2007--I moved to Dunnellon, FL and continued to see my Miami doctors, while
seeing a naturopath/acupuncturist in Micanopy, my condition had become slowly worse over the years, but less extreme in my good and bad moments. I was still running and working out with weights. Peak flows between 150 and 300.

2008--I saw a new doctor in Ocala and built an earth sheltered house that I spent 5 months installing all the floor tile in. I was no longer able to run, but used the treadmill and stair machine. The doctor in Ocala advised me to increase my Advair, which had stopped helping me, so when I increased it, I became worse. During the winter of 2008, I was on multiple periods of prednisone and many nebulizer treatments. I tried using a Chinese COPD treatment for 6 weeks--no noticable improvement, and tried Yamoa root, with no noticable improvement--perhaps both kept me more stable than I would have been. Peak flows around 200.

January-August 2009--I am back to seeing my Miami Doctors and with the help of Symbicort, I am able to run again. I began taking serrapeptase in June and noticed an improvement in my fibrous breast lumps and carpel tunnel. I suffered several sinus infections after being around others with colds. My peak flows range from 200-300 --usually at the low end. I can run when I am 250 or higher, though not for an extended period.

I feel like I am at the the very brink of what my body can endure, as far as compensating for my injured lungs. I can get by when I am very careful about exercise, what I eat, drink and take as meds, get enough rest and minimize my exposure to irritants; however, if I neglect even one thing, I go down like a house of cards. My naturopath/acupuncturist is trying to get my body stronger and more able to deal with daily insults, but it is a long and arduous road. I am often extremely fatigued, and totally wiped out after a workout or even a normal day (w/o a nap). Since I have been dealing with this for so long, it would be expected to take quite some time to reverse. I am trying to focus on the small improvements and the fact that I can run again (however limited).

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Beginning of the Problem

This is what I did up until my first symptoms in 1985:

May 1964--June 1982-- I grew up in Northern VA. with no history of asthma in my family.
(Although my maternal grandmother had an undiagnosed bloody cough and died prematurely due to breast cancer brought on by multiple chest x-rays in a failed attempt to diagnose.) My bedroom those 18 years was very cold and damp, but I had no breathing symptoms. In 1980 I had a very severe sinus infection after flying to LA. From then on I had periodic sinus infections that would invariably affect my lungs later. I began working out that same year; running on average 12 miles per week and working out with weights.

June 1982-March 1983--I moved to Key Largo, FL from Northern VA. I worked as an animal caretaker for dolphins, dogs and exotic birds. I was exposed to periodic sprays of anti-mosquito chemical while in the Keys. I continued to run.

March 1983-June 1983--I worked at the Ocean Reef Club for Comprehensive Yacht Services.
I cleaned yachts (interior and exterior)--I was exposed to varnishes, but primarily cleaning fluids in non-ventilated spaces. I continued to get mosquito sprayed. I was still running.

June 1983-August 1983--I worked as dancer in The Lost Colony, Outer Banks, NC. I was running and working out with weights again.

September 1983-August 1984--I worked in Miami for Kadey Krogen Yachts. I began by cleaning boat interiors, then I picked up and delivered parts for yacht commissioning. I spent much time around boat yards where bottom coating, varnishing, and other painting occurred.
I continued to run.

August 1984-May 1986--I moved to Key West, FL. First I worked outdoors selling snorkel tour tickets, then I worked indoors at a gym, while I attended FKCC and studied Marine biology. My first symptom of breathing problem was noticed after running a road race in October 1985--it felt like a sore throat was developing that turned into a cough that would later be aggravated after running. I was working out with weights, doing Taekwondo and running.

March 1986--My symptoms worsen to noticeable wheezing. I went to South Miami Hospital, where I was diagnosed with asthma and given inhalers and theophyline.

June 1986-August 1986--I traveled to CA camping across the US. I had horrible coughing at night and trouble running as soon as I got to the dry air of the Midwest and more trouble when I got to the damp, cool air of the San Francisco. I reached my lowest body weight (115), and had uncontrollable coughing especially in the morning and evening.

August 1986- May 1992--I moved to Richmond, VA and attended school at VCU, where I studied fashion and then operated a mail order clothing business. I had many hospitalizations during the cold seasons and trouble breathing around chemicals involved with a printmaking course. My peak flows would range between 100 and 400. From my initial hospitalizations, I was in respiratory failure and had to talk my way out of being intubated. Then in November 1989, I lost consciousness before I could get to the hospital and was intubated for just over 24 hours. I continued to work out and run when my peak flow allowed (I am able to run when I am 250 or better). During this period, I was prescribed about every conventional asthma medication available. I would often notice some relief for a period of time and then slowly get worse. This was even more pronounced with the sinus medications. When I would be at the tail end of a medication's useful life, I would have to use prednisone and nebulizer treatments. I would be told by my conventional doctors that I had to live with this condition, it was not curable. I do not hold that belief to be true. And I have been searching high and low for a solution to my problem.