days 11-14

Saturday was sad. Someone brought bean salad, so that was breakfast I didn’t have to make. We watched a video where a mom had her kid taken away because she refused to put him on anti-depressants. It also showed parents of children who had committed suicide because of Prozac.

Sunday, my friend made stew with beans, beef, tomatoes, celery, and spices. That is also the day I started to increase my hydrochloric acid tablets. The goal was to increase them till I felt some burning, pain, or other discomfort. When it reaches that point, that means I have enough hcl and can decrease the dose. So, I took three with lunch and four with dinner. Monday morning, I had more stew and took five. OMG, I definitely knew I had too much HCL at five capsules. I had burning, paining, nausea, and stomach issues. I was planning on going to the health food store that morning, but that was not happening. I went into the lecture in the afternoon and the nutrition counselor asked me how I was. I told her I felt fine when I woke up, but then I had too much HCL. She said there was some tablet or baking soda that could neutralize it if I was suffering then, but I said it had stopped a couple hours ago. She also said she forgot to tell me about the stomach issues, and that she had the same problem when she was doing the hcl increase. The good news is that I produce enough hcl naturally, so now, I can take two or three capsules depending on the size of my meal.

Tuesday, I saw a different doctor who prescribed me fluconazole. It’s the only drug I take during this program. It is one of the strongest anti-fungals that will kill a candida infection in 15 days. He says people usually feel die off symptoms (aches, extreme cravings, stomach issues, nausea, increased depression, ETC) for 2-4 days. However, everyone I’ve seen here experiences them for at least a week. Oh the joy. So far, I’m tired, but it’s hard to tell why. My muscles also hurt, and I have random nausea. One moment I’m fine, and the next 10 5 minutes or so, I’m not.

Yesterday, I did the test for heavy metals such as mercury, aluminum, cadmium, lead, ETC in the blood. I had to fast and stop taking all supplements after midnight. I had eggs at 10 pm and last supplements at 11. That was not fun since I am extremely hypoglycemic. I woke up hungry and thirsty, but I could only have 32 ounces of water during the six hours. The nurse gave me five pills to get the toxic metals moving through my body. It was a urine test, so I had to collect it every time I went to the bathroom. By the time the test was done, it was 3:30. I saw the nutritional counselor for a couple minutes and again, I said I was tired. She said since all the heavy metals were moving through my system, I’m having candida die-off, and I’m hypoglycemic and hadn’t eaten for more than 12 hours, that was no surprise. I went to chipotle and got a bowl with beef, beans, salsa, and lettuce. I really wanted tacos with cheese and sour cream, but no corn or dairy till I see my food allergy test results.

I am really having food cravings. I really want cheese! I also really really want cookies. My friend baked dozens of them for Halloween, and they smelled amazing. One of my friends is having her large meal at blind Inc. Friday, and I’ll go and eat some salad. She’s also having chicken alfredo, garlic bread, and sherbet, sad.

Today, I meet with the nutritional counselor for my official appointment of the week. We’re waiting on thyroid results, histamine, elementals, and some other thing. She said the results might not be there yet. They were supposed to come back last week, so who knows.

Sometimes, I feel so overwhelmed by pills. I have a pill tray with seven little boxes. Each box is one day and has four sections. I put pills with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and after food. I also have one box with seven sections that I fill daily with supplements before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner, an hour before bedtime, and a half hour before bedtime. Sunday night, when I was filling for the week, I was like omg I can’t do this. I am ok again now, but it took a couple days. I have 19 days left in this program, so I am almost halfway through!

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I honestly don’t remember anything we did Tuesday.

Wednesday was the glucose tolerance test. I had to fast and take all supplements at midnight. In the morning, I had to drink this lemon lime drink that reminded me of freezer pops or hugs, the drink in little jugs that I had when I was a kid. They also took blood for cholesterol, candida, histamine, and the food allergy test. The first two hours were horrible. I’ve been reading braille since I was three, and I had a hard time. I couldn’t tell if metal was metal or mental and many more like that. It took me a half hour to fill out a thyroid symptom sheet that should have taken me five minutes at most. I also couldn’t cut, copy, paste, save ETC on my notetaker. I was shaky too. The last three hours were bad too. I was sooo extremely hungry. After that, I ate three hard-boiled eggs, cashews, and spinach with broccoli. I went to some lecture for an hour. Then there was a group lecture a couple hours later, but I don’t remember that either.

Later that night, I moved myself and all my stuff to another friend’s apartment for a couple weeks.

Thursday, I was still exhausted. I had my third iv with vitamin c, b-complex, and other vitamins and minerals. I had a two-hour long session with Molly, my biochemical counselor who adjusts my supplements and diet. The director of the center said “I haven’t seen results like yours in my 30 years here.” I am extremely hypoglycemic. My blood sugar was in the normal range for the first hour. The second and third hour, it was 20 points higher than it should have been. The fourth hour was normal. However, in the fifth hour, my blood sugar dropped from 83 down to 37. That is not safe at all and explains why I can get so confused and disoriented if I haven’t eaten for a few hours. I wasn’t surprised with that result. They said by that point, my adrenal glands should have kicked in, but they never did. There is a problem with my adrenaline function.

I am also extremely pyroluric. People with normal kryptopyrroles score 0-15, but my score was 77. Pyroluria is a genetic blood disorder. According to the primal body primal mind website, “During the synthesis of hemoglobin in the body there are waste products generated called kryptopyrroles. Kryptopyrroles don’t really serve any useful biological purpose and are normally excreted by most of us uneventfully. In someone with pyroluria, however, these kryptopyrroles don’t get excreted and will tend to build up–even more so under stress of any kind. It turns out that kryptopyrroles have a tendency to bind very strongly with things like zinc and vitamin B6, making them largely unavailable to the body…which is a very big problem. Zinc and B6, of course, are nutrients critical for the functioning of your entire body and mind–including your digestion, immune system, cognitive functioning and emotions.”

I have several symptoms of this:

  1. Little or no dream recall
  2. White spots on finger nails
  3. Poor morning appetite +/- tendency to skip breakfast
  4. Traveling is particularly stressful
  5. Much higher capability and alertness in the evening, compared to mornings
  6. Difficulty digesting
  7. Tendency toward being a loner and/or avoiding larger groups of people
  8. Frequently experience fatigue
  9. A tendency toward anemia
  10. Prone to acne, eczema or psoriasis
  11. Difficulty recalling past events or people
  12. Bouts of depression
  13. Prone to frequent colds or infections

I will be supplementing with:

 

  • B6 three capsules before breakfast and three before lunch
  • b-complex three before breakfast and three before lunch
  • zinc: two before lunch and three before dinner
  • pantothenic acid: 4 before dinner

I also have candida, no surprise there either. I have probiotics and a multi-flora. Next week, I will be taking fluconazole to get rid of the infection. I’m not looking forward to it because it makes all depression symptoms, sugar cravings, and gluten cravings worse.

My stomach issues have been caused by too much vitamin c and magnesium. Right now, we have reduced it to a quarter teaspoon before breakfast and bedtime and two capsules of magnesium before breakfast and bedtime. I hope that helps.

This afternoon, we had check in. I said my biggest improvement was that I felt really well today. I slept for seven hours last night. Also, for the first time in several years, I could focus during the two-hour check ins, food discussion, and video. This video talked about sugar and high fructose corn syrup. It is found in everything from pizza sauce to the more obvious ones like soda. Pilots are not allowed to drink diet sodas because the aspartame can cause vision problems and issues concentrating. MSG can make people fat.

This evening, we play jeopardy again and have another lecture. I absolutely need to go grocery shopping because I am out of meat and almost out of vegetables.

audiologist and day 6

Yesterday, a friend helped me find the audiologist at the University of Minnesota. I could have figured it out if I had to by myself, but it was nice to be with someone who knew the neighborhood.

My audiologist in Louisiana gave me the standard hearing test which indicated borderline/mild hearing loss. He gave me amplifiers; they helped a little, but they didn’t explain why I was still having difficulty with traffic, sound localization, noisy places and crowds, and not hearing some sounds correctly. Sometimes I have trouble with endings of words like mouse/mouth, beef/beans, first/fourth, second/seventh, etc. I was at the audiologist yesterday. First, they did the standard stuff.: checked my ears for wax or fluid, tested eardrum mobility, and did the test with the 8 high to low frequency tones. It confirmed the borderline/mild hearing loss on my last audiogram, but they suggested doing the test for audio processing disorder. I’ve heard of it in some of my reading for teaching and research, but I wasn’t very familiar with it. First, they had me listen to speech with no background noise at conversational volume, and I only missed shall and said shell. People with standard auditory processing ability score 7 to 13 on all of these tests. Next, there was the man speaking in a muffled voice, and I got a 5. After that, I had to repeat words. They played one word in my left ear and one in my right ear at the same time. I had to first repeat the one in the right then the one in the left. I scored a one. Next, I had to just repeat the one in the right ear, and then just the one in the left ear and scored a 1 on both of those.

There was a test to repeat words with restaurant noise, and I scored a one. Finally, they played two different sentences in each ear at the same time, and I had to ignore the one in my right ear. Sometimes, I could repeat only the beginning, the sentence with some words left out, or only the end. I scored a 1 on these tests too.

The audiologist said there were sound therapies or more tests I could take if I wanted. However, she said the diagnosis was clear, and the sound therapy research showed that it didn’t improve people’s ability to distinguish sounds more easily, so I’m not going to do it. She recommended a personal amplifier, which I already have, and an FM system. I wear receivers on my ears, and someone else has the wireless microphone. If my vocational rehab can pay for it, that would help me, especially when I’m around many children or need to hear people who are further away from me.

After that, I went to the health center. The lecture was about probiotics and how they help build back the good flora and bacteria in the gut after a candida infection. Then, I had a meeting with the mental health counselor. I just filled out basic information and told her how I ended up at the center. Finally, there was a video May I be Frank? It was about a man who was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and it showed his recovery from start to finish. It was realistic and one of the best videos I’ve seen here so far. It also makes me thankful I’m not detoxing from alcohol and drugs like many in my group at the HRC.

days 3, 4, and 5

I’ve been busy, and there is no wireless at the center.

Thursday was extremely long. The first lecture was about hypoglycemia. There was an experiment where we had a daily menu for someone, and we had to show how many teaspoons of sugar the person ate per day. I think some of it was apple juice, which had 8 teaspoons of sugar, and a sandwich later, which had 6 teaspoons. There were several other foods, so it was a huge bowl of sugar when it was done.

I’m at least a 45-minute bus ride from the center, so there is no point in going home for a half hour just to turn around and go back. My friends who live a few blocks from Health recovery Center, HRC, had class. I had three hours free time between classes, so I read some of Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson.

That night was a powerpoint lecture about hypoglycemia. Lots of facts and explaining the process, but I don’t remember much since I was exhausted and crashing by that point. My body was definitely detoxing Thursday, and I had stomach issues all day. I was so happy to go home at 8 pm.

Friday, I went grocery shopping and bought tons of vegetables: spinach, lettuce, peppers, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and probably others I can’t remember. I also bought chicken and eggs.

After that, I went to HRC for lecture. This time it was a video about healthy fats. That one was annoying because it had songs with a horrible singer and cheesy music. The point of that one was to cook with olive oil or coconut oil. Another three-hour break spent at the center where I ate sunflower seeds, spinach, and tomatoes. That night, we played jeopardy. The categories were hormones, thyroid, hypoglycemia, sports, and music. The team I was on lost horribly -300 to like 8000 on the other team.

Yesterday, I only had to go in for three hours starting at 10 am. We watched a video about viox, a drug that was supposed to help with inflammation and pain but caused strokes and heart attacks instead. Then we watched funny clips from Chris Rock and Saturday Night Live about the drug industry before we went home.

Yesterday was the first time I took all supplements at the right times. Before that, I was always forgetting one, either the fish oil because it can’t travel since it’s refrigerated, the anti-ox at breakfast, the vitamin c at bedtime, or the magnesium at bed time.

So far, I’m taking

Before all meals

Digestive enzymes: two capsules

Taurine: two capsules

Before breakfast: one scoop of amino acids and one scoop of glutamine

With breakfast:

Antiox: two capsules

Magnesium: three capsules

Omega 3 oil: one tablespoon

Omega six, one capsule

Enzymes to help breakdown gluten and stuff: two capsules

Multi vitamin/mineral: two capsules

Vitamin C: one scoop

After all meals: hydrochloric acid: two capsules

Before lunch:

Aminos: one scoop

With lunch:

Zymes: two capsules

Multi vit/min: two capsules

Omega six: one capsule

Multi vit/mineral: two capsules

Before dinner:

Glutamine: one scoop

With dinner:

Zymes: two capsules

Omega three: One tablespoon

Omega six: one capsule

Multi vit/min: two capsules

Before bedtime:

Vitamin C: one scoop

Anti-ox: two capsules

Chromium: two capsules

Magnesium: three capsules

Tryptophan: two capsules one hour before

Lithium: one capsule

Melatonin: one capsule half hour before

Also, yesterday was the first day without stomach issues, so I was happy. Finally, I resisted eating the chocolate cake, cheese, and crackers at a party. Anyone who eats with me knows that is hard since I loooooove chocolate and cheese. The money borrowed to get here, the goal of new dog, and better health will keep me eating healthily instead of eating what I want

health recovery center and new dog!

I am exhausted. I flew into Minneapolis Yesterday. I got a monthly bus pass, dropped off my stuff with the first friend I’m staying with, and went to dinner. Since I am going sugar free, I had hot fudge lava cake with icecream last night.

This morning, I left here at 8:15. The bus stop is right outside her building, so that is nice. I misheard the stop, so I had to walk two extra blocks. When I got to the center, I met with the doctor and reviewed medical history. After that, I met with the nurse who started me on a five-hour I.V. It has vitamin C, B-complex, magnesium, and a couple other things I can’t remember. This is to start the detoxifying process, and I have one more of those tomorrow. My arm is sore because they took several tubes of blood. The heating pad is my friend.

Later, I met with Dr. Larson, the woman who founded the center. She interviewed me for a couple hours about medical history, life history, mental history, ETC. She explained all the nutrients and why I would be taking them. I have 17 so far at different times for the day. I need to clarify with someone tomorrow because a couple of the columns didn’t scan properly. I also need to ask someone about my schedule because it is not laid out well for scanning.

In other news, I have been accepted at the San Rafel campus of GDB for training Nov. 25. I’m soooooooooo excited, and I can’t wait to have this new dog. I know I will definitely feel safer traveling with him/her. Now, I’m taking my melotonin, tryptophan, an chromium and going to bed.

call for submissions for the ninth assistance dog blog carnival

It’s my turn to host the ninth edition of http://aftergadget.wordpress.com/about-the-assistance-dog-blog-carnival/
This is a quarterly event where people write about a theme related to guide, hearing, mobility, or other assistance dogs.
This time the theme is moments. Some ideas to get you started are:
  • The moment when your puppy or dog learned a task
  • The moment you and your dog felt like a team for the first time
  • Last moments working with or being with your dog
  • Favorite moments, funny moments, embarrassing moments, ETC
You don’t have to have an assistance dog to participate. You can be a puppy raiser or have some other relationship to assistance dogs.
To participate, you can leave a comment with the following information:
  1. Name of your blog: E.G. Believe in Who You Are
  2. The title of your post: E.G. My Favorite Moments
If you can’t or don’t want to comment, you can also email me mch26485 at huskies dot bloomu dot edu or tweet @latinanewschic if you want to post. If you could please link to this post when you are writing your entries, that would be helpful.
Deadline for submissions is October 31.

taking new steps

This is my post for The eighth assistance dog blog carnival The topic is marching to your
own drum.
When I received my first dog Valerie in 2006, I knew nothing about dogs.
We never had animals in my house growing up, so it was a completely new
experience for me. I listened to all of the trainers recommendations
about commands, corrections, equipment, medicine, and food. It wasn't
until a couple months later that I started to change.
Valerie wouldn't come on command when she was off-leash or heal on
leash. Doing leash and collar corrections didn't do any good, so I
started looking for help online. I joined some guide dog email lists,
and in one of my google searches, I stumbled on to clicker training and
clicker training podcasts. These helped immensely. She was enthusiastic
about food rewards, no surprise since she's a walking stomach lab. I was
so excited once she learned to put her nose on my hand and learned to
sit between my knees without my need to physically move her into place.
Before that, it never occured to me that my dog could learn commands
other than the ones she learned in class. After I suspected food and
environmental alergies, I found kibble that was human grade and natural
supplements such as fish oil and flower essences that would help her not
scratch so much.
When I received my second dog Zorro, I brought the more human grade
kibble to class and started him on it immediately. He learned hand
targeting and targeting counters before we had been home for two weeks.
I needed a turn around and back up command because I rode a bus every
day, and it was easier if he were facing the isle when we needed to exit
the bus. He had meat food toppers on his kibble after he had tapeworms
because he was too skinny and needed to gain weight. Finally, , I found
him a lighter nylon harness and the martingale collar instead of the
chain or gentle leader. We were never in sync while walking in the
harness from the school, and he refused to work in the gentle leader. I
could more easily feel his subtle movements with the nylon handle, and I
felt better using the martingale collar because it could only tighten so
far.
Last there was Dee. She received fewer corrections since the clicker
foundation was in place from her previous training and I used it as my
first sollution instead of a collar. She came with the martingale
collar, and she did well wearing it. With her, I could do more off-leash
work, teacher to lie down and sit in different positions, and added more
objects for her to find: upstairs, downstairs, trashcan, buttons, and
empty chairs. She also learned some counter balancing and to point her
nose in the direction where there was a sound.
Each time, the list of skills I want and need to teach grows. I prefer
clicker training and operant conditioning over traditional
correction-based training. I've learned to look for more hollistic
solutions to health issues instead of going with the conventional wisdom
of the vet. Other assistance dog handlers are excellent resources, and
they are my first choice for help instead of only relying on the
school's suggestions. I don't march to my own drum as much as assistance
dog partners who owner train, but I add as much as I can to make my dog
and I the best team we can be. Every dog is unique, and I can't wait to
see the different steps my new partner adds to the march.