Category Archives: health

The Battle Continues…

Thyroid 2

Two days ago I started to write about my experience with being treated, or not, for hypothyroidism. For some reason it didn’t publish.  Yesterday my blog was almost finished and in switching from one site to another, most of it disappeared. I’m definitely rusty at blogging the correct way.

Whether the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome were separate issues in themselves or were a manifestation of problems with my thyroid, I’ll never know. I only know doctors were throwing anti-depressants at me, giving me shots of testosterone, and cringing when I even mentioned what I thought was happening (this was the mid 1980s) was fibro and CFS. Those topics seemed taboo. Could it have been my thyroid? Nobody paid enough attention to even try to find out.

That has been my story for almost twenty five years  with fibromyalgia and CFS. It’s been almost sixty years with questionable thyroid treatment. I have had periods of being just “ok” to having major flare-ups.

Since the title of this blog is “The Battle of the Thyroid Docs” I’ll get back to the topic. A big brouhaha has been happening between the “synthetics” and the “naturals” ever since the middle 1950s when Synthroid was developed.Those of the synthetics think that T4 of such drugs as Synthroid  are the only way to treat hypothyroidism. That was the drug I was placed on in the mid ’60s and stayed on for so many years. There was never any attention paid to what I said about how I felt as long as the TSH level tests were “normal”.

With the advent of the internet, I started doing my own investigating. You know, I was the kind of patient who started asking questions based on my research. It was through that research that I found an alternative in “dessicated  thyroid” which comes from the thyroids of pigs. Those doctors I call the “naturals”. The “synthetics” call them “quacks“.

When I had to find another  yet another doctor due to constant insurance changes, I found one who finally was willing to prescribe the “natural” thyroid. I felt better but year by year I started slipping. When that doctor died I found an endocrinologist who reluctantly allowed me to stay on the Armour. He kept telling me I was “normal” because my TSH level was 4. It was ten years ago that the thyroid physicians decided the range of normal should be .3 to 3. He’s using an antiquated scale! I have just discovered all of this since my last visit. My alternative doctor talked to me about all the symptoms I have been having and told me my thyroid medicine was too low. He recommended increasing my dosage. My feelings of well-being over the past month have been a complete change but that is another day’s blog.

In researching this topic I have discovered there are hundreds of articles about thyroid on the internet. There are pages of comments from patients who fought to gain the freedom to use desiccated thyroid over synthetics. It’s a very interesting search. There are major controversies on both sides.

As for me, yes, I am feeling much better but there are still road blocks. Medicare will no longer pay for desiccated thyroid. On top of that, newer recommendations are saying that thyroid medications should not be prescribed for those over 65. I can’t now find that web site to reference but I will continue to look.

I have already researched doctors in my new place of residence and found one who uses Armour in his practice. I know nothing about him but plan to make him a top priority in finding new docs.

There are millions of women out there who have been along the same path I have had to follow. Out of every ten thyroid patients seven to eight are female. Approximately one in thirteen people in the US have diagnosed or undiagnosed thyroid problems. Synthroid is the third best selling prescription.  The company heavily funds endocrinologists. The makers of the synthetics are banking on women to blindly follow the instructions of these doctors. I can only say to other women, be true to yourselves. How do you actually feel? Are you ready to question? Namaste Attic Annie

 

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Filed under Casual conversation, general topics, health, health thyroid TSH levels, senior citizens, Thyroid, Uncategorized

Gluten Free Wish List

gluten free symbol

Yesterday I started talking about being gluten-free. I have a myriad of food allergies so finding out about one more just kind of rolled off my back. I’ve been taking allergy shots for over two years for a variety of foods, pollens, molds, and other irritants like dust and cat fur. However, with gluten, I have had to adjust my diet.

I posted that a chart I found said “small amounts may be tolerable”. I have often found that I am tempted by loopholes. No one has ever quantified “small”. For most the time I am good to myself. I have cut out breads almost entirely. I very seldom eat sweets like cakes, pies, or other baked goods. Those cuts have been extremely hard to accept but I’m getting better at it. Occasionally I will buy a loaf of gluten-free bread but the cost is so much higher that it is only an every-so-often purchase. I just don’t make sandwiches any more.

I have found rice pasta (spaghetti and penne) and Asian rice noodles but the thought of being able to dive into a plate of restaurant spaghetti and bread sticks really tempts me. I have also found individual size rice crust pizza. The last time I was in my local grocery store I discovered that they had discontinued carrying their Amy’s rice crust spinach and feta cheese pizza in favor of the organic wheat spinach pizza instead. I was really upset because that dish is scrumptious. I guess it is the changing neighborhood that is causing changes in what they carry.

The neighborhood surrounding the grocery store has been changing ethnically for some time now. The store’s supply of gluten free products is very limited and seems to be dwindling in response to the buying habits. The same chain has a store about seven miles from my house that carries more gluten free items but I prefer the convenience of shopping closer to home. I guess the clientele at my neighborhood store does not request gluten free items for several reasons. The other store is in a more health conscious and higher income area. 1) Many are probably not aware of sensitivity and celiac disease. It is estimated that 97% of celiac disease sufferers are undiagnosed. 2) Their ethnic diets are tied to other food products. 3) The cost of gluten free foods is higher than they can afford. Many of them have to buy what is cheapest rather than what is the healthiest for their families just to feed them.

People have started becoming more aware of the problems with gluten. Elizabeth Hasselbeck from The View is one of the more prominent celebrities who is speaking out about the problems associated with gluten after finally discovering what was causing her health concerns. She has authored the G-free Diet. 

Parents have stated that their child’s autism is improved when eating a gluten free diet. Jenny McCarthy, an advocate for her autistic child, is a spokesperson for connecting autism and gluten. So far, the medical studies that have been done have not found the connection even though parents can see the improvement.

“Like many other treatments, the autism diet isn’t scientifically proven to improve symptoms or help children recover from autism. So far, there’s only anecdotal evidence from parents of autistic children, which isn’t enough to establish whether the diet really works. The diet usually requires excluding gluten (a protein found in wheat) or casein (a protein found in milk)”. 

I have a dream list. I would love to see a petition with thousands of signatures requesting that the FDA would no longer consider gluten as generally regarded as safe. Although I am trying to cut down on pizzas, I’d like to see the major chains offer a gluten free crust. It would be great if the major bakeries offered at least one gluten free bread for sale thus lowering the cost. The same goes for restaurants that serve pasta. Just making one of their menu items gluten free to start would make it much simpler to choose when friends dine out together. I’d like to see Subway bring back its gluten free bread. I was so happy my son would be able to go to Subway when he visited home. By the time I was diagnosed, Subway had discontinued the bread. I’d appreciate other sandwich shoppes offering the same choice as well.

As more people become aware of gluten free diets, the greater the demand will be. It may be slow for businesses in the beginning but I have a feeling the popularity of gluten free products would grow if they advertised their desire to see a healthier clientele.

Namaste. Attic Annie

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Filed under childhood, economics, gluten, health, Uncategorized

Continuing My Family’s Gluten Story

loaves of bread

Three years ago I wrote about my son and his battle with products that contain gluten. He has celiac disease as does his paternal aunt.   It is known that celiac disease clusters in families but not much more is known yet about the genetic inheritance.

Two years ago, my son moved to China and found a  young Chinese woman who became his bride. She is totally amazing when it comes to his diet. She reads every label before she buys anything for him. At home she cooks vegetable laden meals. She has found a non-wheat flour so its not like he’s being deprived of an occasional pizza. As a result, he is getting much healthier and is down to his high school trim weight. He has lost the puffiness from water retention as well as several pounds.

It is amazing how many products contain gluten from soy sauce (can we say living in China?) to vitamins. It is a very pervasive product. He has problems buying products in China, but people with sensitivity or the disease have as many problems in the United States. Our “health conscious” national government allows manufacturers to hide the fact that their products contain gluten.

“Gluten-Free” Labeling  

 

“Surprise, surprise! The FDA allows companies to lie about gluten labeling…nothing new there, they haven’t exactly endorsed honesty with anything else, right? Gluten is on the FDA’s list of “Generally Recognized As Safe” ingredients, meaning food manufacturers aren’t required to list gluten as an ingredient”.

This makes avoiding gluten even more difficult, obviously. One thing you should know is that foods labeled as “gluten-free” are not 100% without gluten. The reason for this is simple: it just isn’t possible to remove all of the proteins from wheat and the other grain sources of gluten.

 Due to my son being diagnosed with celiac disease, I asked my allergist to test me also. The tests came back that I am gluten sensitive. What does that mean? It means that when I eat gluten, it sets off an immune response. Symptoms  can be very vague and since I have had a myriad of other problems, it was not quick to be diagnosed since symptoms often overlap. Not everyone has the same symptoms. The response to those with celiac disease is much more evident.

There is a long and growing list of foods that contain gluten. It’s everywhere and like the above quote says, its impossible to eliminate 100% of the gluten.

We are not unique with our gluten problems. It is estimated that 1/133 people in America or 1% have been diagnosed with celiac disease. It is also estimated that 1/18- 1/20 Americans are now gluten sensitive.

I found a chart that explains the difference between gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, and celiac disease.

[GRAIN-0314]

It’s that “occasional use” under the gluten sensitive that is my Achille’s heel. I’ll continue this topic tomorrow. Namaste Attic Annie

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Are We All FRACKED Up?

Fracking Farmland 615pxWhat the FRACK are we allowing to happen?

This graph is in an article about fracking and our food supply. It tells the story of Jacki Shilke and her cattle on a ranch in North Dakota. Two years ago gas companies started massive drilling operations surrounding her ranch. Soon afterwards her cattle became seriously ill and many died.

This event is not an isolated case, unfortunately. It is happening all over the United States as water continues to become contaminated. The citizens of the United States are allowing gas and oil companies to continue to pollute our land and water. It is either because of lack of knowledge of what is really happening or lack of caring as we continue to believe the propaganda spilling from the companies that tell how safe everything is.

There is a commercial running currently on television from one of the major natural gas companies in North Texas. The voice of the father explains his role in keeping water safe for his children. The children are seen swimming in the crystal clear water of a swimming pool. You see the blue water, the blue sky, the happy children. You hear the proud voice of the father explaining his role in protecting his children and protecting the water which sustains their lives.

Not surprisingly, this commercial is in complete opposition of what is actually happening to our water supply not only here in North Texas but also everywhere throughout this country.  When they can get away with it, they are even taking our treated drinking water out of the hydrants. When that water is used, it is permanently contaminated.

The oil and gas companies have such a stranglehold on our Congress that it is impossible for environmentalists to even get heard. From a 2010 article from CBS, “… environmentalists are naive to think that the current crop of milquetoasts on Capitol Hill will engage in anything more than distracting (and useless) policy debates. It’s going to take more than an earthquake to alter Chesapeake Energy’s beguiling “clean and green” gas drilling activities.” It is referring to the earthquakes measured at the airport in addition to the pollution.

The article on the ranch states that the carcasses of the cows are being sold to middlemen who sell them to makers of animal foods including chickens. That means there is a direct connection between the ranches and our own dinner tables or the food of our beloved pets.

Personally, I think the United States, if not already, will soon be permanently FRACKED UP! In our pursuit of cheap energy we allow the lobbyists to dissuade the best Congress money can buy to keep safe, clean alternative sources of energy from being produced. The industry keeps reminding us of the jobs it creates and how vital the producers are to our nation. Don’t other sources of energy need workers as well? I truly believe this is a specious argument. Who will be around to hold down the jobs if those in the US continue to be poisoned or die of thirst due to water that can no longer be drunk?

Once again, I feel it comes down to a matter of greed. How all the decision makers who sanctify the ruining of our earth think they and their families can forever escape from the effects of what they are doing is beyond me. They too have to eat and drink in order to live. I don’t care what anyone says, even they can’t eat money. Namaste. Attic Annie

 

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Get off our bodies and out of our bedrooms!

I am totally upset by the trend I see happening in the United States concerning the control of women’s bodies by the men (and more than a few of the women) in our governments. I’m sure there are a godzillion posts by now about yesterday’s news concerning the Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood.

Since the 1960s, men have been losing control of women, en masse. It had been happening gradually since before women started wearing bloomers. It has been in the last fifty years that women in the United States have really asserted their rights to the control of their own bodies and their own lives.

It has not been a surprise that the men in power want to reclaim and hold on to that power. They see their position as “head of the household” as one ordained by God as the natural order. They have resisted the lessening of the women’s bonds for so many years that they now view themselves as “less than” a man when it comes to relationships with the women in their lives due to the freedom women have achieved.

This power struggle has now come to a head with the withdrawal of funds by the Susan G. Komen Foundation to Planned Parenthood. Their excuse is that they will not fund organizations that are under investigation by the U. S. Congress. Although they deny it, from what I have heard in the past twenty four hours, it is a flagrant attempt to disband Planned Parenthood because part of their services are for abortions. To do that, they are willing to sacrifice the lives of thousands of women every year who would no longer be screened for breast cancer. Life of the unborn is more valuable than life of the mother. They are making that perfectly clear. The irony is that Planned Parenthood is one of the few “crisis pregnancy” groups that do counsel the women in their three choices: parenting, adoption, or abortion.

I am not in favor of abortions. I feel that should be the very last option a woman should choose. That being said, I believe that women should still have that choice and be treated in a sterile environment. Outlawing abortions would not stop abortions. History has clearly shown that. Women have chosen abortion since at least before 1500 BCE according to written Egyptian records. It probably started happening as soon as the first prehistoric woman realized the pregnancy could be ended.

Not every child is a wanted child. Not every child can be afforded. The reason for abortions vary with every single woman who seeks out that service. Ending legal abortions would simply drive women back to the back alleys into deplorable conditions. They would seek out powerful herb concoctions. They would implement coat hangers to attempt to do the job themselves. They would desperately seek an end to their unwanted condition regardless of whether it cost them their own lives or not.

The irony of government seeking to end abortions is that throughout history, men in power, or the sons of men in power who outwardly oppose abortion, are the first ones to pay for and drive or fly their girlfriends or wives to the abortionist in the first place.

The government that is opposing abortions is the same government that is complaining about the safety nets that are in place (as fragile as they are) to keep the unwanted children that are born from starving or dying from disease once they are born. They are the ones to continue to cut funding for their education, health, and housing.They are the ones who forbid the woman from having the abortion yet punish her for the rest of her life for the sin of getting pregnant.

They are also the ones who condemn the growing number of women who choose to keep their children when they have limited sources of income to do so. They gripe at having to provide food stamps, health care, and housing, wishing always to cut funding in those areas. They speak out of both sides of their mouths. To me, that signals multiple personality disorders.

One thing governments can not do is legislate morality. In a fairy tale land, according to them, all children would be planned for and wanted and well cared for by a mother and father who have the financial means to do so. There would never be any “accidents” even if the couple did not practice contraception as some religious groups advocate. Both the mother and the father would be loving and faithful to each other until death does them part. But, alas, that is not the real world. It never has been.

In the meantime, until that fairy tale land exists, governments should get out of the business of trying to control women. It may work for a while but, as evidenced throughout the world today, there will again come a point when women will have the courage to resist such control. The backlash from the Komen decision is a good indication that that time is now. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Filed under economics, family, government, health, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Let A Woman Be A Woman…not a sexy teenage Mouseketeer!

What does America have against curves on a woman? It seems all the fashion gurus want are women who perpetually look like emaciated teen age boys.

Granted I am speaking from the viewpoint of a woman who has had weight issues most of my life. When I wore a size 10-12 I looked to myself and others as quite thin.

I am not a big music fan. Perhaps it is because as a child we only had one radio in the kitchen for the whole house. I was never encouraged to enjoy music of any kind. I never intentionally listen to music when I am in the car or at home. I’m not sure why the “plight” of Christina Aguilera even caught my attention.

It seems many want to make her a social outcast because she now has curves. I would dearly love to have her figure. She looks like a woman. She is thirty one years old and looks well nourished. She does not look like an overexploited, overexposed sexy Mouseketeer any longer. Which reminds me….when did the female Mouseketeers change from being the wholesome teenage girls to the provocative teenage vixens?….another topic.

Recent comments about Aguilera have not been flattering. She is being criticized about her weight. I would like to know why. Depending on the camera angle she may now have a hint of a double chin and rounded face but nothing that maybe losing five pounds wouldn’t take care of. She is very normal looking for a thirty one year old.

Her pictures remind me of Mae West. Mae was certainly very sexy for her time even as her weight appeared to fluctuate in her photos. She definitely knew how to be a woman. She definitely knew how to be sexy. She definitely knew men did not appreciate a string bean.

Aguilera seems to have the same attitude. It is the entertainment media who seems to view her weight as a “plight” rather than her. She says she comfortable in her own skin. I applaud her for not caving in the the media moguls who want big boobs and an 18 inch waist before they give any woman the time of day.

Do I think weight is important? Yes. Believe me, I know the consequences physically, emotionally, and socially to being overweight. Have I been “comfortable in my own skin” as Aguilera claims she is? No. To some, she is a very accomplished vocalist. I am not familiar with her works. I’m not really into the dirrty hooker images for young women which are so prevalent these days. I yearn for the years when they were just suggestively sexy. But I do feel a woman should be judged, if she must be, on the health of her body, the generosity of her spirit, and her talent. Not her weight. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Will an Honest Lawmaker Please Stand Up?

Over the past few months I have become involved with sharing news items I find interesting with friends on Facebook. I have resorted to being incensed several times but I limit my frustration to sharing the actual site with the addition of a sentence or two instead of devoting time to blog about it.

I do  find blogging a great way to vent my frustrations. Back when I was writing every day I realized I was starting to have a following. It was small, but people were actually responding. Then life got in the way and I stopped blogging on a daily basis.

There is so much happening that I have an opinion about, I’ve got to start talking again.

This is the article that captured my attention today in the New York Times. I posted it for my friends on Facebook saying

“Is there ANY management ANYWHERE that isn’t milking Medicare and screwing the workers who actually provide the service?”

It is the story of part-time workers in New York who “go into the homes of developmentally disabled people to teach them simple tasks, like grooming or how to take a bus.” Since they do not need any particular credentials, they are paid $10 to $15.00 an hour. The non-profit agencies who employ them, bill the state three to four times that amount for their services. According to the article, the agencies are swimming in money from this enterprise. The head of one of the agencies is drawing a salary of $400,000. The article states that the agencies which are doing this are sitting on multi-million dollar surpluses.

The agencies are designed to serve those children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism, and Down’s Syndrome. The workers teach them life skills which allow them to live outside state financed group homes.

And who is providing all of these funds? Medicare, of course: public funds.  And who is overseeing these agencies? Nobody, although people have started to pay attention and investigate. I am 100% positive similar events have been happening throughout the United States for as long as there have been safety nets set up.

In Congress, our illustrious leaders are debating cutting funding to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. There is rampant abuse of finances in the companies who dip into the public funds. There is probably enough misappropriation of public funds to provide insurance to those who can’t afford it.

We know if they cut funding, it will be the patients, the senior citizens, the least able in our society who suffer. It won’t be the executives who have lined their nests with silks and gems. These organizations have already helped thousands or more of people across the United States to commit fraud.

This summer, in a related event, I had two sleep studies. I am now on Medicare with secondary coverage through another insurance company. The first test had to be repeated another day because there was another patient in the same testing facility who kept me from getting an adequate amount of sleep the first night. I was supposed to sleep half the night and then be hooked to a C-Pap machine the second half the night. I only got about four hours of sleep the entire night and not all at once. The test involved having leads placed in various areas of my body to monitor my brain and other organs during sleep. I was monitored by one technician. The hospital charged for both studies.The hospital said the cost was close to $12,000. This did not include a physician’s report which was extra. Of course Medicare had a set agreement with them and did not pay full price but they did pay a significant amount. With my secondary insurance, my part of the bill for both nights was somewhat over $100.00.

A couple of months ago my primary care physician ordered a urinalysis. The hospital lab said that the cost of this service was $900.00. This involved spreading a drop or two of urine on agar plates and letting the bacteria grow for a couple of days. They did not send the bill to Medicare but to my secondary insurance who denied payment. That’s how I know the charge. That’s one technician, one or two agar plates, and one incubator using electricity. $900.00! I have no concept of hospital accounting, but I think the hospitals are allowed to “write off” costs that are not covered thus lowering their tax bills.

The ones who are yelling the loudest about cutting government spending are many of the same people who are participating in the bankrupting of America for their own greed. Of course they want less government intervention. These are just two examples of what is happening in this country. I’m wondering if there is any hope left for our morally bankrupt country. Patients go without services while hospitals are being built to rival the great temples and grandest hotels in the world. The cost for one night is not even being questioned. It is sometimes more than a week’s stay at a five star establishment.

When are we going to wake up and start challenging these agencies and rein them in? Where are the Congress persons who will stand up and see where the cuts and oversight REALLY need to be?  Is there any hope?  Namaste Attic Annie

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