April 28th, 2021

storyteller doll

Mostly Medical

Vaccine: I had the second Pfizer shot on April 8th. So I’m now past the freedom-granting 2 week mark! Which enabled me to go to a surprise birthday party for a friend on Sunday.

Gastroenterology: As I mentioned previously, my doctor referred me to get a GI work-up to see if there was any source of bleeding which would account for my iron deficiency anemia. I had been particularly dreading the colonoscopy prep, but, as one of my friends (whose travel tastes are similar to mine) pointed out, the people who talk about how awful it is, have generally not spent much time in the developing world. The worst aspect of the prep was actually the couple of days before, when I was directed to eat a low-residue diet. No whole grains, no fruits and vegetables, no nuts - not exactly what I prefer. The clear liquid aspect of the day before was more tolerable, as tea and lemon ices are allowed. The cleansing solution doesn’t taste quite as awful as I feared - not great, but I washed each glass down with ginger ale. (I had made the mistake of buying white powerade and that turned out to be a vile cherry flavor.) I don’t need to describe the effects of the cleanse, which are actually not as bad as various bouts of traveller’s diarrhea I’ve experienced.

The actual procedure is done under moderate sedation (fentanyl and versed) so one doesn’t feel a thing. They had me try to gargle with a vile tasting numbing liquid for the upper endoscopy and my gag reflex completely defeated me on that, After three attempts they gave up. Anyway, the colonoscopy found only a few small non-bleeding hemorrhoids - and I don’t have to do it again for 10 years. For the endoscopy, the doctor took a few biopsies and the results ruled out H. Pylori (the infection that causes ulcers) and celiac disease. But my esophagus showed some inflammation, which is presumably due to acid reflux, so he gave me a prescription for Protonix to take for 4 weeks.

I’ve also looked up other recommendations for addressing reflux and they all start off with avoiding various foods - onions, garlic, spicy foods, citrus, chocolate, caffeine, tomatoes, mint, carbonated drinks. Every single thing I cook has onions, garlic, and lemon juice, and most of them have hot peppers. And life without coffee or chocolate would not be worth living. I am trying to limit quantities, but the only one of those things I could completely cut out without total despair is tomatoes. Specifically re: coffee, I saw one suggestion to limit it to a 3 to 4 ounce cup a day. Who on earth drinks a 3 to 4 ounce cup of coffee? A cup is 8 ounces, dammit.

I’ll get my blood tested again in mid-May and we’ll see if my iron has improved. If not, I’ll probably end up having to get intravenous iron infusions.

Spring Allergy Season: I like trees. Really. They’re pretty and they keep things cooler on walks around my neighborhood. But why do they insist of having sex outdoors and spraying pollen all over the place? Ah-ah-ahchoo!

ProLon: I got interested in the ProLon fasting mimicking diet program last summer when I read an article in Technology Review about it. I should note that the focus is longevity and not specifically weight loss, though one does inevitably lose weight over 5 days of eating so little. I’ve done three 5-day cycles since November and plan to do 2 or 3 more (and have bought two more kits). I’m debating when to start the next one. Probably on Monday. I will write a day by day account for anyone else who might be considering it.

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