Day #244 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…A stunning and surprising revelation…

 

Today’s few photos are from those taken in the past 24 hours.

Although today’s story may be of little interest to many readers, I felt it was important to share it with those who may be interested. None of today’s information is intended to provide medical advice in any manner. Please contact your health care professionals for assistance with these or any other issues if they apply to you or someone you love.

On November 2, 2020, in this post, I described how the restaurant had been making chicken burger patties for me, that without my knowledge, included bread crumbs as a filler. I have been gluten, sugar, and starch free since 2011 in order to reduce a chronic spinal pain condition exacerbated by inflammation from food, stress, and lack of sleep.

It was this way of eating, basically, a very low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet, consuming no more than 20 carb grams per day from both small amounts of dairy and certain low carb vegetables that changed our lives in 2012. As many of our long-time readers are well aware, the almost total reduction in pain was instrumental in our deciding to travel the world, while we may never know when and if the pain would return, as I’ve strictly adhered to this way of eating.

At the time I embarked on this way of eating I was on two drugs for hypertension since developing hypertension in the year 2000, Lisinopril 10 mg with HCTZ 25 mg daily which I’ve continued for 20 years, and also was diagnosed as pre-diabetic with a strong family history of metabolic disease including diabetes, heart disease, severe spinal stenosis, and more. For many of my family members, obesity was not uncommon, as often is prevalent in those with metabolic disease.

As a child, I witnessed relatives suffering from these diseases and at a young age, I started exercising and carefully watching what I ate, primarily focused on the dictates of the medical profession, a low-fat way of eating, that kept me slim most of my adult life but didn’t spare me from all of these conditions.

Thus, weeks ago, when I discovered I was being fed “wheat” in those chicken burgers, after specifically informing the restaurant that I would not be eating, wheat, grains, starch, or sugar in any foods served to me, the pain only increased since arriving at this hotel, which had continued after cardiac bypass surgery and subsequent leg surgeries due to infections from the grafts taken for my heart.

In worsening pain in my legs over these past many months, while struggling to walk 5 miles, 8 km, per day in the corridors, I finally realized I must have been eating something horribly wrong for me. Immediately, I went on a drastic mission to reverse this situation by cutting out all carbohydrates from my diet, including vegetables but leaving in a small amount of cheese. This was about three weeks ago. My intent was to basically do a zero carb, carnivore-type (no beef available here) way of eating until I got back on track.

In the mornings, I’ve had two hard-boiled eggs, which hold me until dinner. For dinner, I had either grilled chicken or salmon topped with Emmental cheese, four thin slices of bacon, two more eggs, fried in butter, and mustard as a dipping sauce. I requested no oil (only butter), minimal spices, and have freely used pink Himalayan salt while drinking only water throughout the day.

From Amazon India, I ordered powdered unsweetened electrolytes which I add to a big glass of bottled water. I have been satisfied and not hungry while continuing to slowly lose weight, which I’ve needed to do. I felt great. Two weeks ago, the pain was literally gone. But, I noticed something else, I felt better, different.

What was going on? For the heck of it, I tested my blood pressure using an Omron device we’ve carried with us for years, which I’ve used each week and also, tested my blood sugar, using fresh Accu-Chek sticks I also ordered from Amazon India. I was astounded by what I was seeing. For the first time in 20 years, my blood pressure was so low, I decided to gradually reduce the dose of my medication. I am now down by 75% of my former dose, to a tiny dose of 2.5 Lisinopril, 6.25 HCTZ.

With my blood pressure still too low, compared to a high normal of 120/80, I will continue to check it and will drop the last 25% dose in the next several days.

Additionally, to my amazement, my blood sugar is now in the 70s, (3.9mmol) and 80s, (4.4mmol) for the first time in 20 years when only two months ago my blood sugar ranged from the 100s (5.55mmol) before meals to 130s (7.22) after meals! I can only attribute this to the reduction in carbohydrates to this large degree.

After reading many scientific studies over the past few weeks, I’ve noted that an extremely low carbohydrate intake for those with severe metabolic disease might, for some, lower both blood pressure and blood sugar, both of which vastly contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Of course, in the interim, I will continue to closely monitor these two drastic changes, and once we get to South Africa, I’ll make an appointment with Dr. Theo to review these changes and see if I need to do anything differently. In the meantime, I’m reeling with delight over these two massive changes.

I realize there is no guarantee of long-term improved health from these changes, but I feel confident the numbers are going in the right direction.

So there it is. While in lockdown in India, with no access to a family doctor, with medical clinics, hospitals jammed with COVID-19 patients, I had to take the bull by the horns and be proactive in my own health care. I’m no expert, but being one’s own advocate during challenging times may present some advantages.

BTW, Tom rarely eats vegetables and he’s ok.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 22, 2019:

While we were so busy in Minnesota on this date, one year ago, we posted this photo, from today’s date in 2014 when we stopped along the highway in Maui for a breathtaking view. For the story one year ago, please click here.

 

 

 

 

How am I going to do it?…Two days and counting…Favorite Ireland photos…

Tom standing at the doorway to a house at the Connemara Heritage and History Centre and the Dan O’Hara Homestead.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
“The submarine was invented in Ireland.  John Philip Holland (29 February 1840 – 12 August 1914) was a Christian Brother from County Clare who invented the first submarine used by the US Navy and the first Royal Navy submarine– Holland 1”

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Over the past several weeks while feeling awful due to side effects from several medications, I knew it was time to wean myself off of them. I’ve wondered how I would be able to manage all the walking and being up and about all day and evening while on the upcoming Baltic cruise.

There’s no way I’d want to spend the days and nights in the cabin.  Thus, over the past two weeks, I stopped two drugs and today, I started reducing the dose on the third, a beta-blocker that is causing me to feel sleepy all afternoon and evening.  

A friendly little lamb at the centre.

I’m already on two medications to lower my blood pressure which I’ll continue to take but this third medication, bisoprolol, has a profound effect on how I feel all day.  Also, my blood pressure and pulse are too low further exacerbating the level of weakness and exhaustion.

While in South Africa at my last appointment, the surgeon stated I could stop these last two drugs, amiodarone, and bisoprolol by the six month anniversary of the surgery coming up in six days.  He didn’t suggest I stop the statin but based on extreme muscle pain caused by this drug I made a decision to stop it.

At first, when I stopped the statin, I noticed an improvement in the pain in my arms and legs.  About a week later, it returned and it made me look hard at these other two drugs could also be contributing to the pain.

Thatched roof structures.

After reading the drug literature from the manufacturers and non-biased drugs and prescription informational sites,  I knew I’d better get off the two other drugs in order to begin feeling better.  

The side effects of all three drugs were similar in some ways, all of which contribute to pain, muscle wasting, and weakness.  When this morning I cut the heart-shaped pills into little pieces with a plan to taper over the next nine days taking  of a pill the first three days, ½ the second three days and ¼ on the final three days, stopping entirely on the 10th day.
A footbridge leading to a hut.
This drug called Cardicor (South Africa trade name), aka bisoprolol, is particularly dangerous to reduce the dose.  Why didn’t the doctor warn me about this and getting off amiodarone, both of which may cause problems when stopping?

I am prepared for any possible side effects and if necessary, I’ll slow the process even further. I am anxious to see how I’ll feel around noon today with today’s reduced dose.  Usually, at noon, I can’t even keep my head up, so tired from the drug which I’d have taken at 8:00 am.  

However, I am also prepared that I won’t notice a major improvement until I’m off it entirely.  Why did I choose to do this four days before the upcoming cruise?  If I didn’t I would be spending the better part of each day, sleepy and exhausted in the cabin.  I had to take the chance.
Dan O’Hara’s home in which he lived with his family.
In the interim, I’ll be checking my pulse and blood pressure every few hours during these next several days, ensuring I am not experiencing any difficulties.  If I do I can slow the weaning process over several weeks.

If I experience major problems while weaning, I’ll immediately go back to the original dose and wait until we get to the UK at the end of the month when I plan to see a cardiologist for a checkup.  

Of course, I’m hoping that one day soon, I’ll feel better but I’m not expecting too much.  This has been a long, painful and challenging process over which I’ve had little control.  I continue to walk but can’t seem to build much endurance in my current state of weakness.
Tom had to bend over to enter the stone house.
My packing is almost completely done.  Tom packed his clothing this morning.  Tomorrow, after the final load of laundry is done, and once the clothes we’re wearing are dry, we’ll finish packing our bags and weigh them.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with the final expenses for Ireland and the wrap-up of our favorite photos.  Please check back. 

Be well.

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Photo from one year ago today, August 6, 2018:

This may have been a huge matriarch we spotted from across the Crocodile River from the fence in Marloth Park.  For more photos, please click here.