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Monday, September 22, 2008

Tight Rope Performance

The meds, the combination of my meds, I should say, are a little difficult to keep up with. I've had some noticeable, annoying arrythmias (heart palpitations) since the end of July. I kept thinking that maybe it was due to the prednisone, and figured it will stop as I go off of it. But, the dosages is now down to 5mg. Last week I had some really intense ongoing palpitations (or whatever they are), that lasted a long time. It was exhausting!

So my doctor sent me to a cardiologist for a work up. I also kept wondering if it was caused by anxiety. But, I noticed that taking tranquilizers had little effect. At the Cardiologist's office an EKG was done. Funny, I forgot to even ask what the results were! I should have taken someone with me! Now I have to wait until the follow up appointment to learn what is going on. Couldn't be too serious, or they would not have let me go home.

I have an ultrasound scheduled this week. A heart monitoring device sort of like a Holter Monitor was ordered for me. I wear it on my chest and it measures the way my heart beats. Apparently, the information is sent to some main computer where it is analyzed and a report is sent to the doctor. I have to wear it for two weeks, unless I have an episode that gets them worried. I don't think it is that bad, but I would very much like to have some way for it to stop bothering me. I'm sure many would describe it as having a bird in a cage flapping to get out. Well, I describe it as a monkey shaking the cage door and throwing himself up against it, too. Then, too, the monkey will just sit there tapping his finger in an irradict out of synch way. Tip, Tap, Tappity, Tippity, Tappity, TAP TAP TAP!!!

The cardiologist, though, was more concerned, it seemed, for my liver. The Imuran is metabolized by the liver, as so many other drugs are, but right now I have a bit too many all at once. And my Alkaline Phosphatase is above normal. So, I have spent the last several days researching each medicine I am taking, to learn how they metabolize. Most of them are through the liver. So, I am trying to figure out what other medications I might be able to substitute. For example, there were some prescription eyedrops I was taking which are most definitely contraindicated. So I have stopped them. Happened to see my eye doctor today for my annual exam (how convenient) and he agreed that I must discontinue them. I hope it will stop eye pain that I have had recently.

I have discussed all this with my pharmacist and she is quite helpful to figuring out what other drugs will possibly substitute for the ones that increase my liver counts. I have appointment soon with my primary care doctor, and I intend to see what she suggests. She knows a lot about chemo drugs as she is an oncologist, so hopefully this will resolve the issue.

In the meantime, I have also done some research to learn what nutritional supplements will be helpful also. The one I had taken for years, (Milk Thistle) I had been out of for some time, and careless about replacing. I guess I should not have let it go, because that is the number one, most important one to take to detoxify the liver according to those who research such things.

There are certain foods I will be including more in my diet and some I will eat less of, and some I will forsake entirely.

My white blood cells have dropped below normal. I didn't realize all this would happen so fast. My lymphocytes are the lowest. I haven't had time or opportunity to do much research in this category. I wonder if I were to take a prescription to increase my white blood cells, it would increase my immunity. If so, then I am defeating the purpose of taking the Imuran. And I do not want to suffer any more Oral Lichen Planus if I can prevent it!

Life's a balancing act, and I'm performing with two trays of prescription meds, an electronic heart monitor and a bum leg!

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