Category Archives: Health

Geographical Oddity: Change

Okay, big changes have been happening.  For one: I got a new job. Both better hours and better pay.  Plus I only work with three people and we all get along.  …so far, we’ll see how everybody fares the increase in summer business.  For two: I think my gastroenterologist and I have done what we can with the gut so now I am seeing someone in integrative medicine.  This doctor works with a health coach and does acupuncture.  Now I feel that my actions and reactions are better charted.

The worst part is that I’m on an elimination diet … again.  No caffeine. No sugar. No sugar substitutes.  No eggs.  All whole foods, so no bread (not even gluten-free), no sausage.

I was adding maple syrup to sweeten up some stuff, such as hot almond milk,  because some diets allow this low-glycemic sweetener and I don’t react.  Even though I was only having three Tablespoons a day, I was surprised that I naturally cut back to one because even that small amount was just getting a little too gooey-sweet.

For the most part we have eliminated FODMAP foods, histamine foods, high glycemic foods. I hardly eat any fruit and those are just blueberries, blackberries and cantaloupe.  I still get a bloom, or two, or three, on my tongue which lasts about four or five days. Right now I’m blaming turnips, but I’m getting to the point where maybe I have cut through the inflammation and found the real geographic tongue. We’ll see.  There isn’t much more food I can cut out.  So if I can stick to foods that I have been eating for another two weeks, I think I can get a clean slate to start adding foods back in.

Furthermore, I have been running.  Everyday I leave work and stop by the gym before I go home. I’m off work at 5:30 and I have my alarm set for 6:30 and when it goes off I get off the treadmill. I have to take my speed and distance for what it is. It differs because I don’t get out of work right away.  Sometimes I get 45 minutes in, sometimes I only get a half-hour in.  Right now my best is 2 miles in 28.5 minutes.

I’ve lost 12 pounds since January 23rd.  I haven’t had a migraine quality headache since, but I have had withdrawal aches, pains, and cravings, especially with caffeine.  I did have light to medium blooms on my tongue four different times, so I am still looking for that clean slate.  I feel great except I need to have more variety of food.  This is no way to live, although I am hopeful because I feel like I finally found what normal feels like.


Geographical Oddity: Lymph Nodes

I’m not posting pictures of any of this stuff because its gross.  If you want pictures you can google lymph nodes and hit images. I recommend you do so for your own health investigation.

So a lymph node is part of your filter system.  Your body has a lot of them. It is a huge veiny system of filters shaped like pearls, or nodes.  My description here is more for locating where they are at rather than how they actually connect. For that you can refer to those Google Images.  Lets start with the Thymus Gland and go up.  The Thymus is in your chest (below your Thyroid) almost on top of your Heart.  I can tell when something is going on because it swells so much that it pushes everything up until I see a fatty lump sitting in that hollow in the front of my neck where the collar bones meet.

Going up from the Thymus the system branches off four ways, two of these branches one on the left and one on the right go straight up sides of the neck and continues on to the ears. The system splits to surround the ear.  I always ask people to repeat what they’ve said and this is odd because I don’t have hearing problems. I often get accused of being distracted or having an overloaded brain.  Now, I’m thinking its swollen lymph nodes making the ear canal smaller so sound doesn’t vibrate right.

On the front side of the ear, these lymph nodes make their way over to the sinuses and end there. Remember all these are mirrored on the right and left of the body.

The split on the back side of the ear has lymph nodes that wrap around the back of the neck and drop down along the entire leangth of the spine.  Trails of these splay behind the shoulder-blades and trails splay out over the lower back.  From the spine the system runs all the way down to the feet with some nodes in the buttock, and a few behind the knee. When I looked at the pictures of the back and neck, I saw nearly every chiropractic issue I’ve ever had and can blame a specific node. One picture is so good I think it is from an actual cadaver.

Going back to the thymus, two more trails of lymph nodes branch out at the top. These go into the armpits, curve back out and go into the chest, or the breast for women.  This is probably where we hear about lymph nodes the most, if you look you can see how easy it is for breast cancer to get into the lymphatic system. Then it’s also easy to confuse those lymph nodes for cancer lumps in the arm pit.  Not to mention confusing them for cysts developed from shaving.

Now let’s go back to the Thymus and go down.  Here is a pretty thick line next to the esophagus called the Thoracic Duct. This duct looks like a thin tube, or, a thick master vein, and ends in a thicker wad called the Cisterna Chyli. This is located in the vicinity of where your esophagus connects to your stomach. I blame this one for my Acid Reflux — think of what happens when that duct swells. You can come up with your own reason, I say that the esophagus gets bent out of shape, gets that sphincter inside out of alignment and allows acid to spit out into the esophagus.

From the Thoracic Duct the lymph system splays all over the abdomen and in to the groin. You ever get that pain in the groin area that is not quite a cramp? Next time you feel that think of your lymphatic system.

There is a lymph node right next to your appendix.  I thought I was having scar tissue build up after my appendix surgery.  Man, that thing would bother me. It finally subsided with a gluten-free diet and hasn’t flared up since I took the Difulcan. I’m guessing it was a lymph node.  I don’t think scar tissue subsides from a gluten-free diet.

So in addition to fat, edema, and the layers of visceral fat around the organs, we also have swollen lymph nodes nestled in and around our intestines and internal organs.  So, you know about that weight loss thingy that happens when you don’t actually lose pounds?  What if it is your lymph nodes deflating?  Maybe it’s not water weight because water actually has weight.

The lymphatic system includes your tonsils, spleen, and also includes something in your intestine called the Peyer’s patch.

I don’t understand why the doctors don’t see this in surgery or in internal imaging.  Maybe it is assumed that it is a natural side effect and that is the way it is supposed to be.  Would it hurt if a couple of Doctors got together and decided to look at the lympatic system as if it was the cause?  If we care for the lymph nodes would things go back to normal?

In addition to getting 100 people in a room, with a geographic tongue, I would like my 101st person to be a doctor who is emphatic about the lymphatic system.

Yes.  That would be great.

Geographical Oddity: Migraine Quality Headaches

Here I am, another morning hunched at the desktop, working through a migraine quality headache. I don’t think it is a true migraine because that has something to do with arteries. I’m sure this is lymph nodes. If the pain isn’t equaled to a migraine, it’s right below it and I always function though it with a heavy head.

This is such a waste of a day off, but I’m glad I don’t have to go into work like this.  I get too many migraine quality headaches to call in sick, so I just work through them.  I hate having my productivity or attitude judged by customers, co-workers, or management, so I will usually slink off and do some background work until I feel the tell-tale signs of a pounding heart-beat, rapid breathing, a hot-flash, then break out in a sweat. Then relief.

I write nearly every morning, migraine or not.  For one; I’m proving to myself that I am still productive and not a piece of waste. For two; I pray that if this is a life-long affliction I want a career that will match up to this lifestyle. …If I want to call it that?  If I wake up with a headache, I can go to the computer and still be productive at my own pace.  If I have to show up to an event, I can get through a couple of hours, besides I won’t have a migraine at every event.  Also, most of my headaches dissipate after 5:00 p.m. and for the release of pain, I get energy in exchange.  I can stay up all night writing if I want.  Or clean the house all night and get in a good work out without worrying about getting up for work in the morning.

This will work, if I can just step into my “Flow” as Oprah puts it, and meet the people I am supposed to meet and behave when my instinct tells me to act.

“If anything, I want the opportunity to be proven wrong.  I’m kind of surprised no one has taken me up on that offer,” says the defeatist voice that is my headache.

See why it is hard to take this thing out in public.  Although it does make for some exceptional character building.

12-29-2016 woke up with migraine quality headache.  Inflammation from geographic tongue has been reduced although white rings still present, with no new blooms.

Four days from start of inflammation of the tongue to migraine is questionable.  So is it connected or did I introduce something else?

  • I had Hershey’s hugs yesterday, which doesn’t make sense because I’ve had bits of chocolate everyday since Christmas.
  • Did painting my tongue and tonsils with Benadryl delay the migraine?
  • Also I’m trying to not put too much stake in this round because of a head cold.


Geographical Oddity: FODMAP

So after two years of not having insurance, I finally get this really awesome policy from my new job and I went and saw an allergist.  I had already been gluten free for most of the year. She told me that I don’t have any allergies.  So then I made an appointment with a Gastroenterologist.

He put me on the FODMAP diet.  FODMAP is an acronym for Fructans, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols.  In short;  they are short-chain carbohydrates.

A lot of it doesn’t make sense because it villainizes current good foods like avocados and redeems bad health foods such as carrots.  I can eat cantaloupe but not watermelon.  I can eat sugar but no sugar substitutes.  Not even the xylitol that is supposes to be good for your teeth. I’ve never been one for sugar substitutes so this doesn’t bother me. But I can’t eat the cancer fighters, garlic and onion.  Not to mention that they are in everything.  Those are much harder to eliminate than gluten ever was.

So we did that for about eight weeks, he put me on Difulcan then we made a six month follow up appointment.

I eliminated Gluten, High Fructose Corn Syrup, or at least confirmed that this was correct. And I also eliminated MSG and raw onion.  Farther along in the year I eliminated honey, nuts, and I started controlling my salt.  Something is still amiss.

For one: I had to eliminate dairy, but I could eat butter and sharp cheddar cheese.  I have never liked sharp cheddar and this diet proved that, that stuff made me queazy.  When I was off the diet, I re-introduced some soft cheese like colby and provolone then eliminated the hard aged cheese.  For two: I was supposed to eat nuts on the FODMAP diet, but I still seem to get a reaction from nuts. Plus although I really, really don’t want to admit this as much as I didn’t want to admit the honey, but I think something is going on with ketchup, tomatoes, and pickles.  It seems as though the more foods I eliminate the more I find foods that have been affecting me.

Since I haven’t quite nailed down what bothers me, I have been painting my tonsils and the blooms on my tongue with Children’s liquid Benadryl and it feels wonderful.  I pour some out in a spoon and dip my finger in and then stick it in my mouth before it drips. I can touch my tonsils without gagging and I feel a soothing trickle down my throat. This is a recent idea of my mothers. I do it two or three times a day.  I’m almost afraid to swallow because the Dr. also put me on Claritin for three months.  It might be a slippery slope if I start drinking half a bottle of Benadryl on top of a daily Claritin.

Too bad I caught a head cold, not sure what I have been treating, but it feels good enough to keep going. This is why I would like to get 100 people with a geographic tongue in a room.  I want to know who else does this?  What foods affect other people?

Geographical Oddity: Food Is BackAssWards.

I joke that the only thing I can eat is steak and carrots.  I do find it uncanny that bananas, potatoes, carrots are the junk foods of the “health foods” yet these are my go-to foods to stay safe.

I can’t eat:

  • Gluten
  • MSG
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup.
  • Fructose as an additive.
  • Honey
  • I don’t eat partially hydrogenated anything.

on the watch list:

  • Foods naturally higher in fructose over glucose, such as Apples.
  • garlic and onion  (this is even harder to eliminate than gluten)
  • Avocados
  • ketchup
  • tomatoes
  • other nightshade vegetables
  • fish, but I rarely eat this anyway
  • Citrus Fruits (these maybe a separate issue, but IDK that is why I have to test theories)
  • Nuts
  • Salt

Not too long ago I experienced an episode from some greenbeans that we froze from our summer garden.  I cooked them until they looked like they were canned. I filled up half my plate next to a piece of steak and added a dab of butter and some salt and pepper.  A few hours later I could feel my tongue activate a new bloom.  The next morning I woke up feeling the dense spot in my neck.  A sign that precludes a migraine that shoots pain over the left side of my head and affects my eye.  Not in the mood to screw around, I hit the Advil right away.  Problem is Advil doesn’t fully work, but I had to get to work and settle for a less than a ideal day.  Usually a hot flash and sudden break-out in sweat  24-30 hours later tells me the contaminate has passed and the bloat begins to deflate.  I spent the rest of the week getting upset over greenbeans.  Another health-food to put on the bad food list!!

My mother-in-law is an over-worked chef who has pretty much kept to herself until recently with her semi-retirement. Now in her new spare time at home she gets board and cooks. All the sudden she brings her leftovers over like; daily.  Food that is supposed to be celebrated from a culinary expert has now become mystery meat and like all foods is suspect for contamination.

A couple of years ago I would have been grateful for this gift and dove right in and relished it.  Now I have to watch other people enjoy her skills while I go in search of my safe food.

To her credit she tries to accommodate, but there is so much on the do not eat list that I don’t trust her accommodations; just like anything that I eat. Early on, she acted like I was being disagreeable.  Once, she tried getting my approval by floating a plate in front of my face so I could smell some of her work. After I tried getting a look at what appeared to be something savory and enveloped in gravy, I followed through because I was put on the spot, but she noticed my hesitation and scorned, “What, can’t even smell gluten?”  She never even saw that it was something I may want to eat. Something that I miss.  She didn’t see it as teaseing me.  She only saw that I wasn’t openly accepting her cooking.

She hasn’t pushed the boundaries that hard since.

So what can I eat? Steak, carrots, lettuce, potatoes and chips, Breyer’s ice cream, Glutino chocolate chip cookies, gluten-free corn chips.

Something else that is weird. I eat mayonnaise on everything.

I’m going to have to get used to logging in and charting my bad days.

Dec 21  White spots inside of both cheeks.  Lower gum line on left side.  Scalloping tongue on right and general inflammation.  Not much for a true geographic tongue with red patches outlined in white.

Dec 22  Woke up with uncomfortable feeling on back-left of my neck. I worked out from morning movements.  I may have worked it down to the area surrounding the scapula and wraps to my side on the left.

Suspect:  On the 20th I had Yogurt after abstaining from yogurt for most of the year.  (see what I mean? backasswards.)




Geographical Oddity

Well! Ain’t this place a geographical oddity.  Two weeks from everywhere!

-George Clooney Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

I wish we were talking about my favorite movie, “Oh Brother Where Art Thou.”

I wish we were talking about some geographical location.  It doesn’t even have to be an exotic locale.  …Where the heck is Wall Drug anyway?

But a while back some dumb ass looked at some tongue with some rashy areas outlined in white and called it a geographic tongue.

-It’s named.  Because of its map like appearance.  Officially it is called benign migratory glossitis

-Call it good.  Because its benign and painless.

-End of story.  Since it’s named and it stops there, there is nothing to do about it.  Quit asking questions.

Okay, I haven’t done enough research to be calling anyone a dumbass.  For all I know this person is/was highly intelligent and had no idea what he was looking at. For all I know, my tolerance for pain dropped as I aged and I just got whiney.  But! Boy! Would I love to get 100 people with a geographical tongue in a room to ask questions.

I’m going to start right here for now.

I don’t understand why someone hasn’t been curious enough to do this by now.  Well maybe they have and I just haven’t run across that information yet.

If you can’t tell I’m a little angry.  One reason why I am blogging on this particular subject is so I can work through some of this anger instead of simmering in it. I don’t want to share my anger.  The idea is to get 100 people with a geographic tongue in a room.  I do not need to get 100 angry people in a room.

I guess it all started in my youth when I was six or so.  I would have flare ups or blooms but the white lines never disappeared like I’m told they do.  My geographic tongue has never gone away on its own without treatment like all the sources say it should.  At least until I stopped eating gluten after a few weeks.

And that was my WTF moment.  All my life, this oddity that has been my tongue, didn’t have a cause.  Nor, was it supposed to cause any symptoms beyond a fissured tongue.  Then continued abstinence from gluten brought relief from my migraine quality headaches.

This was a complete surprise because gluten was on a list of trial and error experiments because I was gaining weight when I should have been losing.  This began my quest to look at a geographic tongue as a symptom rather than a condition and to document it.

New Year; New Project

I didn’t blog about quitting smoking because I wanted to avoid accountability.  I was going to quit smoking, because I was going to quit, not because I was going to do it in front of an audience.

I made the right choice.  I’m glad I didn’t quit smoking in public.  Although as a writer; now I’m thinking if I blogged through my year of quitting maybe I would have built a platform.

It’s hard building a platform about quitting smoking in hindsight. Smokers are curious about how to quit but they really don’t want anyone to dictate their quit. That is why nothing works. They just want to buy the book, go off in private to read it, extrapolate what pertains to them, then go quit on their own terms.  Then move on with their life as a non-smoker.

If I am going to create a following, or a platform, I think I am going to start with something new, even though it may not be the same subject as my book. This will help me collect some notes, test some theories, and document what I remember from way-back when. This way it is live and ongoing and people could check in every-once in a while.

Besides, I don’t want to finish writing this book and then set up shop to be a smoking cessation coach.  I am a writer who wants to sell books.  When I am done writing this book, I want to hit the road to promote it and continue working on my next book and add a third book and a fourth book etc.

Anyway, I plan on attacking this like I did quitting smoking; with a calendar, note my activities, be aware of cause and effect, and question everything.  This time I think I will hit the blogosphere instead of a notebook.

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