"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Friday, September 20, 2013

If you need another reason to never take Premarin/Prempro ------ watch this video.

My hope is that if you are reading this blog, you already know how dangerous Premarin and Prempro are, and that you know that those are not bioidentical hormones (although they are often referred to as "natural"). What you may not know, however, is how the urine is collected from the pregnant mares---it is animal cruelty, and far too often the offspring resulting from the mare's pregnancy is subjected to euthanasia.  It's heartbreaking.

On a much happier note, never underestimate the power of a "girls day out"!  I went to the Southern Women's Show today with two of my very dear friends, and it was a hoot!  Of course, I spent too much money (but to my credit, only bought one $10 piece of jewelry!)------I got some very cool gel type heat packs for my back and arm, several different cream cheese dip mixes, and a food grater.  I also sampled butter beans and ice cream in the span of 10 minutes (never had that combo for breakfast before, but you only live once!), picked up a ton of literature to plan a few in state vacations (I'm embarassed that I have lived in NC 9 years and still haven't scratched the surface of all the state has to offer as far as neat places to visit!), and sampled about 5 different fragrances (and honestly, none of them spoke to me!)  Had a great lunch out afterward, and it was just about spending the day with people who I like and respect, and who like and respect me.  I love introducing people from different parts of my life to each other.

Tomorrow a day of running some errands and seeing friends, then off to start a new week! Have a great weekend, everyone, and Happy Autumn (it starts Saturday!)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Vitamin D Deficiency Often Seen in Traumatic Bone Breaks

Note that the study says "often" and not "always"!

I'm a bug about Vitamin D.......just ask any of my friends.  I take 10,000 IU's daily to keep my Vitamin D level optimal, and normally work out with weight machines several times a week to help with bone strength.    My vitamin D levels are checked several times yearly to make sure I stay in the optimal range. As most of my regular readers know, I fell at the gym last month and broke the radius bone in my arm, but in my case, I do not believe it was a case of my bones being fragile.  The break occurred just below an existing plate in my arm, and I am pretty confident that no one's bones are a match for a titanium plate.  I am going to have a DEXA scan done this fall just to make sure the rest of my bones are strong, and I will post the results here when I have it done.

When I read this article from Health Day/US News and World Report, I was struck by several points:

1.  The article does not state what the researchers considered "recommended" levels for Vitamin D.  The National Institute of Health lists a level of 20 ng/ml as being "adequate" for bone health in healthy adults.  Most progressive doctors (including my own) recommend much higher optimal levels for their patients; Dr. Carr likes my Vitamin D level to be between 70-100 ng/ml (my last blood test came back at 79).

2.  More than half of young people in the study were Vitamin D deficient, many severely.  That's scary, and indicative that it's not just older people (and by older I mean over 40) need to have Vitamin D levels tested.

3. I went from the gym to the hospital by ambulance, and was in the ER 4 hours.  The emergency room staff had NO interest in the fact that I take bioidentical hormones, nor were they interested in the list of supplements that I take.  All they wanted to know was what prescription medications I take regularly.  I was referred to a hand specialist/surgeon in Charlotte because of the complexity of the case, and their office never asked me about Vitamin D, supplements, and seemed totally indifferent to my taking bioidenticals.  The surgery didn't take place until three days post injury, it was outpatient and I went home about 2 hours after I came out of the anesthesia.  My friend Karen, who took me to the hospital, stayed with me for two days post surgically (yeah, I am one blessed puppy to have friends like her).  She was chatting with me on Friday night, and she said when the doctor came out to talk to her post surgically, he told her to tell me that I should start taking calcium. I have never taken calcium, and Dr. Carr has told me repeatedly that calcium is not what builds healthy bones; and calcium can cause cardiac problems in some women.  Healthy bones are built by weight training exercise, testosterone, and Vitamin D.  

Estradiol and Men.....

Oh, boy. I knew when I read this article from USA Today that this study was going to cause a firestorm among doctors who are knowledgeable about bioidentical hormone replacement in men.  The study was conducted by an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and published in the most recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.   Even from my VERY limited knowledge on the subject, I was struck by the fact that the study was trying to measure the effect of estrogen on the weight and body mass index of men, but that no mention was made of the diet and exercise habits of the study participants.

I forwarded the article to Dr. Carr, who was vocal and swift in his condemnation of the study.  He has always told me that high estrogen levels in aging men is a problem that needs to be dealt with because it causes problems with erections, weight gain, growing breasts, etc. If you go to the bottom of the USA Today article to the comments section, you will see his scathing review of the study.

Hope everyone is enjoying a beautiful mid-September weekend.  It's gorgeous here in NC, I have had the air conditioner off for two days, and loving the deck door and windows being open.  I am in puttering and nesting mode, starting to change my closet out from summer to Fall, and this afternoon hoping to sit out on the deck for a while with a book or a needlecraft project (I may even see how far my broken arm recovery has progressed and try to knit for a bit......physical therapy is going well!)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Every little bit counts.....

Hope everyone has had a good start to September. I am enjoying a few last days in the condo swimming pool, it's pretty hot here right now, but by next week will only be in the 70's (which is fine with me!)  I still haven't been able to go back to the gym, I guess I was more traumatized than I realized, because even driving by the gym right now is still making me really upset.  I know my anxiety level at falling again is way, way up there-------it's a manifestation of the PTSD that I dealt with after a long ago car accident.  I'm working thought it, and hope to get my workouts back on track (to the extent I can----the surgeon said no upper body workout on machines for at least another 6 weeks) as soon as possible.  I'm so frustrated!

As soon as it cools down, I want to deal with some of the fear of falling by getting out and doing a little fitness walking in my subdivision (I use Nordic poles to walk with, so that will give me a bit of stability).  I was heartened to see an article from MSNBC Health about a study that shows that every bit (even a minute or two) of moderate activity is associated with lower body weight and body mass index.  Earlier studies had suggested that exercise had to be done a minimum of 10 minutes at a time (preferably 30) to make any difference in overall fitness.  The article suggests a number of ways to add a little more physical activity into your every day life......hey, physical therapy (you would be amazed at the stuff they have me do to try and get the mobility back in my arm!) adds to my overall fitness!

Get out there, and even a minute at a time, do some exercise!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Scars and hormone absorption!

This comes under the heading of "until it happens to you"............

As I have detailed in the blog a number of times, I use bioidentical progesterone cream 4 times daily.  I put 1/4 teaspoon on my forearm (where the skin is thin and the blood vessels are near the surface for maximum absorption) and then I rub my forearms together to rub the cream into my body.  I've done it this way for nearly 7 years, and it has worked very well.  I know some practitioners have their patients rub the cream into their abdomens or inner thighs, but even in slender people (which I am not!) there are layers of fat, and the hormone deposits into the fat, thus reducing absorption into the system.

When I fell at the gym in early August, I realized that my normal way of dosing my progesterone would no longer work.  I called Dr. Carr's office as soon as I got home from the ER, and was told that an acceptable alternate site was into the upper inner arms (which didn't work at first as my right upper inner arm was very badly bruised and sore, and I couldn't reach my upper left arm because of the injury/splint/sling.)  Another acceptable site was up around the base of my neck/collarbone, where again, the skin is thin and the hormone will more readily absorb.  I used either my neck, or had one of my friends rub the cream all up and down the inner part of my left arm for about 7-10 days after the injury.

I returned to the surgeon 5 days post operatively, he removed the sling, the bandages and told me I could now get the operative site wet (which was music to my ears, so much easier to shower and wash my hair!).  The stitches came out 12 days post operatively, and I am now 24 days post surgery.  The scar, as you can see, looks great........I am using Vitamin E oil on it about 4 times a day.  I have a long way to go with rehabbing the arm to regain function; the middle, ring and little fingers are working well, the index finger is about 50% functional, but the thumb is still of great concern.  I'm slowly regaining some mobility in the wrist, it is no longer "painful" per se, but aches like crazy later in the day.  During the surgery, the doctor removed the existing plate in the arm, repaired the fracture, and put in a larger plate (titanium, no, I will not set off the detectors at the airport!).  I can easily feel the plate beneath the skin, and jokes have been made about how I am all set for Halloween as long as I want to be a zombie.

However, the long scar/scar tissue, and the plate in my arm means that the absorption of progesterone in that arm will be forever compromised!  I now have to rub my progesterone up and down the length of my left arm (which is still a bit of a challenge because my right arm/hand are still limited in motion, but I'm getting there).  It's a little inconvenient, as the weather gets cooler and I start wearing longer sleeves, it will take more effort to get my progesterone dosed 4 times daily.  I'm sure I will work it out.

Bottom line, if you are taking any hormone transdermally, and suffer an injury/surgery to the area where you normally dose your hormone, you must talk to your health care practitioner about alternate sites for applying the cream!  In my case, it's a double whammy of both a metal plate very close to the surface of the skin, along with significant scar tissue, but even the scar tissue alone would likely cause a compromise of the hormone absorption.  As it is, I have a hard time keeping up my level of progesterone, as stress makes you burn through hormones faster-------and this whole injury thing has been stressful in a huge way!