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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pharmacy closing........

Hi everyone, I haven't posted in over a week because there is a dearth of articles worth sharing on bioidentical hormones, menopause and the other issues we discuss here on the blog.  I haven't forgotten you, I promise!

I started calling Greenfield Pharmacy in Vista, CA yesterday to refill a couple prescriptions, and have gotten a rapid busy signal, indicating that the phone is not operational.  The pharmacy does not have a website.  I had to do a lot of digging and searching to find out any information at all, first I came up with a Yelp review by a customer who lives in that area:

I am not sure what is going on over there, I have been using the pharmacy for going on 3 years for my bio identical hormones, the only problem I had was that the store always opened late. The owner comes from orange county. But my meds were always ready. As of April 25th, they are closed and do not return calls, I drove over there and there is a sign on the door that says they are closed and to call and get your prescription and go to another pharmacy. They have never returned my calls. The sign said until May 4th. I don't know what to think, perhaps a family emergency? A Illness? Accident? But at least some one should return calls.

I kept searching, and finally came up with this article from the site Law of Compounding Medications.  Greenfield Pharmacy has been (temporarily) shut down by the CA Board of Pharmacies.  Viewing the decision handed down by the CA Board, the pharmacist there was practicing with a lapsed license.  

Ugh. I feel like I am cursed with compounding pharmacies.  I've had multiple issues with the two compounding pharmacies in the Coachella Valley, and this blog post from late 2011 will explain why I really, really don't want to deal with Fireside Pharmacy again (additionally, two people that I know personally have both had issues with Fireside Pharmacy, so the poor customer service I received is not an isolated incident).  I will contact Dr. Carr's office tomorrow and get new prescriptions ----- still not sure what pharmacy to use yet.  Not a hassle I need right now (or any time).  

On a more positive note, I had an appointment with the arm surgeon yesterday, and he is absolutely impressed with the amount of healing/bone growth that has taken place in the last 5 weeks:

In fact, the bone has had so much growth that it is causing what is called "crepitus" in the arm----it clicks and makes some very odd noises. It feels like the bump of bone growth is bumping against the ulna bone in my arm when I try to turn my palm up.   It is painful, and I am still restricted in what I can do, although he told me I can start using 1-2 pound light weights to work out (ugh, I was using way more weight than that before all this hoo haa started last summer.)  I still can't knit for more than about 15 minutes at a time, which is very frustrating.  It's finally gotten hot here in NC, and so I am hopeful that this week I can get back in the swimming pool to work out, my back has really been feeling the lack of workouts lately.  One step at a time, I know.  

I hope everyone had a safe, enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.  Traffic around here on Memorial Day weekend is nuts because there is a huge NASCAR race being held about 25 miles from where I live. Lots of people who don't know where they are going,  and they drive like they're participating in a race, so I generally stick relatively close to home.  I have lots to do around here..........I have some changes coming up in my life in the next weeks and months, so I am keeping very busy. I will talk some more about those changes in my life very soon!  Meantime, enjoy this first week of "summer" (even though the calendar says June 21 is the first day of summer, I always consider Memorial Day and Labour Day the bookends of summer!)  Stay safe, stay cool!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

This and that--------

Good morning! Holy cow, it's a little chilly here this morning in NC, and cloudy to boot.  One of those days I could just curl up and knit all day, but I have an 80th birthday party to attend this afternoon (at a winery, but I don't drink!)

There have not been a lot of articles (correct that to say articles worth noting) about hormone balance lately, but I did run across this one from the Huffington Post.  I'm not shy about asking pretty much everyone if they have ever had their Vitamin D levels checked.  I'm astonished at the number of people who have never had their levels checked, and often it's because their doctors tell them that their levels are "normal".   I generally tell them that "normal" and "optimal" are two different things; its normal to have declining hormone levels as we age, but it certainly isn't optimal.  I've also told people that if their doctor can just look at them and tell them their Vitamin D level is normal, without benefit of blood work, then their doctor is "extra-special" or just doesn't want to be bothered with the blood work.

I sometimes get asked how much Vitamin D I take daily, and jaws drop when I tell them that from October to May, I take 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D daily, and from June through September, I back it down to 5,000 IUs daily (mostly because I am out in the sun almost daily exercising in the outdoor pool.)  Dr. Carr likes his patients to be between 70-100 ng/ml (blood work levels); mine usually runs about 75-80.  My last blood work indicated that  it had dropped to about 60, but it was taken in the middle of my arm surgery saga, and during that time my vitamins/supplements were off schedule.  The anesthesiology department told me to stop all supplements 7 days preoperatively, and with two surgeries 3 weeks apart that blew my schedule out the door.  I'm back on track now, and I am confident when my blood work is taken next time my Vitamin D level will be back to an optimal range.  My point is that the article referenced above clearly shows that it is nearly impossible to get adequate Vitamin D through food.  Bottom line, get your Vitamin D levels checked, and if your doctor gives you a hard time.....don't take no for an answer!

I've been hearing a lot about compounding pharmacies lately, mostly because of the botched executions a few weeks ago in Oklahoma.  Most of the talking heads on TV are spewing out the same line about compounding pharmacies not being regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), in an effort to portray the compounding pharmacies as a bunch of rogue, lawless entities that have to be reined in.  Compounding pharmacies, like all pharmacies, are regulated by state pharmacy boards.  The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for regulating drugs, just as their name states.  I saw an interesting post awhile back that said something to the effect that it's important to remember that every drug recalled by the FDA was once approved by the FDA.  Think about the number of drugs the FDA has recalled or ordered stronger warnings for in the last few years (Lunesta, the sleep medication,  is just the latest, it has not been recalled but the recommended dose has been ordered cut in half).

Finally, an update on my "arm saga".  Still some pain if I use it too much, my fingers are moving pretty well, thumb still moving slower than my fingers.  The scar is healing great:

Although I know the plate inhibits absorption a bit, I am pretty much back to rubbing my progesterone cream on both forearms, which I am sure is also helping the scar heal.  I can knit, but I am trying to be careful to not knit for too long a stretch and take breaks.  I am anxious to have the outdoor pool at my condo development open up soon, since that is still the only exercise besides walking that I can do right now.  My back really feels the lack of core strength :(

How did it get to be almost the end of May ------ next weekend is Memorial Day weekend!  Around here that means lots and lots of extra traffic, as Charlotte Motor Speedway is holding a huge NASCAR race.  I stay relatively close to home to get away from the madness.  Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Happy May!

Good morning, and I hope it is at least half as beautiful weather wise where you are as it is here in NC! I've already been out for a fitness walk, and I think I am going to catch a little "laying in the sun" (20 minutes on each side) time after lunch.

I highly recommend a mini-vacation to reset your mind and your life. I took one last weekend, and it was an utter blast! Everything came together beautifully, I went to see Bruce Springsteen play in Raleigh, and the concert was fabulous! He played 3 hours, never left the stage for more than 30 seconds, and looked like he could do another 3 hours!  Great music and a great time!  I also got to go to a beautiful park to an arts and crafts festival, and a personalized tour of Durham and a great brunch with friends.

On the same topic of resetting your mind, this article from Dr. Karin popped up on my Facebook feed last week......it spoke to me and I wanted to share it with you.  One of the manifestations of post traumatic stress disorder (I have it from a long ago car accident, I'm much better after a lot of therapy but it still crops up occasionally) is the tendency to ruminate and focus too much on  a bad event.  I know several years ago after a bullying incident from some really awful women, I kept running it through my mind because it was so upsetting.  It took a while to get through it, although now I am ever grateful to not have those women in my life anymore.  Hormonally speaking, getting them out of my life helped to reduce my cortisol level (cortisol is the stress hormone) to near normal levels.  Right now I am struggling with elevated cortisol, but I know some of that is just the physical and emotional stress of all the arm issues and surgeries this spring.

This is an important update to those of you who take thyroid medication for T4 thyroid issues, particularly if you were taking Levoxyl (brand name) until it was pulled from the market last year.  I have taken Levoxyl for over 7 years, very successfully, until it was pulled from the market last year because of manufacturing issues.  It was not supposed to be available again until Summer 2014, but just for kicks I asked about it at the pharmacy about a month ago. I was surprised to find that it is back on the market, and as luck would have it, I was due for a refill on my T4 thyroid prescription.  I asked Dr. Carr's office about it, and am now (or will be by Tuesday, I'm just now running out of my old prescription of Synthroid) back on Levoxyl.  Dr. Carr prefers to use the brand name of Levoxyl rather than its generic "equivalent", which is often not consistent in the dose of thyroid ingested.  Another benefit............Synthroid was costing me about $90 for a three month supply, and Levoxyl is only $24 for a three month supply.  That's just a little extra money to put toward supplements!

Off to enjoy my Sunday!