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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Back on Omeprazole

A year ago, I wrote a post, Mastic Gum Got Me Off of Omeprazole.  Well, I am back on Omprezole.

Even though this is a blog devoted to coronary issues, I address my digestive troubles because I have GERD and GERD can mimic symptoms of heart disease.

I felt it the honest thing to do, to report that I am on Omeprazole which I was on because of my hiatal hernia.

The pain associated with my hiatal hernia results from referred pain that sits right where my heart is, and it is very disconcerting, so I went on the Omeprazole to see if it was stomach acid that was causing the pain.  Apparently, the acid is seeping up throught the hernia and burning my espophagus.

Now, I will say that a few weeks ago, I did have acute pain in my stomach, and before going on Omeprazole, I took Mastic Gum, 1000 mg. a day, on an empty stomach, in the mornings, and within three days the pain disappeared, and I am still feeling well that way, so I know it was and will continue to be a benefit in keeping me off of Omeprazole for the purpose of my stomach pain, but I fear that due to the hernia, I will have to manage my stomach acid to keep my esophagus healthy.

Just thought I would report that because my top viewed post on this blog is the one addressing my experience with Mastic Gum, and I don't want to deceive people regarding my experience.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Learning at the Master's Feet - Attending a Lecture Given by Dr. Esselstyn

On May 3rd, DH and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a conference lecture given by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D. in person at the Iowa Osteopathic Association Conference.  I had heard he would be coming here so I e-mailed him and asked if there was anyway we would be able to attend his lecture.  Not only did he say yes, but he invited us and our cardiologist to be his special guest.

Later on accompanying the invitation to our cardiologist, a request was made by the cardiologist to have some time to meet, himself, with Dr. Esselstyn. Fortunately, for our Iowa Cardiologists, Dr. Esselstyn made himself available to lecture 200 local cardiologists the night before his lecture to the Iowa Osteopathic Association.

Following May 3rd's lecture a panel was also set up featuring four doctors, including Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Martin, our doctor.  

I have seen Dr. Esselstyn's lecture on YouTube many times, but to hear him lecture in person was truly a once in a lifetime experience.  He is an amazing person.  He really, really cares about people and their health, and you can just see that he is not out to get rich over what he is bringing to light.  

The panel was interesting.  I could hear cardiologists under their breath from behind me sass him as if they were teenagers.  One in particular had come in late to the lecture and had brought in her plate of scrambled eggs and sausage to eat while he spoke.  Not only did she miss the compelling evidence part of the presentation, but she was defiant and rude through the whole lecture.  This is not something I was expect in Iowa, but what I learned from this experience is a hardened heart (no pun intended) can not be reached.  

"Why was she even there?"  I wondered.

My Dh and I were amazed at the questions that were asked during the lecture.  Some of the doctors asked excellent questions like, "Have any of your patients had side effects when going cold turkey on animal protein and immediately starting a vegan diet?"  Dr. Martin turned that question over to me for the answer.  Yikes!  I'm not a member of the panel, and not a doctor, but thank you for the respect, and trust!

"Other questions were, how do we convince our patients to embrace this lifestyle?"

Many of the questions were "How much saturated fat is beneficial?"  "What types of oils provide the most heart health benefit?"

Excuse me?  Were you not listening?  No saturated fat is beneficial.  No oil.  No oil.  No oil.  

They couldn't get out of their Mediterranean diet studies and hear what the good doctor was saying.

Other questions were "How much meat can be eaten before damage is done?"  

Uh.......  No meat.  All meat is harmful......unless you eat one piece of steak out of being a vegan for decades and don't ever eat another piece.

The doctors were just not getting it and they were taking the discussion down the wrong path, trying to take the role of convincing Dr. Esselstyn that what he was suggestion just couldn't be done, saying they would never be able to get their patients to do this, that moderation had to be in the program, and so on and so forth.  

I got so fidgety I couldn't stand it any longer and finally raised my hand and told our story so that they would know that patients would do it, and that they would see a benefit.  I felt as if they were saying what they were saying because they themselves did not want to take on the lifestyle change, thereby making themselves hypocrites. I can understand that, but I had to let them know that patients that don't have options, or future options, will take on the challenge.

 The room erupted in applause afterward, and whenever a patient perspective question came up, then Dr. Martin would turn the panel to us because he has worked with us for 18 months and knows we are in it 100%.  I appreciate him for his respect and trust in us, we being two of his five patients that have tried the lifestyle.

The lecture and panel did have an influence, and our involvement did also have an influence as five doctors came to us afterwards and asked us for more information.

The most thrilling part of the day, however, was getting to shake hands with Dr. Esselstyn.  He is every bit as much of a good and generous man as I had assumed he was.  He has the most warm blue eyes, a firm handshake, and happy disposition.  To talk to him, finally, in person after several phone conversations the past 1 1/2 years was a dream realized, something I will never forget.  Dh was equally impressed. 

Dh was so encouraged by the lecture, we are now making plans to go through Dr. Esselstyn's training in Ohio.

I don't want to trample on the meat, dairy, and egg industries of the Heartland.  I don't want to dash the generational family traditions of the Midwest.  I just want to help those people who were in the same situation as my husband's.  Those who have no more options.  These are the people that are most open for change and in need of the most hope.  

Iowa needs proven dietary options and education for treating heart disease.  Going to the lecture gave me the view of what a struggle making this wonderful information available is going to be.  Even the doctors who believe the science doubt that their patients will take on with the lifestyle change.  

When the questions was asked in a room of 100, "How many of you, here, vegetarians?"  Dh and I were the only ones that raised our hands.  Not one doctor, with exception of the panelists, have taken on the lifestyle. 

Also, I just want to say that the day before the lecture I fretted that people would judge me for being fat.  I still have 30 pounds to lose, even though I have lost 50.  However, when I got into the lecture, I was amazed to see that I was the skinniest female in the room, except for the two vegan cardiologists on the panel.

Dr. Martin has lectured me on being overweight.  I know I am, that's why I was self-conscience of going to the lecture in my current state, but I didn't expect to be on the skinny side of the group!!!!  

Do we have a healthcare crisis because we are not practicing what we preach?  How can patients become well when their doctors, themselves are sick.  

The lecture was held at breakfast time and we saw several doctors eating a full plate, probably two days worth of saturated animal fat.  There was no portion control, and probably 1000 calories consumed for that one meal.  I was amazed. 

It was a very educational day for DH and me.  We could see a vision of what we can do to help other heart patients in Iowa, just by making our story available.  We had a chance to reinforce the knowledge we have obtained from reading Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, and watching the lectures on YouTube.  We had a chance to meet and chat with one of the greatest nutritional experts in our country, a true gentleman who is helping many in humanity because he cares about relieving suffering and giving hope to others.  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My First SVT in 8 Months - Hiatal Hernia, Bending at the Waist on a Full Stomach

This morning I had my first SVT in 8 months.  I'm really starting to think these are really, really caused by my hiatal hernia.  This morning I woke up exceptionally hungry and ate too much oatmeal.  Then I drank 16 oz. of water.

Afterwards, I went was carrying some tomato seedlings out to the back deck.  They were sitting on a tray on the floor in my dining room and I bent over from the waist, and, "Boom!"  I felt the leap in my chest, and I knew I had done a bad thing.

My heart flip flopped momentarily like it was trying to find a normal rhythm, and then went into what I think felt like about 140 beats per minute.

I called out to my 14 year-old and asked him to get me a large drink of cold water (I will have to really go to the bathroom in an hour after having 32 oz. total of water in the last 30 minutes), and then I went down and laid on my left side.  I naturally coughed because I have a cold, and that immediately got me back into a regularly rhythm.

I think my SVT couldn't have lasted more than all of two minutes.

Now, I will say here that I tried a new technique, pushing against my eye, which was a new idea recommended to me previously,  but that shot up the rhythm to a much higher rate, and I believe it was my mental rush to get it stopped that shot up the adrenaline and caused that new vasal vagal maneuver to change things.

Everytime I try a vasal vagal meneuver it only makes things worse because my mind is messing with me.  I have learned you have to be calm to get an SVT to stop.

Lying down on the couch on my left side and thinking relaxing thoughts is the only thing that works for me, and it works fast.  When I coughed, I wasn't trying to cough or think about coughing, I've just been coughing all morning, and that worked.

I must also add here that I have never had an SVT that I know of that I haven't been within a week after my period starting, so I really, really think it has something to do with hormones being off.  Hormones control heart rhythm, and many middle aged women have palpitations because of imbalanced hormones.

I must remember, must remember, must remember not to stuff my stomach, and not to bend over at the waist!!!!!!!!!!

I am glad I have learned I can get these under control, however.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Points Made Recently by Caldwell Essestlyn, Jr., M.D. Support the LDS Health Code, the Word of Wisdom

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a set of scripture called the Doctrine and Covenants.  The Doctrine and Covenants contains in section 89, the Lord's code of health.  Here is the history of how the Word of Wisdom came to be.....

"When they (the School of the Prophets) assembled together in this room after breakfast, the first they did was to light their pipes, and, while smoking, talk about the great things of the kingdom, and spit all over the room, and as soon as the pipe was out of their mouths a large chew of tobacco would then be taken. Often when the Prophet [Joseph Smith] entered the room to give the school instructions he would find himself in a cloud of tobacco smoke. This, and the complaints of his wife at having to clean so filthy a floor, made the Prophet think upon the matter, and he inquired of the Lord relating to the conduct of the Elders in using tobacco, and the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom was the result of his inquiry."Brigham Young, Journal of Discoursesvol. 12, p. 158

Here is a link to the text of the Word of Wisdom in Doctrine and Covenants 89.

Just to summarize, the Word of Wisdom commanded members to stay away from "hot drinks".... 

 "9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.' 

 and to "eat meat sparingly" .....

" 12 Yea, aflesh also of bbeasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used csparingly;
 13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be aused, only in times of winter, or of cold, or bfamine."
In a recent advanced study conference held by John McDougall, M.D. in February 2014, author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.  stated two things that really brought up my interest.  
1.  In a recent study done in Italy, caffeine was found to cause restriction in the brachial artery one hour after the consumption of coffee.  This was not found in participants who drank decaf.  I will add a note here that a similar study on this was done at the  Heart Institute, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Aviv University with the same results.
2.  In another study done at the Cleveland Clinic, by Stanley Hazen, M.D.   patients who were vegan were given one piece of steak.  The gut flora and blood chemistry of all patients were tested.  The end result was that the vegan patients did not produce the same bad bacteria that caused toxic chemical changes in the blood known to cause damage to endothelial cells.  But, patients who regularly consumed meat did. 
In other words, eating meat sparingly, meaning once in a long term time of being vegan, was not harmful, but eating it regularly was.  
In the Word of Wisdom the Lord sanctions the consumption of meat to be conducted "with thanksgiving" during time of winter, cold, or famine.
The Lord has made provisions through His creation for us to overcome the negative effects of "bad" bacterial flora in our digestive systems when we have to consume meat for survival, if we do not consume, but only sparingly.  
I think it is wonderful that studies that Dr. Esselstyn cites, prove scientifically why the sparing consumption of meat is safe, if you are regularly living on a plant based diet. 

I think it is also wonderful that this research highlights the benefits of not eating meat at all when it comes to digestive bacterial balance, and detoxing the system.

What I take from this is that I should keep eating my low-fat plant based diet, but if I were to find myself crossing the plains to Salt Lake City in the winter, like my pioneer ancestors did, I should know that it is okay for me to eat some buffalo meat to survive.  Or, should I find myself in some similar situation in our modern times, it's okay to eat meat.

However, this should not be a rationalization for me to go back to my old ways.

I also think it is wonderful to see how science proves out the Word of Wisdom as testing becomes more technologically advanced, as does the brachial artery studies on caffeine in coffee, which the LDS people refer to as one of the two "hot drinks" listed in the Word of Wisdom, the other being tea.
To watch Dr. Esselstyn's video and get more accurate details than my laywomen's report gives in the post,  please click here. 

Before I end here, I do want to say that I champion personal choice when it comes to dietary choices because we each do, indeed, have our own balance of gut flora as individual fingerprints.  Upon realizing that, I am determined to try my best not to judge others.  I provide this information as encouragement for those who desire to lower their meat consumption, not reprimand those who choose a different approach.  I realize that in the end how we treat each other is vastly more important than making other's feel bad in effort to be the person that is right on this matter.

My DH and my son working on cutting down a "widow maker" tree that fell into another tree in our backyard.  My son is a plant based rugby player and high school cross country star, and my husband is down 55 pounds and shows no signs of heart disease after having been on a low-fat plant based diet for 18 months.  Despite the nerve wracking/blood pressure raising nature of this task, he had no ill effects on his cardiovascular system, even after being up on the lift for 8 hours in 20 mph wind gusts.  This is something he could haven't even dreamed of doing a year ago.