It’s been more than a couple of weeks since I last posted an update like this, and I know that a few people are following this particular aspect of my life with a degree of interest (thank you!), so I figured I’d write a brief synopsis about my progress on my health-related journey. 🙂
I’m still off kreteks. Oh, I tried to cheat a few times, always in the name of dealing with excess histamine, but I was surprised to find that not only did I not “relapse”, as practically every stop-smoking support site warned about, but: I hated it! Despite the clove element of kreteks, they taste horrible. I honestly don’t think there’s any risk of relapse when I can’t even stand the taste or smell.
Alas, the histamine is worse. Without tobacco-based kreteks to control it, it’s been allowed to build up and come back, with a vengeance. That’s a word to the wise for anyone with allergies who smokes anything, especially if those who noticed improvement in the their allergies when they started: when you stop, you’ll probably notice the allergies get worse again, if you weren’t allergic to tobacco itself. I’m totally not trying to discourage anyone from quitting (!); just be sure to stock up on an alternate form of histamine control so you don’t go nuts with allergy symptoms. (“Alternate forms” can be anything from over-the-counter or prescription antihistamine meds to allergy shots to Vitamin C to quercetin, a natural-but-effective supplement.)
Notes: People should get their G6PD tested before megadosing Vitamin C, though, and they should also run a gene test for COMT variants/mutations before taking therapeutic amounts of quercetin, as it is known to inhibit COMT further, which is not something you want.
Speaking of sneezing, I’m pretty sure it’s not helping my cervical disc herniation, but I’m hanging in there!
I’ve just had my 6th (of 15+) spinal decompression treatment and I’m super-excited to report that all of the pain is gone (which means I’m completely off of the opioid meds and herbs!), and the tingling/pins-and-needles is down to a bare minimum. I’m still prohibited from lifting or carrying much, but I’m just glad to have my function back.
This also means I’m driving again on a regular basis, and easing back into full-time at work.
Decompression is pretty interesting. I lie on my back, face-up, on a special table that is only about the width of my body with my arms at my sides. I’m secured to the table with a belt pulled taut around my hips, and my knees rest comfortably draped over a firm, padded support. My neck rests in a cradle that feels like a sink at a salon or barber shop; that’s not exactly comfortable, but it’s not bad, either. It’s made of hard plastic, but there’s a hard foam piece with vinyl covering that fits into the space, for extra cushion. I have to situate myself such that I’m snugly in the neck piece, which means scooting my body down toward my feet as far as I’ll go. He gives me a blanket and turns off the overhead fluorescent lights. I hold a red button in my hand the whole time–an emergency Stop switch.
The treatment takes about 15 minutes, from start to finish. The table is completely electronic; it knows what to do once the doctor has entered all the data (like body weight, type of injury, etc). The table goes through a warm-up sequence (not in terms of heating/temperature, but in terms of preparation), and it starts to pull, very gently. I mainly feel my head tilting back, ever so slightly, and then it brings me back to neutral position again. Each treatment brings a successively stronger pull, but it’s nothing painful or even uncomfortable. It’s all OK.
I do get a headache sometimes afterward, but that’s actually normal to the point where it’s almost expected, and it goes away after some rest and maybe an ibuprofen, if needed (which, it isn’t always).
Now that I’m off the pain control, I can start back on my supplements again, which I have (!).
Now that I’m no longer in pain, I’m starting to walk again. It’s hotter outside now than it was when I first started, so even though I’m more heat-tolerant (and thus, less heat-sensitive) than I was last summer, it’s still arduous and slow-going.
I think back to everything my brain has been put through in the past 6-7 weeks and I think I’ve now found some clues for my recent apathy…
First, I stopped kreteks, cold turkey, and decimated the biochemical support net I’d enjoyed over the previous 4 years.
And I started like a dozen different supplements and exercise. While beneficial, the body and brain can sometimes become confused.
Then, I went on a trip that involved flying, stress, over a thousand people, a new place, a total disruption of normal routine, and several time zone changes, all without cognitive support. Oh, and I had already been in pain for about a week prior to this, when the disc herniation first flared up.
Then, I began to use nicotine again via a vaporizer, simply for the cognitive support (and the fact that despite what we’ve been told, nicotine by itself is not even addictive!). And I was in even more pain. Much more pain.
Then, I had to resort to narcotic meds to kill the pain, but they also killed my brain, temporarily. I was on the meds for a week and then herbs with a similar effect for another week. During this time, I was also on medical leave from work.
And I had to stop all supplements. I had also had to stop exercising a while before that, too.
Then, I went off of the pain meds. More brain changes. And I was still off work, so my brain got used to that.
All this time, I’d had to use Benadryl (and sometimes pseudoephedrine) to control my histamine. This makes me loopy and drowsy.
Then, my aunt passed away. More brain shock, more stress, more processing. It wasn’t so much my own grief, but much more my concern for my mom.
And then I began decompression treatment. While most of the nerves in that area descend toward the feet, a few do ascend into the head. Who knows what that might mean for brain function?
And for most of this time, I had been without my usual acupuncture routine, which really keeps me on an emotional and cognitive Even Keel.
And then, I dealt with some stressful situations, both at work and on the blogging fronts.
And lately, I’ve started my supplements back up again, some of which include mitochondrial function and detoxification supports, so I’m probably detoxing again. And I’m getting back into the swing of things at work a lot more. And I’ve started having more acupuncture again.
So yeah, the last 6-7 weeks have been a real yin-yang for my brain (lol).
At the end of the day, my current status is: I’m just trying to keep moving forward, reinstall myself in my life (again), and find my New Normal. 🙂