Thursday, June 2, 2011
Today, Diet Coke. Tomorrow? The World.
I always knew I was a quitter.
At least, I hope to be.
See, as I sat there in the office of the Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor's Office last week, with a tube jammed down my nose and into my throat, trying not to throw up on the very cute woman who was doing the procedure on me, my mind kept drifting back to the list I had been reading shortly before the test had started.
It was a list regarding what foods you should and should NOT be eating when you have the condition I am about to discuss. What's funny is, on the side of the list that says 'Foods You Should Avoid/Have in Moderation'...that's pretty much what I consume.
One of the items is Carbonated Beverages. I do drink water, don't get me wrong. I have a thing called a Bubba Keg, it holds 32 oz. of fluid. I fill that bad boy twice a day with wawa and drink it all up. Love the stuff.
I also drink around 3-4 cans of Diet Coke. Love the stuff. That's WAY better than the old days. There was a time when I used to very easily drink 6-9 cans of it a day. Those days are long gone, thankfully.
I was thinking that Diet Coke would be the first thing I would have to attempt to 'quit' while this lovely woman trying hard not to gag me with an elongated camera on a tube. I could actually see the monitor into my throat during the procedure, which was trippy. Through watery eyes as I kept trying so hard to keep my natural reflexes to a minimum as to NOT let it turn in to an actual hurl session, I watched my little throat (YOUR EUPHEMISM HERE) do it's thing while I said the words she asked me to.
It was super fascinating, to be honest with you. I'd never seen that. Didn't even know that was what the interior of a throat looked like. (EDIT: Used to have a photo here of the Voice Box and a few different terms...took the photo down, changed some words...I always wondered why THIS post got so many freaking page views. STOP COMING HERE YOU CREEPY FREAKS!!!!)
And, ultimately, the good news was that I didn't have Tonsil Stones, Tonsillitis, Throat Cancer or any other scary disease. But, the bad news is that I have something that does have me a wee bit concerned only because of the circumstances that may have caused my Mom's current medical condition.
Apparently I have Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease (LPR), which is a condition, not unlike GERD, where stomach acid travels up from, well, the stomach, and comes all the way up through the esophagus and spills into the larynx, or voice box, and the throat. See, you have two closures in your throat that are supposed to keep this acid from coming up and if they aren't working right? That acid moves right on up like The Jeffersons and makes itself at home.
This is a step UP from your Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and more serious. And it is the theory of the ENT that the havoc this acid has been wreaking on my throat is what has made my throat so susceptible to infection, which is why I had such a rough time during my flu, then I got over that, then I got Strep, then I got over that, then my allergies were more localized as far as symptoms in the throat area.
I have had heartburn issues for a while now, always taking over the counter meds for it and it seemed to do OK for me. But more recently, due to stress, medication, diet and lifestyle...well, it has grown into LPR.
That's the theory anyway.
So...please welcome Medication #7 to my regimen of prescription drugs. This has officially become UNACCEPTABLE to me. And that sound you hear? That's a telephone ringing. Yeah, it's a wake-up call. And I'm lucky, some people have heart attacks or shit like that to get a phone call to rouse them from the fog they are in when it comes to their overall health.
But things must change.
And so, yesterday, our Diet Coke supply here at the house ran out. There will not be another. As of today, Carbonated Beverages and I will have a relationship of severe moderation. Simple as that. I weaned myself a little rather than go cold turkey, but now that they are gone, they're gone.
As for the rest of the stuff that needs to be done....well, on that Foods list it also says CAFFEINE should be avoided. I'm not sure how I will pull that off. I do so love, and NEED, my coffee. THAT part I am putting off until I deal with some of the OTHER stuff on the list, and some of the other lifestyle elements.
So what I need to do essentially is gather all the data I'm learning about the disease, stuff like elevating your bed 4-6 inches, put everything together in a kind of To Do list, and start chipping away at making the necessary adjustments that I need to make. Take the medication that the doctor prescribed, and make a second Goals list and try to figure out a way to, one by one, eliminate these medications.
I'm 43 years old, taking 7 prescription drugs.
There's nothing about that I can or should feel positive about. So I need to figure out how to change it.
The medications for stress and anxiety...I have been off of them before, I can be off of them again. And high blood pressure? Again...stress and anxiety and bad health and it's all one big giant inter-connected circle. Perhaps some of them I will not be ABLE to change...the thyroid condition is hereditary, I may never be able to change that. I accept that...but better overall health may result in less of a need for most of the medications, if not ALL of them.
I won't know until I get there.
Now...how in the name of Hell do I raise my bed 4-6 inches in a way that WON'T pose a threat to my disabled son and still be able to be easily re-converted back to a normal bed for when guests need to sleep here?
Time to call Steve or Todd...