I am feeling much, much better today. Very minor aches in a few areas of the body, but certainly manageable, tolerable today. Thanks to all of you for your kind thoughts and well wishes over the last three days. It has been wonderful, knowing that you were out there and cared about me. And the kitty! BTW, he has eaten every day, but I've missed seeing him. I'll keep feeding him so he will stick around and perhaps in better weather I'll be able to "talk" with him again.
As I was responding to comments in the previous post, thoughts about medications came to mind, and I though I'd explore that a little. To Sherry I wrote:
"Yeah, medications ... They have their place and I'm certainly not against them, however, I think we consumers have to be knowledgeable about them, and use them judiciously. So many take meds without any idea of what they do to the body or even knowing the side effects. So dangerous. And I'll admit that I've done it, too. No more. I research them."
Sherry is one of my blog friends who has done battle against breast cancer, and as most us know, that battle means lots of medications are used. Cancer is one of those diseases that requires a long list of meds, the kinds used to either combat the cancer or to help the body keep going during, after, and in spite of that treatment. She understands when I talk about awareness and limiting the usage of meds, and I get what she does because of my own physical challenges and those I confronted during my husband's long illness and eventual cancer.
There was a time, about 15 years ago, that I was taking an embarrassing number of medications. (P=prescribed; OTC=over the counter)
- Anti-inflammatory for arthritis and fibromyalgia, 2x daily (P)
- a medication for pain relief, every 4-6 hours (P)
- antidepressant to boost the pain reliever and to avoid depression that is common with chronic pain, 2x daily (P)
- a mood elevator to help me sleep and to help my outlook on life, at bedtime (P)
- a medication for acid reflux, 2x daily (P)
- frequently, I was on antibiotics to combat diverticulitis (a chronic infection in the lower intestine) (P)
- antihistamine/decongestant for allergies, off and on (P)
- Tylenol, as needed between doses of pain medication, to boost their effectiveness (OTC)
- fiber supplement to assist digestion, 2-3 x daily (OTC)
- joint lubricating supplement to assist anti-inflammatory med. (OTC)
I had changed doctors because of a health care plan change. I talked to my doctor about his opinion; could I possible get rid of some of these things? He said yes, yes, yes! He was glad I wanted to give it a try. Over the next year I weaned myself off almost all the above under his supervision.
Now I take just the anti-inflammatory, the joint lubrication pill, an occasional acid reflux pill, occasional Tylenol, an occasional muscle relaxer for sleep when the fibromyalgia flares up, and OTC allergy medication. I haven't had an antibiotic for over 10 years! I've had no flare-up of the acid reflux or diverticulitis for over 10 years! I dropped that weight and then some (I still have weight to lose, and it is very slowly dropping without diet), and I feel better, more than I can even describe! I believe my body was simply toxified (is that a word?) from all the garbage that I was advised to take.
It's essential that we use medications when we need them. I wouldn't suggest anyone not use what they need to be able to improve or sustain health, combat pain, stop symptoms that have negative effects on their quality of life. I have concerns about how people taking medications, over the counter types or those prescribed by a doctor, without being informed about the medication. Fully informed. Doctors simply don't tell you everything you should know about the meds, nor do pharmacists. I'm not knocking docs or pharms; I'm just saying that the third element in this treatment package is me, you, the consumer!! Those two other parts of the formula are dealing with hundreds of us; we, you and I, are responsible for just ourselves and perhaps our children.
Our medications need to be reviewed frequently and with knowledge enough to make good decisions. If we don't initiate those conversations with our health care providers, it is likely that it simply won't take place. They assume we are feeling well with whatever regimen we are on and just leave it as it is. Additionally, it is up to us to know when we are not feeling "right." I had spent so many years in a fog that I wasn't evaluating myself well! As I began to realize it, I struggled to assess it because I didn't remember what it was like to actually feel good.
I want to know why I'm taking it, what is is supposed to do, short term and long term effects. I read (or try to) the pamphlet that often comes with medication, but I also ask the doctor and the pharmacist about it. Then I go home, get on the internet and look up the medication on at least three medical sites other than the home site for the manufacturing company. Sites like Mayo Clinic are good. And if I don't like what I see in terms of side effects, dependency, etc. I may decide to not take it. The money I'm out on it is less that the potential long term effect in some cases, and I never want to be as badly medicated, to have my body to infused with toxicity as I did back then.
The bottom line truth of my situation is this: All the "conditions" for which I was taking medications are better now than they were when I was swallowing pills by the handful. A good diet (not in the sense of "weight loss") takes care of the digestive problems, while affording me gentle weight loss. The reduced fibromyalgia complications I can't explain except by saying I'm putting less stress on my body with the weight loss, and most afflictions respond to a good diet. Rather than having flare ups several times a year which lasted for weeks, I now have 3-5 flare ups a year and most last just 2-5 days. I can certainly live with that!
How about you? Are you "responsibly medicated"? Do you know about your medications? And do you feel better taking them? Unless you are dealing with some mental health issues such as bipolar or psychosis (both of these skew assessment of feelings) you should feel better with a medication than you did before. If you feel worse ... talk to your doctor!! Sometimes getting the body from ill to healthy is not an easy road, and it might be normal to feel icky now while it changes our physiological balance. But don't assume that without medical advice. In general, medications should make us better.
I would wish for everyone to feel as much better in their lives as I do now. When you've been very ill and you get to a better balance, you know it. And you love it! One of my pleasures in life is that I feel darn good most days, especially for my age. I hope to keep that balance in my life for a long, long time. When I think what I might be like today, had I not taken my health care into my own hands, I shudder.
Sorry if this is too "preachy." I simply hope that all of you will have the best ever health, both physical and mental. You shouldn't compromise. After all ....
Life is beautiful!!!