Friday, October 16, 2009


Well, my faithful readers are stuck with another “nothing” posting about hemochromatosis because I have a compulsion to write and nothing to write about. My next phlebotomy will not take place until the middle of November and the ferritin check will not be made until about the first of December.

I do, however, take the opportunity to report some necessary corrections to my previous posting. My ferritin count did not go down a point; it went UP a point from 135 to 136. Bad math skills on my part. The fact that no one picked up on the gaff is a telling one. HU NU? Apparently no one.

I have to say as well that I have cut back on my red meat. For the past week or so I have had not even one wheat dog. We went to Sizzler on Tuesday and I did not have a steak! What’s down with that! I had the senior Malibu chicken, which was made of an extremely old sand dollar, a piece of ham and a tasteless mass of cheese. I was assured that there was very little iron in the meal and so when the waitress said “Enjoy!” I tried to respond in a positive way. It was about as positive as my last change in ferritin. All I have to say is that if I want chicken any time soon, I think I will drive down to Spanish Fork and kill my own, run over it with the car, carve the individual servings out with a snickerdoodle cutter, and cook the whole mess on my radiator on the way home. I think that is the Sizzler recipe.

Now that I can do nothing about my blood count, other than abstinence, I have begun to focus on my supplements. I have wondered for the last year or so why they have not been working as well as they should have, if I am to believe the propaganda the holistic medicine people. In the midst of all this consternation, I forgot to take my pills in the morning a couple of weeks ago, not getting to them until after lunch. A wonderful thing happened. I slept six straight hours and didn’t wet the bed. For the record, I have not wet the bed for more than sixty-three years, but I was stunned that I did not have to get up every two hours to maintain my record. I thought that maybe the reason why I was able to go so long without going, was that I had taken the saw palmetto later in the day. I began to wonder about my other pills. When is it better to take them all, in the morning or in the evening? What follows are the results of my investigation.

Lisinopril: I couldn’t even remember how to spell “lisinopril” and was somewhat shocked when I googled “liprinasil” this morning and obtained no hits whatsoever. “Oh, no!” I said to myself, “I am taking a medication that is not made on this planet, completely unknown in cyberspace!” By now, you have figured out that I googled the wrong word, but Google wasn’t even smart enough to figure out what I really wanted. HU NU? Not them!

Well, I finally got the right name and found out an interesting thing. "Wikianswers" suggests that “usually, lisinopril is taken in the morning if your blood pressure is highest in the afternoon or in the evening if your blood pressure is highest in the morning". I frankly did not want to take my blood pressure twice a day to find out what I needed to do, so I completely ignored that piece of information. Eventually I found a posting by “SueAnn56” who confided to her readers, “My cardio explained that he wanted my blood pressure to be low at night and upon awakening so that my body could rest.” Hence, she takes her blood pressure medicine at night. I figured if “SueAnn56” could have that clear of a convenient reason for an afternoon tipple, “Zaphod67” could as well. I suspect that some of my good night’s rest for the past two weeks has been directly related to the fact that I have been taking my lisinapril near dinner time.

Saw palmetto: My research on saw palmetto was perfunctory because I was certain that the benefits of taking the supplement in the evening had already been proven somewhat. But I did come up with some interesting facts about saw palmetto and Flomax. The two work completely different from one another, the former apparently being far more effective in helping with some of the conditions that tend toward prostate cancer. “Spreademocracy” had this little tidbit.

Regarding Saw Palmetto, as a precaution, it might be wise to know what your DHT blood count is. Then, based on that knowledge, to discuss taking this herbal with your GP or Uro. What works for others may not work for you in the long run. For example, if you have high DHT, you may not be able to impact it sufficiently with Saw Palmetto and will lose valuable time that could have been spent containing the problem and keeping your prostate from growing. Or, you may need to swallow so many Saw Palmetto pills that you may want to jump right to PROSCAR or AVODART. (P.S., if taking large quantities of Saw Palmetto, you may want to do so with meals since it may be a tad easier on the stomach. If you have liver, kidney problems, or are going for any surgical procedures, seek medical advice before self dosing.) Best wishes to you!

Thanks, SD, I only take one pill, at night, and I seemed to be doing okay. Best wishes to you, too, but you could have been a little more specific about what you really wished for me.

Chondroitin and Glucosamine: Trillium has been telling me for some time that these two “doodahs” probably aren’t doing a whole lot for me. I had just bought a fifty-pound sack of the pills at the time she clarified her views and I thought that maybe I ought to use them up before I abandoned all hope for a completely regenerated knee joint. By the way, I have no trouble at all with my joints which is probably due to one of two things: one, I take a daily dose of chondroiton and glucosamine; or two, I have no problems at all with my joints. I did discover, however, that there is nothing in this world better than chondroiton and glucosamine if you are a dog with arthritis. I am not holding my breath, dog or otherwise, to find out the truth of this matter.

Vitamin D3: Apparently, taking this wunder-vit is good any time of the day. If you are, however, suffering from chronic renal failure, the medicos suggest that taking Vitamin D in the evening is better than in the morning. I neither desire nor need renal failure added to my list of maladies to justify my evening dose. It simply goes down with the rest of what I am taking because all of the pills are already separated into the daily slots of my weekly meds tube.

Fish Oil: My last oral bombshell is my Omega 3 Fish Oil gelcap. I found a lot of chatter on the internet about options, but here is my favorite.

With the recent addition of evening primrose oil, my morning pills now include:

1 prenatal vitamin
1 fish oil capsule (for Omega 3)
2 red raspberry leaf capsules (I also take 2 with lunch and 2 with dinner)
2 evening primrose oil capsules

Holy wow. And then my burps taste nasty for hours. Anyone else in the same boat? Anyone just decide it's not worth it? I admit I'm a bit of a vitamin freak... Leoba

HOLY WOW, LEOBA! TAKE IT AT NIGHT! Of course, my informant is eight months pregnant and may not respond well to masculine reasoning. I think that I might try the evening primrose oil and the raspberry leaf capsules just to see if I can produce sympathetic labor pains in the middle of the night.

There you have it. The latest from an old man who is frittering away his Friday morning hours blathering about stuff that will help no one feel at ease with iron-overloading, except for those of us who have suddenly realized that Leoba is about to give birth to a nine-pound salmon. With a smile on my face, I am about to head up to the kitchen to find prenatal vitamins; we’re getting close to the Christmas holidays and I want to be ready.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What's Down With That?

I am here to report that I have managed to live my life such that during the past two months, notwithstanding the phlebotomy two weeks ago, my ferritin count only dropped 1 point, to 136. What's up with that?

I thought at first that perhaps the problem was that I had both the phlebotomy and the ferritin sample taken from the same arm. Think about it. If my body senses a steep decline in iron at my left elbow, what do you think it is going to do? Is it not going to send a big batch of ferritin to that side of my body? I should have had "She Who Shall Remain Nameless" take the ferritin sample from my right elbow where there would have been considerably less iron.

Once the lunacy of that conclusion revealed itself, I thought about other possibilities. I have concluded that I have gotten just a little too laid back, putting all of my iron eggs into one basket, as it were. I apparently decided that I really didn't need to watch what I ate during the past two months, inasmuch as as the blood-letting has been doing the trick during the past year. Let me give you a few examples.

About a month ago, Trillium brought home a 2 and one-half pound bag of Hershey's Treasures. Except for an occasional Grinchy doling out of a few pieces to one of my grand-daughters and two of my chocoholic daughters, I hammered down the whole bag by myself. Did you know that Hershey's chocolate is 247% pure iron? Well, not that much but it does contain 2% of one's daily requirement of iron, the sugar facilitating the complete absorption of every molecule, not just the 30% we hemochromatosis types allow into the sluice. My guess is that the sugar goes straight to the duodenum and opens up the floodgate for every atom that has an "Fe" engraved on it, no matter what its source.

Since we have been enjoying great grilling weather here in Utah, Trillium thought that it would be nice if we had some dinners a-la-Zaphod. We could have had halibut, or mahi-mahi. We might have gone for tofu burgers. Even baked Alaska is possible on my new grill. Did I go for any of these sensible alternatives to semi-liquid iron sources at Costco? No! I bought rib-eye steaks; two-inch thick rib-eye steaks. I also mixed in at least two or three meals of tri-tip steak. On top of that there were the frequent hamburger barbecues. I was managing to drive iron spikes into every organ of my body and thoroughly enjoying myself in the process.

At some point, in the middle of all of this indulgence, Trillium and I went out to eat at Outback. I ordered a Victoria steak, medium, and received a juicy 8-ounce piece of beef just this side of "Moo!" The boys and girls there were sorry that I had dined on living flesh, so they brought us dessert for free, which again guaranteed that every bite of that steak was destined to reach my pancreas. What's a poor boy to do?

The drop of one point of ferritin disappointed me. I am certain that my sister is going to respond to this latest development with sternness, the kind of sternness that only a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers can deliver properly. Going out with Trillium has been limited to french fries at Carl's Jr., soup and salad at the Olive Garden, and in the back yard at the apple tree. Hopefully the first of December will bring a more satisfactory result. Tonight we had a dinner that revolved around an iron-depleting plate of chicken enchiladas. I have to be better by Christmas or I will be eating coal.