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Blogging Against Disablism DayBlogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2009May 1st 2009

Click on the image above to go to “Diary of a Goldfish” blog to see what this is all about and to see what everyone else has written…

This may not seem like the most important issue, it may even seem that i am being a bit picky, but recently i have been hearing the phrase “Anyone can do it!” exclaimed with such enthusiasm and gusto a few too many times… and always about things i cannot do… at all.

Sometimes it is fairly understandable and about things that most people can do, bit sometimes it borders on the ridiculous:

The other week i was watching “Countryfile” on the BBC and the presenter was climbing up a wall of rock in a disused mine, using clips and ropes. The original miners would have just risked falling off as they did not use such safety gear and, on discussing this, the presenter exclaims something along the lines of ” Now with this safety gear, ANYONE can do this!”

Now i am no killjoy and i am so happy to see people exhilarated and enthusiastic about things, and i would let it go if i had not been hearing it over and over again…

Even an “almost anyone”, while not correct, would at least acknowledge that there are some people who cannot.

When you think about all the people who are too ill, too disabled, generally unfit, elderly, scared of heights or of a nervous disposition, or too young to safely scale a rock face, etc etc with any amount of equipment; it makes you think that probably less than a quarter of the population could actually do it! However many, the number of people who are fit physically and mentally to undertake such an activity are definitely in the minority.

Later in the same program, people were sloshing around in rivers, kind of body surfing through white water, jumping down waterfalls and the like. It was Cumbria in winter, so they all had wetsuits on but it was evidently freezing even with all the gear (there were icicles), not to mention very physical. To give him his due, the presenter on this part said “anyone of average ability can do this”… which was an improvement, but i think actually when you average out all the people in the country it is still an above average kind of activity isn’t it?

Then the other day i went into the living room and my partner had switched on the London Marathon. I thought, “ok, how long til i hear it” and started to check my email, not really listening. I swear within four minutes i heard those magic words “If i can do this, REALLY, anyone can!”. Again, i don’t want to diminish the guy’s acheivement (and as i say i was not really listening, so i don’t know his personal story) he seemed to be inferring he had been through some illness and happily come out the other side. We all make generalisations, and he was high on adrenaline, happy to be alive and chuffed with himself, with good reason, but my point still stands.

We cannot all run a marathon. We cannot all climb mountains, scale rock faces, overcome our illnesses and limitations.

To say that “anyone” can do these things renders us invisible and as not qualifying as “anyone”; as people that count.

I love watching programs about the outdoors, nature, countryside and wildlife. It is hard enough not being able to access these landscapes in reality very often or in the same ways that i used to, without being told that anyone who is anyone, can.

I was talking to someone about this and she said that it is like saying “people think that Muslims are…” or “people find homosexuality…” as if they do not count as valid “people” with positive opinions about themselves! In talking about “people” or “anyone” in a way that is obviously excluding a (rather large) subgroup of the population, we are thoughtlessly dismissed and dropped into another (lower) category of personhood.

Well, it seems there are several things going on so here’s a little update on each:

Haircut! I managed to go out on Saturday into town by taxi, to get my hair cut. It is so nice to have a proper cut as i have thick short hair it soon grows out of style into a mess, and i cannot be bothered/do not have energy to be styling it every time i get out of bed (two-three times a day!). It had been over 12 weeks since i last had it cut! I had a really nice friendly taxi driver and he took me both ways and my hairdresser was chatty too. This meant i had about two hours of conversation. I felt very lightheaded at times and knew i was overdoing it, but i REALLY enjoyed it, and being sociable 🙂 I coped ok in the salon with the noise, busy atmosphere, lights and music. I was nice to feel i was doing something in the “normal” way.

D-Ribose: RachelCreativeis back on her D-ribose, but after my three week trial i really cannot tell any definitive difference in my symptoms, although there is a lot of other things going on at the same time. I am stuck between wanting to be at my best for my sister’s wedding in 3-4 weeks so taking it just in case it helps even a little, and really not being bothered with it – particularly as i am experimenting with my diet so much. I would rather reintroduce a “new” food than introduce d-ribose and wait to see if it has any effect on my digestive system… so i think i am not going to take it for now.

Midodrine/POTS: It has been two weeks since i started to increase my dose of Midodrine. It has definitely been easier than last time i tried, with less nastly side effects. I think this is mainly due to the times i am taking it: more spaced out through the day… although i am going to try to continue upping the dose gradually a little more yet over the next few weeks. In general i think i am feeling a little stronger on this new dose as well, though my evening head and neck tension/pain has been worse. I hope this will ease off again. I may just be feeling stronger due to my digestive system improvements, who knows…

I am still getting some POTS symptoms, which i was reminded of yesterday when i was driven by my partner to a local small shop (5 minutes away in next village). I just fancied a little trip out of the house and felt ok. I walked up a couple of aisles and got what i wanted, then when standing at the till (there was a short delay as something went wrong with the items going through the till) i found myself really struggling to stand there. I sat on my walking stick seat which helped a little but just this small thing meant i had to go back to bed when i got home as i felt awful. It was partly due to “payback” from going out on Saturday to get my haircut, but still felt very much like the start of a POTS episode… there are definitely times now where i would be fine to go to a shop for ten minutes and pay at the till, but i still have to time it right and am often not as good as i imagine i will be when i actualy do it! It is easy to think i am SO much better when i am sitting at home, but in reality most things are still difficult. Baby steps…

IBS & the diet: The new diet is going well. After the fourth day of diarrhea after eating the oats, i took one Immodium (loperamide) tablet as i could not deal with it any longer and seemed to be losing weight fairly rapidly. After taking the tablet things have been much better and seem to have settled into a good pattern. My stomach is still achy and painful on occasion, but i think getting better every day. I am gradually introducing more things into my diet that “should” not cause any problems and so far so good.

I have eaten soya yogurt products, more ground nuts, fruit and seeds ground and cooked in my morning porridge, oh yes! gluten free porridge (rice and millet), avocado (my first raw fruit!), butternut squash soup, choc soya pudding, cornflakes, seed butter, rice pasta, a small piece of gluten free orange cake 🙂 …. and probably more new stuff… it has involved going to the supermarket and buying “special” products which can be pricier than the usual ones but i would not really have to do this if i was not going gluten free at the same time… after the oats i am being a bit careful about this issue, especially as my Mum finds she cannot eat gluten.

I have still not eaten any gluten since the “oats drama”, nor have i eaten any dairy products except a bit of egg in the cake. I am cooking rice and potato etc fresh and not allowing to cool (due to the potential resistant starch issues.) I am limiting very high fibre foods, or cooking small amounts of them well and mixing into the safe foods. I want to try some cheese at some point, but am not really missing the yogurt now that i am eating the soya version – just as nice.

I also want to try a bit of low fibre gluten/wheat products and see if i have a dramatic reaction like i did with the oats… i think i will wait a bit longer as things have only been going well for a few days. I need to try it out before my sister’s wedding weekend, but also with enough time to recover before going! Otherwise i may not be able to eat any of the wedding food! As a vegetarian, cheese sandwiches are staple fare at such times after all… finger’s crossed the oat thing was just a one-off, and not a sign that gluten in general is no good for me. We shall see…

Back exercise: I have been forgetting to do my back exercise recently, tut tut! I am still trying to do it though and will try harder! I think that because i am having more pain in other areas (shoulders, headaches) i am more focussed on that and don’t feel like lying on the floor and striking the pose… no excuses though!

Going out: I am going to try to go out on Friday early evening for a couple of hours to be sociable with a group of people in a cafe… cross your fingers for me to feel up to it?

Hi all,

Still on my limited diet… had a very bad couple of days after eating oats one morning, again that evening then following morning (may have overdone them a little!). Stomach very upset and only just calming down so i have been feeling quite bad…

Been doing more research as i expect oats are not the only problem (but if they are a main one at least i have worked it out: i have been eating quite a bit of muesli and oat cakes in recent months after all. It may be an oat intolerance or it may be the amount of fibre was too much for my system to cope with, not sure yet but it was a dramatic reaction…) and have found this really informative website:

It has answered many of my questions about what is safe to eat during a flare-up (not much and all of it white!) and how to integrate other more nutritious and tasty foods into the diet at calmer times… It is very informative and makes more sense than i could have hoped for, as i was getting a bit confused before! It does not go into the resistant starch issue (reheating and cooling of starches) much, but does talk a lot about indigestible fibres in different foods.

So i am persevering with my quest to conquer my IBS (no choice really as it was getting so bad)… i have decided that if i don’t get anywhere with the diet modification in a couple more weeks i will consult a professional nutritionist/dietitian type person, but i think it is ok to experiment unsupervised for a short time. I don’t want to get too bogged down and depressed about it either so a fresh eye on the issues and some new ideas/advice may be useful by that point if not much progress is being made…

Tried quinoa porridge this morning – had to make myself (sitting on chair)and it took quite some time, boiled over when i looked away for a minute and made a huge mess and by the time i came to eat it i was feeling grumpy already! It was not bad though with a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of mixed nut butter (like peanut butter, but made with a mixture of nuts!).

I cannot face the effort again however and think i will be introducing oats back into my diet tomorrow. I read somewhere that eating them cold after they have soaked for a while is the best way, so that is the plan (with soya milk and honey, of course). I actually want tomorrow morning to come around now!

I have also been eating rice cakes. I looked on the packet and total fibre per rice cake is 0.2g, so that really can’t be too much resistant starch can it? (However many times they are heated and cooled to puff ’em up!)

I am going to eat brown rice tonight (with tofu and veg) as things not moving along quite so well today! Looking forward to that too – funny how much more you can appreciate simple foods when they have been denied!

Read a bit more about the resistant starches and there don’t seem to be many tables around to say what foods are higher or lower in content. This could be because it changes so much depending on their state (raw, cooked, cooled, reheated, ripeness etc etc).

I did find out that canned chick peas have mainly the first type (there are 4) of resistant starch which is broken down by chewing (amylase?) whereas red kidney beans have a lot of one of the worst types which is not really broken down at all, so maybe chick peas will be my pulse of choice (with extra chewing action)!

Also seeds are meant to be very indigestible, but mainly due to their fibrous casings/husks so it is suggested that whizzing them up to chop them into pieces allows access to the insides to be digested…

The same seems to apply for whole grains (like my muesli or oats) that if the grain is rolled, milled, ground etc it is better digested… My muesli has toasted flakes of various things so this may increase their resistant starchiness. I am staying off that for a bit longer before i judge if it is something that is causing trouble (as it contains dried fruit, nuts, whole seeds as well as various grains), but i am really missing it! Will see how the plain oats go first…

I must just say that please don’t take what i say about this as fact – i am finding it hard to understand and gather the info and i am no dietitian! There is a lot of contradictory information about this and different opinions about resistant starch (and believe it or not, fibre in general… It is a minefield out there and frankly there are people on some very strange diets!!!).

This post follows the last…

Yesterday i began to change my diet in earnest, after a couple of days of research and starting to make small changes.

My diet plan for this week is as follows:

Foods allowed:

Rice (focussing on white as less fiberous, though may eat brown later in week when i see how things go) – i have basmati (white) and pudding rice to start with.

Quinoa – a seed which look like a grain and is high in protein/nutrients and i think easy to digest

Soya milk – i usually use soya milk anyway as i don’t like cow’s milk and as many people don’t do well on a lot of lactose i also prefer to eat my dairy allowance as yogurt!

Boiled/steamed vegetables – avoiding sprouts/cabbage/normal brocolli/onions etc that may be particularly wind-forming

Tofu – figure it can’t be too indigestible as well processed

honey and nut butter – these seem to be ok according to the powerpoint presentation and can be used to help things taste like breakfast/pudding

herbs, cooked fresh garlic and ginger – to give some savoury flavour

Potatoes – have not had any yet, but can’t see that they should be a problem if cooked freshly and still hot – hmm hot potato!

Still water and herbal teas and 3 cups maximum of caffinated tea (no point going through caffeine withdrawal or having none of my favourite things!)

This means i have cut out: dairy products, gluten, Quorn (i eat quite a lot of Quorn (a meat substitute) so worth seeing if it upsets me at all, fizzy water & other fizzy drinks (can cause gas to pass all the way through, they say), raw foods, fruit, whole nuts and seeds, fermented foods (vinegar, yeast, soya sauce) and reheated foods…

It seems extreme but i won’t be keeping it up for long i can tell you! I just feel it is worth a try to

a) give my system a rest

b) see if changing my diet can improve the worst symptoms

c) see if anything i eat a lot of is not agreeing with me

As i mentioned in the last post, i am not willing to do a proper elimination diet to see if i have food intoleraces. I have done it before with no definite conclusions and as an energy-limited person reliant on someone else to cook all main meals it is a lot of disruption and effort. Just this week will be hard enough!

Breakfast is my main problem – yesterday i had oats with soya milk, as apart from boiled rice it was all i had in, as it was before my partner was going to the supermarket! Today i attempted to make rice pudding in a pan with soya milk, then added some honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon (ooh, naughty – not on the list!). It took constant stirring (not all by me) for half an hour to get the rice soft enough to eat and i am wondering even now if it was cooked enough – hardly something i can do each morning, and to bake it in the oven in the traditional way takes a lot longer. You can make quinoa “porridge”, so i may try that tomorrow, that cooks in about ten minutes – phew! (If that does not work/is horrid, i will be introducing oats back into my diet quick smart i think! They are meant to help with IBS anyway, unless you have a problem with gluten.)

So, i don’t have a definite strategy of what to do at the end of the week, but if my symptoms have improved, i think i will reintroduce some of the foods i eat the most of usually, one at a time over 2-3 of days, and see if anything changes.

Top of these i think are: bio yogurts, oats (then my lovely spelt, barley and oat muesli), Quorn, seeds (which i usually add to my muesli but the theory seems to be they can be too husky unless ground up).

I think i have already realised that i need to eat less fruit and raw veg, but i need to look into the “resistant starches” more and see if i can find a good table of foods and their values – i have found a couple but they only list a few things, such as rice, bread, potato in freshly cooked, cooled and reheated states, and bananas (which seem to be very bad). It would be useful to know more about specific products (oat/rice cakes for example) as well as which fruit and veg are easier on the tum… i love fruit! I think it will be trial and error on that front.

Obviously i need to keep an eye on keeping a healthy diet while making these changes, particularly with reducing raw fruit and veg as i think they provide a lot of vitamins and minerals which can be lost in cooking. I hope to be able to eat some whole grains and beans/pulses, as again they are so nutritious… I may just need to keep an eye on quantities!

I may look into probiotics as well but think i need to do one thing at a time, so i may experiement with them further down the line…

Early results!

Well, yesterday was a much better day with massive wind reduction and no other problems except a bit of stomach ache which is usually present anyway 🙂 I was a little concerned that i may have reduced too much fibre and would have the opposite problem to usual, but today also seems fine. I did eat quite a pile of steamed veg so i am getting some fibre to keep things moving along!

Even if i don’t get to the “bottom” of all my problems, knowing that i can go on a certain diet just to calm things down is a good start, i hope the rest of the week is as good as this early start!

Well, here i am talking about unpleasant bodily functions again… well, someone has to!

As i said in my recent post about my visit to see the POTS specialist, i explained to her how my IBS has been getting gradually worse and worse over the last few months. She gave me a diet sheet and said that advice has recently changed on how to deal with it diet-wise. (She is heavily involved with ME patients, which is why she probably had an IBS diet sheet in her unrelated hospital ward!)

This is interesting to me as i have had IBS symptoms throughout my illness to some extent, it was particularly bad early on, but seems to be flaring up now as well, who knows why… I have experiemented radically with my diet before and had very limited success with it. These symptoms were some of the most distressing and debilitating that i had when i first became ill, i lost a lot of weight and i would often not leave the house because of it, never mind due to other symptoms or energy issues. Nothing i did seemed to make much difference and after quite some time it seemed to improve along with my general levels of health for reasons and logic unknown to me. It was a bit “chicken and egg”: did i feel better because my IBS was better? Or did my digestive function improve as my body was functioning better in general? I really can’t say.

So anyway, this new leaflet has sections on “wind and bloating”, “diarrhea” and “constipation”; and has advice for each set of symptoms. It says to try adjusting diet according to which symptoms are the most problematic at the current time…

The advice used to be to increase the amount of fibre in the diet, but now it is not necessarily a good idea, and that people with a very high fibre diet may need to decrease the amount. I am a vegetarian and have a very high fibre diet and have noticed that if i eat extra fruit and raw veg it makes things much worse. I also reacted very badly to “Fibogel” a brand of powdered drink that contains soluble fibre and it meant to help with digestive problems.

The leaflet has a section on “resistant starches”. I have never heard of them but it seems that they are a type of starch that is not broken down in the small intestine, but that travels through to the colon where it is broken down by fermentation… It is apparently a healthy thing (there is “good gas”) and is added to a lot of food products to increase the fibre content and “healthy values” associated with it. BUT it seems that if you have IBS or trouble with your digestive system it can be hard to digest and cause a lot of unpleasant wind production (that’s the fermentation bit) and be too laxative. I think as these are my main issues that i should try to reduce these type of starches and see if it helps, but as a veggie this is going to be very hard, and i have yet to find much detailed info about which food products are ok…

It seems that the amount of resistant starch in some things actually goes up when they are cooked then cooled, so it is best to eat things freshly cooked and still hot and not the next day as leftovers (something i do a lot as it helps me energywise when my partner is not in to prepare food for me).

The diet sheet says: Resistant Starches (explains what they are, see above, then…) Try reducing  your intake of the following foods:

  • pulses, whole grains, sweetcorn, green bananas, and muesli that contains bran
  • undercooked or reheated potato or maize/corn
  • oven chips, crisps, potato waffles, fried rice – choose baked potatoes or boiled rice
  • part-baked or reheated breads, such as garlic bread, pizza base – choose fresh breads
  • processed food such as potato or pasta salad, or manufactured biscuits or cakes
  • ready meals containing potato or pasta
  • dried pasta – use fresh pasta instead

So the things that concern me here are firstly the pulses and whole grains… being a veggie and health conscious i hardly ever eat an unwhole grain and as i think beans must be included in the “pulses” category as they are not otherwise mentioned i am really scuppered… As with most veggies, my main protein source is beans of various types… i eat soya products like tofu and soya milk but am unsure if they count, as are not in wholegrain form and may be more digestible? I also eat muesli every morning but i don’t think it has bran in it…

I find that eggs do not digest well for me, which is a shame, so then i am just left with dairy products (protein wise) and as a person who cannot exercise i cannot really eat lots of cheese for protein if i don’t want to pile on the pounds can I? Plus dairy products do upset some people… i eat a lot of low fat yogurt so hope this is not a problem as well.

The other thing that could be an issue is that i like to crunch on rice cakes and oat cakes, but do these count as reheated/processed grains as they are baked (like biscuits/cakes mentionned in the list above)? I have avoided eating too much wheat in the past as I wondered if it was upsetting me, but maybe bread would be better than crispbread type things after all?

So as you can see this has opened up a can o worms…

It also says for wind and bloating:

  • limit fruit to 3 portions a day and make up rest with veg (it explains what a portion is)
  • Oats and golden linseeds may also help with wind and bloating
  • you may wish to try probiotics… (more detail given, including to try different ones for month at a time as they have different bacteria that may suit some more than others…)

The advice for diarrhea is fairly similar to the above, as well as avoiding fatty foods.

For constipation (not really my problem but may be yours!) it says

  • fibre may help with constipation, but can make wind, bloating, pain and diarrhea worse. Fibre intake should be adjusted according to effect and reduced if necessary. If you do increase your fibre intake do so gradually because any sudden increase can make things worse.
  • For symptoms of constipation only, try wholegrains, along with fruit and veg, introducing no more than one extra portion over a 2 day period.
  • Oats and golden linseeds are good sources of soluble fibre which make the stool softer and easier to pass
  • Drink least 8 cups of non-caffinated fluid per day
  • probiotics may help

I also found this power point presentatin online about IBS and diet:

It has more information about what foods are likely to be ok and which may not, and goes into more detail about how to do what is basically an elimination diet. This is where you eat only safe foods for a time (usually several weeks) then when your system is calm and symptom free you introduce one food at a time (often just one per week) to see if there is any reaction. This is used to see if you have any food sensitivites/intolerances. I have done this before and with no real conclusions – it is a real challenge and i am not really prepared to do it again unless things get a lot worse!

I think what i am going to do is to eat a basic diet for a week or so and see if my symptoms do improve. If they do then i will know it is worth playing with my diet to see if i can avoid the worst symptoms in future when i have a flare-up. Just giving my system a rest may help in itself. I think my diet in general is pretty good and has not changed radically for years and most of the time there have only been minor issues on the digestive front so i think it is more a case of managing flare-ups than identifying food intolerance and making great changes. I already do not eat great quantities of dairy products (only really live yogurts and a tiny bit of cheese), and i also avoid eating a lot of wheat, which are the main triggers for people in general… this has generally worked for me.

From reading about it and thinking about it i feel my main issue is likely to be speed of digestive transit. My main issues are wind and stomach pain and going to the toilet too frequently. I think that maybe food is not being completely digested as it is going too fast to have enough time to break down properly, and not enough is being digested in the small colon. Reducing fibre (particularly resistant starches) i think may help this. Also from the power point presentation i think i maybe need to eat less raw foods so that they are easier to digest (no more raw sugar snap pea snacks for me! See how healthy i should be – it’s so unfair!)

I am going to detail my plan of action in the next post as this one is getting overly long!

I went to the hospital today to see the POTS specialist. It was a good appointment, i felt my brain was working enough to get my head around what she was saying and also enough to be articulate, which helps.

I currently take midodrine twice a day, morning and lunchtime, at a low dose 2.5mg each time. I did double this dose for three weeks before, which caused all sorts of side effects and i felt awful so i contacted her (the specialist) and she said to go back to the original dose.

The plan now is to take an extra dose at tea time, as i told her i have a low point at about 4-5pm most days, so she thinks it is reasonable to try and see if another dose helps this slump. After trying this for a couple of weeks she wants me to try to take the odd extra dose in between, at times where i feel i need it, and see if this helps and how much i can tolerate.

I am keen to give it another try to up the dosage, as it has worked really well for me on the lower dose, and there are obviously still symptoms of it affecting me. Many of my worst symptoms have improved and life IS better, particularly “at rest” (in ways i have explained in previous posts so i will not repeat myself – now i have “tag cloud” in my left hand column you can click on “POTS” and read all about it!!).

I am to contact her if things are not going well with this plan or i need to check anything, otherwise i will see her in three months time and she says she will give me something else to try on top of the midodrine to try to improve things even more… which would be nice!

It was good to feel that she still thinks that improvements can be made and that much of my illness/symptoms could be still attributed to POTS and related autonomic malfunctions, despite the initial improvements of specific symptoms. She emphasised that we are at the start of a very slow  journey of improvement and seems to think we will get somewhere with it eventually. I really hope so!

I even got a new diagnosis out of the appointment today! I have… drum roll… Defecation Syncopy! Say it loud and proud! This information from the Student British Medical Journal mentions it, as well as other forms of syncope, which is quite interesting. I am not sure exactly whether POTS falls into the Vasovagal Syncope or the Postural Hypotension groups, or is a mixture, as both descriptions sound relevant to me… the defecation syncope seems to fall into the vasovagal group, and is obviously related to my existing problems.

I do not actually pass out, but i feel extra faint and dizzy and weak just before and when i have a bowel movement, and often go back to bed to recover. As my IBS has been getting worse, this has been affecting me more, although this has been happening for a long time, I did not think much about it. It just occurred to me that it may be relevant when i was asked if i get more symptoms after eating a meal (or other specific times), and i thought that no, it happens further down the line than that, so i thought i would mention it!

The Specialist said that she is a world leading expert on defecation syncopy! (she said this as if it was amusing, not in a “I am so clever” way, she is not like that at all) and that no-one knows how common it is as no-one speaks about it (except me evidently!). She said that tests have been done where they insert a bag up people’s bowels, and inflate it, and they just pass out!! She did not test me today 😉 She said that some people need cushions around the toilet and on the bath/sink edges near the toilet as they pass out and don’t want to crack their heads open on the way down… glad that it is not that extreme in me.

So the plan for this is to take another dose of midodrine when i get these symtoms (or feel the need!) and see if it helps…

She also gave me an interesting info sheet on IBS and diet, which included things about “Resistant Starches” which i had not heard of… basically it is a type of fibre that is not broken down in the small intestine, but ferments in the large intestine, causing wind, discomfort etc. It is good for people in general, but maybe not so good if you are having trouble digesting. The leaflet also lists dietary changes for each main symptom, rather than all IBS in general, so i think i may try to make some changes and see if it helps. I will write more about this in a separate post when i get chance later and have looked into it more.

All this means that my D-Ribose three week trial  may be hard to do, as if i start taking more Midodrine and change my diet a bit i may not be able to tell what impact the D-ribose is or isn’t having. Ahh well. I should have planned the timing better but that’s where being spontaneous gets you! I will do it anyway and see…

After reading Rachel’s post on D-Ribose, i decided to stop taking it for three weeks to see what happens. That was a week ago. Unfortunately i have had a cold virus for the last week and been feeling less than great, although not really much worse energy-wise, just enduring some nasty symptoms and sleeping at odd times as my sore throat and coughing kept me awake at night. Anyway i don’t think there has been any effect so far of stopping the D-Ribose.

I have been taking it for a quite a long time now. I have blogged about it before, in fact, from the first post of this blog!

I have had short breaks from it before, where i have usually felt more aches, particularly in the thigh area. I used to have a lot of heaviness in my legs and thigh aching, and although this year has been pretty bad ME-wise (or is it POTS-wise?!), this is one symptoms that has been a lot better in general (unless i actually use those muscles). Interestingly I think my mood has been better this year as well (except when going through DLA and other dramas which has lead to low moods, frustration, stress and exhaustion, but i have had less what i would term “proper” depression where i could not see the reason). I think i was particularly depressed in the period before starting the blog last year, and this did seem to improve dramatically at the time i started the D-Ribose (or was it blogging? Or was it the sunshine and spring! Who knows!). So i will be keeping an eye on that also… I feel fine right now mood wise so that’s a good start.

The reason i am only doing it for three weeks, then plan to start taking it again, is that i think the effects will be be delayed and i need it to be working for me again in six weeks or so as my sister is getting married, which will involve me travelling and overdoing myself in various ways, so i need all the functionality i can get!

So we will see if there is any noticeable change from not taking it for three weeks… it is hard to judge the impact energy-wise. I did not feel much improvement on that level for quite a while after starting to take it, and i hardly have much stamina in general, so it may not have much to do with it…

Another reason i am stopping it, is that some people find it upsets their digestive system and mine has been really playing up recently, which has made me feel really weak and lacklustre. If it is getting worse, the D-Ribose may not be helping… Interestingly it seems to have been a bit better the last week, while i had my virus. Either the virus caused the bad flare up beforehand (although it has been pretty bad for a while now, that week was really unpleasant), or my body likes a high sugar diet of cough mixture, throat losengers etc! I was getting really sick of feeling all sugary by the end of it and am so glad to be feeling better! Sure my teeth are also pleased…

So, i will see what happens in these three weeks and in the weeks after re-starting it, and see what i want to do in future, based on that. I don’t want to take stuff when there is little point, there is always some impact (financial or health-wise) and the gout association with D-Ribose highlighted by Rachel is not good, i am told it is in my Mum’s family and it sounds nasty!

It is so hard to know whether a supplement is helping or not when symptoms come and go and levels of health fluctuate hour to hour anyway… it is also easy to get stuck taking something, as it is never a good time to risk feeling worse by stopping it! Will i be any the wiser after my experiments? We shall see…

Well, i have been really enjoying the sunshine recently! I am currently sitting on the doorstep with my jeans rolled up, my forearms out and my face and neck exposed also. I have decided to make sure that if it is a sunny day i will make sure that i sit outside in it for ten-fifteen minutes at least, in order to get my vitamin D for the day. I had a quick surf on the net and it seems this is all that is required.

I have not read into it fully but i am aware that there is research on ME and Vitamin D deficiency going on, so i think i may as well do what i can, just in case it helps! Also there is osteoporosis in my family, and i am a vegetarian so i may not get as much in my diet as other people, although i read that it is hard to get enough just through diet alone anyway.

Of course, i hope to sit out in the sun for longer than this over the summer but i may well cover up and wear suncream for any length of time much over this amount, especially in the height of summer, as i don’t think getting sunburn is fun or a good idea! It is good to know that something so simple can allow me to get enough vitamin D (assuming people with ME can make it the same as others do…). Knowing the climate i may have to seize the moment some days as you never know when the sun will go in in this country!!

Yesterday i definately got my quota, as after over two weeks of living in a cold virus ridden household (first my partner, then me) we both felt better and went out for easter sunday! It was warm and there was not a cloud in the sky. First we went for some lunch in town, but it felt so wrong to be inside, so we relocated to park, then a nearby pub garden and sat in the sun playing cards for a couple of hours! My back got quite sore from strange and unsupportive seating (despite having my cushion with me!) and i was exhausted when we got home but seem to have come off relatively unscathed after sleeping almost continuously until 1.30pm today! It was so nice to spend time together relaxing and to be out of the house and feeling good after some very tough weeks (before we got ill was very busy and i was not feeling well at all).

Hurray for the sunshine! AND after my mum came to visit and did lots of work in my garden (thanks mum!), and i planted some seeds, some are coming up today! I think it is the miniature marigolds… ahhh! Let’s hope the slugs and snails don’t fancy a snack before they get a chance of life. Fingers crossed for the californian poppies as well, then my garden will be a sea of orange flowers this summer 🙂

Don’t worry people, it’s still me, i just changed my theme! I needed one that allowed for widgets… so there we are. It’s nice to have a custom header too isn’t it?

ME/CFS Awareness

ME/CFS Awareness


April 2009