Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Bliss Go Pack Update

Today is the second day that I've used the Bliss Go Pack as recommended (although I'm still only taking the one Bliss twice a day instead of two) and I really do feel like I have more energy.  Yesterday afternoon, I did feel a little funny. Not jittery per se, but a little on edge. It may be because I also had a Dr. Pepper and you're really not supposed to have any caffeine with the pills, but old habits die hard.
Today, I had physical therapy for my knee, and I did more at therapy than I ever have. I actually walked without any assistance for the first time in four months. Of course, I don't attribute all of that to Bliss, but I do think it gave me more energy, which gave me the strength and courage to try.  So I think that's a positive sign!
As to the sleeping, I am sleeping more deeply, I think. But I am still waking up pretty often. I am not as tired as  I usually am, so I don't know if that's because I have more energy from the Bliss or because I'm sleeping better or both. I'm hoping the Opti will make me stay asleep longer during the night.
At this point, I'm starting to be impressed, but I'm not there yet.  I did decide to go ahead and measure since I can't weigh. We'll see in a week if I have lost any inches (or fractions of inches!) For now, I will keep using the products and see how I feel.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bliss Go Pack Day 1

Today, I started using the Bliss Go Pack by 1st Phorm.  While this is advertised as a weight loss supplement, that's not the only reason I wanted to try it. It is reported to boost energy, increase thyroid production, and help one sleep.  All of these things sound good to me, so I decided to give it a try.
The Go Pack comes with three different products. The first one is simply called Bliss. The one I am taking is specifically formulated for women, but there is a version for men as well. The bottle says, "Boost metabolism, Avoid cravings, Balance mood and hormones." Since I have been diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance but don't take any medication, I thought this might be a good way to help keep those issues in check. You start off taking one pill twice a day and work up to two pills twice a day. It's five days on, two days off, which is interesting. I've taken a lot of weight loss supplements over the years, and I don't remember ever being told not to take any if them everyday. My plan is to take the supplements during the work week and not on the weekends when my schedule is usually thrown off. But since today is Sunday, I wanted to try them out before I had to drive to work after taking them, so I went ahead and took one Bliss and two Thyro-Drives (more on this in a minute) about three hours ago, just to make sure I wasn't going to have a reaction or get really sick, and so far no side effects. Neither product is supposed to cause jitters or racing heartbeat, which isn't always the case with supplements, and so far I have found this to be true. You are supposed to take them with a full bottle of water (16 ounces) which I did.  I was able to get my complete workout in about an hour after I took them, which is great because lately I've been looking for excuses. While I don't feel jittery, I do feel different, like I have a little more energy than usual, which I think is a sign that it is doing something....
Bliss Go Pack for women by 1st Phorm

The second product I took today, Thyro-Drive, is supposed to, "Stimulate the thyroid, Intensify metabolism, Melt body fat." Am I skeptical? Of course. But I actually came across these products while looking for a non-prescription way of helping my thyroid. I was also diagnosed with a thyroid problem a few years ago, but I haven't taken medication for it in a long time.  So hopefully, this will help with some of those issues.
The last product is called Opti-Core, and I tried this out Friday night. It's purpose is to, "Reduce cortisol levels, Optimize metabolism, Maximize fat loss." This you take before going to bed. The reviews I've read said that it really helps people rest well and wake up refreshed. This is super important to me because I do not sleep well. I know that this is likely due to my thyroid/hormone problems and the fact that I often have Restless Leg Syndrome (or at least symptoms thereof). It usually takes me a couple of hours to fall asleep, and I wake up every few hours. When I took this Friday, it still took me about an hour to fall asleep, and I woke up twice in ten hours (I slept in Saturday!) So, does it work as promised? Not sure yet. Like anything, I'm assuming you have to take it a few times to get the promised results--if it works at all.
I do not expect these products to be magic pills that make me suddenly a size six again; I see them only as helpful tools. Since I tore my ACL four months ago, my mobility is very limited. I still can't exercise like I want to. I can hardly walk at this point. But I need more energy so that I can do the things I need to do. I need as much sleep as I can get so that I can continue to heal properly, and so that I can do my job and still enjoy my family when I get home.  If I feel an increase in energy and can get a better night's sleep, then I will feel like these products are working and are worth the cost. I honestly feel like $99 for all three products for one month, with free shipping, isn't a bad price compared to some of the other products I have tried. It's certainly cheaper than Slim4Life, which was the last program that actually worked for me. I know it might not be in everyone's budget, but it is cheaper than a fast food meal each day.
I am planning on riding my recumbent bike for 30 minutes each day and keeping my diet as clean as possible.  1st Phorm makes menu recommendations, and there is a calculator you can use to determine how many calories, fat grams, carbs, protein grams, etc. you should have each day.  My plan is to stick to these recommendations as much as possible. I have a total of two hours in the car each day and a job where I may or may not get an actual lunchtime, so sometimes food is grab as you go.  I'm hoping that the energy from these supplements will help me completely cut out caffeinated beverages, which will also cut out about 300 calories each day. It will also force me to drink more water, since you have to drink 16 ounces each time you take the pills--which is three times a day. Not super excited about the 16 ounces right before bedtime....
I'm not planning on weighing myself this first month for a couple of reasons. First of all, I'm scared to! And secondly, I couldn't step on the scale right now if I wanted to--too wobbly for my bum knee. Hopefully by the time I'm ready for month two (should there be a month two!) I will be willing and able to weigh myself and will be happy with the results.
Have you tried any of 1st Phorm's products? I'd love to hear from you.  Feel free to leave a comment!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cymbalta Warning: Brain Zaps and Other Fun Symptoms

I am 37 years old and I have never had a sip of alcohol. I've never smoked a cigarette or anything else. I've never done any kind of illegal drugs.  Ever.  Today is the 5th day of my withdrawal symptoms, however, and I am more convinced than ever that drugs--legal or otherwise--need to be handled very cautiously.
The drug I am having withdrawal from is one of the most commonly prescribed SSNR (Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) medications, used for depression, anxiety, neuropathy, or in my case, fibromyalgia.  It's called Cymbalta or Duloxetine, but I have a lot of other names  I could call it right now.  I have been on the lowest dosage most US doctors will prescribe (30 mg) since last September.  On Monday, I decided it wasn't doing anything and I was ready to quit.  That's when all of the fun began.
I have actually had similar symptoms a few times before when I forgot to take a dosage for more than two days in a row and a few mild symptoms on off days when I started taking it every-other-day a few months ago. I have read a lot of horror stories about how hard it is to stop taking Cymbalta, regardless of whether or not you step down, your doctor helps, or you just go cold-turkey.  I was hopeful that I would be able to quit fairly easily since most of the prescription drugs I've taken before haven't had adverse side-effects and I was on such a low dose already. I was wrong, way wrong.
So, since Tuesday, I have been suffering from some pretty nasty side-effects from quitting the Cymbalta Team. The one that is the worst and the most frequent are the "brain zaps" as they are commonly referred to by other quitters.  This is a fun little event that happens to me about 25-30 times an hour or any time I turn my head or any time one of my children puts something close to my face, or any time I move my eyes--so basically almost constantly.  It's very hard to describe but it's almost like my brain is rolling around inside of my head.  It feels like a little electric shock moving through my brain and then a bit of a roll.  Not at all pleasant. It doesn't hurt per se but it is not fun.  It makes me dizzy and extremely nauseated.  I have read that, for some people, this little gem can last up to 7 months. Awesome.

The next most annoying symptom is not being able to digest food. I won't go in to too much detail but let's just say anything I eat finds the closest exit.  But I have been so extremely nauseated the hole time that I really haven't eaten too much any way. Maybe that's a bonus to the diet! Hey, what do you know, I've found a positive. In fact, I've actually lost 8 pounds since Tuesday (it's Friday) so maybe I've started a new trend, the Cymbalta Withdrawal Diet! If you don't mind all of the other side effects, you might lose a little from the ol' backside!
Another symptom is what some may refer to as "malaise" or as I like to call it, inability-to-get-my-booty-out-of-bed. I'm just so extremely tired!  But then, getting up makes the brain go nuts so may as well just lay here. I actually went out of my house for the first time since Monday today and didn't stay out too long because of all of the other side effects.  I was very nervous driving my car with my children in it, too.  But we all lived and now I'm back in bed. I'm supposed to go to a get-together in a few hours and I'm hosting one tomorrow so I really hope I find the strength to do both of those things!
My husband's favorite symptom is my outrage irritability.  Let's just say I haven't been very pleasant these past few days. Now, I realize that Cymbalta regulates serotonin so it makes sense that I wouldn't be as happy without it, but I wasn't taking it for my mood. Those of you that know me know that I am always usually very pleasant. Not the last few days!  And my children have probably gotten the worst of it, unfortunately. Don't worry--we don't spank them so the scars are only emotional, not physical. I am joking!  But I do know I haven't had the patience of a kindergarten teachers these last few days.
I have also been extremely itchy. And then, last night, I wasn't sure if I had a real gnat that kept landing on me or if I had the classic horror story withdrawal symptom of phantom bugs crawling on me.  It's actually happened twice now, which makes me a little more concerned, but I think, considering it's July and I live in Texas, next to a pond and a lake, they are  probably real bugs.
Another fun one is the muscle twitching, spasming, and my limbs occasionally doing whatever they want.  This includes some form of restless leg syndrome that keeps me up most of the night.  I am constantly having to change positions.  I've also had tremors in my head, which are a delight, and have been so severe that it really scared my daughter last night when she couldn't figure out why I kept shaking my head "no" at her.
I am an emotional wreck. I cried over the contestants on Hell's Kitchen getting to see their families last night and I haven't even been watching that show.  I cry over cute pictures on Facebook.  I go from crying to angry in about 2 seconds flat.  Unfortunately, I have not had the symptom of extreme happiness but I'm hopeful that it is coming.
Now, as I mentioned, I do live in Texas and it is July.  Oddly enough, however, the temperature here today is 72.  So, that doesn't quite explain why I am sweating profusely.  Seriously, I had to turn the air down in my car to something like 66 just to not feel like I was suffocating. And I am always cold so this is a great new experience for me.
There are a few other mild symptoms I could list but they aren't nearly as fun as the ones I have already described to you. After all, what could possibly top brain zaps, tremors, and profuse sweating?
This is my warning to you or to any one who may be asked to take any form of an SSNR blocker such as Cymbalta, but certainly Cymbalta itself:  talk to your doctor about the benefits versus the risks first.  I didn't do that when my doctor put me on for a couple of reasons.  First of all, he wasn't going to put me on Cymbalta.  He was going to put me on Lyrica. I'm not exactly sure if people who have been taking Lyrica have had the same sort of side-effects or not but there's a possibility Lyrica may have actually worked for my condition and I could have just kept taking it, never needing to find out what it's like to come off of it.  And Lyrica is not an SSRI.  I will be talking to my doctor (different doctor!) about Lyrica at my next visit.  The doctor who put me on Cymbalta spent a few minutes talking to me about Lyrica, went out to get the prescription written up, found out Cymbalta would be cheaper with my insurance and wrote it for Cymbalta instead.  Secondly, I am stupid! When it comes to doctors, I tend to believe what they tell me and trust that they know what is best for me.  The more doctors I go to, however, the more I find out this is not often the case. A smart person would have said, "Tell me about Cymbalta.  What are the side-effects?  What will we do if it doesn't work?  ARE THERE ANY WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS?"  I think another factor for why I went with it was that I have been on SNRI's in the past and had no problem getting off of them.  My gastrointerologist put me on one for a few months after I had my gallbladder removed because I was still in a lot of pain and he couldn't figure out why.  I also had a urologist put me on one once because of a "lady problem" I was having. I hated the way I felt on that one (like I couldn't think!) and she took me off immediately and put me on something else that was not an SNRI.  Since it was so easy for me to come off of those drugs,  I thought Cymbalta would be the same.
But for me, it's not.  And it may or may not be the case for you.  Since I have been toying with the notion of quitting the drug, I have read lots and lots of horror stories on-line about people with similar symptoms to mine, and some a lot worse. Last night we discussed whether or not I should go to the ER but that seemed stupid to me because I know how to make it stop--go take a Cymbalta and everything will be fine. I didn't want to waste anyone's time when I know I can make it go away.  But I also don't want to take Cymbalta any more. Ever again. And yet that bottle is still sitting in there, just in case . . . .  And I believe that is the definition of Drug Addiction.
I am certainly not telling anyone that they shouldn't take Cymbalta if a medical professional tells you it will be beneficial to their condition. I am only suggesting that you ask a lot of questions and make sure that you understand what might happen if you have to come off of it or if you decide to come off of it. It's really not any fun at all.
In the time that it has taken to write this, I have had approximately 15 brain zaps and yelled at my daughters to stop fighting at least 8 times.  (Normally, that number would be somewhere around 5.)
Has anyone else had a similar experience with prescription drugs?  I would love to hear your feedback in the comments section. Or if you have a great way to cure brain zaps (other than Cymbalta!) please let me know that as well!

Monday, June 2, 2014

My Thyroid Will Get By With a Little Help From My Friends!

Yesterday, I posted on Facebook about my thyroid condition, the goiter (reassuring everyone that it is not the size of a football!) and that I've been having some really bad bouts of acid re-flux lately.  I had so many friends respond--people I had no idea had thyroid problems. It was so awesome to have so much support from my friends.  One of them actually sent me several texts with lots of important information.  I knew from my research that thyroid problems are pretty common but I didn't realize just how many of the people I already know have been diagnosed with similar problems. It's good to have the support but it's also really sad that there's so many people who have this horrible problem.
And I'm not sure people who don't have it realize just how nasty it can be.  A thyroid problem, whether it's hypo or hyper, messes with a lot of other stuff. Your quality of life can be drastically affected by having a disruptive thyroid.  Since I started taking my new meds on Wednesday I have felt a lot better, other than the acid!) I can't say that I'm not tired any more but I can say that the brain fog is starting to lift. It's like I'm tired because I worked a lot (even at 10:00 AM) rather than the usual, "I'm gonna fall asleep right at my desk!" sort of tired.  And that's definitely an improvement.
So, now I'm wondering, how many of you have been reading my posts and thinking, "Hmmm that sounds like me.  Can't lose weight, can't stop gaining weight, tired all the time, hair doing it's own thing, skin is dry, libido is lacking, yep, could be me."  Anyone?  I'm hopeful that, by sharing my story, others will be able to figure out what is going on with their own crazy thyroids as well!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Oh, So the Thyroid is an Important Body Part, Eh?

I had my two month follow-up at Balanced Hormones and Health this week and found out that I also have hypothyroidism and a goiter. Whenever I hear the word goiter, I immediately think of an episode of Seinfeld when the gang signs up to visit elderly people in their homes and one of the ladies has a goiter the "size of a football." I don't think mine is that big but it is annoying and I have to get an ultrasound done to see exactly what is going on.
I have done a lot of research on the thyroid this week and I found out a lot of interesting information.  It turns out a lot of people have undiagnosed or misdiagnosed thyroid problems because most doctors just look at one of the numbers that come back with the blood tests.  My doctor also looked at my T3 level and she said it indicates a problem.  She put me on Armour Thyroid, which is made from pig thyroid, apparently, and it has been very successful in treating patients with similar symptoms as mine. She said she wanted to treat my symptoms, not my paperwork, which I appreciate.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include: gaining weight or inability to lose weight (check), constipation (check)  fatigue (check) brittle hair (sort of check) dry skin (check) and can also include various other things that are different from one person to the next. These are the things I really wanted help with, especially the weight and the fatigue so I was more than happy to start taking the medication.  On a side note, she also gave my nystatin for candida, which, if you've read my other posts, you know is something I'm also combating.
So, essentially in the last few months I have found out I have a hormonal imbalance, a lazy thyroid, and an intestinal yeast infestation. Yeah, it's no wonder I don't feel so good.  But the medicine and supplements are slowly working. I am starting to feel better (except for a nasty case of acid reflux, which I am thinking might have something to do with the goiter.)  I am sleeping a little better,  have a little more energy, and while I haven't lost any weight yet, I have stopped gaining weight, which is a step in the right direction.
Hopefully, after a few months of treatment, my symptoms will start to subside and I will start feeling like myself again!  Here's hoping for healthy improvements!

Monday, April 28, 2014

There, I Said It. . .

For many years I have been fairly annoyed by all of the erectile dysfunction commercials. I guess they let all of us ladies know how guys must have felt hearing about feminine products.  Now, we have a new type of commercial to let us in to a "man's world"--the "Low-T" commercials.  You've probably seen them.  Some attractive middle-aged man shruggingly admits that he does, in fact, have low-testosterone.  I believe the phrase is, "I have low-T.  There, I said it." But it's okay because he has spoken to his doctor and it's just a number.  He's taking a new prescription and everything is going to be fine. Honestly, as annoying as these types of commercials can be, I think it's great that people are talking about hormonal imbalance. Unfortunately, what a lot of people don't realize is that women also need a certain level of testosterone in order for our bodies to function correctly.  Women with low testosterone levels can also suffer from low libido, weight gain, poor muscle mass, feeling tired even after a good nights rest, and various other symptoms.  The fact is, all of our body's hormones need to be in balance in order for us to feel our best and do our best.  This isn't just a man's problem--it's a person problem.
And I should know, because I have low-T--there, I said it.
I also have low progesterone and DHEA.  I found this out by visiting Balanced Health and Hormones (or BH2.) They did complete blood work on me, looking at everything you could possibly imagine and some things you have probably never heard of before.  In the end, I was given prescriptions to help balance my hormones and some other supplements, including Vitamin D, Vitamin B, and Magnesium.  It's been about a month since I started this regiment and while I'm not at 100% yet, I am starting to feel better.  I have more energy, I feel like the exercise I've been doing for years is actually getting me somewhere, and my mood has also improved. I'm hopeful that this will be what I have looking for to end the general feeling of malaise--a.k.a. "yuckiness" I've been feeling for several years.
I will go back to BH2 in about another month for them to check my blood work again.  I will continue to see them every three months indefinitely and I'm okay with that.  There are a lot of different things that can make our hormones get out-of-whack but we know that our health will never be optimal until we get these levels back to where they are supposed to be. It's not clear how many women suffer from hormonal imbalance, particularly low-T levels, because most women aren't aware of how important testosterone is to our systems.  Many women may be suffering from symptoms of low-T without even knowing it.  There is also very little information on the internet about low-T in women.  We need to change this.  If you are suffering from  the following symptoms, I suggest you go and talk to your healthcare professional:
trouble falling asleep/staying asleep
tired/exhaustion even after a good night's sleep
night sweats/hot flashes
trouble losing weight
decrease in general mood
There's no reason to suffer from these symptoms when correcting a hormonal imbalance may make you feel a lot better.  If you are also suffering from low-T, I would love to hear from you.
Here's the link for Balanced Hormones and Health. They have in no ways sponsored this post, this is just the facility I decided to visit after doing my own independent research and realizing I had symptoms of low-T.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Basic Rule: If It Tastes Good, Don't Eat It!

Okay, that may be a little extreme. But it seems like most of the food items that I find appealing are no longer on my restricted anti-candida diet.  Luckily, once the vast majority of the candida has been killed off, I will be able to work some of those foods back in.
I am a creature of habit so I know that if I want to be successful on this plan, I have to eat basically the same things every day while I am on the diet.  So, I have been eating a granny smith apple for breakfast, a lettuce and organic grilled chicken salad for lunch with a salad dressing that fits the bill (no sugar, no dairy, non-processed) and just meat and vegetables for dinner (carrots, green beans, something low carb.) It doesn't sound very appealing, and it really isn't but there are a lot more food items that I could be eating if I was willing to step out of my comfort zone.

Basically, as long as it is organic and non-processed, it's okay. Oh, and it can't have any sugar in it. We've already talked about how hard it is to find food with absolutely no sugar whatsoever in it in a previous post, which you can find here.  But most vegetables are fine.  Meat is fine as long as it is organic.  It's hard to avoid dairy altogether but it can be done.  And there are some grains that are allowable, such as quinoa and buckwheat. So, it is possible to live on this diet.
The biggest problem for me is that my body is programmed to crave sugar, especially in the form of soda and chocolate. I'm still constantly battling the urge to eat something I'm not supposed to.  And, honestly, I haven't been perfect on this diet. It's easy for me to find an excuse to make an unhealthy choice.  But all I can do is learn from my mistakes and try again and I've been more successful at forgiving myself lately, which is something I've also had to work on.
After 4 months of physical therapy, I had my body fat remeasured and I've gained 7 pounds of muscle over the coarse of that time.  That's pretty cool.  I also lost 20 inches.  So, what I'm doing is working, even if the scale doesn't always say what I would like for it to say.  I am headed in the right direction and I feel like this diet has made me feel healthier, which is the ultimate goal for me.
I am looking forward to meeting with a new doctor next month.  I really feel like I may have a hormonal imbalance and hopefully she can help me with that. I will keep you posted.
For more information on what you can eat on the anti-candida diet, check this site out.
What is working for you? What are you craving?