March 7 2014 and an important date for me to remember.
Today is the day that my self-treatment -- both Phases -- is validated.
I have used myself as a guinea pig, a lab rat (so to speak), to make sure that my self-treatment program works. I have taken calculated risks and consumed stuff that I would not recommend to anyone else with diabetes or pancreatitis. I did this all in an effort to confirm, or deny, that my self-treatment was worth pursuing.
Here is how all of this started.
After I was released from hospital on January 20 2013 for another flare up of pancreatic pain, I decided I did NOT want to go through that again. It had become usual to feel the pain start with a burst at the front just below the mid-section of the rib cage. Then it would radiate through to my back, just like someone was sticking and then twisting a knife in. I didn't matter much what I did or what prescriptions I took, the pain was overwhelming. The only small relief was leaning forward a little bit, but that was a very small, very tiny, relief that didn't last long.
Going to the ER is no joy. They treat you like a creep, literally. You get the sense that they are trying to figure out if you are scamming the system just to get some pain pills. That last time was it. With my wife in tow, we got to the hospital at about 4 am. After they had drawn blood, picked, poked, proded, and invaded almost every cavity I had they gave me two Oxycontin and to other prescription pain killers. It was just a bit after 1 pm, nine hours after I signed in to ER. Since I hadn't slept in several days from the intolerable pain, I dozed off within 5 minutes. Enough!
I decided to put my research skills to use and find a more tolerable way of dealing with this pancreatic pain. I started with my lab work. Everytime I visit a doctor to review lab results, I ask for a copy. I looked through those and researched what each line item meant. Most of the items were within reasonable tolerances and deviations from normal. What really stuck out, though, was the items that were below normal, well below normal. By themselves, they meant nothing and the doctor did not even point those out when we were reviewing them. One of those was 25HYDR -- that's Vitamin D3. My level was showing 19. The target, according to the lab comments, is 75 to 220 nmol/L. According to my research, the lowest ever recorded was 14. Hmmm ... what should 25HYDR be doing in my body and why am I lacking? It turns out that 25HYDR (Vitamin D3) is one of the body's own anti-inflammatory compounds. Again, Hmmm ... pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas and the body's own defense mechanism is severely lacking.
So, Phase 1 of my self-treatment started by taking Vitamin D3 supplements. I started with 6000 UI daily, that was taking two tablets of 1000 UI each, three times a day. I did more research to find other anti-inflammatory natural supplements. I have documented those at this page. You can read more about those there.
Phase 1 started January 21 2013 and is on-going. From the very start, I experienced changed. The most noticeable was pain reduction to an acceptable threshold. By that, I mean that there were no sharp stabbing pains, no radiating pains, no pains that would cause sleep loss. But, there was still some dull aches. This did not help with any of the other symptoms: steatorrhea, weight loss, lack of energy.?
I continued my research.
In late November 2013, I discovered a medical reported dated 1915 that linked diabetes and gastrointestinal diseases to acidosis. To be more specific: chronic acidosis. Acidosis is a condition where the body is too acidic, too much gastric acid (too much acid in the stomach). Quite frankly, I do not know when or how it becomes "chronic", although it seems that it is a process that is at least a decade long. Even back in 1915 it was recognized that our diets had changed to highly processed foods. Here's my "layman" description: We drink too many colas, coffees, teas. We eat too much sugar (causes more acid in the stomach). We do not get enough sleep. We smoke too much. What ever the cause, it is constant and builds up to a point where the body can no longer regulate the acid. The acid gets into the blood stream in minute traces -- that's where the problems start. When acid interacts at the cell level, the cells cannot properly or fully convert sugars to use as energy. The cells cannot proerly or fully use insulin. Food does not get digested properly in the stomach and does not get processed properly.
Keep in mind this medical report was authored in 1915. I searched for more medical reports that would either refute these findings or alter them in any way. None. The only medical reports or scholar texts I found substantiated the original 1915 report.
This is a major find for several reasons -- it explains: 1) why we have so much inflammation related diseases; 2) why symptoms are so difficult to diagnose; 3) why we have so many "stomach" issues; 4) why treatment is so difficult to pin down; 4) why multiple symptoms often appear. What it does not explain is why the medical community is treating the symptoms and not this underlying cause.
In my research, I also found ways of dealing with acidosis. I even found dosage information. And, all from medical reports.
That's what started with Phase 2 of my self-treatment program. And the least expensive too. A very common ingredient that is likely in your kitchen already. It's sodium bicarbonate: commonly known as baking soda. This made sense to me. My pancreas is nearly 100% destroyed. It is calcified and is only producing trace amounts of insulin and digestive enzymes. The pancreas is where bicarbonate is produced by the body to control acid levels. If mine is producing any bicarbonate at all, it surely isn't enough to deal with chronic acidosis. I confirmed this acidosis condition on my lab reports that showed a urine pH level of 5.5, quite acidic.
On December 20 2013 I started Phase 2 by taking sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) twice a day. I take one "dose" in the morning mixed in an 8 ounce glass of water, and again another "dose" about twelve hours later. I purchased acid test strips so that I could monitor the effect of taking sodium bicarbonate and managed to confirm my dose to keep my urine pH levels between 6.8 and 7.4. From the very first day of starting this, I have changed completely. I feel totally normal -- totally. I sleep better, I eat better, I have more energy, and a lot more. I also noticed that I needed less insulin and fewer digestive enzymes. I noticed that my weight seemed more consistent.?
I decided to push the limit and started consuming foods that would trigger flare ups, foods that would spike blood sugar levels. There were no flare ups and sugar levels did go up a bit, but a lower level insulin correction dose (that previously would have been needed) took care of that.
I fully expected that on my next lab work my HbA1c would be higher. I mean, I really pushed the limit. Chocolate bars, burgers and fried foods, chocolate covered nuts, cake, donuts ... you name it, I likely tried it. I was prepared to have to explain all of this to my doctor today. I wanted to either prove or disprove the acidosis causal factor and treatment. What I ended up doing was proving that the treatment, a simple drink of baking soda, took away the inflammation from my pancreas and other parts of my body. I proved that about two cents a day is all it cost to eliminate my pains completely. I proved that self-treatment can work.
The end result is that my HbA1c, on March 7 2014, is 6.6. That is almost two full points lower than just three months ago (it was 8.4). This is after submitting my body to some rigorous testing with not-so-healthy junk foods, colas, etc. Had I been following a more reasonable diet, I am sure my HbA1c would be below 6.0 ... in normal ranges.
April 2 2014 udpate -- here are some more benefits I have noticed:
- I have been able to reduce the number of digestive enzymes from four per meal and two per snack to three per meal and none with snacks. This means that I have gone from 16-18 enzymes per day to nine. I also occcasionally only take two per meal, especially if it is a light meal.
- I have been able to reduce the number of Arnica Montana from two in the morning and two at night to two at night only. I have also noticed that I have not needed to take any for pain "twinges" for some time now. Since I was not documenting this on a daily basis, it is hard to tell when the pain twinges stop, but I estimate it is at least two weeks now since I have needed any additional Arnica Montana.
- I have had to stop taking the Chromium Picolinate. Even one a day triggers some weird dreams. I suspect that I have either reached a peak efficiency with the Chromium, or my Phase 2 self treatment is working so effectively that I am getting enough Chromium from foods. Whatever the reason, I am not needing extra Chromium.