The Road Home

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Monday, April 13, 2015

An Addendum; Our Journey to Better Health

Hi Everybody, Frank here.

 A couple of months back, actually February 13th, Fern and I put out a post called Our Journey to Better Health. This post dealt with medication we had taken over long periods of time, a few things we have done to reduce our exposure to chemicals, like changing toothpaste, deodorant and other things like that. We talked quite a bit about some of the prescriptions that doctors had given us over the years. Well, the reason for this addendum, is that I wanted to add one more to it, one more prescription, that is. 


In the original post, I talked about taking the prescribed medication Relafen, which I took for a pain in my shoulder blade area. Now remember, this was before the Internet. Well, after doing a little research and some experimentation, it dawned on me that the Relafen was causing the continued pain in my shoulder blade. So, what it boils down to, is that I was taking a medication for a symptom that the medication was creating. Well, that was easy enough to solve. Quit taking the Relafen, deal with the pain for a handful of days, and it's a miracle, I'm cured. Like I told you in the original article, I took Relafen for a couple of years. When I asked the doctor about it, he said, sure it could cause that pain.

Moving along here. Also in the original article, I talked about having dry itchy armpits while living in Alaska. I used steroid creams, shots, numerous different forms of medications, and finally it dawned on me somehow or another, it was just dry skin. Now these steroid creams, shots and medications all came from doctors via prescriptions. All that it was, was simple dry skin, that within a short period of time, Vaseline Intensive Care hand lotion took care of.

Well, there is one medication that I had been taking for over 20 years, that I didn't share with you in the original post. It's called Zyrtec. Most people take it for some type of allergy. I took it because I had this uncontrollable entire body itch. Like I said, I took it for 20+ years. I'd tried to quit it multiple times, but every time I tried, two or three days later, I would get this uncontrollable itch that felt like my skin was crawling.

Well, about the time I hurt my back, while in Alaska, and took pain pills for weeks, the itch would go away and I could quit taking the Zyrtec. Which, by the way, at that time, Zyrtec was a prescription drug only, now it is over the counter. But, when I quit taking the pain medication, I would start to develop the same type of itch patterns again. Then out would come the Zyrtec.

Now, let me compliment the Internet. There is a tremendous amount of data available. Some of this data is worthless, some of it is filth and trash, but it can provide you with good, solid medical data. 

Fern and I started looking back. Here is some of the data we discovered. When coming off pain pill usage for long periods of time, one of the classic withdrawal symptoms are chronic itching and the feeling your skin is crawling. Very interesting. Also included in the data is with long term Zyrtec use, the major withdrawal symptoms include chronic, unbearable itching and feeling like your skin is crawling. 

Let me digress a little. I do not know the exact reason why I started taking Zyrtec. Fern and I changed our bar soap, laundry detergent, I quit wearing polyester type clothes and went to strictly cotton with a minimum amount of dyes, we changed everything we could change, and I cannot tell you exactly why I started taking the Zyrtec. I took the Zyrtec for the itching sensation, but we could never determine what caused the itch, not even with allergy testing. But the prescription Zyrtec took away the symptoms, or removed the itch. Wouldn't it be ironic if that itch was caused by something as simple as dry skin? But I honestly do not know what caused it.

Going back to the original article, Fern and I have been trying to remove chemicals from our lives, and unnecessary medications. Now I still take a handful of vitamins daily, but I was also taking that one last medication that I couldn't quit. Zyrtec. Back in January of this year, before we wrote the piece on February 13th, I had gone to my family doctor for some reason. While I was there, I asked him about some help for quitting Zyrtec, and his answer astounded me. "Why not just keep taking it? It doesn't hurt you."
You see, I had used the Internet to also study the side effects of Zyrtec, and one person had mentioned that he used a steroid medication for short term, to counter the effects of the Zyrtec withdrawal, so he could cease his addiction. That day at the doctor's office, I asked him for a prescription of a steroid dose pack. At first he said the side effects of the steroids were worse than the long-term Zyrtec side effects. But with a little prodding he wrote me the prescription. It's one of those things where you start off with a large dosage and for three, four and five days, gradually take less and less. Fern had an old prescription of this same type of steroid that she keeps around for poison ivy outbreaks. I used it to extend my daily steroid intake for a couple of weeks. Also, the day the doctor gave me the prescription, he gave me a steroid shot.

Well, that occurred back in January. Three months later, I am happy to say that I have not had a Zyrtec since middle January. I am not addicted to the steroids, I haven't had one of those in two months. But after 20+ years, I'm off of the Zyrtec. You see, the Zyrtec was causing the itching. Now I have taken one of those things, either every day or every other day for over 20 years. I tried to get help to quit the Zyrtec multiple times over the years from numerous different doctors. Why is it that I, a retired educator, can figure out how to get myself off of a drug, when the medical profession can't figure it out? And the doctor's comment still plagues me, "Just keep taking it. They don't do you any harm." 

It bothers me to not trust the medical profession. It bothers me to not trust my government. It bothers me just to not trust. Period. But it seems that I have good solid reasons not to trust. That saddens me. It saddens me a great deal.

Now, on to happier things. In the original post, Our Journey to Better Health, Fern and I mentioned that we had also started a weight loss program. We started it December 3, 2014. Fern has now lost 26 pounds, and I have lost 30 pounds. We've done this by reducing our carbohydrate intake. We have had no sugar and almost zero processed foods. We have lost inches and reduced a couple of sizes in our clothes. I'm happy to say that we both feel much better. 

Other good news. Fern has ceased all prescription medications except one, and that is a thyroid medication. I am a 65 year old man, that a few months back was taking four or five prescribed
medications on a daily basis. I have, one at a time, quit all of them, without any negative side effects. Actually, I feel much better. So, why was I taking four or five prescribed medications if I really didn't need them? Now, I know there are lots of folks that have to take medications, like Fern does. But, how many of us are taking medications that were administered originally for a short-term problem, that continue to take them for the long-term? How come our doctors, that we trust with our lives, keep us on medications that we don't really need to take? Yes, I know there are lots of reasons why, but I don't want to believe that my doctor would do that to me.

We all know that big business pharmaceuticals control the medical profession. Just like big business agri-chemicals control the food industry. I really don't believe that any of them care about the people any more at all. So much for the doom and gloom.

If you would like, please read the original article. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it causes some serious thought. In the meantime, I am now Zyrtec free after 20+ years. Now, if the world, for whatever reason were to collapse, then I would not scratch my skin away from Zyrtec withdrawals. Imagine that 20+ years. I'm happy. Hallelujah! Free at last, free at last!

We'll talk more later, Frank

25 comments:

  1. Congrats on getting the Zyrtec monkey off your back! LOL, but seriously, I'm happy for you. I am not ashamed to say I don't trust doctors...I don't trust very much or very many, besides God to be honest. I'm very thankful that my husband and I are medication free people, and just prefer to deal with the issues we have, rather than take some type of drug that won't fix the problems, but will just mask the symptoms. I have some female issues that when I asked the doctor about, they immediately wanted to prescribe drugs. I simply wanted to know if there was anything wrong to worry about, they didn't even address that concern, just wanted to give me all these meds. I said no thanks, and just figure out how to deal with the issues! He has an issue as well, and after lots of testing, they just said they didn't know what was wrong and tossed some pills at him. We read the side effects and we flushed the pills and he just deals with it. Neither of us takes any medications (or vitamins because I don't trust what is in the darn things) on a daily basis. Just the occasional ibuprofen for headache.

    Anyway, good article and I'm glad that the two of you are getting off the unnecessary meds, some you can't get by without, but a lot of them are just about money I think!

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    1. Goodwife, thank you for what you had to say. Where you are now, is where Fern and I are hoping to be very soon. It's like everyday a new window opens and there is more to be seen. And I don't believe I'm foolish or paranoid. And I'm not sure if things have always been this way. Maybe they have, and I've just not been able to see it. There are some things I just don't want to admit are true. But the preponderance of evidence overwhelmingly supports the idea that we are systematically being swindled. Not just from our money, but from our good health.

      Frank

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  2. Frank, and Fern - i want to be shocked and horrified that the doctors kept you on prescription medication for so many years...but to be honest, i am not. as you mention in your post - there is a reason for doctors doing that! many doctors hand out prescriptions because they get a small kickback from the company who makes the drug...and this is not a good thing. i am very glad that you are off the zyrtec and hope that one of you, on a drive into work or a drive around your area can find a pine tree and gather some pine needles to make tea from. pine needle tea is good for inflammation and arthritis, and is good for skin conditions. i am off to read, or re-read your original article. my best to both of you for finding ways to come off of the prescription medications.

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Kymber, thank you for the recommendation for the pine needle tea. Pines are beautiful trees when they are in someone else's yard. Unfortunately, we have a handful of them surrounding our yard, so we don't have far to go. Thank you for the recommendation and the other comments.

      Frank

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    2. Kymber, I work in a Community Health Center. While I will be the first to agree that my medical colleagues are too quick to hand out prescription meds, they do NOT get any kickback, financial or other.

      The sad truth is that today's medicine is based on pharmaceutical treatment. Only one of my colleagues is actually eager to NOT write scripts, and to encourage patients to adopt lifestyle changes that will increase health and reduce dependency on Big Pharma.

      Furthermore, the govt and big corporations control how medicine is practiced today. Did you know that each medical provider (doctor, nurse practitioner, physician assistant) is restricted to a 15-20 minute time slot for each patient, and that includes the time it takes the nurse to room the patient?

      We live in a world where people are widgets that feed the medicine machine.

      I work in mental/behavioral health, and it is a struggle to talk people out of wanting to take psychotropic medication for simple depression and anxiety. We have NO IDEA how antidepressants work; and anxiolytics are, at best, habit-forming. At worst, they are terribly addicting.

      People in our culture have been trained to believe that there is a Pill for Every Ailment. If they don't have an ailment, Big Pharma's marketing groups will help them to find one.

      Again, I must stress that doctors do NOT get kickbacks. The majority are just doing what is expedient and what they are trained to do.

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  3. We admire your choices to get healthy and drug free. We are both prescription and drug free, I finished the hormone therapy I was on and it is so good to not have to take any pills! Have you noticed all the drug advertising for EVERYTHING.....drugs to use with other drugs to use with other drugs for just one thing. I think there are too many unintended consequence of the chemicals in Modern industrial food and the use of drug therapy for all things both physical and mental!

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    1. Hi Fiona. I don't have the pleasure of watching TV advertisements. But I do receive monthly magazines from the American Legion and VFW. They are certainly trying to sell the older generation on multiple medications. Even on the internet, side advertisements are quite often about medications. Remember, I've mentioned before that I've read that 40% of adult females are taking psychotropics. That should concern us all. This creates dependency and allows for more control. Thank you for your comment.

      Frank

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    2. We get our advertising exposure on the internet and from the radio...it is a bombardment for medicine!

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  4. How very interesting..I too have stopped numerous medications. Calcium, a multivitamin and an adult aspirin for my afib is it. Off of estrogen, water pills, Zoloft and prilosec and an expensive heart med! I feel much better too!!!!

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    1. Janet, thank you for sharing. There are lots of people out there trying to get off of medications. But for most, it's just easier to continue taking them. It just scares me what all the different combinations, individually and collectively, do to our bodies. I think we are seeing the results in our society of long-term chemical and pharmaceutical abuse. It's a sad state we're in. Thank you for your comment.

      Frank

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  5. When I refused to take statin drugs my doc said I needed because my cholesterol was a little elevated, he wrote in my chart that I was a non compliant patient! Of course now that it has come out that higher cholesterol is OK, I just smile to myself. When my doctor first started out, the first thing he said to me was that all medicine is poison....since then, he has become like all other doctors and just pushes meds instead of finding out the cause of the problem. Organic food is our medicine.

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    1. Tewshooz, our family doctor has changed over the last few years. He seems to be concerned, or should I say anxious, about the number of doctors leaving the medical field. We talked about changing doctors, and even contacted one. He wanted us to interview, like we were applying for a job. Not gonna happen. Take care.

      Frank

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    2. Actually, I interviewed my doctor for the job. After I asked him a lot of questions about his views on natural cures and such, I asked him if he wanted to be my doctor, and he said yes. In those days he was into natural medicine, nowadays not so much. Too bad, really

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    3. Tewshooz, that's the way it used to be. But since we've moved back from Alaska almost seven years ago, this is the second doctor that has wanted our complete records and wanted to interview us both. The first doctor accepted us, but his office staff voted not to and told us that we could not come back. The doctor's wife was the office manager. Yep, our doctor has changed over the last four or five years. But for the time being, we are going to stay with him. Thank you for sharing.

      Frank

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  6. +1 to tewshooz! organic food IS our medicine!!!

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    1. Kymber, I totally agree. Fern and I have always tried to eat healthy, but living where we are now, it's much easier to do so. We're going to keep searching, but I fear, deeply in my soul, what I see and feel is coming. There are other reasons to raise our own food besides the health aspect. Thank you for the comment.

      Frank

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  7. This post is so interesting to me.
    Last week when I was driving in a major city next to my smaller city, I was waiting in a turning lane. When the light turned green I went. My mind did not register that the light was not an arrow. I almost caused a huge accident in which lives could have been lost. A couple of other times I have looked both ways at a stop sign and then pulled right out in front of oncoming traffic. Again, my mind did not register danger.
    I am only 65! Too early for fuzzy thinking!
    I wondered if the problem was Trazadone. I have been on this med for years. When I looked it up, guess what. Yep, fuzzy thinking and balance issues, just what I am experiencing.
    I booked an appointment with a neurologist, but now I am wondering if I even need to go there. Perhaps a natural doctor would be better.
    Anyway, I am really doubting big pharma.
    Thanks for sharing your experience, and I am so glad you are better.

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    1. Thank you for the comment and thank you for sharing. Before Fern and I made any changes in our pharmaceuticals, we did extensive research and determined that our needs could best be met by slowly decreasing our medications. Nothing we faced was life threatening, or could have adverse, traumatic, psychological effects. Be very cautious when doing a self diagnosis and changing your own medication. I would seek a doctor's advice about altering this type of medication. Thank you again for sharing.

      Frank

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  8. I honestly think it's the way the doctors are trained. If there's a problem, treat it with medications. I work in a doctor's office and it seems like the majority of our patients are of that mindset, as well. If they have a sniffle or a pain, they insist on a pill. Many get very angry if the doctor says it's a virus and antibiotics won't help, or they can't have the muscle relaxer until they try heat, rest, and ibuprofen. Believe me, I appreciate the patients that aren't looking for the magic pill but will try to let their body heal on its own.

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    1. A number of years ago I attended a workshop on how to give successful, educational presentations. One of the things stressed was a person should always leave the presentation with something in their hand, and it should be distributed during the early parts of the presentation.

      I believe lots of patients feel this way about medication. They want to leave with something in their hand, even if it's a prescription. Everybody needs something to show that they're being helped. Maybe if doctor's would just put little gold stickers on their patient's foreheads, we would all feel better. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

      Thanks for the comment, Chipmunk.

      Frank

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  9. I found your post very interesting and enlightening. I guess I've been lucky in finding a doctor who's more than willing to listen to me and to work withing the parameters I've set. I have only one prescription, Simvastatin, in a prophylactic dose and 2 supplements and a baby aspirin - all prescribed by her. Before I agreed to take them, I investigated on line using well-known medical sites and also natural healing sites.

    I still get the 'why don't you just take a pill' from people who don't or rather can't understand I'd rather control my diabetes by a strict diet and exercise. I've also lost 100 lbs and kept if off now for 15 months - the difference in how I feel is amazing.

    As you and Fern are, I'm very proactive about my health. My doctor likes that and supports me in my decision. She's called me her star patient in my taking control of my diabetes and has voiced the opinion that she really wishes more of her patients would do the same no matter what they are being treated for. The more we can take charge of our health, and lives, the better off we'll be in the uncertainty that lies ahead.

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    1. Bellen, thank you for sharing some very personal information, and congratulations on the weight loss and keeping it off. When my mother was in her 50's the doctor told her that she was a borderline diabetic and that if she continued her habits, it was just a matter of time until she would be receiving shots. To my surprise, my mother lost a huge amount of weight. She was a tall woman and carried a large frame, but she was also carrying way too much weight. Well, she lost the weight, and she also lost numerous medical problems along with it. She kept the weight off for the next 20 or so years of her life until she passed, and it changed her life.

      Fern and I have been married for over 30 years, and I don't know exactly why we waited so long to decide to lose a substantial amount of weight. I for example, over that 30 year period, gained over 60 pounds. That's what? Two pounds per year? It doesn't seem like a lot. Just two pounds. But over 30 years it is. We still have a ways to go on our weight loss, but I am lower in my weight right now than I have been in over 20 years. Every now and then I'll pass by a window somewhere and realize that I look sharply different. But the main thing is, I feel sharply different.

      Keep up the good work, and congratulations.

      Frank

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  10. I, too, am a non-compliant patient because I won't take statin drugs for high cholesterol. I do not have high blood pressure and I don't see myself at risk. I took Lipitor for a very short while and then I started having muscle spasms in my back. Might've been coincidence, and I have not been free of back pain since then. No other change in my life at the time but the taking of that medicine, which I unknowingly magnified with my morning glass of grapefruit juice. Another case of the "cure" being worse than the "condition".

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    1. Ilene, thank you for sharing. I've known a number of people that have taken Lipitor, and some are very satisfied with the results they get. But there are some that are not happy with the results at all, and they're not happy at all with the side effects either. Fern and I have recently quit a number of prescriptions and to our surprise, we discovered that we didn't really need them at all. I wish we had started doing this years ago. But it's never too late to start. As you know, there are some folks that need to take some medications. For those folks, I am happy that the medications are available for them. If some day I am required to take medication again, then I will be grateful that I live in a society where these medications are available. Again, thank you for sharing.

      Frank

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