Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 a New Year, a New Decade- May it bring 'real' hope and change, because miracles DO happen!

2009 was a rough year and, admittedly, I will be happy when it's finally over. When I lived in Ecuador (for 2 years during high school), on New Year's eve they had a major block party on one of the major drags. Up and down Amazonas boulevard, live bands played music and effigies representing the old year were burned. I haven't thought about that in a long time, but this year I might do something similar as a symbolic gesture for out with the old, because it really sucked.

The economy has taken its toll on many, including me. Arts funding is usually the first to go in challenging economic times, so many theatres have shut down, the work has dwindled, and it might be time to search for another career. I also battled health problems for the best part of the year, and am only just starting to feel normal again, if that's possible when you have 2 chronic ailments. I have been sick since March, but since the beginning of May (when I finally decided to go to a doctor) I have been trekking to MDs and acupuncturists anywhere from 2 to 4 times a week. Because of lack of work, I did not get enough weeks to qualify for my union health insurance, so I will be paying over $2,000 per quarter in Cobra payments. At least I have that option. But 2010 is a new year and the start of a new decade, and I am ever hopeful- because miracles happen.

On the national level, we saw the election of our first black president, which would have been wonderful had it been the "right" black president. I blogged about what a disaster it would be to vote for Obama, and how a no vote or a vote for a 3rd party candidate was essentially a vote for Obama. People did anyway, and now many regret the decision. I'd like to say I told you so, but what would I gain from that. I just hope people remember, and vote the right way in 2010 and 2012. And though it seems that Obama could lay waste to this precious country in 4 short years, 2010 is a new year and the start of a new decade, and I am ever hopeful that things can change, for the better. And not Obama's vacuous claims of "hope and change." Real hope and change- because miracles happen.

We've seen more violence and more craziness around the world, with an increase in radical Islam (and the ultimate goal of global domination by extremists), but on the other hand we've also seen Muslims against terrorism and shariah become more vocal in their condemnation, both here and abroad. We are also witnessing that there are those in the Middle East who truly want democracy and will fight to achieve that goal, and so we need to pray for the Iranian people who are fighting on their own for freedom. All they want is moral support. Let's give it to them. Maybe more will follow suit, though that's highly unlikely. So, in spite of the mess our sad little world is in, 2010 is a new year and the start of a new decade, and I am ever hopeful that 'good' will win over 'evil'- because the good guys always win, and miracles do happen.

And if you don't believe in miracles watch this

Wishing everyone a blessed, prosperous and Happy New year. May it bring many miracles into all of our lives.
GOD bless this country and all freedom-loving people of the world.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stop Bleeding Naturally With Traditional Chinese Medicine- Yunnan Baiyao

There is nothing more panic-inducing than seeing blood where it shouldn't be; that is - anywhere other than coursing through your veins. Women are used to seeing blood monthly during their menses, but other than that, blood belongs inside one's body. Cuts can usually be dealt with easily, if you haven't chopped off a limb, but when you see blood in your stools it can send one's cortisol levels into overdrive.

Blood in your stool is an indication that something is definitely not right with your innards. Those of us with Ulcerative Colitis (U.C.) are intimate friends with rectal bleeding- it is part and parcel of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and invokes a certain sense of fear when it first appears. It can mean 1 of 2 things, the U.C. has returned, or worse yet, the possibility of colon cancer, since U.C. increases the potential for colon cancer. For those without U.C. it could mean other things.

There are a myriad of reasons you might find blood in your stool or on your toilet paper ranging from relatively harmless hemorrhoids to stomach ulcers to colon cancer. Bright red is an indication that it is closer to the anorectal cavity- hemorrhoids, rectal fissures, IBD. Stools are dark red or maroon with Diverticulosis. Stools can be both bright or dark red with Colon Cancer, but usually dark and "tarry". The darker the color usually indicates blood loss is higher up the digestive tract. There are various allopathic methods of diagnosing blood loss from colonoscopies to capsule endoscopies, which you will definitely need to avail yourself of, if the bleeding continues.

With Ulcerative Colitis, if there is profuse bleeding, high doses of prednisone are often prescribed. I had a terrible time with corticosteroids, so will never take prednisone again, particularly after my amazing experience with a Chinese herb called Yunnan Baiyao, prescribed by my acupuncturist.

Yunnan Baiyao aka Yunnan Paiyao, yunnan pai yao, yun nan bai-yao, yunan bai yao, yunan paiyao, yunnan pai-yao, hunnan baiyao, yuhnahn pie yow or "White Medicine from Yunnan", as it is known in English, comes from southern Yunnan province in China and is a popular formula used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for both internal and external bleeding, among other things. It is truly a miracle herbal medicine, at least for internal bleeding. In my case, it stopped the U.C. bleeding almost immediately on various occasions, and ultimately for good.

HISTORY: It was formulated in China by TCM doctor Qu Huanzhang in 1902 and became an instant success when, after 30,000 bottles were donated to the Chinese Army during the 1937 battle of Taierzhuang, many lives were saved. The formula was later donated to the Chinese government which still manufactures it today. I've been told that it was used by Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War, and that the dead were usually found with an empty vial . Apparently, they would use it to help stop bleeding wounds while they waited for help.

LIST OF INGREDIENTS: From what I understand there are different companies that manufacture Yunnan Baiyao in China. The original formula was and still remains a secret, other than some common ingredients. Although the formula has a proprietary secret blend of who knows what, most of the brands contain Pseudoginseng root (san qi), Chinese yam root ( shan yao), wild yam root (chuan shan long), sweet geranium ( lao guan cao) and lesser galangal root (gao liang jiang). Other substances can include ox gall bladder (bai niu dan), borneol (bing pian) herb of clarke (san yu cao).

USES: Stops bleeding internally and externally. Can be used internally for heavy menstruation, bleeding ulcers, Ulcerative Colitis, and topically on wounds, including gun shot wounds. There are many other uses listed for Yunnan Baiyao including, but not limited to, carbuncles and arthritic pain. Although I am not endorsing any of the following sites (that also happen to sell the product since I prefer to purchase mine through my licensed acupuncturist) they give more detailed information on the variety of uses: Chinese Medecine Herb , Help Of Chinese Medecine.

HOW TO USE: It would be best to consult with your alternative health practitioner for dosing information and/or follow directions on the box. It's available in powder form, capsule, tincture, plaster and spray. With each vial or packet of capsules comes a small red pill. This should only be used in very severe cases of bleeding where there is the possibility of shock.

For external wounds apply directly to the wound, after cleaning. If the wound is deep, squeeze the wound together, place the powder on top of the wound and release after several minutes.

For internal bleeding take as directed. Usually, 2 capsules 4 times a day for adults. 1 capsule 4 times a day for children ages 5 to 12. (Check with your practitioner for how long you should use this product).

Although I have never used it topically, I can personally attest to the fact that it works in amazing ways to stop internal bleeding. The first time I used the product for a week, and the bleeding stopped very soon after using the product. A few times thereafter, I would notice a small amount of blood, but within a day, it would be gone. It has been over a month and I have not seen any recurrence of bleeding. I do know, that if I do see any, one dose will take care of it.

Normally I am very careful about what I ingest, and the fact that not all the ingredients are listed isn't very appealing, but when one is anemic stopping blood loss is of tantamount importance. I suppose, in this case, what I don't know won't harm me.

WARNINGS: Should not be used if pregnant. Keep out of reach of children. Some brands recommend avoiding broad beans, fish, sour or cold foods for 24 hours after taking.

Manufacturer Disclaimer

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Side Effects- Why I prefer herbals over pharmaceuticals

Sometimes the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs are far worse than the actual disease, or at least equally horrendous. If you listen to any of those pharma ads on television or read the massive list of potential side effects on the insert with your drugs, it's enough to scare you half to death. And there are particular ones that can actually cause one's demise. Even some of the commercials add that disclaimer. So, if the disease doesn't kill you (even if it's a non-life-threatening one) the drugs you are given just might. Or cause something worse than what you already have. Some of the biologic drugs given for Rheumatoid Arthritis (like Enbrel, Humira etc) can actually cause serious infection or lymphoma or tuberculosis, so not only will you have to suffer the pain of R.A. you can add the possibility of cancer, and T.B. to the equation. No thank you; and that's why I declined when my rheumatologist initially insisted I take Enbrel.

I have been struggling with anemia since my flare-up of Ulcerative Colitis this past spring, even though I have had no bleeding in a very long while. So my hematologist has been giving me Iron infusions (to boost my ferritin levels), and Procrit shots to boost my hemoglobin, which doesn't seem to want to rise above 9.7. Procrit most often is given to cancer patients to increase red blood cell production, but on the front page of their website it states

So, in other words, if you have cancer it could make it worse, or recur. That's encouraging. As for my experience with Procrit, I noticed shortly after my first shot that all my joints were suddenly aching again. I had my R.A. pretty much under control with herbs and supplements for well over 3 years, so I wondered what might have set off what appeared to be an R.A. flare. I then realized that the pain would start to subside towards the end of the 2 week waiting period between shots, and rear its ugly head after each shot. I checked with the hematologist and sure enough, one of the many other side effects of Procrit is joints and muscle aches. Bingo. So now I have to endure the pain of R.A. to get my blood back in order.

For some reason, I seem to be very susceptible to adverse side effects with pharma drugs. When I was prescribed heavy doses of prednisone for the Ulcerative Colitis flare this year, I got all the miserable side effects: from Cushings Syndrome (the chipmunk, moon face) and blurred vision to edema and hair loss. Even though I started bleeding again once I tapered off, I refused to go back on prednisone. Just as well I didn't listen to my Gastro because my acupuncturist put me temporarily on some Chinese Herbs for bleeding, Yunnan Bai Yao (spelled many different ways) and the bleeding stopped immediately. No side-effects.

I have also had major troubles with the Mesalamine Drugs for the Ulcerative Colitis. Lialda gave me major abdominal pain. Apriso, did not help, so was switched to Pentasa, all of which have caused (in addition to the prednisone) major hair loss. Thankfully I had very thick hair, but I have lost well more than half, as a result of taking the drugs. Even though the drugs all have disclaimers about
Mild hair loss characterized by "more hair in the comb"
Mine has been more than mild. There is more hair on my floors, carpets and hair brush than on my head. Clumps of hair come out when washing my hair, not a pleasant sight. Since I finally seem to be in remission with the Ulcerative Colitis after 9 long months- thanks mostly to herbs, homeopathy and acupuncture- I am weaning myself off of the Pentasa. I am now taking 2 per day (down from 8) and will continue with 2 for a little while longer, and then be done with it. Am hoping the hair will grow back once I am off it altogether.

Granted, there can be side effects with certain herbs (though virtually none with homeopathics), but certainly not as many as with pharmaceutical drugs. I will always opt for the natural route over the allopathic since it works far better with far less side effects.