The Cure can kill you – revisiting the Vytorin Blues!

I can’t help but think that most of the American citizens are killing themselves when they walk into a Dr.’s office, have tests ran, walk out the door with prescriptions in hand, and just go home to do exactly as their Dr. ordered, “Keep taking the medication.”

This isn’t a rag on the medical system, nor the pharmacutical industry, or the fact that some people legitimately need daily doses of a variety of drugs to maintain their current health and maintain a semblance of a life style that may allow them some freedoms and keep them active and moving for a few more years. Unfortunately, most people fail to read all of the fine print that comes with prescriptions, and do not pay attention to their own body, so rather than take a positive stance and get up off of their butts, change their diets, and seriously work at healing themselves, they fall into a desperate attempt to survive a little longer in a manner that offers ‘no outs’.

First and foremost, I AM NOT A DR. I NEVER PROFESSED TO BE ONE. I DON’T WANT TO BE ONE. But I do know when something is horribly wrong with my body and sometimes it’s just time to stop doing everything and go back to square one. As I write this, I wish I had a handful of great drugs that I could pop and just sort of drift off into a blissful coma for a few days…and no, I’m not dying, and I’m not even close to thinking suicide, and if I die of a heart attack or kidney failure tonight, it’s a surprise…I didn’t expect it. I actually feel pretty damned good except for the itching skin and the sunburn like flakes of skin that are peeling/flaking off of my abdomen, buttocks, upper back, and thighs. Explanation follows:

Let me back track a bit. I’ve felt like shit for the last four years, never sick enough to just say, “Hey, I’m sick!” but never feeling good and some days actually feeling like I could just lay down and pass out. I’ve been through a variety of tests, discovered a hiatal hernia, take nexium for that…if you don’t have insurance just bag it and suffer because nexium is ridiculously expensive. I went in to see my Dr. about four times a year, complaining of pain in the abdomen, a lump under the ribcage, and on and on and on. We went nowhere. He finally concluded that I had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). As I continued to nag him on each visit, he finally ordered an abdominal catscan, several things showed up but my Dr. forgot to tell me. Another nagging session and he sent me to see a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy. Nothing wrong there.

A year later, I gave up and seriously complained to a surgeon that I go to twice a year for mammography thingies. Dr. Gardner. I love this guy – and he follows the WPT on TV…Clonie Gowan, he’s fascinated with you. He sent me to see an abdominal surgeon that he recommended. I did see this surgeon. In order to do that, I had to bring in copies of the first catscan with the radiologists report. That’s when I saw the things my original Dr. failed to tell me about. To say I was freaking hot about it would be an understatement. I wrote him a letter, hand delivered to his office, basically telling him I was shocked and apalled that he would do this to anyone. I had another catscan done and not much had changed since the previous one so I could rest my mind over the issues that were staring me in the face. On the original catscan, the radiologist recommended that a follow up be done within four to six months on two issues…how could a follow up be done when I knew nothing of them?

My new abdominal surgeon and the catscan results left me with the same story, the lump under the rib cage was a lypoma (fatty tumor) and the possibility of IBS. I got another Dr. – internal medicine – recommended by my favorite surgeon, and she ran a zillion tests immediately, blood pressure too high (hard on the kidney – since I only have one), and called me back within a few days. I tested positive for the ulcer bacteria – H. Pylori – and I took a two week pack of medication, twice a day (take one on an empty stomach, take one with food) to kill off the bacteria. The medication would kill you. Ugly shit. But within a few days of taking that medication, I started to feel better. I didn’t feel sickish all the time. Amazingly that little crappy bacteria doesn’t always cause ulcers…it’s kind of a little mystery still to scientists and it can live in the stomach lining for years – they think it may be transferred through food and water and can be carried from childhood. At the same time, my Dr. recommended hydrochlorothiazide to lower the volume of my blood and lower my blood pressure. As soon as I finished the two week pack of meds to kill off the H. Pylori, I started a prescription for Vytorin to lower my cholesterol.

One of the things the original catscan showed was calcification of the abdominal artery…YIKES! My cholesterol was too high. A few years ago I tried a ‘statin’ and was completely miserable with it and after three months I quit taking it.I discussed it with my Dr. at the time (the Dr. that I fired) and he decided that he would think about what my options were. He sure thought a lot but nothing ever happened. I’ve been told that I can’t overcome the cholesterol problem with diet and exercise. I also know now that I can’t survive the cure. I took Vytorin for approximately two months. I was also on Zelnorm to help with the IBS. Nexium for GERD. Take one on an empty stomach, take one twice a day, take another with or without food at night. Kee-rist!

I went in for an upper GI with another Dr. I found out that my stomach and esophagus are inflamed, although the H. Pylori is gone, and I do still have a hiatal hernia. I queried about having surgery to cure it..holding pattern.

I went in for more blood tests around the 60 day mark after starting Vytorin, cholesterol was great, “Keep taking the medication,” this was after I said that my thighs hurt all of the time and were sore to the touch and I had a pain in my left back (where my one and only kidney lives), and my heart rate at times went into race mode when I was sitting still. Around the 75 day mark, I quit taking Vytorin. My back felt like it was going into continual muscle cramp mode and my thighs hurt just sitting still.

I also developed a very strange arm pit odor. I never have arm pit odor, not in the last 15 years, but this was a chemical strange smell…not like sweat. And I also developed strange, little purple spots that weren’t bruises, and filtered out to nothing, on the tops of my hands. The day after I quite taking Vytorin, the pain stopped. I feel there may have been some damage to my kidney. This makes me really sick, even thinking about it.

The day after I stopped taking Vytorin, the pain in my back stopped and my thighs felt completely normal.

A week ago, I stopped taking Zelnorm and the Hydrochlorothiazide. My skin was so dry around my buttocks, upper thighs, stomach area that it felt like the bottom of a dried lake bed with big cracks in it, and my skin itched, everywhere, my entire body. I use a heavy amount of lotion, healing and moisturizing lotion, on my entire body when I get out of the shower – no matter what, my body never felt hydrated. I also never felt as if I had more urine output than before, actually at times, I felt I had less than before starting the hydro pill. During the time I’ve been taking the hydro, my blood pressure had been great, but at times my pulse rate is over 100. From 80 something up to over 100, for no reason.

Another major reason I stopped taking everything was because I began having severe foot cramping, any time of day, for no reason.

Since I quit everything, I drastically altered my diet – a salad with no dressing for my breakfast/lunch and fresh nuts. Normally an apple and fresh walnuts/almonds for midnight. I am trying for a half hour walk each day but the weather has not always been favorable. I’ve varied a few times on my food intake but in general, it’s been very low key, no fried foods, no sodas, etc. No alcohol except once in the last two weeks – that was three glasses of wine one night. My pulse dropped to the 70′s, my blood pressure maintained pretty well.

Two days ago, my entire abdomen was shedding skin like I had had a major sunburn. It still is. My buttocks and lower back area feel the same way as my abdomen, except on my abdomen, I can see it. If there’s a breeze and I start scratching, I might choke to death on clouds of my own dried flesh sailing into the air.

So where is this going and why am I writing it?

This is my Diary, number one reason to write what I want to write about. It is a log, events that I can go back and check to see what happened/when/where.

Another major reason is that I will be following up with a Dr. appointment to see about other kinds of cholesterol lowering medication (there are some that bind to cholesterol in the bowel and never affect the liver, etc.) and more blood tests as needed. I still have off and on pain in my lower, left hand back. It could be any number of things and I don’t want to jump to the conclusion that I’m suffering from kidney damage.

BUT the biggest reason of all to write about it here, is to inform the world that we don’t always have to just ‘go with the flow’ like blind pigs and do what our Dr. says. We need to be body aware, keep track of what happens when/where so we have an idea of why we are suffering through what we are suffering through. Long before life in the Que at the Dr.’s office happened, people actually made their own healing potions with herbs and worked at being healthy. Believe it or not, some of those herbs are still used today after they’ve been pasteurized and processed of course…God forbid that we have good ol’ healthy plants and vegetables.

In the interim, get in gear, download and signup through one of the banners on the left. I still recommend Tony G. as the hottest new arrival with the best deal…hell…you don’t need glasses to figure it out – top banner on the left.

About Linda R. Geenen

The easiest way to begin is to start at the beginning. But where is that? At what point does one suddenly decide they are going to spend the rest of their life involved in the intricate art of the dance? What is the art of the dance? A game about people - played with a deck of cards. Poker! I stepped into the poker world in 1980 in Missoula, Montana. I didn't know anything about poker, couldn't tell you what the difference was between a bet and raise, or if a straight beat a flush. I had three boys to feed, needed a job and a dealing spot was open in one of the local bars. I played my first hand of poker in a 5 Card Stud game (with the help of one of my bosses) and that was it! I was hooked. I lived, breathed, slept, dreamed, ate, and talked poker. I eventually ran my own games (licensed by the County) in several different bars in Missoula, and at one point, managed the games in the bar where I started my first dealing job. In 1987 I traveled from Montana to Nevada to deal major poker tournaments, returning to Montana at the end of each one. In 1989, I opened The Mirage – along with 6,400 other people. In 1993, I moved to Gulfport, Mississippi, and opened Grand Casinos Poker Room, returning a year later to Las Vegas and The Mirage. In 1998 I opened Bellagio - along with over 9,000 other employees. In 2003, I dealt the final table of the Aruba Ultimate Bet Poker Classic event. Hey…I’m on TV! I had the privilege of being chosen as the dealer in the Howard Lederer videos that have been released on No Limit Holdem. I play poker on a regular basis and I deal to every name brand player that is still above ground and breathing air, the elite, the freaks, the ne’er do wells, the rich, the poor, the illiterate, the educated, the beautiful, the ugly, the superstitious, the rational, the sane, and the insane. Perhaps I am the one that is insane but if I am, I fit right into the game plan. Five nights a week I walk into the greatest, social melting pot known to mankind. I no longer dream about it but the art of the dance is prevalent in everything I do - see you there!
This entry was posted in Dear Diary and tagged , , , | 2 Comments

2 Responses to The Cure can kill you – revisiting the Vytorin Blues!

  1. ADBBingo says:

    Linda,

    You’ve never met me, but I’ve been reading (and enjoying !) your blog from the early day tales about the ‘big game’ with Andy before it became a book. I just wanted to wish you well with the health problems, and let you know that there are TONS of people who read your site and just love what you do. Hang in there, and I hope to see you at the tables some day !

    ADBBingo

  2. DAMN!! You just made my day. Thank you so much.

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