Intrasomatic Conspiracy: Part 3 – The Inflammation Wars

“It’s no longer a question of staying healthy. It’s a question of finding a sickness you like.”
– Jackie Mason

I’ve often said that the problem with life is that life gets in the way. We bob on the surface of its vicious whirlpools that spin us ’round and ’round, and sometimes eventually down, down, down … glub, glub, glub. We start on one thing and soon enough something else takes precedence. That’s the way it’s been lately with my trying to write this post on inflammation. Now to be fair, one of the obstacles to my completing this piece has been some research on the subject I’ve found that has made for fascinating reading and has really got me thinking … which invariably might actually be a dangerous thing.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been trying to pinpoint the one rogue disorder that has manifested in my body and transmogrified into a bountiful rotting harvest of assorted aches and pains, arthritic concerns, hernias, skin conditions, allergies and gastrointestinal duress. It’s obvious to me that there may be more than one culprit behind this inflammatory infestation … and that perhaps my body as a whole may be working against me in some unholy Intrasomatic Conspiracy.

Now the term inflammation comes from the Latin word ‘inflammare’ which means ‘to set on fire’. Yes, I’m inflamed, in fact, I’m downright incensed! Until recently, my war on inflammation has been mainly cerebral. I’ve tried reading up on what the root cause of my inflammation may be and what I can do about it. But, as always, I end up with ‘super-rific’, albeit conflicting, medical advice that is for the most part, one part supercillious and another part superfluous. Here are a few examples that read more like a “He Said, She Said” marriage counseling exercise:

Aspirin: – Whenever you watch a medical drama and hear an emergency room doc yell “he’s bleeding out!”, aspirin is probably to blame. Got ulcers? It’s likely you’ve taken too much aspirin. Today, however, this old forgotten pill is being hailed as the new wonder drug … again. It’s currently thought that a daily aspirin can prevent a second stroke or heart attack… just don’t ask about the first ones, though.

Eggs: – We’ve been told for years that these eczema and cholesterol producing ‘cackleberries’ are heart stoppers. Fry them and top them with bacon and cheese and you qualify for a one way ticket to heaven or hell, depending on your choice of lifestyle. Today, however, the news is that ‘that’ was all bullshit and that these poultry products are the next best things to sliced bread. I’m not sure if that’s the same sliced bread that triggers diabetes, hyperglycemia and butt cancer, however.

Fiber: – Yes, we’ve all heard that getting plenty of fiber in our diets is beneficial, especially for those with a predisposed penchant towards anal-retentive behavior. But before you chomp down on that bowl of Bran Sticks, take care that you don’t break your teeth, tear up your esophagus, or have IBS. Oh, and for those of you that are that lactose intolerant, and enjoy breaking wind, don’t forget the milk!

Butter: – It’s been suggested that natural butter is the root of all evil. Over the years we’ve been advised to eat margarine, a chemically produced conglomeration of all things unpronounceable. I think we’ve got it backwards – and Dr. Oz and Julia Child would most likely agree.

Nuts: – On one hand, nuts contain properties that increase good cholesterol (HDL) and lower heart disease. On the other hand, a hand full of nuts consumed daily will make you fatter and thus a more likely candidate for heart disease. Oh, and if you’re allergic to nuts, which many of you are but may not know it, you’re doubly screwed.

Water: – Drink plenty of water. In fact, 8 glasses a day each morning before noon is the recommended dosage. Some would even say we need about 2.5 liters a day. Don’t over do it though. Too much water can lead to low salt levels, which in turn can lead to death. I wonder if 2.5 liters constitutes overdoing it? My gastroenterologist says yes, but my GP says no.

The Sun: – This is supposed to be a no-brainer of astrophysical proportions: avoid the sun. Wear sunscreen and sunblock and one of those little plastic white cones on your nose. On the other hand, if you want to clear up that psoriasis and the other skin conditions you have, you actually do want to get out in the sun so that you start producing your own vitamin D. Drinking more milk won’t cut it; it’s gas producing and only has trace amounts of the vitamin D we need daily. Oh, and milk triggers phlegm production, so skip it … unless you’re into that sort of thing.

I think you all get the picture. A big problem here is that we want to believe in what we are told. We don’t like feeling that we are being misled, especially by those that we seek advice from. Relatedly, I went to see my GP. And, back on the hunt for my ‘Red October’, I was advised to take a blood test to see if I tested positive for C-reactive protein (CRP). No he didn’t tell me I was full of ‘CRP’, he told me it’s a protein found in the blood that rises in response to inflammation. I told I doubt I need the test to know for sur, but I guess he wanted to see for himself. – Ok, who knows? Maybe he indeed was testing to see if I was full of CRP!

Anyway, it’s no surprise that I tested positive. However, my cardiologist dismissed that as being indicative of anything. He suggested that even a tooth ache might cause a positive result. He told me, instead, to hit the gym, not go on a diet (to avoid yo-yoing weight loss/gain), and instead, like my gastroenterologist, told me to reduce my food portions and eat 5 times a day. He’s a dear man, my cardiologist. My GP, on the other hand, didn’t rebuffed the ‘no diet’ concept and wasted no time in printing me out a ‘Spartan’ diet. I can spell sadist, can you?

So as you can see dear readers, tired and beaten down thoug more educated from this long war, I’ve still made no luck in tracking down the elusive ‘agent provocateur’ that has been conspiring against me and leaving a trail of inflamed tissue in it’s wake. Instead, I was advised to stop worrying about it and get on with life. I’ll write about my decision to go to the gym in my next post. I’m not sure if I’m cut out to be a health nut, but in the meantime, I can take heart in knowing that, as the late comedian Redd Foxx said, “Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

PS. Actually, I don’t mind eating fiber; it’s the roughage that makes me nervous!

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PPS. Thanks for reading. So, have any of you ended up nowhere trying to get to the bottom of your medical problems? If so, how’s the view? Do you have conflicting feelings about conflicting medical advice? Let me know!

Suggested Reading:

Eat This, Not That! 2011: Thousands of easy food swaps that can save you 10, 20, 30 pounds--or more! The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Anti-Inflammation Diet  Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking
Eat This Not That! Restaurant Survival Guide: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution The Anti-Inflammation Zone: Reversing the Silent Epidemic That's Destroying Our Health (Zone (Regan)) Stop Inflammation Now! 

2 thoughts on “Intrasomatic Conspiracy: Part 3 – The Inflammation Wars

  1. […] Reason #3: A few years ago, at the age of 45, I developed a “straight neck”, or so my orthopedic described it. This was caused by a hernia in my cervical spine… actually I think there were two hernias … or at least one hernia and a half. I wrote that condition off to my learning to play the harmonica overaggressively. Others still tell me, it’s because I sit at the computer all day. My orthopedic told me it’s because I had inflammation. […]

    Like

  2. […] Reason #3: A few years ago, at the age of 45, I developed a “straight neck”, or so my orthopedic described it. This was caused by a hernia in my cervical spine… actually I think there were two hernias … or at least one hernia and a half. I wrote that condition off to my learning to play the harmonica overaggressively. Others still tell me, it’s because I sit at the computer all day. My orthopedic told me it’s because I had inflammation. […]

    Like

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