Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ayurvedic Toothcare

I have recently decided to take my dental care into my own hands.  I have not had insurance since June of 2007 and since that time have cracked a filling, stained my teeth (12 months in Japan), and have almost certainly acquired new cavities. In terms of habits, I suffer from the worst. Daily box of either chewy candy that sticks to my teeth or extremely hard candy that I do not have the patience to let dissolve in my mouth. On weekends after clubbing I have late night bowls of pho or Jack-In-Box tacos then pass out in bed before brushing my teeth.

So here are some pretty unattractive pictures on my teeth.

So you can see some staining between teeth and around the (white) fillings.

Also note how puffy my gums are
even in the front.

Because my gums are so loose my teeth move a LOT with very little effort.
(See why it is important to wear a retainer? You see?)

A month ago I began research on natural remedies for dental care and decided upon Indian alternative medicine therapies otherwise known as Ayurvedic. My guide was this website. Understandably a month is nowhere near enough time to research which remedies could accommodate my situation most, so I opted to dive into the most readily available of them. The first being chew-able DGL tablets that have varied benefits that remedy both the on-site tooth problem as well as problems rooted within your entire body.

The problem with DGL is it is REPULSIVE. I cannot stomach a single tablet. I cannot. Although it is essentially black licorice, in this powdery state it gives the sensation of a mouthful of grated cinnamon. The effect is overwhelming. As directed, I tried to hold it between my gums in a troubled area, but surrendered quickly to chewing it up and getting it down. As a second attempt I tried it as a nightly gum pack, which was admittedly easier, but regretfully messy. In the morning it looked as if though someone had painted my face with henna and then cleaned their brushes on my sheets.

But today, my saving glory came. Two weeks prior I discovered that had all ten of the rarest herbs I was searching for could be found in a single tube of toothpaste. It is an ayurvedic toothpaste developed by a doctor in India and available ONLY in India. The running price seems to be $14.99 if you just do a quick google search, but I ordered mine directly from an Indian website that had the same tube listed for $2.95! -- ridiculous. They will not, however, mail you one $2.95 tube from India, but if you order their 3-1 pack and one $2.95 tube the entire transaction with tax and shipping comes out to about $17- something.

Since I have only just received it, I cannot post any drastic changes with my teeth or gums, but I can vouch for its perceived quality and cleanliness. It was an overall pleasant experience with a light and delicate flavoring miles from the DGL or bitterness that some herbs have. I brushed as instructed (slowly with a soft toothbrush) and in the end it was my gums that noted the biggest difference between this and other toothpastes. I can only describe it as feeling penetration, that my gums had been cleaned, effected, targeted. I assume these are the effects of the herbal astringents (ginger, sage, neem, etc.). As a bonus, it did have the refreshing after-effect of a mouthwash boasted on the package of the tube.

I hope to blow through all 5 tubes soon and post an update.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mmm, Medicinal Candy

Lookie what I found that is fun and probably useless: candy herbs! I was in the candy aisle looking for a fix and found them in the lozenge section in an Esselunga (Italian grocery chain). The bag shows 6 flavors, but after opening it I found all kinds of surprises:

  • wheat
  • licorice
  • anise
  • "milk mint" (latte menta)
  • regular mint
  • chamomile 
  • blueberry
  • tamarind 
  • gentian
  • cinnamon 
  • juniper
  • bergamot (bergamotto - Italian bitter orange) 
  • lemon sage
  • and specialty flavor wrapped in a black wrapper with gold lettering reading "Rababarone, Mera e Longhi" (Rhubarb, simple and long)

I was honestly suprised at the selection. There were all kinds of herbs included that I have never even heard of with medicinal histories that stretched way past our American usage of herbs. I cannot say that these 1x1 inch drops can be enough to "heal" someone, but according to the packaging, they are high-quality candies crafted from ancient herbal recipes.

I have only tried a few, but so far my favorite was tamadrin. It tasted exactly like the sweetened Mexican drink and I swear I felt even a bit of texture to it. Others reminded me of those old-fashioned, hard-candies that kind of taste like lightly sweetened nothingness. Then 10 miles from nothingness was Gentian, a bitters that tasted like a rotten lemon rind.

Either way I am excited. Candy that can't hurt me -- yay!

My Very First LEEP Procedure

I recently had my Leep procedure and I have to admit it was more terrifying than I first believed. I would have preferred to postpone the whole thing until August so that I could give the $200 ("pennies") worth of natural remedies a chance to intervene. Be that as it may, my insurance was up in two weeks and more detrimental than that wass my flight to Italy. As a matter of fact, I drafted this entry in an airport lobby.

As you can conclude, there was nothing so bad about this that would keep one strapped to a bed cuddling a heat pack; otherwise I would not be lugging around my laptop and taking a 13-hour flight the next day. My personal experience matched that of every typical personal, post-procedure account found on any given Leep forum.

The wait, really, is what ate me alive. I was so nervous I could not eat. I spend the day pacing in my room, re-reading about the procedure and any vitamins or supplements that might cause complications (note: I had been 5 days off The Plan because of fear of overdose). Among my findings was that the red kelp (or Irish Moss) I was taking could cause a blood thinning effect and that "local anesthetic" was code for vaginal injection(s).

Needlessly to say, I stayed tense and anxious up until the time I was in the stir-ups. So much so, that they had to literally wrestle that 8-inch spectrum in me. After 5 minutes of having my insides rammed with the spectrum, I decided to take deep breathes and relax my muscles, in hopes I would take it in better; it worked.

Once that was in I had some light cramping, and whenever it was knocked around I felt the urge to use the restroom. As this point I should mention that for whatever reason, the display monitor for the procedure was facing me, projecting a full view of my lady parts. It was a little overwhelming, and while initially feelings of vulnerability washed over me, I decided still to take peeks at the entire procedure keeping in mind that it might help the blog -- you're welcome.

My doctor then discussed the dangers of the smoke resulting for the procedure carrying HPV and we all wore masks to prevent from inhaling the virus (what I found confusing, is that I read in forums that one person could not re-contract the same HPV strand, but whatever). Another 5 to 10 minutes passed before the injections were given, so I was still jittery and fearful. The first injection was the most painful, but at the same time, not as painful as I expected. It felt like a shallow, very thin poke with a little bit of a bite immediately afterwards. It faded quickly, just as I had read on a forum. I was very disappointed, however, when I continued to feel the following two injections. I made a small peep to alert my doctor I was not numb. He tested my sensibility with a medical instrument to see if it hurt. It did. (note: I encounter this same problem in the dentists' office). They offered another round of injections, which I guess I preferred over feeling the peeling of my cervix.

It was literally two minutes once the removal process started and it was over. I did not watch the injections, but I did catch the removal process on the monitor. The incision area reminded me of cooked meat, but there was nothing bloody or unsightly about it.

Shortly after I changed and wiped off the vinegar they sprayed on me. I was given a pad which I did not soak at all, even a full day after the procedure.

Normally, results should arrive 2 weeks after the procedure, but since I will not be in the country I will be waiting til July for my update. Until then I will be partially resuming The Plan. I have been taking an Irish Moss blend for 3 days to help fight the actual virus and restarted a half dose of echinacea to counteract the immuno-suppressant effects of the carraggeen component in the Irish Moss. I will also slowly restart my prior folic acid dosage to prevent the development of scar tissue, but for now I receive it through enriched cereals (Cheerios Multigrain cereal with 100% folic acid in a single serving is good). Sitz baths and suppositories are off the table for at least 3 weeks, so I will be doing only oral treatments during that hiatus.

Now that the Leep procedure has given me a clean slate, I feel physically ready to battle off cervical dysplasia  indefinitely. Good luck to the rest of you.

Ciao from Pastalandia

So I have been backed up lately. I just recently landed in Italy, and am happy to report that after a full week of  dragging a 25-pound bag across town hunting for crappy cafe internet connections I am finally able to login from my apartment. Look forward to updates on the results of the LEEP procedure, modified supplement regimens and diet tips.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

HPV Treatment: Update

Headaches, nausea, and more headaches.

Today is now Day 16 of my overall regimen, but Day 10 of The Plan.

All of today and especially yesterday I have been battling throbbing headaches and nausea. It began the day before pretty early on. I woke up with about 7 hours a sleep and felt defeated. I could barely muster the energy to sit up in bed and decided to stay in an extra hour or so until I felt better. The headache was already beginning when I took my first pill (probiotic), and by the time I had the second and third (vitex, slightly large, and folic acid) I was too nauseous to take the rest. Other than a tea (licorice), those were the only supplements I allowed myself. I spent the day entirely irritable and emotional. The pain got worse as time went by and neither eating nor sleeping resolved the pain.

On Day 11 of the plan I decided to completely cut out any treatments. I began my day with no pain, but as soon as I started stirring around in my bed the headaches started to return. I was in attendance at a graduation party where I socialized on my feet for hours and felt fine. I had a plenty to eat and drink and felt relative good with only spurts of nausea or headaches. The only thing I was taking was ginger in the form of candy and soda to counterattack the nausea and I took no pain-killers for the headaches.

Prior to this, there was only one other time in my life when I felt these kind of symptoms, when I overdosed on vitamin C. The daily allowance was max. 2 tablets a day and I had taken 23 in a two-day period. I had no idea what was wrong with me. I could not leave my bed, let alone reach water or the bathroom. It was not until the second day when I was given a glass of water and able to pass the vitamins through my system that I started to feel better.

This is what leads me to believe I am taking too much of one of those vitamins. During Day 6 of The Plan I had this same 2-day episode, and yet I cannot figure out what the difference is between these two times that I had headaches and nausea and the other days when I took full dosages and was fine.

Tomorrow I will ease my way back into my vitamin and supplement regimen. Hopefully I will be able to pin point which of the things I am taking are causing the problem.

HPV Treatment #4: Castor Oil

What and Why?

It is a vegetable oil made of castor beans and I am not going to eat it; I am going to make a castor oil pack from it. The belief is that castor oil penetrates the skin to heal organs. I have found many personal cases on cervical dysplasia forums that encouraged the use, but I could not find a single reference that stated it healed or even simulated the cervix or vaginal area. What I did find was that almost every site recommended that it be placed over the liver, which as I mentioned in a prior post could be advantageous in an indirect way.

The Liver and Estrogen

The presence of excess estrogen is dangerous for us with cervical dsyplasia in that it increases cellular growth of good and bad cells. Normally, an efficient liver would eliminate the excess estrogen. If, however, your liver is congested, the same excess estrogen which had already ran through your organs (what calls "mutated estrogen") will pass through your liver and make yet another round, except this time be very ineffective in helping your body. The result: estrogen in excess and mutated promoting cellular growth and travelling aimlessly through our bodies.

Aliment: Cervical Dysplasia, grade 2
Secondary: Excess Estrogen, Inefficient Liver
Symptoms: Visibly none, PMS
Duration: Unknown

Active Ingredient: Castor oil
Brand: The Palma Christi Castor Oil
Dosage: 1 pack for 1 hr/day, 3 days at a time (3 on, 3 off), 3 months
Availability:, Whole Foods
Price: $5.99
Special Note: I have used cheaper, non-organic brands in the past and had a terrible allergic reaction (hives and irritated, red rashes).
Risks: Can stain clothes. Also, be careful when handling the oil heated.

Other Medications: Nope, impending LEEP procedure
Other Supplements: licorice, probiotics, vitex, folic acid, echinacea, goldenseal, burdock, tea oil, calendula, comfrey leaf, eucalyptus, sage
Recent Procedures: biospy, colposcopy

How To Make a Castor Oil Pack

I found varying recipes, but the most straight forward approach was this 1980's video clip I found at Fitsugar. If you can get past the fact that it looks like back drop of that cult-like Swan center from LOST, you will see that they are very clear on the amounts and handling of the pack that might not be clear with written directions. 

Progress Day 9

I started using the pack 9 days ago, and have not been diligent in my applications. I did 3 days in a row and should have re-started my second  3-day round yesterday. My main problem, other than not having time, is that I do not have a kitchen. The video highly suggests avoiding microwaves for the preparation of the pack, but at the moment that is all I have. I leave it in there for about a minute and use a water bottle filled with warm water to keep the pack warm.

I have not felt any tangible effects from its usage and doubt I will in the future. On some forums, testimonies of popping, releasing, or other types of radical changes or movements are found. One lady had sworn she physically felt a piece of scar tissue stretch away like a rubber band in a sudden painful, but quick movement. 

I do not expect any kind of the sort during my treatment, but if my liver happens to snap, crackle, or pop I will be sure to blog about it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lady Demons

I woke up on Day 10 with my period, which now explains a lot on my previous post (see "Overwhelmed")

I have not really decided beforehand what I would do during this time, since many of my treatments involve direct contact with that region, but here is a list of what I will or will not be doing while my on my period:

I Will:
  • Allow myself to have sugar. I had been substituting my refined white sugar/high frutose corn syrup favorites, with coconut water and ginger root brew because I LOVE them and they are sweetened naturally (honey). Now, however, with a forgiving heart, I am allowing myself to also have the traditional, candy aisle stuff until my cravings are gone.
  • Continue the suppository treatment. I will include details on what exactly that is in a future post, but if you are wondering what I am talking about, see this post. It is basically a pre-soaked tampon. I can already see how fun that is going to be, but I only have a week and half til my LEEP procedure to be at my strongest, so it is going in. I am backing it up with a sanitary pad to help with the clean up (only during my period).
  • Continue having sitz bath. Have fun imaging that. I learned in middle school that you do not flow (period) in water, but even if I did, I would do it anyway. 10 days! That is all I have! (until LEEP)
  • Keep applying castor oil packs. Some women fear that apply warm packs to the abdominal area (for pain relieve and cramps) will increase bleeding to a dangerous amount. While I understand the logic of that fear, I have chosen to continue because my regular flows are not that heavy to begin with and because the type of pack I have is honestly not all that warm. Use your own discretion. 
I Will Not:
  • Skip any meals. Usually during this time eating is uncomfortable for me, but I can not afford to lose any energy or vitamins.
  • Stop exercising. I have a new routine at the direction of a collegiate athlete -- ie. intense. I do not recommend doing full workouts to anyone following my treatment plan. I am just informing readers of what I have chosen to do...because I am crazy and do not like losing to circumstances.