Hi everybody, been awhile since I last wrote a journal and my art submissions have been pretty slow for awhile.
That being said I'm still here, still submit stuff, and still check my messages and like being a member so don't think that I've abandoned my account or anything.
So a lot has happened, I'm trying to get back into college and I think I'm gonna go for Geology. I think I want to do something with media though, kinda like Stephen Jay Gould did. He was a scientist (evolutionary biologist and paleontologist) but he wrote a lot of books, explaining scientific things to laypeople. I think I'd like to do that except with film or youtube or blogging or something.
I tried blogging and it's doing pretty well for a first try. But I've fallen behind on it because I started having a lot of health problems, and also I started to feel limited by it, and found myself wishing I was making videos instead of writing blog articles.
I intend to keep the blog going but I think I might switch to youtube when I get a camera.
Speaking of which, I have decided what camera I want: the Olympus Pen EP-5. It can do both stills and record video. Only problem, it's $1200. I am expecting that it may get a huge price drop very soon though so it might be more within reach.
Health problems: this past February I was eating dinner one day and then I just couldn't swallow. Like whenever I would try to swallow, the food would not go. If I forced it to go, and swallowed really hard, I would just immediately gag on it. I couldn't even swallow water.
Long story short I ran around to different urgent cares and ERs for three days (the whole time not being able to eat or drink) before an ER finally decided to admit me to the hospital and put me on a saline and glucose IV so I didn't die of dehydration. Altogether, I did not eat or drink anything for a week, but the second half of that week I was in the hospital on the IV.
They did lots of tests to try and figure out what was wrong but the only thing they found (and it was the last place they looked) was irritation in my larynx, which means that I have acid reflux.
They gave me acid reflux medication (I had to take a dissolving kind, because I couldn't swallow pills, and even the dissolving tablet was a struggle to get down) and there was pretty much immediate improvement.
They tried to give me some other psychiatric diagnoses after they figured out the acid reflux, which seems really dumb to me, and seemed to be partly spurred by my weight (I'm really skinny, always have been). They kept asking me if I was eating enough before the swallowing trouble started, because I look so skinny.
Anyway, I rejected those diagnoses, the acid reflux medication was helping so I don't know why they tried to add a psychiatric diagnosis.
So I was discharged and I kept taking the acid reflux medicine and was gradually getting better. I felt really sick all the time though. I had no energy, I was depressed because I could only eat smoothies and oat bran for awhile, I was always sore all over, heart palpitations, my GI system was hurting all the time, a lot of muscle spasms, especially in my neck, just felt really chronically ill.
As for the swallowing, I kept taking the medicine but I hit a plateau, where it seemed like I wasn't getting any better. I was stuck eating oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, bananas, soft stuff like that. I couldn't swallow anything fibrous like fish or vegetables, or anything squishy like cheese, or anything hard like nuts or seeds. Just soft stuff like oatmeal.
Plus I felt sick as ever and barely had the energy to get up in the morning. My doctors and specialists that I see now are really nice people, and they really wanted to help me, but they couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting any better.
So I got really desperate and started trying to research by myself and figure out what's wrong...and I figured it out. Based on my symptoms lining up exactly with medical literature on the subject, I figured out that I was actually deficient in magnesium, an important electrolyte.
Well, I hypothesized this. To test it, I just took a massive dose of magnesium. Well, 18 hours later my swallowing had dramatically improved, I had more energy, I wasn't hurting anymore, and my muscle spasms had declined. This isn't exactly a double-blind trial, but I consider my hypothesis to be correct based on my symptoms and the results I got after self-medicating.
I believe I may have been chronically deficient, and this may have caused the onset of acid reflux and trouble swallowing to begin with. A review of my diet supports this: I had removed nearly all grains from my diet (except for white rice and the occasional granola/oats/oatmeal), which are basically our largest dietary source of magnesium.... My largest source of magnesium in my diet was cashews. I ate cashews every day, but not very many, because they're so expensive. An adult female needs about 300-350mg of magnesium a day. I was not getting that. And I had been eating like that for maybe a year.
Also, a common symptom of magnesium deficiency is craving chocolate, and I had completely unmanageable chocolate cravings.
And, it turns out a documented side-effect of the medicine I'm taking is magnesium deficiency.
So anyway I kept taking moderately large doses of magnesium, and there was noticeable improvement every day, until it actually got completely better. This was...last month, mid-May. Up until this point I was feeling so ill that I thought I might have an autoimmune disease or something.
I experienced a couple days of completely normal swallowing, but I got carried away with celebrating and ate some stuff I probably shouldn't have, which triggered really bad acid reflux, and then I woke up the next day with trouble swallowing again (lol dumbass).
But, I just kept taking magnesium and the acid reflux medicine, and now as I write this my swallowing is probably like 80% better. I'll probably be back to 100% in a week or maybe two. I just have to be really careful what I eat and not trigger any acid reflux.
Most of my other symptoms are gone and I don't feel so sick anymore. But, I'm still dealing with constant GI discomfort/pain. I blame the acid reflux medicine because it's a documented side-effect. It causes indigestion because it reduces the acid in the stomach. So I'm looking forward to getting off this medicine.
Video games: I've been heavily playing video games the past few months to deal with how sick I've been. Mostly Metal Gear Solid series and World of Warcraft (with my fiancee).
Yeah I dunno how MGS existed so long without me noticing it, but it's an amazing series.
In World of Warcraft, I played a "death knight" for awhile because they talk about suffering a lot, and when you speak to other death knights they say "suffer well" and it felt validating. I know that doesn't seem very positive or encouraging to someone who's suffering, but in a really weird way it kept me going and made me feel kinda cool (death knights are just pretty cool altogether). So overall yeah it was really helpful.
Metal Gear Solid had a similar effect. There's just a lot of struggling to survive and illness and emotions that the main characters (mostly Solid Snake) have to deal with so again it kinda was something to relate to.
PS: I'm feeling really irritated lately with gender roles and gender stereotypes. I know we live in a time where these aren't as rigid as they used to be, but I still see it every day and I am really resenting it. I don't know why I was never that irritated with it before.
Anyway yeah ok bye