I have an acid problem

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Hi, my name is John and I have an acid problem.  Well, a stomach acid problem, that is.  This, partnered by the fact that I don’t really seem to get heartburn, the acid has caused damage to my esophagus.

So, I’ve been researching the topic and have found a few causes of stomach acid:

  1. Smoking – I always knew it would get back to me.  I took a long drag on a cigar when I was in the 2nd grade.  We were using it to light fire crackers.
  2. Drinking – I know this is hard to believe, especially since I live in New Orleans, but I’ve only had one drink of alcohol in my life (and it was in church).  I was on a mission trip in Indonesia and didn’t suspect that the team would be serving real wine for communion.
  3. Caffeine and Carbonated Beverages – I never drink soda.  Just kidding.  That’s a big part of my problem.
  4. Consumption of too much spicy food – or in other words, eating any type of food that tastes good.  I don’t understand the problem.  I don’t always eat New Orleans style food.  Sometimes I eat Mexican, Spicy Chinese, or Italian.  Even when I don’t, there’s always Tony Chachere’s, Tabasco and Louisiana Hot Sauce, but I just use a little.
  5. Lack of drinking water – Water consumption has gone up and down in my life, but it’s certainly going up now.
  6. Stress – I’m in ministry.  Go figure.

Ok, so I’m doing better.  My diet’s changed for the past 3 ½ weeks or so and I’ve already lost about 10 lbs.  I’m eating Oatmeal every morning and drinking 7 gallons of water each day (Well, maybe it’s only 6 gallons).

More updates to come…

Results Of My Upper GI Endoscopy

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Ok, so I was trying to be somewhat creative with this post, but I’m still kind of loopy from the anesthesia, so I’ll just cut to the chase:

I had my upper GI Endoscopy today and got the results immediately after.  The procedure itself went fine.  (I’ll write more on it in a later post).  Before I knew it, everything was over and my wife and I were talking to my doctor about his findings.

Basically, my duodenum was fine.  My stomach was fine.  However, I was diagnosed with esophagitis.  Basically, my esophagus is irritated and inflamed from acid reflux.  People with this condition often have serious heartburn, but to this point, this has not been one of my symptoms.

So, here’s what I have to do:

  1. Commit to a healthy (non-acid producing) diet.
  2. Use a protein pump inhibitor PO daily (at least for the next 3 months)
  3. Repeat the upper endoscopy in 3 months to check the healing of my esophagus.

Thanks so much, everyone, for your prayers and encouragement.  I’ll continue to update you with my progress.

The downlow regarding my esophagus

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Thanks so much for your encouragement since I shared the results of my physical a few weeks ago.  Your feedback and concern both online and in person has helped me realize the commonality of health problems and the overwhelming support of my friends.

One possible culprit

After my last blog posting, one of my sisters called me and explained that she has experienced a very similar issue when swallowing her food.  In fact, she’s been diagnosed with Sjogrens (pronounced Show Grins) syndrome.  It’s systemic autoimmune disorder where immune cells destroy the glands that produce tears and saliva.  For her condition, she takes Evoxac or Salagen.

Thanks again, everyone, for your concern.

John

My esophagogastroduodenoscopy is scheduled for Friday, August 30th at Oschner Hospital in Jefferson.

The Stitch – Why I Wanted To Quit Couch To 5k

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Last night, C25k (Couch to 5k) Week 5 Day 3 got the best of me.  It was my first time in the program where I was supposed to jog for 20 minutes without stopping, so I was somewhat apprehensive before beginning my time of exercise.  However, two days earlier, I surpassed the 8 minute mark without stopping, then walked for 5 minutes before running another 8 minutes without stopping, so I believed that I could probably pull it off.

I was wrong.

After 9.5 minutes of running, I felt a terrible stitch in my side so I slowed to a walk.  A stitch is sometimes called a side cramp. It’s an intense stabbing pain under the lower edge of the ribcage that occurs during exercise.  After 4 minutes of walking, I ran for another 8.5 minutes.  I finished the workout, but felt terrible because I didn’t meet my goal of running 20 minutes without stopping.

I wanted to just give up and resign myself to being an out of shape fat guy.  That’s not such a bad thing, is it?

Today, however, I decided not to let it get the best of me, so I googled stitches during exercise.  According to my online friends, here are three causes:

1.  Running too soon after eating.  (Waiting two to three hours after eating is best)

2.  Drinking high sugar beverages right before or during exercise.

3.  Shallow or Irregular breathing during exercise.

I also looked for ways to prevent a stitch during exercise.  Here are three options:

1.  Stop running (or at least slow down)

2.  Raise your right arm over your head.  (The stretching sometimes helps relieve the stitch)

3.  Try to exhale as your left foot is moving forward. (This basically helps to set a pattern for your breathing, extremely important in all exercise)

I started running to Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough.  Before the song was over, a stitch was already forming in my side.  I started slowing down and considered quitting before I even reached 5 minutes.  However, slowing down helped, so I continued.  Around the 10 minute mark, the stitch returned, so I started watching my breathing, ensuring that I was exhaling as my left leg moved forward.  That seemed to help, so once I continued.  Finally, it returned around the 14 minute mark and I wanted to quit, but since I had already come so far I pressed on.  I slowed my running, focused once again on my breathing, and raised my right arm over my head.  The three items together helped and before I knew it, I had run for 20 minutes without stopping.

As I reached the 20 minute mark, Michael Jackson was singing Bad.  That’s exactly how I felt.

 

I Survived My First Day of Week 5 of Couch to 5K

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A minute before my running time was up today, my side starting hurting.  I couldn’t believe that I might have to stop before my time was up.  However, instead of stopping the run, I decided to slow down until my cool down.  My side didn’t stop hurting, but it did ease up enough for me to finish the run. 

This afternoon, I started week #5 of C25K (Couch to 5K).  My workout for today began with a brisk 5-minute warmup walk followed by a 5-minute run, a 3-minute walk, another 5-minute run, a second 3-minute walk, a third 5-minute run, then a 5-minute cool-down walk.  I’m proud to say that I finished it without stopping (or vomiting).  However, my second day of week #5 takes me to a new level completely.  It begins with a brisk 5-minute walk, followed by an 8 minute run, a 5 minute walk, another 8 minute run, then a 5 minute cool-down walk.

If I survive this week of exercise, I’ll let you know.  🙂

Related Posts:

Why I chose to try the couch to 5k free workout app

Week two of Couch to 5k

3 Reasons Soft Drinks Hinder A Good Workout

 

 

Why I Decided to Lose the Lose It App

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A year ago, a friend shared the Lose It App with me.  I used it faithfully for months because it helped me track my personal calorie budget.  I even shared it with others who have used it with much success. Today, however, after weeks of frustration, I decided to delete it.

Here’s why:  I just can’t bring myself to use it properly.  It’s too easy to cheat because it’s based on calories, not on nutrition.  (I know that there’s nutrition info built into the App, but I can never get excited about using it)  Therefore, I found myself making unhealthy choices, mistakenly assuming that calories are just calories.

If you like Lose It and it works for you, keep using it.  I won’t be joining you.  I’m going back to writing down everything I eat because that works for me.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to post it everyday like I did last year.  I will be sharing it with my favorite accountability partner.  She’s tough, but cute.

Related Post:

3 Reasons Soft Drinks Hinder A Good Workout

 

3 Reasons Soft Drinks Hinder A Good Workout

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Anyone who knows me knows that I am a soft drink junkie, especially when it comes to Coca-Cola.  However, 3 weeks ago, I began using the App, C25Kfree (Couch To 5K free) and I began jogging for the first time in my life.

(I would really recommend the App for anyone with an iPhone who is wanting to get into shape and lose weight.  I can feel the benefits after only 3 weeks.)

After the first couple of runs, I came face to face with the cold hard reality that it was time for me to stop drinking soft drinks.  The main reason is that they were severely hindering my workouts.  Here are the 3 main reasons I found when I did just a little bit of study on the subject:

3 Reasons Soft Drinks Hinder A Good Workout

  1. Proper hydration is critical – Your body needs adequate amounts of water in order to carry nutrients to your muscles and to then remove waste produced during physical activity.  Carbonated drinks do not hydrate your body sufficiently and therefore hinder the maximum impact of your exercise.
  2. Bloating – Carbonated beverages cause bloating.  This is often seen around your waistline, when gas builds up in your stomach.  During exercise, this can result in slight stomach pain.
  3. Shortness of breath – Many carbonated soft drinks contain caffeine, which is a central nervous system stimulant.  It speeds up your heart rate and your breathing.  This is what makes you feel short of breath as you exercise and your rate of inhaling and exhaling increases.

If you’ve experienced similar results, please share your comments with me.  It will really encourage me as I continue towards my running goal.

Related post:

Why I chose to try the couch to 5k free workout app

Week Two of Couch to 5k

Week Two of Couch To 5K

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As a career Marine, my dad used to run between 4 and 9 miles each day, in order to keep fit.  I once asked him why he chose to run.  He answered that since he was required as a Marine to remain fit, he could either not eat or run daily.  “I’m sort of fond of eating,” he answered, “So I guess I’ll keep running.”

I’m also rather fond of eating, but I’m not that fond of running.  Even so, I’m in my second week of using the App Couch to 5 K.  My current workout begins with a brisk five-minute warm-up walk, then moves into 20 minutes of alternating 90 seconds of running with two minutes of walking.  This is a change in the amount of my running time from 60 seconds each time to 90 seconds each time.  That doesn’t sound like a lot, but I have to admit that it’s kicking my lower posterior.  I find myself looking at my phone to check the countdown when I’m running and it also shows that I have about 30 seconds left.  I guess I’m doing better.  I did the same thing last week when I only had to run for 60 seconds at a time and it said 30 seconds then as well.

Today, I did my workout run on the sidewalk of the Metairie Mardi Gras parade route after everyone else had gone home.  The street was clean but the sidewalk was littered with broken beads, drink cups, soda and wine bottles, and beer cans.  I think that I should get extra credit since I basically ran through an obstacle course.  What do you think?

Why I Chose To Try The Couch To 5K Free Workout App

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For the past couple of months, I’ve been looking for some type of health and fitness goal that will inspire me to keep my weight down.  Last year, I lost almost 50 lbs, but I must admit that it’s been hard to stay excited about just keeping it off.  It’s a lot more exciting to talk about food (especially when you live in New Orleans and it’s King Cake season).  This past week, one of my friends reminded me about the App called Couch to 5K.  He’s been using it to train for several weeks, if not months, and he’s very pleased with the results.

So, I downloaded the free App called C25KFree and I’ve tried it for two days in a row.  I’ve never been much of a jogger or a runner.  I do like the elliptical machine, but I’ve always been worried about damaging my knees.  In the long run, however, I think that was just my excuse.

Here’s a 30 minute workout I’ve done for the past two days:

1.  A five minute brisk warmup walk.

2.  Alternate 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes.

3.  A 5 minute cool down walk

I’m just glad that I didn’t throw up.

Pray for me in this.  Trying to decide whether or not to continue.

 

5 Words of Advice for Dads Going Through the Pain of Miscarriage

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Even though people, especially men, don’t like to talk about it, the loss of an unborn child has an emotional toll on the dad as well as the mom.  Lots of people offer support to the mother and they often receive it well.  However, having experienced this pain myself, I realize that the same is not always true for the father.  Because of that, I’d like to share 5 words of advice for dads going through the pain of miscarriage.

1.  It’s a terrible thing and it’s okay to feel bad about it.  The anxiousness that you feel is normal.  You’ve lost your child and it’s as real as losing any other member of your family.  Acknowledge the loss.  People may encourage you to simply move on.  What they are really saying is that you should act as if it never happened.  In my opinion, that’s terrible advice.  Acknowledge the life that existed in your baby.  If you do, you are helping the healing process for both you and your spouse.

2.  You can’t fix it.  The man in us wants to take charge of anything that seems broken and try to fix it, even if all we have is crazy glue and duct tape.  Fixing things is often how we cope with uncertainty.  But this is not something that you can fix.  Nothing that you can do right now will bring back the child that you and your spouse have lost.

3.  You are not alone, even if it feels like it.  Before my wife Kathy and I went through our miscarriage, I really only knew a few people who had gone through it.  However, as we experienced our loss, the stories started to come out.  I was surprised to realize that as many as 25% of all pregnancies end up in miscarriage.

4.  Take care of the girl.  In other words, understand how your wife deals with grief and allow her to go through it.

Here are some tips in helping with this:

A. Don’t tell her how she should feel.  It will only make her upset with you.

B.  Don’t tell her that everything will be okay.  It won’t be.

C.  Let her know, in whatever way that works best for you, that you are there for her no matter what.

D.  Be willing to talk about it.  Go on walks and be prepared to listen.

E.  Keep in mind that she might emotionally connect sex with the miscarriage, so be sensitive.

F.  Remember the day of the miscarriage, even in small ways.

5.  Finally, pray like you’ve never prayed before.  Unashamedly ask the Lord for guidance and wisdom.  He knows what it’s like to lose a child.