Who knew that my holiday blues were just signs of something bigger, something was amiss. I was feeling down and needed to find a way to get back up.
It took me a few months, but I finally succumbed and started digging deeper. I kept telling myself I was just stressed out and needed to rest and recover. That wasn’t working.
I was still feeling down and needed to get back up. So eventually I was done doing research and decided I must go to the doctor.
I’ve grown to have a
slight okay significant distrust of the medical community. I’ve watched my relatives take an increasing number of pills only to be hit with the conditions those pills were supposedly helping.
I’ve watched my father overcome asthma that was getting worse with prescriptions by telling the medical community to go away and instead focus on nutrition, vitamins, and running. He turned to Cover Bailey’s Smart Exercise for advise and never looked back. That was about 30 years ago and he’s still running regularly without asthma meds.
So there was no way I was going to go into see a doctor while being uninformed.
Your Doctor Works For You
While doing my research I ran across this comment:
Yeah, YOU EMPLOY health care providers to advise you on health.
(Granted most health care providers know NOTHING about HEALTH, but you get the point).
That helped reaffirm my thinking. Too often I get stuck with the tables turned thinking that I must just follow whatever the doctor says – like I worked for him.
Not the case; I needed to remember that at the end of the day I am responsible for my own health. I need to be able to find trusted advisors to help me improve my health.
So when you start feeling down and need to get back up do your research then find health care providers to advise you as you go. I’m not saying be your own doctor; I’m saying to be informed.
Show up to the doctor with a list of questions and a list of tests that you would like to see performed. Have them guide your plan, don’t let them set the plan.
I went in with a list of tests that I wanted done. I was reminded that the doctors work for me; not the other way around. He reluctantly ordered the tests and guess what? The tests found something; actually three things.
Cardiovascular disease, vitamin D deficiency and low testosterone levels.
According to some those three things can be interrelated. But either way the last two explain my malaise.
Feeling Down with Zero Ambition
Oh, I still come up with ideas. One of my top strengths is futuristic, how could I shut that off if I wanted, right? The problem was I had absolutely no drive, ambition, or even interest in doing anything about those ideas.
It is frustrating. I knew something had to be wrong and now had an explanation.
So often that’s how life goes and the lesson is to dig in.
Don’t let hurdles stall your progress. Dig in. Find out what’s stopping your progress, get help, get advise, and start building a recovery plan.
I knew that likely had the start of cardiovascular disease. I’ve been battling with the doctors about the effectiveness, or ineffectiveness, of statins for two years. I had to find another approach.
So what tests did I get to help shape my plan forward?
Know Your Current State
I wanted to know my current state for both my heart health and mood. So here are the tests I asked to be done:
- Expanded Lipid Panel -VAP, or NMR
- Heart Scan – CT Scan to Calculate the Coronary Calcium Score
- Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy
- Thyroid, TSH, T3, and T4
The doctor ordered the tests and they helped affirm some of my own guesses. Now I have more digging to do.
Addressing Cardiovascular Disease
This is a biggie and is a lifelong battle for many of us. After a lot of research I now have a plan, or better yet a community.
I joined Track Your Plaque, a community focused on leveraging the latest heart health research and collaborating to cure heart disease. There is no quick fix, but there is research based results and a strong community to support each other in the process.
The CT Heart scan produces a coronary calcium score, or a measure of the amount of calcium built up. That calcium is a more accurate measure of the amount of plaque built up. Remember cholesterol doesn’t cause heart attacks, the plaque does. Address the root problem, not the symptoms.
The Track Your Plaque program focuses on making lifestyle changes aimed at not only stopping, but reversing, the amount of plaque. Having a solid way to measure progress is essential; especially for an engineer like myself.
Addressing Vitamin D Deficiency
My mood could be from both the low vitamin D and the low testosterone. Vitamine D is a simple one to address.
I’m addressing the vitamin D deficiency now. That means taking vitamin D3 gelcaps. I’m starting out with 20,000ui per day for 2 weeks, then backing off to 10,000ui per day. I plan to hold that level for three months then have my blood tested again. Toxicity blood levels are nearly 5 times higher than where I am.
My doctor said that it wasn’t safe to sustain a dosage of 2,000ui per day for any length of time. What was interesting is that he could not suggest any research that linked those to blood Vitamin D levels.
So yes I am deciding not to listen to my doctor. That’s my choice and I am not recommending anyone else follow my path. Do your research, get appropriate tests done and go on.
Vitamin D toxicity issues are real, but they don’t show up until your blood levels exceed 140 nmol/l. (see research)
First, dosage doesn’t correlate easily to blood levels. I’ve found stories from too many people describing different vitamin d3 dosage levels to get their blood levels to 60-70 nmol/l.
From what I can tell it takes some extremely high doses to reach those levels. I’ve a found people who can sustain their Vitamin D blood levels with 1,000ui per day. While others have said it took over a year to determine he needed to take 12,000ui per day to sustain the same vitamin D blood levels.
That’s a huge variation. Time will tell what dosage will work for me.
Addressing Low Testosterone
This one has me puzzled. If I listen to my doctor I would start on a life-long plan of testosterone replacement therapy.
Yup, he just pulled out the prescription pad and signed me up. Just apply this gel in the morning and it will fix your low testosterone levels.
Was I surprised to dig into testosterone replacement therapy to learn that once started it shuts down the bodies normal systems to produce testosterone? Not really.
There was no discussion of side-effects, nor the duration of the prescription. Just apply this and be happy. WRONG!
Again, I am biased. Through the years there have been too many times where the response of doctors supports a life-long addiction to pharmaceuticals rather than addressing the underlying issues.
I know there are other solutions and more tests that need to be done to determine why my testosterone is low. I don’t just need a life-long prescription. This journey is only just beginning.
Don’t Be Left Feeling Down – Get Back Up
If you are feeling down and need to get back up. Decide to change, do the research, and find out. If your initial tests doesn’t explain it, keep digging. Keep digging until you find an explanation, then work on developing a recovery plan.