Saturday, May 25, 2013

Movies & TV

I haven't done one of these posts in a long long time.  I've seen a lot of good movies over the last winter.  I've also watched tons of TV.  I've discovered a few hidden gems.


In SciFi genre there is Oblivion, The Avengers, Thor, all of the Iron Man movies, Wolverine.  I like Marvel movies even if they are dopey   The only one I truly disliked was the third X-men movie, The Last Stand.

Thor was a surprise.  While I was expecting good CG and lots of fighting, what came as a pleasant surprise was the hidden humor (Natalie Portman keeps running him over) and the love story.  Wolverine fills in his backstory.  But for good old fashion SciFi in the tradition of Arthur C Clark, I recommend Oblivion.  The younguns don't like it much.  Not enough blowing up of things.  But it is a good story told in the old SF style.  And how could you go wrong with Morgan Freeman?

In not-SF there is Hugo, The Artist, Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Jack Reacher, The Bourne Legacy,  Butter and A Fish Called Wanda.

Best of the lot/can't miss are The Artist and Hugo.  Gorgeous films.  Brilliantly shot.  Great acting.  Novel films.  Both are must see.  On the more light hearted side are Miss Pettigrew, The Marigold Hotel and Butter.  All good movies with solid acting and a good story.  I had to rewatch A Fish Called Wanda.  It is one of those movies that you have to rewatch every few years.  Very Pythonesk.  Great cast.  The last two are really fun action films that I enjoyed very much.  Great acting.  Good stories.  Slightly unpredictable.

On my must watch list:  Continuum, Scandal, Smash, Defiance, Person of Interest, Elementary and of course Dancing with the Stars.  Contiuum is a nifty new SciFi show out of Canada.  It is shot in Vancouver.  I love the background story.  Corporations take over the government in the near future including the food supply, water supply and power supply.  People rebel.  There is time travel involved and it is going to get interesting regarding who are the good guys and who are the bad.  The first season is up on Netflix and the second season is about to start on the SyFy channel.

Scandal is a great show.  Political intrigue.  Amazing plot twists and fantastic acting.  First season is up on Netflix and the second is available on Hulu.  There are a couple of episodes in the second season that are a bit gruesome (they involve torture) but you can always skip over the gory bits.  While it is disturbing, it is part of the plot so they aren't gratuitous just too graphic for my delicate tastes.

Smash, the grown up version of Glee.  Lots of great singing.  Too bad it is being canceled.

Defiance is a new SciFi show that is turning out to be quite good.  Only a handful of episodes have aired on SyFy so far and are up on Hulu but dang I like it.  It is another attempt at Cowboys and Aliens but with them trying to get along rather than blow each other up.  Lots of cultural misunderstandings and political machinations and some decent acting.

Person Of Interest has gotten really good this season.  All sorts of plot twists and intrigue. Wish this were available on the internet without having to go through a paywall.

Elementary is an updated Sherlock Holmes.  LOVE IT!  It isn't just murder of the week like Castle and Body of Proof.  It is really about this broken man trying to paste his life back together.  Watson won't put up with his crap and tells him off when he crosses the line which he does often.  Brilliant acting and great character driven plots.  Again I wish this were available on Hulu or Netflix but it is also locked behind a paywall.

Oldies but goodies that I'm watching from beginning to end: West Wing, Arrested Development, Call the Midwife, X-Files.  The one you probably haven't heard of is Call the Midwife.  It is a British show set in post WW2 England.  The first episode is a bit gross but if you get past that I love how the characters develop and interact.  Great sets and costumes.  Good acting and plot.  It gives you some perspective on what life was like prior to birth control.   I also absolutely love the music they've selected for each show.  It is one of the few that I let run through the credits so I can listen to the songs.

Other shows that I watch when I get really bored (i.e. they are tolerable but have problems with either weak plots, predictability or weak acting):
SF: Haven, Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, Warehouse 13, Revolution and Sanctuary
Other genres: Hart of Dixie, Revenge, Once Upon a Time, Castle, Body of Proof

These are all shows I get bored with fairly easily.  They tend to be rote and predictable in their own ways.  I have to be in the mood to watch them.  If Revolution doesn't shape up soon I'm going to quit watching it.  It holds some promise but it can't decide if it wants to be character driven or plot driven or action driven and wildly swings between the three.  You start to get hooked on a character and then they do something horrible and walk away like nothing happened.  They have killed off several characters that are in close proximity to the central ones. The main character swings between being a really nasty soldier and then is supposed to be one of the good guys.  A confusing mess if you ask me.

Although Haven, Beauty and the Beast, Hart of Dixie and Castle are all different genres they are all will-the-main-characters-hookup? shows.  Castle and Beauty and the Beast did cross the invisible line and it is only a matter of time to see if they jumped the shark as a result.  Frequently once the romantic tension between the main characters is gone then the show dies.  B&theB suffers from seriously bad dialogue and some fairly bad acting but the plots can be good once in a while.

I have no idea where Haven stands.  It is supposed to be starting up again soon but I still haven't seen a new episode up on Hulu.  It is an odd show with a rote disaster of the week to be solved by the good guys going on along with the unrequited love between the main characters.

Hart of Dixie is just fluffernutter.  Good for when I'm truly brain dead.  The rest are predictable in their own way but a good distraction.

Anyway, I'm brain fried now so I have to stop writing.  Bye!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Magic Mushrooms

Beware the magic mushrooms.

I'm in constant search of things that might make me even marginally better.  I feel like such crap most of the time I will take any improvement.  I've had several successes; glutathione IVs, switching to pastured meats, equalibrant, sunbathing, taking low doses of celebrex and trazadone to name a few.  These have all helped to function somewhat better.  So I've got my ears out listening for things that have helped others.  Things that I haven't tried yet.

On one of the patient forums one person had tried a Reishi mushroom supplement.  Click here for more information.  She is doing better than she has done in years.  I read a little about it and decided I would try it.  HOWEVER, I skipped doing the one thing I ALWAYS do before trying new meds: check for side effects BEFORE taking the stuff.  Why?  Hell if I know.  Brain spasm I guess.  My problem solving abilities are pretty much compromised at this point.  So my bad.  I took one pill (the dose is three) and shortly thereafter my blood pressure crashed.  I didn't know what was going on.  My legs ached and I felt terrible.  I very quickly ended up in bed passed out.  I should probably have called the doctor but I had no idea what was going on.  And my problem solving/decision making abilities aren't so hot right now.

Of course after I woke up THEN I looked up the side effects:

And low and behold I figured out what went wrong.  Nuts!  No more magic mushrooms for me.

Moral of the story: ALWAYS check the side effects BEFORE taking any new meds or supplements.  Be on the look out for any weird symptoms after taking a new pill.  And remember the weird symptoms you are experiencing may NOT be CFS/ME but actually a reaction/side effect and you may need medical attention.  Ugh!  Hopefully, I'll remember next time.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Technical Difficulties

I am having problems with Blogger.  This has been since my computer was hacked and my Google account was compromised.  I can no longer post comments to ANY blogs including my own.  Blogger's reporting system stinks and in my CFS haze I haven't been able to navigate it.  Anyway, don't be offended if I haven't commented anywhere or haven't answered your comment here.  My poor CFS addled brain hasn't let me figure this out yet.  Please be patient.

Tech Vid About Gut Lining

This is a somewhat technical video about how the gut lining works.  While they mention IBS specifically, the way the gut works and doesn't work is the same when the gut becomes damaged.  This could be some of the problem in CFS.  The good news is that it can be cured via diet.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Anti Virals Update

I haven't been writing much.  I just haven't been in the mood for some odd reason or other.  Things have been in such flux around here.  My health is going up and down.  I've been on antibiotics/probiotics twice now with very good results.  There was the bombing which I'm almost over.  Bombings in TV plots still bother me even when I know it is fake and I can see it coming.  Ah well.  And honestly I've been using my good days to actually do things like pulling weeds and getting rid of cobwebs which sounds mundane but is really exciting for me.  By the time I sit down at night I'm pooped.  Lots to write about but I want to keep this to a reasonable length so I'll stick to a the narrow subject of antivirals.  Without further adieu...

I bought the chlorella and spirulina.  They are both in loose powder form so I can more easily control dosing.  I've used them twice, adding them to fresh carrot juice.  Frankly I hate the stuff.  It tastes NASTY!!  Ruined two perfectly good glasses of juice.  UGH!  As a result I haven't taken the stuff on a regular basis so I have no idea if it works or has any effect other than making me gag.  Sigh.  It was kind of expensive.... I hate wasting money but I'm not sure how I can hide the taste of this stuff.  I love carrot juice and hate desecrating it this way.

I went back to the Equalibrant.   I started on one pill a day and stayed there for a month.  When I no longer had joint pain I added a second pill.  I do notice a difference in energy level, recovery time and crash severity when I'm taking it.  I do much better on the stuff.

Right now, although I'm still doing quite well, I seem to be on the slow decline again and may need to do yet another round of antibiotics.  I went and saw my treating CFS doc about it and he is having my poo tested to find out the bacterial profile of my gut.  After the results come back, he is going to try and tailor my treatment plan to the findings.  The urine test I did a couple of months ago had some odd results: elevated marker for candida and elevated marker for artificial sweetener/aspirin use (neither of which I had taken/eaten prior to the test).  He wants to try to figure this out.  He also doesn't want me taking the particular antibiotic my primary has me on.  Apparently one of his patients can no longer walk after a severe reaction to it.  That particular class of drugs causes swelling of the tendons in some people.  Remember all that joint pain I was experiencing at Christmas?  I thought it was the Equalibrant but it might have been the antibiotics instead.  Dang!  Thank goodness there is a different safer one I can take but he wants the poo test results first.  Hopefully I can figure out the payment directions this weekend so I can pop it in the mail Monday.

It is such a comforting thought that my poo and urine travel in the same delivery trucks as my meat and food orders.  YUCKY!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Happy Anniversary To Me!

It is that time of year again.  It is the anniversary of my contracting CFS.  I was in the middle of my first competitive season of figure skating.  Yup, me, a 40+ fat chick was competing against other adults on the ice and getting medals doing it.  Then the virus struck.  My kid brought it home from school.  He got better.  I didn't.  And here I am three years later on my forth anniversary.

The good news is is that I'm doing better than I was last year.  I'm more active.  I'm managing to read a bit more.  I have about equal good and bad days now rather than them all being bad.  I'm walking short distances unassisted, 25-50' typically.  With the occasional 100' jaunt about once a month when I get really restless.  I can walk the perimeter of my yard most days.  This would have sent me to bed in a three day crash a year and a half ago.  So I'm seeing progress.

The thing that made me really happy this spring is that I got to go into Boston proper for my birthday dinner.  I got to eat at my favorite french restaurant for the first time since getting sick.  Both of my prior birthdays I had to eat locally since I was too sick to travel.  I had a marvelous time and a delicious dinner!  It was so wonderful to be out and about even if it was in a wheelchair.  For those who are curious I had a beet, hazelnut and goat cheese salad followed by duck a la orange and chocolate mousse for dessert.  YUM!

Progress.  Baby steps.  Patience.  And hope!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Methylation Cycle

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this.  My poor brain isn't working well enough to get beyond "this is broken in CFS patients".

Anyway, here is a short and sweet explanation of it

Here is the lab where some CFSers are getting their DNA tested:

Mind you the people I know that have had this done are doing it on their own and not under a doctor's supervision.  Two people that I know of are tinkering with their supplements based on the results of their genetic testing.  My brain is too useless to figure this out for myself so I haven't even bothered to have the genetic testing done.  If I had a doc that could help me out with this whole thing I would be happy to have it done.

Here is the quite famous Methylation Protocol which I did try for a little while.  I might give it another go now that I'm doing better and see if there is any further improvement.  Anyway this isn't a protocol to be toyed with lightly.  As Patrick over at Quixotic ME says:

Here is Rich's famous protocol (you'll have to scroll down: the last time I checked it was the 7th post on the page)

Here is my disastrous flirtation with Rich's protocol:

My take on this is that if you are as sick as I am this isn't something to do on your own.  Have someone with a working brain help preferably a health care practitioner of some kind.  You can have a nasty potassium reaction if you miss doses of the meds or try to ween off them to fast.

EDIT:  Since Blogger won't let me comment, even on my own posts, I will answer your questions here.
Rich was an engineer whose wife has CFS/ME.  He developed the protocol and it works well for some.  I believe that it did help me but because of my bad memory I was unable to keep up the dosing schedule with any regularity.  I often missed doses entirely.  For further reading on the protocol I suggest reading the message boards on Phoenix Rising website.  Unfortunately we lost Rich not so long ago so he is no longer available to answer questions.  He was a well respected member of the CFS/ME community.