Well, this Winter was no different, and I felt a lot like Sam McGee, just before Christmas.
On December 18th shortly after eating lunch, I started to get heartburn. This same thing has happened to me once or twice year and always resolved itself in a few hours. I've never known the cause of this heartburn, but attributed it to gastritis of some type. It never occurred after a particular meal, just randomly.
A couple of blogging "doctors" I confided in assured me that I was suffering the effects of SIBO or GERD, most likely caused by my high fiber diet, especially the potato starch. The problem was, this random heartburn started well before I knew anything about "fiber" or RS, in fact, coincided directly with adopting the low carb Primal Blueprint and persisted through the Perfect Health Diet and high fiber/RS diets.
Anyway, on the morning of December 19th, the pain had still not let up, and was becoming unbearable. My wife drove me to the ER where I was quickly diagnosed with pancreatitis. An ultrasound showed a gallbladder full of stones and I was admitted to the hospital. After two days of antibiotics, the pain and fever were under control and they removed my gallbladder (cholecystectomy) using laparoscopic surgery. Apparently, I had been producing gallstones for years that easily passed with only minor discomfort, this time, however, a stone became lodged in the pancreatic duct and became life-threatening, hence the emergency surgery.
|Happy Holidays...waiting for the knife!|
Life without a gallbladder does not seem so bad. It turns out that having high cholesterol and losing lots of weight are both triggers for gallstone formation, additionally, both my parents had their gallbladders removed, so heredity may play a part. No matter. What's done is done. I eat a fairly low-fat diet so I'm not too worried about the future. The gallbladder does seem to be one of the easiest organs to live without, especially when you do not eat a SAD diet. We'll see.
I was released from the hospital the day after surgery and was back to work one week post-surgery. Within two weeks I was feeling perfectly normal and at three weeks doing light exercises, and at four weeks, my normal routine of push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and walking 2-3 miles a day. As for the antibiotics, I bought some cheap probiotics on Amazon and took them at about 3 times the recommended dose along with potato starch, oat bran, fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt, and lots of high fiber foods. Except for a couple days of really bad constipation right after the surgery, my digestion did not seem to miss a beat.
My First Peer-Reviewed Paper Published!
While this may not win a Nobel Prize, unless there is a category for boring, I was excited to have it published.
Life begins at forty – hybridomas: ageing technology holds promise for future drug discoveries
It was quite an experience submitting and then defending the paper throughout the peer review process. The folks at the Generics and Biosimilars Initiative (GaBI) Journal were very thorough and professional, and I will admit it was quite frustrating at times.
Have a read, I wrote it in a way that even those unfamiliar with hybridomas and monoclonal antibodies might gain some insight into the production of new drugs. Have you seen those commercials on TV: "Ask your doctor about adalimumab (Humira)?" This is what the paper is about. I show some cheaper, more efficient ways of making these drugs. Currently, they use 40 year-old technology. If a drug ends in "mab" it is a franken-drug made from cloned human/animal body parts. Big Pharma Drug Companies will hate this paper because it means that new, small drug companies can make these same drugs at a fraction of the cost.
Cabo San Lucas Vacation
The last two weeks, my wife and I have been in Cabo, Mexico on vacation. We had a blast and enjoyed some great weather--a welcome respite from the harsh Winter in Alaska. Home now and mourning for the sun as out tans fade.
We stayed at the Grand Solmar Resort, easily the best vacation spot I've ever been to. The people are friendly, the climate is perfect, and dollar goes a long way. If any of you would like to check it out, Richard Nikoley has a vacation rental business and owns several rooms at the Grand Solmar, available for rent on Vacation Rentals by Owner. Tell him Tim sent you.
Here are a couple pictures from our trip:
|My First "Hemingway Moment"|
|Hanging with the locals...|
|..picking up chicks!|
So that's where I've been this Winter, in case you were wondering. There's another Potato Hack post set to be posted tomorrow and classes for the Spring Semester start up as well. Three more classes to go until I'm done with my master's degree in biotechnology. By the time this semester is over, it will nearly be summer. This has been quite a Winter.