Friday, June 15, 2012

Have You Ever Felt this Awkward?

This rates 9 out of 10 on the awkwometer. I have to admit that I felt like looking away several times. But it is too funny not to share. What would you do if you were walking down down a hall and someone tried to do this to you? Thanks, Andrew Hales, for making me blush.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why I Am Feeling Much Better

I have been feeling much better over the last few months and I want to share the reason why, in case it might help someone else out there with health issues similar to mine: chronic gout symptoms—joint soreness and pain—and inflammation. 

In April, I went into our doctor and, in discussing my struggle with gout which I have been wrestling with for 11 years, she gave me a simple diagnosis, not for the illness itself, which was obvious, but for the underlying cause.

"I think you have methelyenetetrahydrofolatereductase polymorphism," she said.

"What? Will you say that again?"

Then she repeated the term that could be made into a song for Mary Poppins.

"Would you mind writing that down?" I said. "I'd like to do some research on it." Which I did.

It turns out that methylenetetrahydrofolatereductase affects about 10 percent of the population. People with this mutation basically have difficulty processing homocysteine, an amino acid. High levels of homocysteine can cause inflammation, and the last time I had it checked, when I was feeling fairly good, my homocysteine level was four times normal; last year, when I went to the hospital, it was like eight times the normal level. Back then, I thought I was going to be boiled alive, from the inside out.

High homocysteine levels are correlated with cardiovascular disease and several cancers. My father and paternal grandmother both died of heart attacks. I think this issue probably came from my father's side of the family.

Anyway, the treatment for this is rather simple: just take a few supplements. B12 and B6 vitamins and folic acid.

Really? You've got to be kidding.

Actually, more specifically, it is B12 in the form of methylcobalamin,  B6 as pyridoxal-5-phosphate, and folic acid as folate. These are the purer, more natural forms that the doctor recommended. They have been very effective.

I have been taking these supplements for several months and have seen a dramatic difference in the way I feel. Lots more energy, more than I have felt in several years, and a lot less pain. B12 is supposed to help you process homocysteine, and it must be working. I've also seen how quickly I can take a step backwards when I miss just one day of taking my supplements..

Just one bit of knowledge can dramatically change your life for the better.

I still have to watch my diet closely. I can't relax my guard. It will take constant vigilance to stay ahead of it, for the rest of my life. But I feel like it will spare me the fate that my father suffered, an early death from heart disease. He was only about seven years older than I am now when he died.

To say the least, I am motivated to take better care of myself. And I am grateful to the Lord for shining a light on my path. It's like I am a normal person again, if that is possible.

Before I go, can I share a scripture with you that has been working on my soul? It comes from Psalms 37:3–7:
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself...
"Wait patiently for him," and be patient with yourself, and He will grant you the desires of your heart. He will open the way, if you will trust Him. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Unclogging Your Life

I spent the early part of Memorial Day unclogging our vacuum cleaner. It hadn't been working for a couple of weeks and my wife was ready to run out and buy a new one if I couldn't figure out what was wrong.

I recently went through all the filters, snipped hair wound around the beater, cleared out tubes and passageways.

Then it stopped working.

It would just blow the stuff on the floor around—suck it in and then blow it out. It was frustrating. I thought I had done everything I could to get it working again.

So last Monday morning, I got after it. These were my tools of extraction.

It took me about an hour. I took the vacuum apart again and eventually found a hard mass in the main suction hose.

After a wild variety of contortions, I was finally able to ram the obstruction through the hose until an ugly monstrosity popped out. Check it out below.

I was able to ram out the bane of my existence with a steel rod, one I've had since my seminary days to use for object lessons on the iron rod.

Do you ever feel like something is stuck inside of you and you don't know what it is or where it is? You can feel it, sense it, but you can't see it.


And things feel clogged up. Like you can't move. You can't get yourself out of the ditch. You can see the road you are supposed to be on, but you are stuck in that ditch.

Recently I read:
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." —Carl Jung


Until you know what is keeping you stuck, it will keep you stuck, sometimes for a lifetime.

Recently, with the help of my wife and my Heavenly Father, I discovered a personal hair ball. When you become conscious of something you have been doing your whole life, something that you didn't know you were doing, and then all of a sudden it is there on the floor, a wound up mass of dirt and hair and stupidity—well, it doesn't feel that good.

But I am so grateful. I feel entirely free.

It is too personal to share, even for me, the president of the local chapter of the self-disclosure club. But believe me when I say it has been one of the most freeing experiences of my life.

And, by the way, I got to be a hero for unclogging the vacuum cleaner.