Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Good news bad news

Well, Today I had my second dental appointment at the Oregon health science University dental school. My rationale for going to the dental school was this. I need a dental implant. I can’t afford to do that at one of the local dentists and I could save a lot of money by going to the dental school. At my last oncology appointment I decided to forgo my Zometa infusion. My oncologist had informed me that the only way I could get a dental implant was to be off of the medication four months prior to the implant and an additional four months after the work has been completed. To me, my plan was a good one. Today my plan basically blew up in my face. The instructor at the dental school informed me that there was no way I would ever receive an implant. In his words, the intravenous biophosophate Zometa, stays in your bones for up to 10 years. The risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw is too great.What is osteonecrosis? Well, in layman’s‘ terms it means bone death. Honestly, there is only a 3% risk of developing ostia necrosis but the dentist feels that 3% is too great of a risk. That my friends is the bad news. I may soon be gumming my good. Actually that’s not quite true. I have many good teeth I just have one that broke off at the Gum level and it makes me feel incredibly bad about myself. 
   After reading and article about osteonecrosis of the jaw I decided my dentist was right. I don’t want to take the risk. I guess I will soon go back on Zometa.
    OK everyone so that is the bad news. There was also some good news. I have very little gum recession. Other than the broken tooth I had very little dental work that needs to be done. There is also some other really good news. The broken tooth doesn’t have any decay. The root canal underneath it does not have any appearance of leakage. They also have a plan to fix it. For a few weeks, I will have a bridge across the two teeth that are next to the broken one. They will put an anchor in the tooth and use  a elastic band to gently pull the tooth out of it’s socket. By doing this slowly the bone will grow around the root. When the tooth is above the gum far enough they will do a post and build and then put a crown on it. Hurray... the dentist is going to grow me a new tooth.
   Well that is all for this update. Summer is coming. Yolo

Monday, May 7, 2018

The power of Potassium

   I have been feeling ill as of late. Really! Sick, tired, just really crappy. Last week it dawned on me that I have been out of Potassium for almost a month. Friday I bought a bottle and started taking it immediately. Taking potassium has made a huge difference. The nausea I have been feeling for the past several weeks is gone. I have more energy. The muscle cramping I have been experiencing has been largely illiminated.
   Blood tests over the course of the last year have shown my potassium level to be borderline low. I don’t know if that is because of the Zytiga or because of the prednisone. It really doesn’t matter either way. My potassium level has never been low enough to flag so it has largely gone unnoticed. 
    Low potassium { hypokalemia }causes a host of problems. Most people associate low potassium with muscle cramps. Potassium however does so much more. The heart muscle requires potassium in order to beat properly. Potassium is essential for blood pressure regulation. Maybe that is why for the first time in my life I have had to be put on blood pressure medicine. Symptoms of low potassium include muscle fatigue, Nausea, abdominal cramps, bloating, irregular heartbeat, excessive urination, fainting, depression and mood swings, numbness in muscle tissue, and tingling.
   On the other hand, high potassium levels can cause many of the same symptoms. Low potassium is rare therefore there is no recommended daily allowance it is however widely believed that 1600-2000 mg. is  addequate for most adults. This can vary due to work stress, climate and humidity. If  we sweat a lot we lose valuable electrolytes such as sodium, chloride, and potassium.
   Foods high in Potassium include among others, Avacados, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, wild-caught salmon, pomegranate, dried apricots, coconut water, white beans, and of course, bananas. Interestingly enough, bananas have the least amount of Potassium of all of these.
   In regards to the list above, I eat salmon once every couple of weeks, regularly drink Pom juice, and eat bananas. It has not been enough to keep my Potassium at an acceptable level. I work in a hot, humid environment and therefore I sweat a lot.
  Potassium is a balancing act. Blood potassium needs to be monitored. Potassium should not be supplemented except under the advice of a physician. If you have not been feeling like yourself however it may be worth looking at your potassium level.
That’s all for today. Todd