Monday, August 5, 2013

Update, and some news

Rightly or wrongly I think every post should begin with an update on my health. So this update is: mostly positive. I'm heavier than I should be, but I've kept the weight off that I lost while in the hospital/rehab. I've stopped taking any kind of pain medication - no tramadol, no opiates, no nerve pain meds, nothing. That was, in truth, an ugly couple of weeks, and a month or so of light sleep, but I just decided I'd had enough, so I gritted my teeth and just fucking did it.
It was the anti-cholesterol drugs that were making me feel fatigued and dragging, so I stopped taking them. My doctor prescribed fenofibrate, an older, non-statin type of anti-cholesterol drug, and though that had the same side effects, they weren't as pronounced as with the statins. If I take one every other day I can tolerate it reasonably well.

As for the effects of the stroke itself, it's pretty accurate to say that there aren't any. I'm playing the guitar again, not quite as well as before but not like a 2nd-grader either. I can hold a gun straight again, and I'm slowly - glacially slowly - rounding back into good shooting form. The operative phrase, I reckon, for the stroke is "no appreciable permanent damage." That's not only good news, but apparently almost never happens. The National Stroke Foundation ( has a sobering set of statistics on the matter:

  • 15 percent of stroke survivors die shortly after the stroke
  • 10 percent require care in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
  • 40 percent experience moderate to severe impairments requiring special care
  • 25 percent recover with minor impairments
  • 10 percent recover almost completely

There's nothing I can say to imbue those stats with an additional sense of gravitas or drama; they speak, I think, for themselves.

So anyway, that's that. Wow, that was more detailed than I thought it was going to get.

The news that I referred to in the title of this post is this: After over a year of inactivity, I've updated my other blog, Peace, Love and Ammo. In that blog, and again here, I promise to update that blog a deal more frequently than this one.

Well, that's it from me. Go see a doctor if you haven't recently.


  1. Great to hear the good news, Gary. Well played, sir.

  2. So you mainly updated this blog to say that you updated your other blog?

    I can dig that!

  3. Good to hear you're doing well physically and that you're back to playing the guitar. Maybe we'll get to have a jam session someday after all.

  4. Thanks for the updates. Excellent that you're feeling so few lasting effects. Interesting about the statins and fenofibrate. Skip takes a statin and fenofibrate. She is always tired and wiped out ... we figured that was due to the MS. I wonder if she's experiencing side effects? Hmmmm .... will have to talk this over with her, she has wonderful cholesterol now, I bet she could cut back.

    1. Cranklin, get Skip off that crap immediately - give it 2 weeks and see how good she feels after those 2 weeks. Dollars to doughnuts she's gonna feel better. The worst thing that could happen is that she doesn't feel better and she goes back on the meds.

    2. Some drugs, you must be weaned off them. I'll have to check out the protocol for discontinuing first. But, I suspect you're right. Stop and see if she feels better.

      You are wicked smaht!

  5. You are correct, statins should be weaned off of, not abruptly stopped. Apparently their positive cardiovascular benefits come mainly from their overall anti-inflammatory effects, rather than cholesterol reduction. In fact according to one Duane Graveline, MD, former USAF flight surgeon (and astronaut as well - I hate an overachiever), "If [discontinuing statins] is done, there is a return of normal platelet activation (stickiness) in most people but in some, recent studies have shown, there will be an overshoot of platelet stickiness, peaking in the second week after stopping the statin. The result is a small but significant tendency for strokes and infarctions to occur during that time. This suggests the solution should be a gradual tapering off of statins, not abrupt cessation, and is certainly an option that you should discuss with your prescribing physician."