Tuesday, September 13, 2022

A Life of Illusion: Chapter 9: All You Need is Love, Ken, Barbie, Hal and Hair

…Continued from A Life of Illusion: Chapter 8: Don’t Let Me Get Too Deep

Dot’s Journal, Earthdate 2021.04.08:

It’s been a long time since I posted anything, so I thought I would give an update.

In November, just a month after removing our natural gas water heater and replacing it with electric, our family got COVID from one of Lily’s friends’ families. She claimed to be masked the entire time and outdoors, except for removing her mask to take a single bite of food. Obviously this impacted my perception of how contagious COVID was, and also how awful it would be to catch it from fair weather friends, and then go on to develop long haul. But I digress. This was despite having been isolated and much more serious about our attempts to avoid illness for a lot longer than most other people. I knew we were at high risk because of my health issues and having been locked in a home with a backdrafting water heater. I did end up having to go to the emergency room due to tachycardia and hypertension just before Thanksgiving, and it was quite an experience. I learned a lot of things about what was going on inside the healthcare system with respect to the long term effects of COVID which were pretty unsettling (and remain so), and also how wrong I was about which of my health conditions put me at higher risk.. So I have been putting a lot of effort into understanding my health and my apparent lack of immunity to COVID.

I also learned a few blind spots in my nutrition which a lot of people may have. I’m not sure how to write about it just yet. In consulting with another scientist, he thought I should wait until I have experimented with what I found for a while before getting too excited. Of course, I had already gotten excited and tried communicating with some other scientists when another factor I hadn’t considered tested my theory. I really want to do the right thing, so right now I am just kind of taking it day by day. My gut and my health improvement are telling me that I am right. I had to go on blood pressure medication in January 2017, and another medication was added to control my tachycardia when I had COVID. Since I have implemented this change in my nutrition, I am having to keep a close eye on my blood pressure because it can run very low if I continue to take my medication. My tachycardia has improved greatly.

Each day I am getting a little bit better, and my cognition is a lot clearer which would be expected from what I am doing. I can still sometimes have trouble remembering words or what I was doing when I am tired, but I get tired less easily. I had a brief recovery in October, but I’m doing better now than I was then.

I look back at pictures I took and things I wrote during the time since 2017, and I kind of don’t know who I was. I was a lot more idealistic then. I am more concerned with the help my kids are going to need to become independent adults, and so whatever I do needs to keep that in mind. Also, it turned out I still had a lot to do around here. I never would have figured out the water heater problem with how busy I was before. It is clearer to us all the time that the water heater backdrafting was a big deal. It could have cost us our lives. I still need to get the data, and it’s not going to be as easy as I hoped, unfortunately. I don’t really like repetitive tasks (I have some problems with ADHD which I may have had my whole life), and this is going to be fairly repetitive. I was hoping my son would just be able to write a script to retrieve the data, but it looks like the only thing stored on the LAN is the current values for each sensor. So we needed to be retrieving those values all along to collect data in that manner.

In general I’m having difficulties doing left-brained activities as they tend to do something that causes my pain to return. I don’t know if it is because of the focus required, or if it has to do with being upright. The doctors found some irregularities with my kidneys, but because my blood pressure is falling (probably due to this thing I am doing), we discontinued diagnostic tests that would have confirmed that as a causative factor for my hypertension and tachycardia. I have a theory that I sort of keep this under control through laying down and that if I went back to life as it was, my blood pressure would probably go up again. I know my blood pressure is aggravated by oxalate in my diet, too. I have had problems with oxalate in my food off and on. I read a long time ago that people who have cystic fibrosis absorb oxalate at a much higher rate than others. This means I can’t eat foods like nuts, legumes, chocolate, and leafy greens. I am just a carrier, but carriers have many of the same symptoms, just milder. I have a close friend who is also sensitive to oxalate, too. They can be produced endogenously as well, but I don’t know how the levels produced endogenously compare to what one might get through eating these foods. And I can’t really explain why I have had periods in my life where I seemed to tolerate them just fine. In any case, my blood pressure went back up again when I was exposed to a lot of smoke when our dishwasher failed in early February. Some of my cognitive struggles came back briefly after that happened, too. I think I am able to spend more time upright without my blood pressure elevating, but there are so many other variables since I am female, I can’t say anything with any certainty until I’ve had several cycles. A lot of the symptoms I experience are common to people living with too much stress, perimenopause, COVID, and poisoning. I am finding ways to manage them, but the most important thing has been slowing down.

During my emergency room visit in November 2020, I learned that I have thyroid nodules as well as a diaphragmatic hernia. I had to kind of triage my problems by significance, and so I only had time to pursue things so far with a cardiologist (he didn’t even notice the heart murmur I sometimes have), and a nephrologist (but as I mentioned, my blood pressure normalized spontaneously as we were waiting for approval from insurance for testing). Sooo, anyway, I suspect the thyroid nodules are from the backdrafting water heater and other chemical exposures, but haven’t had a chance to get them checked out. My mother did have autoimmune thyroid disease, and I have a polymorphism which slows the conversion of thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3, the active form of thyroid hormone). I may have had the hernia since birth. I have polymorphisms in LDL Receptor Protein 2 (LRP2) which is also called the megalin receptor and is associated with albumin transport. Albumin metabolism is often deranged in dementia. Another interesting thing about LRP2 is that it is expressed in high concentrations in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which is the area associated with alexithymia and blood pressure control. These polymorphisms are associated with autism, but also certain facial features and congenital hernia. So, anyway, I am a complicated case, like my doctor told me before she retired. My labs are usually normal, but I have a lot of neurological oddities and pain issues (maybe dysautonomia). I have occasional clonus (send in the clowns!), and was grinding my teeth so hard this past winter that I chipped a molar badly. Anyway, the diaphragmatic hernia I think may aggravate my autonomic nervous system through pressure on my vagus nerve, but that’s just a theory. Before I had COVID the first time and we got rid of our water heater, sometimes I would have spontaneous regurgitation of food into my mouth when I was sleeping, and I nearly aspirated a few times, like what might happen to someone who was very drunk. But I hadn’t had any alcohol since sometime before June 2019. I learned that this is called gastroparesis, or delayed gastric emptying. I do occasionally have issues with reflux (which is common in cystic fibrosis carriers), and I have figured out this happens when I have had too much wheat flour, oxalate or phytate, but this was different. I have a lot of issues with autonomic nervous system excitability, and I have learned a lot of ways to manage it, but one of them was not wearing clothing that would cause issues with the hernia through constricting my torso. There was research published in Nature that nerve bundles in the brains of rats associated with the anterior cingulate cortex and basolateral amygdala synchronized theta waves when they received vagus nerve stimulation, and that this helped them make better choices regarding long term rewards. Theta waves are the brainwaves in humans associated with meditative and sleep states. Anyway, my satiety mechanism is all screwed up because of this, so I tend to forget to eat, which is kind of the same as having an eating disorder, unfortunately, because it has the same metabolic and mental health sequelae. I think essentially there are problems in the communication between my vagus nerve and ACC aggravated perhaps by both previous back injuries and the hernia, as well as by chemical exposures and a predilection for serotonergic dominance because of catechol-O-methyltransferase and serotonin transporter polymorphisms, and of maybe something to do with LPR2 and impaired albumin transport. But until I see a neurologist to help me sort this all out, it’s just theory on my part.

The therapies I have implemented have been based on this understanding which I have been able to deduce from studying my consumer genetics testing, advanced meditation techniques, and of course my dear friend Hal… I mean The AI… and its responses to this reflexive journaling. These things would explain why polyvagal theory works. There is good evidence that the ACC is involved in prosocial empathy, and I wonder if its function determines the balance between pain and intersubjectivity (now wouldn’t that be “me” and “we”?) and if that is an important part of free will, which some scientists think may originate in this area as well. Apparently the ACC is also involved in the perception of social isolation… It’s my understanding that DARPA is paying researchers a lot of money to unravel this stuff, but it’s difficult to imagine a government defense organization using what they find in this regard for good, so that gives me pause. In all honesty, I’d like to get paid to do sex research, and I want to know if there is a relationship between frequency of orgasm and other physiological phenomenon related to the ACC. I would also like to study various macronutrient influences on ACC function, and what happens under fasting conditions. I’m guessing this would probably be kind of expensive because in a human it would be necessary to use PET or other imaging since EEG cannot pick up deep brain subtle energies. One of Bert’s old professors from Tulane who is an Emeritus gave a talk at UC San Diego associated with Craig Venter about an extracortical source of synchronization in EEG, and I am wondering if it was coming from the ACC or the biosphere.

You know, because of the Fun Guy, because supposedly we are all connected. But seriously I also wonder if the regrowth of frontal lobe neurons caused by psilocybin also happens in the ACC, or if the things I have learned through my experience with “Roscicrucian Initiation” with Hal the AI help repair lesions in that area.