the bee's knees

Saturday, May 27th, 2017 05:13 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Ah, man. I know I'm getting old, when while pulling weeds in the yard, I think to myself "You know, I think I'll get that stool from inside to sit down on". Because bending and unbending my knees is no longer such an easy effortless thing.
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I got my taxes done.

I made a pie with a chocolate filling. It's somewhat gooey, not what I was expecting from the photo on the box. But it's actually good, even though it also tastes oddly like it contains grape syrup mixed in with the chocolate. Based on the ingredients list, I can't imagine why. It contains alkalized cocoa, and the link I posted before indicates that the non-alkalized sort is the kind that's more likely to taste "fruity".

I also made some Waldmeister Goetterspeise which is a German jello with a unique flavor not found in the U.S. My aunt used to make it for me as a kid (with vanilla sauce on top!), and I still like it. The flavor isn't as intense as I remembered though.

I trimmed my hair a bit. It was tickling the back of my neck too much a few days ago. My torso gets itchy sometimes. When I scratch, the skin gets pinkish red, and small itchy bumps, widely scattered, appear. When I stop scratching, it goes away. I haven't figured out a cause. It's been happening for a few years now. (Of course, having written "torso" there, now a few spots on my arms and legs started itching.)

I'm over my cold, but still have a lot of phlegm. That always used to be the one of the worst parts of a cold, the weeks and weeks of snot that would only slowly diminish back to normal levels. So I did neti today for the first time in possibly 5 years. I stopped using neti around then, after reading warnings against doing neti with unsterile tap water. Well, I used tap water today, like I used to. Anything else is too much trouble. But after reading the warnings again, I may forgo the whole thing for another 5 years.

I used LJSec to delete my old protected posts from LJ, as that was something that had been on my to-do list for a while. There may not be much point in having done it, but at least it is off my list now. First, I did another import of all entries & comments from LJ over to DW, as well as a few backups of both my LJ and DW (with LJArchive), to make sure I wouldn't lose anything. The only problem with LJArchive is that imported comments don't show up with the user's LJ name like it does on the Dreamwidth pages, but rather with a generic ext_#### ID. If I have time someday, I'd like to see if I can update the utility to fix that.

A few weeks ago, I cancelled my Netflix subscription, as I was using it so rarely. Qiao has another Netflix account anyway, which I can use when I want to. He also has an Amazon Prime account for watching videos.

Last week at work, I was able to find the cause of another problem, and fix it. Well, I probably fixed more than one problem, but the last one is the one I remember. It gives me such a rush, a good feeling, being able to discover what obscure thing is making the code not work right and how to fix it, when I still don't even understand what half of the rest of the code is meant to do. I was thinking, I've been working on this same general code base, though it has undergone many transfigurations, for the past 22 years. I could spend my whole *life* working on it, and I still wouldn't understand it all, especially because it is constantly being changed. That made me think for a moment that maybe I should leave this job, just so that *whole life* part wouldn't come true. Eh. But whatever, this code or some other code, what difference. Hmm. Coming up on the end of the quarter. Wonder if they will have layoffs.

snap crack

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 09:58 pm
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Two months later, and my neck is still doing that weird cracking thing every time I twist it in the right way. Fairly often during the day, I feel the need to do a quick twist of my neck to make it crack and momentarily get rid of that feeling of stiffness.

I'm getting so used to it that I've even started doing it while other people are around, at work. Today it occurred to me that I should take a video of myself doing it, to see how bad it looks/sounds. Because maybe it's something I really *don't* want to be doing around other people.

So I just took a video. Yegadz! It sounds awful! I should really go to a doctor or something. Except that I can't imagine a regular doctor being able to do anything about it. Heck, my spine has been cracky like that all my life. But when I stretch/unstiffen my back, it's good for a while. It doesn't keep on cracking like my neck can do. Maybe a chiropractor could do something to help, but the few times in the past when a chiropractor has adjusted my neck, it was scary! It makes me tense up... I'm afraid they might break my neck. So yeah no, I don't want to go to a chiropractor either.

It doesn't make sense to me, why my neck would have started doing this all of a sudden, without me having suffered any injury or trauma. If something had happened to cause it, surely I'd remember it? Unless it came from falling asleep in a bad position, maybe.


These exercises may help:
How To STOP Your Addiction To Cracking Your Neck
darkoshi: (Default)
So I just realized it is the last day. Or was the last day. It is the last hours.


I am so sick of seeing online ads saying things like "Should Trump send Hillary to Jail?"
As if we don't have a judicial system; as if a president can simply send people to jail on his say-so. Is that what people want? A goddamn dictatorship?

Is someone trying to psychologically condition the rest of us into subconsciously thinking that she belongs in jail?


I got my heater repaired. I decided to only get the broken part replaced. Even if furnaces have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years, and mine is nearly 20, that doesn't mean that it can't still keep working for many more. If the average is 18 or so, then surely there are some that make it to 30 years or more


Portable oil-filled electric radiators:

If they smell of burning dust, even after you've cleaned off all the visible dust, you may need to remove the front and/or rear panels too, to get the dust out from those sections. Obviously, you need to be careful when doing that as there are wires and electrical connections behind the front panel.

When not using them, a perfect-sized cover to keep the dust off is a pillow-case!


Christmas Eve (yes, I'm that behind on writing about things. and doing things):

It was sort of rushed again. We started it earlier in the evening than in the past, as my nephew wanted to leave by a certain time. I went in my car to pick up one of my foster sisters, and my niece. The drive took longer than I anticipated, and by the time we got back to the house, everyone else had already started and finished eating! But at least the get-together was over by a reasonable time, before midnight rather than after.

I still haven't gotten around to ordering my mom the Christmas presents I meant to get her. But partially in my defense, she didn't choose which ones she wanted till after Christmas either.


Lower thigh muscles: I've been having nerve issues again, but more general soreness rather than nerve spasms like before. Sitting down for too long makes them achy.
It may all come down to not getting enough sleep, body not being able to recuperate.


I flushed the water heater last weekend. It's really not hard to do, at least the way I do it, just attaching a hose and not turning off anything. Carrying the hose from the front of the house to the back, and back again is the hardest part.


We're having 7:30am educational sessions for work 2 or 3 times a week, and it's killing me, so early. It's mostly stuff I already know, but I don't want to miss anything anyway..

7:30am isn't even that early, right? Especially when I can dial in from home. But it's still killing me.


thirsty tired too late heater yay snoring dogs xmas tree lights went out again need to try replacing fuse again.
where's my dessert? what's my dessert. maybe that'll do it.
good night, ch'all.

oh, subject. ummm.

hey, did I ever post ... I don't think I did... where did I ...


Video title: Boney M. - Felicidad America (Obama - Obama) ft. Sherita O., Yulee B.
Posted by: BoneyMVEVO


Video title: Baby's Gang - Challenger
Posted by: zyxdance

I found both those videos on the same day. Both chipper, hopeful, poignant, and sad in terms of later events.
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In cold/cool weather, when I go for walks or do yardwork or anything else outside, or even just stand around in the cold for a longer period, my ears start to ache. If I don't cover them, it turns into moderate to strong pain. This happens even when it isn't very cold - I'd estimate it starts around 60 degrees and below, but it also depends on the amount of wind. Once I go back inside to someplace warm, the aching slowly subsides for around 15 minutes, and then I feel better.

To avoid all this, since my college years at least, I've worn ear muffs, or in recent years, a headband with ear muff material sewn to it on the sides. I used to feel self-conscious, wearing turquoise ear muffs when the weather was in the 60s or 50s and the sun was shining. But the headband I wear nowadays is brown, matching my hair color, and I'm no longer self conscious about it. If I don't have my headband, putting a small rolled up ball of tissue into each ear helps somewhat, though that is uncomfortable for other reasons.

No one else I know appears to experience this condition. But now I found a forum thread with several other people who have the same or similar issues!

Ear pain when running with cool wind

When I was a small child, I had tubes put in my ears. They never fell out on their own later like they were supposed to, so I had some minor procedure to remove them (which might have been simply putting wax-dissolving solution in my ear? I don't recall the details).

On airplane flights, during ascent and descent, pressure builds up in my ears and becomes painful. I have to close my nostrils and blow, to equalize the pressure. I think this is more common, as my family members were the ones who taught me to do the blowing thing, and they always did it too.

So I've always suspected the issue with cold weather was due to my eustachian tubes not functioning normally, or being narrower than usual.

man ma'am

Thursday, May 12th, 2016 12:48 am
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At work, a guy from the cleaning staff came into my cube and swiped his duster across the top of my cabinets. It startled me - in the past, the lady who did it would ask me first if I wanted my cube dusted, and I'd step out of her way while she did it.

As he swiped the first cabinet, this guy said something like "How are you doing, ma'am?" and I replied something like "I'm good". Then, hearing my voice, he corrected himself, saying that from behind, my hair had looked like a guy's. So I realized he had originally addressed me as "man", not "ma'am".

Neither bothers me. I'm neither man nor ma'am, so either is fine with me.

Then I wondered if he had pegged me as female instead of male, if he might not have just walked into my cube like that.


I cut my hair a few weeks ago, and have been quite pleased with it. It's short on the sides and back, slightly longer on top, with a longer section in the top-back that could be tied into a small pony-tail. I had the same style several years ago, but maintaining the pony-tail part is difficult... when trimming hair it's much easier to cut it off than to evenly cut around it so that its shape remains circular.

Another good thing is that my left leg is regaining its former flexibility. For a year or 2, I hadn't been able to stretch it without feeling an unpleasant kind of ache. But recently something seems to have clicked back into place... maybe ligaments finally loosening or something, and it's back to a normal feeling.

My bottom thigh muscles still feel slight discomfort simply from the driver's seat pressing against them. But I don't have the nerve spasms anymore, which I had last year. Maybe the extra walking I've been doing has helped on both counts.

sore sitting muscles

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015 12:29 am
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For over 4 months now, I've had an odd ailment.

My legs (only the bottom side of the upper thighs) and my butt have been feeling sore/achy/stiff/strained. Sometimes I feel the nerves tingling. Not the top of the thighs, not my calves, nor any other part of my body. Only the parts of my body that I sit on.

In the beginning, the soreness was worse lower down towards the knee - sitting in a car with the front edge of the seat pushing against the bottom of my thigh felt very uncomfortable. Now it is worse higher up near the butt joint.

The soreness is fairly symmetric in both legs, but not completely so. The left leg is stiffer than the right. During the last 4 months, the level of soreness has fluctuated, but has never gone completely away.

It may well be caused by sitting too much. It feels worst when sitting. But I don't understand why I've never had this problem before now. For the past 20 years, I've sat just as much. Maybe it is just old age, and I've passed some tipping point.

At least with how I've got my 2 monitors set up at work, when it gets too unbearable sitting down now, I can alternate between standing and sitting.

Have any of you heard of anyone else with similar symptoms? I've read about things like Piriformis Syndrome, but as my issue is in both legs, it seems different.

During my leave, I may try to find myself a primary care doctor. If so, I'll ask them about it. But so far, it doesn't seem worth going to a doctor for.
darkoshi: (Default)
The skin on my hands is very dry and is starting to crack in various places. The same thing happened right around Thanksgiving and again around Christmas (4 weeks apart), so I started wondering if it was related to my menstrual cycle. In between, my skin went back to normal. But this time it's been 2 weeks since the last time, so maybe it's just the weather. On Thursday, the high temperature was 33F, which is very unusual around here. But the day was sunny, so it wasn't really that cold.

One of the first things I did in Atlanta over Thanksgiving, was to walk to Target to buy some liquid bandage to put over a crack on my finger that was really bothering me. I felt much better after doing that.

Atlanta skyline, with Cirque du Soleil's big top slightly visible behind the right end of the bridges:

Thanksgiving Day morning, Atlanta Half Marathon in progress:
darkoshi: (Default)
Lately, I considered writing a short post on skin picking, but didn't care enough to actually do so. Today, the topic presented itself again in a weird roundabout way. So here, then.

I was looking online for a round-edged cuticle pusher, not for using on my cuticles, but for appyling light pressure to the inside of my lower eyelid, to help squeeze out clogged meibomian glands. The old one I had (which I only used a few times) got a bit of rust on it after I left it sitting in rubbing alcohol too long.

So I came across the above one, but had never heard of the German company "Mehaz". On this page, I found that the actual company name is Giesen & Forsthoff. I browsed their website and found a curious looking implement called a Comedonen Quetscher. A "Quetscher" is a squeezer. "Comedonen" are pimples. It's a pimple popper! I had no idea there were implements made specifically for that purpose! In English, it turns out that they are more commonly called Blackhead or Whitehead Removers/Extractors.

On that topic, I had mentioned previously that after starting on the eyedrops & doxycycline for my eyelid problem, my skin broke out in acne/small pimples. 5 weeks after stopping the doxycycline, my skin finally cleared up and went back to normal. (Which means that I still have some small pimples, but not an overwhelming amount.)

That period of increased acne however, showed me that I never really "got over" my skin-picking problem. Rather, the more bumps my skin has, the more I pick at them. My skin-picking compulsion simply must have diminished due to my skin condition getting better as I aged. It's not that I have less compulsion to pick now, but that there's less to trigger the compulsion. Rationally, I still think that squeezing or scratching a pimple will make it go away faster than leaving it alone. Maybe that is the only difference between me and people who don't have the compulsion.

eye update

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014 10:20 am
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I've been having trouble sleeping on the weekends lately. In the past, that is when I was somewhat able to compensate for not getting enough sleep during the week. But no more. I've been waking up early, not able to fall back asleep. I feel mentally diminished by it and more prone to headaches. It can't be helping my eye problem either.

The vision in my eye still seems to be better at times and worse at times. The blepharitis hasn't gone away. My eyelid is still swollen along the edge, which probably means that the meibum isn't able to flow freely as it should.

I was supposed to be on a low dose of doxycycline for 3 months. Upon first starting it (end of May, at a higher dose), my face, neck, and chest broke out in small pimples, which still haven't completely cleared up. I was willing to ignore that, in the hopes that the doxycycline would clear up the eye problem.

But a few weeks ago, I started to itch a lot more than normal too, and scratching made me break out in mild hives. The hives would clear up overnight, but by the next evening I'd be itching again. So I stopped taking the doxycycline last week, with my doctor's approval. I might be slightly allergic to it. I'm still not sure the itching was really due to the doxycycline, but since stopping it I've no longer had the hives.

One possible side-effect of doxycyline is photo-sensitivity, and I had been advised to use sunscreen and avoid exposure to sunlight. But I mainly got the hives in the evening, and in places which hadn't been exposed to the sun. So I don't think it was due to that.

I've also been taking daily DHA/EPA omega-3 supplements for the last 5 weeks, and rubbing Azasite eye drops on my eyelid 3 times a week. I'm already tired of doing both, especially since the eyelid swelling doesn't seem improved.

However, my eyelid is less red than it was in the beginning. And I read somewhere that one might need to supplement with EPA for 9 months or more before getting results.

eye update

Saturday, June 28th, 2014 01:57 pm
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I was referred to a specialist last week as the therapeutic options (compresses, massage, eye drops, antibiotics) weren't succeeding to get rid of the chalazions. I suppose my optometrist wasn't comfortable doing more than that, even though I saw a certificate on his wall indicating he had been trained in minor eye surgery.

The new doctor said I have blepharitis, which is a chronic condition. She said that when the clogged pores get infected and walled off, that is when they become chalazions. (That's interesting, as I had read that chalazions are not caused by infections, but some sites also corroborate what she said.) Even though my left eye hasn't had problems so far, she said that the meibum secretions on that eye are thicker than normal too.

She gave me 2 injections into the chalazions. The first one hurt rather badly while she was doing it as she moved the needle around a little bit; the 2nd one not as much. But I'd say each injection was finished in under 10 seconds, so they really weren't that bad.

So far, I can't tell if the injections helped any, but she said it could take up to a month. She's keeping me on antibiotics at a reduced dosage. I'm using the Azasite drops again on the lid margin, and I've also started taking vegan omega-3 (DHA+EPA) supplements.

Normally, meibum helps keep an even tear film on the eye. When the secretions are abnormal, this can cause an uneven tear film. This could explain the worsened vision in my eye, and also why the vision sometimes seems better or worse.

These last weeks (even before the injections and starting the omega-3), my hair&scalp have been greasier than usual, and my face/neck has been breaking out in lots of small bumps/pimples. I suspect it is a side effect of the antibiotics and/or eye-drops. But that's odd, as the antibiotics are also sometimes prescribed *against* acne. I remember my face breaking out like this 2 other times. Once was after my jaw got broken and was wired shut to heal (I was on antibiotics then too). The other time was while on birth control pills to reduce the uterine lining in prep for getting the Essure implants.
darkoshi: (Default)
Sometimes I feel it would be better if I only posted creative interesting things. If I left out the boring, rant-ish, whiny, and/or unimportant posts. If my journal were inspiring and intriguing rather than mundane. If I didn't use it simply as an outlet for whatever was on my mind at the time. But then there wouldn't be many posts, and it wouldn't really reflect my life, which is mostly mundane.


I don't recall having allergies as a kid. Not the runny-nose, sneezing, itchy eyes kind of allergies that I started getting as an adult. Yet when I was about 10 years old, I had a persistent cough. I was tested for allergies, and was given some kind of desensitization treatment.. shots or skin patches; I don't recall it well.

I never quite understood how having a cough could be due to allergies.

Yet a couple years ago after having been sick, and still having a persistent cough and sore throat, a nurse told me it was due to post-nasal drip. That surprised me, as I usually only notice post-nasal drip when it is thin and runny - like when I'm having a runny nose kind of allergy attack.

The kind that makes my throat itch, by contrast, is thicker. It's just now in the last few years that I'm able to recognize this sensation. Realizing that my throat is tickling due to thick slime oozing down back there, as opposed to tickling for an unknown reason. It's odd that this wasn't something I was able to recognize to begin with.


I'm staying up late to see Boy George on Jimmy Kimmel... Hadn't planned to, but upon hearing that BG would be on, I figured I shouldn't miss that, right? Like old times, staying up to see an appearance. Gosh, how long is this show? Figures that he'd be the last person on.

Aw. Just one song, and not even an interview.

I've listened to clips from his latest album, but none of the songs really appealed to me. This one he sang didn't either.


Yesterday while eating lunch, something buzzy flew into my hair. I put my hand up and flinched away when I felt something up there. So I brushed it off with my sandwich container. I turned to look at the picnic table, and there it was, some kind of cute bug. Looked like a youngster. I blew at it, and it lifted its front legs (arms? pincers?) up in the air as it to ward off an attack. So then I let it be and ate my lunch. But I turned back to look at it several times. It didn't move away. I began to feel a camaraderie with it.

Such a small thing. And yet it has a brain. What is it like, to be that insect? What is it thinking? Is it watching me? Is it feeling camaraderie with me too?

It's all in my mind. That feeling of camaraderie would quickly vanish if I saw it doing something like eating another insect.


It's so hard, living. One has to feel compassion for anyone who's managed to stay alive, to make it so far... to stay fed, stay clothed, live to adulthood, and everything else. Even if they aren't making a very good impression. Even if they're arguing, or drunk, or conniving, criminal.


Break on through, break on through.

How can this life be anything other than a puzzle to figure out? And if so, it isn't without merit to wonder who made the puzzle and why.

Or this life could be something without any meaning at all.

It's all up to what one manages to believe.


There's an odd smell in this room. Like... old cat litter, maybe. Seems to be coming from the brick wall. Or maybe from one of the electrical outlets. Or maybe the edge where the brick wall meets the floor. I wonder if it is related to the rodent in the wall, though I haven't heard it in a couple weeks.


Sunday, March 9th, 2014 03:34 am
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My eye is back to looking nearly normal again. It took a bit under 2 weeks for the blood to clear up.


Sometimes at 1am, you just have to make a pot of noodles.


Some people are driven to go snorkeling in the frigid antarctic ocean, to take photos of vicious predators.

Some people are driven to spend 3 hours trying to get a single line of a SQL script to work right. And to spend yet another hour or two trying to get that Bluetooth adapter to work.


Chia seeds really turn gelatinous when soaked in liquid! Chocolate soymilk + chia seeds = an almost effortless dessert. (Forestfen gave me a bag of chia seeds as a gift.)


9th of March. And I haven't had time since my xmas vacation, to get back to my cassette -> mp3 conversion project.

I've been wanting to go back and watch all the prior seasons of Doc Martin. Maybe. So far, I've watched the movie that introduced his character, and 1 of the 2 movies that were prequels to the series. That's it. During the same time period, Qiao has watched about 5 or 6 whole seasons of Star Trek:Deep Space Nine.


This brain-teaser intrigued me: "You are standing at a train station when a train goes by at 60 mph. At the back of the train there's a person who throws a baseball at 60mph out the back of the train. What does the ball do and how fast does it travel?"

The answer was "it drops to the ground, barely moving at all." That's sort of what I was guessing, though it was hard to visualize.

So if the person instead throws the ball at a lesser speed, then the ball falls towards the train, even though it is thrown in the other direction. At least, it would appear that way from the stationary observer's perspective.

And if you were wanting to toss the ball from the train to the person standing in the station, you'd have to throw it straight out from the side of the train, before you were even with the person, as the ball would continue moving in the train's travel direction even as it moves out away from the train.

bloody eye

Friday, February 28th, 2014 11:20 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I appear to have one of these: Subconjunctival hemorrhage (mine is more like the 2nd/3rd photos, not as bad as the 1st/2nd ones. Don't click the link if you're squeamish. Although much worse photos can be found via Google.).

It looks worrisome in the mirror, but everything I've read indicates that it is harmless and will heal on its own.


Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 11:36 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I'm over 40 years old. Thinking about it the other day, it seemed to me that 40 years isn't that long at all. 40 winters. 40 Christmases. 40 summers. Four sets of double-handprints. You could put down a mark for each year it wouldn't take up much space at all.

And yet, when I was 10 years old, didn't it seem that those 10 years were an eternity?

And these 40 years have been an eternity too.


Nasal rhymes with Basil*. Where that thought came from? Oh, I was misreading the 2nd word in "Africa Brasil".

*Now that I think of it, they wouldn't rhyme in a British accent.

11 audio cassettes laying on the table. I recorded them to the computer, but still need to process the files. Need to do that before I record any more.

A German/English dictionary. For when I get back to reading the family letters.

A washcloth. For wiping off tears. Left on the table from the last time I had a cry, quite a while back. I rarely cry anymore, in comparison to how much I used to. I still feel like it once in a while, but it seems pointless, and I can usually distract myself from it.

A lamp socket. There's another lamp that I need to fix.

Xylitol wintergreen mints. For my teeth. The mints taste so good I could eat them all up at once. Some of my teeth are eroded at the gum line, and I want the enamel to grow back. I'm experimenting. Since my last dental cleaning, every evening after brushing my teeth, I've flossed, and then swished with a mild children's fluoride rinse. Plus xylitol mints and gum during the day.


It's as if I'm determined to go to bed late every time.


Oh and these weird sudden itches out of the blue. Like on the back of my knee, yesterday. Right now, on my left ankle.
darkoshi: (Default)
For about a week and a half, I experienced excessive flatulence. I couldn't figure out what might be causing it, as I wasn't eating anything out of the ordinary. Then I realized that I *had* been eating more dried fruit in my breakfast cereal than usual, due to not having any corn-flakes to mix in with it.

It had never occurred to me before that dried fruit (or even fresh fruit) could cause flatulence, but apparently it can, due to the fructose and fiber which are both hard to digest.

[!AAAH! Google has a Dr.Who doodle game thingy!!! Hhahahah....
oh god it took me 33 minutes to finish the game and I don't know how many doctors died in the process.]

So anyway, after having that realization, I switched to hot oatmeal for the next breakfast, and then the next day, cold cereal without fruit. The flatulence disappeared. Then I switched back to eating the muesli and raisin bran, with some other cereal mixed in, and have still been fine since then.


Qiao got me a pedometer. They say that to stay fit, one should walk about 10,000 steps per day. Based on the pedometer, on days when I go to work and walk outside around the pond at lunchtime, I get between 5500 and 6500 steps. On a Saturday doing yard work, I got 6200 steps. On a Sunday when I stayed home and didn't do yard work, I got about 3000 steps.
darkoshi: (Default)
My 2002 LDL level was still in the optimal range of under 100. But it occurs to me that my 2002 LDL number may have been higher than in later years, as back then a lot of processed foods contained trans-fats.

Supposedly, trans-fats raise LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) levels and lower HDL (the "good" one). Due to being vegan since high school, I avoided products with animal fats; but that meant that a lot of the processed foods I ate had trans-fats in them instead. My reasons for becoming vegan were ethical rather than health-related, and I've never been particularly concerned with avoiding processed foods.

Curiously, I had a physical done in 1991, and I recall the doctor back then telling me that my cholesterol was somewhat high. I found that odd, as I didn't eat any animal products, and had been vegan for nearly 4 years already. However, I also knew that the body produced its own cholesterol, so it didn't concern me. I wasn't given the actual numbers, and the level must have still been within acceptable levels, as nothing further was mentioned about it.

I'm not sure when exactly trans-fats started being phased out. It was a concern already in 2005, but FDA labeling requirements for trans-fats weren't put in place until 2006. Likewise, trans-fats weren't removed from Oreo cookies until January 2006, and from certain other products until even later. So could that really explain the big difference between my 2002 and 2005 LDL levels? Perhaps companies marketing "health/natural" food products phased out trans-fats earlier than other companies?

However, my HDL levels don't support the hypothesis either. The 2002 number was 49, and the 2005 thru 2013 levels were 51, 52, 47, 53, 59, 57, 52 - no clear pattern.

I wish I had my actual numbers from 1991. That would be interesting. But I'm sure all my old medical records have been destroyed by now, as I never bothered getting a copy of them after graduating from university.

I also wish I could remember the purported reason for me getting that physical done in 1991. I think my eye doctor requested it... that was when I was being treated for a long-term eye infection. I remember agreeing to the physical, but refusing the pap smear part of it. It seems very strange that the Insurance explanation of benefits forms (which I still do have) for the physical describe 2 of the charges as "Outpatient Psychiatric". Did the eye doctor think I had a psychiatric problem, because of my introverted manner? Was it not so much a physical as a psychiatric evaluation along with a physical? Did the doctor avoid telling me it was a psychiatric evaluation? I surely don't remember being told that. Or are psychiatric evaluations a normal part of a physical?
darkoshi: (Default)
The company I work for offers free health screenings to employees every year or so. In the past, nurses from a local medical center would come onsite to do the screenings, which included blood draws for the lipid, iron, and glucose level tests.

This year, I missed out on the onsite screenings. But I got a voucher for a free screening at Walgreens (a pharmacy chain). So I did that today. Unlike the prior screenings, these tests were done via finger-pricks rather than blood draws, and the results were available right away, rather than a few weeks later.

During the years 2005 thru 2012, my numbers were in the following ranges (mg/dL):
Total Cholesterol: 121 - 133
Triglyceride: 29 - 64
HDL Cholesterol: 47 - 59
LDL: 62 - 72
VLDL: 6 - 13

The HDL + LDL + VLDL numbers equal the Total Cholesterol numbers.

I was first screened in 2002, and I skipped the next 2 years. For whatever reason, my LDL was quite a bit higher in 2002:
Total Cholesterol: 151
Triglyceride: 60
HDL: 49
LDL: 90
VLDL: 12

Today's results showed an even higher LDL value, 96. That caught my attention, as it is near the high range of optimal (<100). Then I noticed that today's results don't include VLDL. Then I noticed that today's numbers don't even add up (how could HDL + LDL > TC ??)... The sheet says:
Total Cholesterol: 121
HDL: 52
TRG: 45
LDL: 96

Hmmm.. 121 - 52 = 69. The nurse must have transposed 69 to 96 when she wrote the LDL number down. In fact, I remember looking at the machine that had analyzed my finger-prick blood sample, and seeing it display "N/A" under LDL. The nurse must have been doing arithmetic in her head.

Anyway, so this year's real LDL + VLDL number is likely 69, so rather than it being much worse than the other years, it is slightly better.

Then again, this page says:
There may be several reasons for an LDL cholesterol result of N/A. The LDL cholesterol is calculated as follows: LDL=(TC-HDL-TRG/5). If the triglyceride result is >400 mg/dL (>4.51 mmol/L), the calculated LDL cholesterol will not be accurate and the LDL result will be reported as N/A. If the TC, HDL or TRG results are outside the measuring range of the instrument, the LDL will also not be calculated and will be reported as N/A.

So maybe today's LDL number isn't reliable at all.

Hmmm... for all the prior years, VLDL = Triglyceride/5.
It appears that the VLDL and LDL numbers are always calculated, rather than measured. Only the Total Cholesterol, HDL, and Triglyceride levels are actually measured.

Today's test didn't measure my iron level. In the previous years, it ranged from 89 to 138, all within normal limits.

My blood pressure tends to be on the low side. Today it was 90/65. The highest one from prior years was 107/73.


Sunday, February 24th, 2013 02:04 am
darkoshi: (Default)
My 23andme DNA test results indicate that 99.8% of my ancestry is European, which is no surprise to me. However, it also indicates that 10.2% is Ashkenazi. That is interesting. I had always wondered whether part of my mom's family (from Germany) might have been Jewish. Then again, it could be from the other side of the family.

There was nothing particularly startling or worrisome in regards to my Disease Risk and Carrier Status.

The closest match found by the "Relative Finder" feature is someone who may be my 3rd or 4th cousin. Based on their profile, I think we are related somehow via my maternal grandfather's family.
darkoshi: (Default)
For a while, I've been wanting to get some tests done to check my vitamin/mineral/amino acid levels, my hormone levels, and maybe even food sensitivities*.

I browsed various test kits that can be ordered online. Some only require saliva, urine, or blood-prick samples that you can collect yourself and mail in to a lab. Others require blood to be drawn. Some (for testing toxic metal and mineral levels) even use hair samples.

At first I wondered if the saliva tests would be as accurate as blood tests, in those cases where levels may be checked by either method (such as for hormones). It seems that they may be; but I'm a bit unclear as to the significance of levels of bound versus free hormones. Apparently, saliva tests only measure free hormones.

A person's hormone levels may fluctuate a lot. From what I read about testosterone in females, there are no agreed upon "low" or "normal" ranges. So even assuming I get back accurate measurements, I'm not sure what it can tell me. But I am curious whether my levels are on the low side or not.

Then I wondered how I could know whether the various labs were trustworthy. Maybe *none* of the ones offering do-it-yourself kits were really reliable... But then again, when you get tests done at a doctor's office, those samples get sent to labs too. Surely some of the labs must be trustworthy?

I did some web searching to find out whether various labs/tests were reliable, with mixed results. I decided not to use one particular lab, due to it having filed a defamation lawsuit against a website ( which had publicized potentially unscrupulous activity by the lab. (After reading the article in question, I would have given the lab the benefit of doubt, as it sounded to me that the medical practitioners involved were more to blame than the lab. But having the lab try to take down the article via a defamation lawsuit seems detestable to me.) Then I read something else which made me question how trustworthy the QuackWatch website was...

Sigh. Who to trust? What to trust?

Anyway, for the moment, I've decided to get a saliva hormone test done, and this nutritional test.

* - My mouth was sore for the last 3 days (a rather unusual occurrence), leading me to suspect I had eaten something that I was sensitive to. But after reading about the unreliability of some IgG tests, it's probably not worthwhile for me. I don't have any significant digestive issues anyway.