Greg Johnson | thorgrym
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My Journey to Wellness
  • Oxcarbazepine 2022-08-12T09:59:00.000-04:00

     01/28/18-08/04/22 - No seizures. 

    08//06/22 - I woke up in the ER at Yale-New Haven Hospital (thinking that it was actually a dream for a while) after I was previously and unknowingly taken to Middlesex Hospital due to my first seizure since having brain surgery.

    This isn't a very exciting post...

    I have now been prescribed 600mg of Oxcarbazepine per day (300mg every 12 hours) to treat the further potential of seizures.

  • Turn, Turn, Turn... 2020-05-12T15:03:00.000-04:00

    To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
    There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
    And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

    A time to be born, a time to die
    A time to plant, a time to reap
    A time to kill, a time to heal
    A time to laugh, a time to weep

    For me, my Journey to Wellness is about to take another turn...

    Today, May 12, 2020, I received a call from my ID doctor re: my blood count from Thursday's (05/07) recent test shows that my white blood cell count is dropping. Being that this is the potential issue from the Linezolid that I am taking, I am being switched (again) to a different antibiotic. Tomorrow, I get to go to New Haven for a 3+ hour infusion with a vancomycin-related drug - Oritavancin.
    The overall plan is to do this IV tomorrow and Wednesday of next week. Of course, the weekly blood tests on Thursday will continue to happen in order to monitor the future progress of my WBC.
    After we (I) am done with the IV next week AND the results from the following blood test, I'll be going back on the Linezolid for another week to finish off the 6-week antibiotic plan...

    As it stands, we'll see how things go with this turn...
  • Wow! (Round 2) 2020-04-19T14:36:00.000-04:00
    About a year ago, I posted Wow! ...or, Should I Say, "OWWW!"... Today, I m adding to the Wow! of my life experiences.

    What I have done all of my life was/is to wake up (at some point of my day), eat my breakfast, and then brush my teeth and other morning routines like shower, shave, etc.

    Well, today, my current routine has changed for various reasons.

    1. I have a test planned for Covid-19 to makes sure that I am "clean" for tomorrow's surgery.
    2. Given my 'planned' surgery for tomorrow, I need to stop eating before 8 pm, tonight.
    3. I have stopped taking my supplements due to the surgery (supposed to be clean for 7 days, prior to surgery).
    As I type this, we are in the car and heading to the location for the virus test.
    Prior to this, I brushed my teeth. Moments after brushing my teeth, I thought about the fact that if I didn't eat breakfast, that would effect my hunger through the rest of the day and tomorrow due to the necessary fasting for surgery.

    ...excuse my absence for a bit... It's pretty difficult to type this out while on the road (using my phone) to the test...

    Well, I'm back home and back on the laptop and running Conan the Barbarian in the background...

    Now, according to the note they handed me, the test results will show up on MyChart is 5 days... 

    From my personal experience, without the ability to confirm or deny any viral infection, I can only compare my physical condition to those that may appear if I am infected. According to CDC:

    So far, I have been clear of all of those symptoms! As well, with my experience this morning, I am even more sure of it. 
    Over the last couple of months, I have been intermittently fasting through the day(s). Generally, my intake of food has happened between noon and 8 pm. As a result, waking up and brushing my teeth/mouthwash happened 4-5 hours before eating anything.
    Today, with my upcoming fasting due to surgery, I decided to shift my intermittent fasting from 12 pm-8 pm to 8 am-4 pm. Of course, I decided to make the shift after I brushed my teeth. That meant that I made and ate my breakfast with a relatively clean mouth. Let me tell ya... while I grew up with the mindset that it made more sense to clean my teeth/mouth after eating my breakfast (as opposed to going through the day with the remnants of the crumbs from my breakfast) and going through the rest of the day with a clean(er) mouth, I'm turning to the idea of brushing my teeth first.
    Not a big factor in the survival with life, but..
    At any rate, there has been NO loss of taste or smell!

  • A Change of Pace; Round 2 2020-04-08T19:03:00.000-04:00
    My current plan is to drop almost all of my vitamin supplement intake for multiple reasons:

    1. For at least a week, prior to surgery, I am not supposed to be using ANY supplements. After 6 surgeries, I'm still not sure why I can't use vitamin supplements.
    2. The cost of buying supplements.
    3. The waste (given my minimal disabilty income) of purchasing single vitamins (A, C, D, E, etc.) and a multivitamin is a little much.
    Well, my first reason is probably my least impactful. back in March, when Surgery 7 was originally scheduled, I stopped my vitamin intake. When the surgery was canceled, I went back on my use of supplements. The main reason that I'm thinking of this is that I will eventually have to stop using the supplements prior to the surgery - whenever it finally happens.

    The second reason is a little more impactful. With the current situation, income is very limited. The last thing that I need to spend it on is my supplement intake. 

    The third reason is just by my own choice. I found a good multivitamin through Vitacost. It uses 2 capsules per day, according to nutritional info. My goal was, and still remains, to use one per day just to insure the intake of the vitamins. It also increases the number of days that one bottle wil last.

    So, after I run out of my current stock on hand, my plan is to stick to the multivitamin and the vitamin D until the week before my surgery final occurs. After that, I will re-evaluate how things are going...
  • A Change of Pace 2020-04-07T18:08:00.000-04:00
    With the thrill of Covid-19, lots of things have changed while some remain the same... (Now, I have The Song Remains the Same going through my head!)

    Today, two days earlier than expected, I received my recent order from Amazon: a case of Bai Puna Coconut Pineapple, Organic Chia Seeds, and Organic Stevia Powder. While I have consumed both the Bai Puna and the chia seeds, this will be my first attempt to use stevia powder. Sure, I hve consumed several things with stevia as a sweetener all ready included on the list or ingredients. The difference is that I don't add sugar/sweetener to anything. For instance, the tea I drink is always unsweetened.
    One of the things that I like to drink, though, is Kevita's Lemon Cayenne water kefir. That uses stevia as the sweetener and it delivers only 5 calories per 8 oz. serving. I really like the limit in sugars, the taste, and the probitic effect that the kefir provides. I don't really like the price that one bottle costs, though. The best price that I can find it for is about $3. Not really expensive, but...

    So, here's my plan! I'll brew some tea - either green tea or Bigelow's Lemon Ginger tea - and add some lemon juice, cayenne, and the stevia powder. I'll be lacking the benefit of the kefir but I'll gain the benefit of the lemon/cayenne. Bigelow's Lemon Ginger IS marketed as probiotic. It includes the ingredient of Ganeden BC30 probiotic (follow the link to learn more about that).
    The RIGHT thing for me to do would be to squeeze my own lemons (and use grade B maple syrup) for the Master Cleanse, but that's not my current goal. I simply want to add the benefits of the lemon/cayenne beverage to my consumption without the price.
    For dinner tonight, I'll be consuming about 5g of net carbs for the whole meal... chicken, cauliflower, cheese, and lemon ginger tea with the said added ingredients.

    I definitely plan on increasing my lemon/cayenne tea over the next, couple of days. So, we'll see how well the added stevia powder works for me - I may just not like it...
  • Comedy or Tragedy 2020-03-27T23:06:00.000-04:00
    I think that I had a dream where I was performing on stage... No, wait... I DID perform on stage for many years of my life. 

    What I have recently been thinking, though, is that maybe it would be a good thing to do to return to the stage. However, to do so as a stand-up comic! I mean, I have a LOT to talk about. As well, I could react to my experiences with either comedy or tragedy... The way things currently stand, I'll be going back in for surgery - the current planned date is Wednesday, May 13. The result will be having a dent in my head. Given previous experience with this, said "dent" will be a sizable concave in my head as seen is the following picture:

    I am only guessing that the result from the upcoming surgery is going to mimic this appearance.

    I could definitely be depressed from the results of my health. I could blame the things that happened to me during my life. I could be sequestered and isolate myself at home.
    I could enjoy the good things in my life. I could share the experiences with others and, maybe, encourage people.

    I actually looked in to visiting the hospital after my own recovery to visit the patients. I would share my story and/or get their stories... Basically, just to let them know that they are in the best hands.
    While this is still a possibility, I'm not sure if is the best thing for me to do.

    Laughter is the best medicine...

    The other side of the coin is that stand-up comedy can be a very healing tool to use - not just for the comedian, but also for the audience. I mean, if I can go on stage and just get a laugh from the hole in my head - well, why not? Further, if I can encourage others by relaying my story through humor, I think that would be a great thing. Granted, I have a lot of work ahead of me. I need to revisit my past and construct my comedy bits. While I have worked with comedians - from follow-spot for Jay Leno to security guard for Joan Rivers - and have performed comedy skits and plays on stage with others, I have never been a comedian. So... Why not now?
  • Seventh Inning Stretch... 2020-03-26T21:37:00.000-04:00
    May not be the best title for this post due to the fact that the MLB is currently on hold due to the Coronavirus that is going around. This is, however, my own stretch...

    I was scheduled for the 7th surgery for my skull to remove the implant on 3/11. It didn't happen because the surgeon, himself, was sick. (Hmmm... Coronavirus?) The surgery has been rescheduled for 4/15. Today, I got the call that ALL surgeries are being delayed even further. Instead of 4/15, I'm looking at 5/13 for the planned surgery.

    The good news? I was finally given the permission to WASH MY HAIR! Due to the most recent surgery - and the resulting stitches - I have not been allowed to even get my head wet. I was starting to develop cradle cap! I'm still limited to using baby shampoo to wash my head - but, at least I finally can! As of this writing, I have been able to "clean up" the cradle cap. It didn't happen entirely with the first shampoo but, as of today, I'm all back to normal - well, MY normal at least!

    Further, other thoughts have come to mind...
    ...but, I'll update you on that in another post!
  • The New Chapter: Whole or Hole? That is the Question! 2020-02-17T19:04:00.000-05:00
    Six days ago, last Tuesday, I had the appointment to remove the remaining stitches from my head. Unfortunatly, the seam didn't completely hold... I had about 2 mm split open as soon as the stitches were pulled. In the picture below, you can see the scab representing that opening. The 'dimples' also visible in the picture are from the fact that my skin that is covering the insert filling the hole in my skull is extremely thin.

    Today, I went back to visit the plastic surgeon, Dr. Alperovich, to see where I can go next. Basically, I was given two options... (I was given these options at the previous visit, but more detail was provided at this appointment):

    1) I could go back to having the hole in my skull - thus, requiring a helmet.


    2) Have a relatively major step to 'fix' my skull by taking muscle from a different area of my body (likely, from my back - the latissimus dorsi, specifically), replacing the 'plastic' part of my skull with a new one to avoid further infection, and covering my head with the scavanged muscle from my back - sans skin.

    This is rather upsetting to only have those 2 choices - neither choice being all that wonderful.

    At this point, I'm pretty sure that I'm going with the hole in my head option over the muscle-head option! (After making that statement, I'm even more convinced that that is the way to go...)

    I think that the major downside to this part of my journey has resulted in a weight gain that I'm not thrilled with and the relative lack of exercise due to the limitations placed on me by the stitches. I basically wanted to positively effect the recovery of the implant/stitches by strictly following the instructions that I was given. It didn't work...

    I was in the best shape of my life - with some difficulties that I had to deal with - when I had the hole in my skull. I had already taken on the keto diet to starve the tumor in my brain and was continuing with that aspect. I was at 15-ish% body fat and at the right-ish weight for my 6'2" height due to the exercise that I was doing. My overall mobility was cosiderably more limited than it was even one year prior, but I dealt with it through other means. (As I finish with this post, I've come to a conclusion...)

    My plan is to go forward with keto, exercise, and a hole in my head!
  • Busy Day... 2019-08-09T20:33:00.000-04:00
    Today, I had 2 different doctor visits and stopped for a blood test between them.

    The first was wth Dr. Baehring. With this, we verified that I have at least two more cycles of Temodar chemotherapy followed by another MRI to judge the progress.
    My next cycle will start about 10 days from now and after I get another blood test next week to make sure things are doing well. Also, I'm taking a mini vacation next weekend, so I want to be back home before I start the chemo.
    After these next two cycles and the MRI, it is expected that I will be done with chemo!

    The second appointment was with Dr. Alperovich. He's the surgeon that has been closing me up after the last 3 surgeries - trying to fix the skin on my skull. In this meeting, we discussed when and where we will be going for the next 6 or so months...
    Three weeks from now, I am going in for a CAT scan. This will start the next process. I will have a balloon installed under the skin on my skull. After that, the balloon will be inflated every week for several months to stretch my skin. Depending how it all goes, the plan is to reopen my skull, remove the balloon, and replace the missing bone of my skull with an inactive compound - an internal 'helmet' - that fits the hole in my skull.
    The weekly pump of the balloon is expected to start in October, proceed until January or February, and have the rebuilding of my skull after that.
    This is not a speedy process!
  • Here I Go... 2019-04-10T16:59:00.003-04:00
    Tomorrow, I start the next phase of chemotherapy. Instead of giving PCV another chance, the doctors are switching me to Temodar. This seems to be a fairly basic chemotherapy... For the next 5 days, I'll be starting the day with the anti-nausea Zofran on an empty stomach. 30 minutes later, it's the Temodar - 300 mg of one oral capsule. An hour later, I can go through the day as I normally do. 21 days after the next 5 days, I get to go in for a doctor's appointment to get a blood test and a follow up.

    I hope everything goes well...
These are a few of my favorite things...
  • VidaCell

    VIDACELL is an incredible product that has laid the foundation for a life changing opportunity! VIDACELL is an all natural functional food that provides your body's cells with vital and essential nutrients they can use to fight the "cellular aging process" and promote better health.
  • The Armor of God

    I wrote this book based on a Bible study about what it truly means to wear God' armor.
  • SideTick

    A little social interaction can earn some cash.


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