Thursday, January 3, 2019, 11:34 p.m. The right description of this ginger root lymph node cleanse detox didn’t come easy, but I can say the “TOTAL WAR WITHIN” part of the title is no exaggeration. It’s also hard to write about. I don’t mean hard like I’ve got writer’s block or emotional difficulty. I mean physically challenging. I’m feeling draggy, full of malaise, wanting to do nothing more than soak in a hot bath or lie in bed for a very long time.
[Note: This turned out to be a very long post. If you’re short on time right now, feel free to scroll down to the Summary and Before & After photos.]
But Life doesn’t much care about things like that, does it? You either hitch up your britches and soldier on or sprawl on the couch and whine, hoping the world will take care of you. And experience tells me the latter of those two choices is a really negative option.
So why the lack of energy, the droopy eyelids, the sense that even watching a TV screen is too much work? I strongly and hopefully suspect the ginger lymph node cleanse is the answer. It might never have occurred to me to consider that as a possibility…except for my pulse rate, which is averaging around 88 beats per minute and has been doing so for a number of days, who knows how many.
Backstory, really brief version: My lymph nodes, pretty much all over my body from the skull down, have been massively swollen for the past six years. Like many of you–those who’ve read this far, anyway–I’ve tried all sorts of protocols to fix the problem. Lots of them worked for a while, but never long enough, never completely, and the engorgement always came back. Doctors take one look at me and run screaming from the room, yelling, “Lymphoma! Lymphoma!” Which this is not. And no, I’m not about to let an M.D. draw blood to “find out.” Syringes are invasive things. Never mind the minor pain; I simply don’t trust anyone shoving sharp things into my body without mighty good reason. What I consider mighty good reason.
For the past six, maybe seven months, my nodes were as swollen as they’d ever been, never retreating by much and always “bouncing back” if they did give a millimeter for a brief moment. But yesterday morning, I noticed in the bathroom mirror…I use this one particular mole on my right collarbone as a landmark. Swelling had been tight and pushing to within half an inch of that mole. Sometimes the “gap” was even down to 3/8″ and that was never good. Yet suddenly there was a full inch and a bit more showing. The nodes felt “loose” in my palm.
I didn’t put it together until this morning while I was waiting for my car’s oil to be changed. Sonofagun. Maybe the ginger? In which case, if that turned out to be true, I would not want to worry about getting that pulse rate down; the machine might well be processing toxins southward at an increased rate.
These journal notes may never be published. If the cleanse doesn’t complete itself, they certainly won’t.
How much ginger root am I taking? Two caps per day, totaling 1.1 grams of ginger root. Nature’s Way brand.
Sunday, Jaunuary 6, 2019, 10:37 P.M. “AUGH-H! OW! UGH-H-H!” The agony was indescribable. As I struggled out of the recliner where I’d been trying to rest/relax for the past hour or so, I knew these stabbing muscle spasms running up and down my left side, all the way from skull base to lowest rib, went dark years (as opposed to light years) beyond anything I’d ever experienced before. I thought I’d known pain, at least a little. After all, growing up on a ranch, riding rodeo broncs and bulls professionally for a number of years, and generally being alive in a tough world will teach you about pain, right? And it had. Toothache problems that only went away after I had every fang in my head yanked out in 1992 at the age of 48. Busted bones from rib to skull, collapsed lung, messed-up knee and shins, heavily sprained if not torn ligaments in chest, groin, back of hand. GI tract distress from several food poisonings over the years. The everyman misery of coming down with the flu more winters than not. Surgically removed big toenails after 26 years of home treatment. The list is impressive, once you think about it.
Oh, my wife would understand. She’s been battling head to toe pain since late 1998; no way would I presume to be (or ever desire to be) in her class. The torture recovering burn victims go through is also beyond my ken and I’d prefer to keep it there. Countless different cancers or other diseases, all laughing at my piddly little wimping out about a mere left side of the body on fire.
Was I even sure this pain exceeded some of those earlier incidents such as the busted-ribs, collapsed-lung, bull riding wreck of 1970?
Well…yeah. I could definitely say that much. That night, decades ago, the pain finally knocked me down so I couldn’t leave the ER and thus saved my life, yet I clearly recall grunting over the hurt of it a mere handful of times, during the back-of-a-pickup-truck ride in from the practice arena to the nearest hospital. Five or six stifled grunts versus the fifty or sixty full-throated bellows of strartled outrage as a new spasm hit or an old one repeated itself? No contest.
The only good thing about the situation: I was not terribly surprised. I’d slept wrong a few weeks earlier, tweaked my left-side neck and shoulder area pretty fiercely, and every adjustment I’d tried since–looking for a sleeping position that might let me sleep for a few minutes–seemed to make things worse. Most of all, it was clear to me that the major ginger detox, while cleansing my lymph nodes, had decided it might as well also rip out every other foreign environmental or ingested toxin it could find embedded in my tissues, anywhere in my body. We humans are weird creatures. Load us up with bad stuff, let us get used to it, and then try to take it away. Major protest coming right up!
I was like I imagined a heroin addict might be after going cold turkey. Any good junkie could probably hear my tale and laugh, yeah, welcome to my world.
But I’ve never done street drugs. Haven’t even used alcohol in decades. Goodness, I even gave up coffee four years ago, and then a bit later, chocolates!
Wait. There was another good thing here. The detox was obviously working. You know how they say “no pain, no gain” regarding gym workouts? Yeah, try totally detoxing! This much rip-and-tear had to mean I was getting it right at last. Small comfort, however, at the moment. The pain was so intense that I couldn’t move. The pain was so intense that I couldn’t not move. Somehow, bellowing fresh pain-protests (it’s good to live alone at times like this, except for the cats, who are very cool about it and don’t even bother to open their eyes), I made it to the bathroom to relieve my bladder. Then back to sit on the edge of the couch, because that’s the least-horrific position at the moment, hunched over, elbows on knees, head and shoulders slumped forward as far as my not-exactly-flexible head and shoulders will slump. How am I to get through this? When pain is severe enough–as any true sufferer can tell you–the brain shuts down its rational thinking process.
A couple of aspirin might have helped, for instance. Didn’t even think of it.
Finally, after endless minutes of moaning and groaning like a wounded bull buffalo on the dying ground, I managed to take a couple of proactive steps. Fired up a spiritual healing technique with which I’ve had some success–never enough to fully heal stuff, it seems like, but occasionally enough to take the edge off. Remembered that a “psychic attack” might be a contributing factor.
[For those who live entirely in the mundane world, psychic attacks are nothing but mumbo jumbo, witchy-washy B.S. Others, immersed in the occult, dart their eyes around in fear, ready to blame any slightest personal problem on a psychic attack. Then there’s me, who knows that normally any bad juju being sent my way will slide harmlessly off my healthy aura and I won’t even notice its existence. But when I’m vulnerable, weak or injured in some extreme way, then if someone on the planet happens to have the right timing and the wrong attitude toward me, I’m going to feel it.]
As it happened, by refusing to be their victim, I’d seriously ticked off a couple of bottom-feeder people just the day before. I had no doubt there were ill feelings flying toward me, never mind the 1,500 mile distance between us.
“Fighting back” is spiritual suicide; I’ve known better than to try that for a very long time now. But passive defense…yeah, I knew what to do. Struggled off the couch, bellowing my way back to the bedroom. Retrieved a rather worn swath of light, breathable cloth, black on the inside but still silver-faced on the outside, though not nearly as shiny as it was when I bought it 30 years ago. I don’t feel the need to use it very often, but just hanging around for that long has let it show some wear. I got the idea from two things: One, a Shield of Silver Light I’d read about, which sounds wonderful and even works. The only problem is my attention span, which sometimes approaches that of a carrot. Two, the tinfoil hat conspiracy folks. What if they’re not all as crazy as people think?
Tinfoil crinkles, though, and cloth doesn’t. I hung the silver cloth over my shoulders, also reminded of the medieval “knights in shining armor” we’ve all read about, and hobble-yelled back to the couch.
Minutes later, relief. Not total. Not by a long shot. Still plenty of discomfort to go around. But I could at least think again, plan my next move, and in some way, by hook or by crook, I was still there alive when the sun came up.
Happily, I can usually function a little bit during the day. Slow, draggy, but enough “with it” that I can hold up a conversation without the person on the other end realizing there’s a problem. Because Life goes on, never mind whether one specific lemming or another has a crack in his sacroiliac at any given moment. There were things to do, business decisions to make, wife in Arizona to chat with, and of course, the chiropractor.
Rodney Babcock, my chiropractor in Anaconda, Montana, is a true gem. One man office, old school, highly educated, deeply aware of the forces impinging upon the human body and mind as a person stumbles through life, and extremely skilled at his trade. Former Navy man, hotrod enthusiast. My kind of guy. When I mentioned my strong suspicion that ripping decades of accumulated toxins from my system was considerably miffing my toxin-addicted body, he mentioned studies done near the end of World War II that showed nature had no idea what to do with any of the long-chain synthetic molecules human scientists were by then producing. In other words, of course there would be withdrawal symptoms if ginger was truly cleaning me out big-time. We’re immersed in long-chain synthetic molecules every day of our lives, right down to the clothes we wear.
And, as it turns out, Rodney’s also a big fan of ginger.
Curiously, Ginger was the name of the first real bucking horse I ever straddled on the ranch when I was growing up. She and I learned to love each other deeply; the initial bucking session was inspired only by her fear, as her previous experience with a human on her back had been less than satisfactory. Looking back, I wonder: Was the Universe in 1956 already telling me to perceive Ginger/ginger as my friend, because I was going to need it desperately 63 years later? (Cue theme from Twilight Zone.) Back then, at age twelve, I didn’t know an herb from a verb.
It is now midafternoon on Wednesday, January 9th, the first time I’ve had both time and energy enough to tackle updating this journal.
But there’s more. Monday night, don’t ask me how, I did–after getting a chiropractic adjustment in the afternoon–manage to do my entire fitness center workout on the weight machines, with a few lifts showing me weaker but most holding surprisingly well. Last night, Tuesday, with a second and highly satisfactory chiropractic session under my belt, I went to bed around 11:00 p.m., which is impressively early for me and my nighthawk nature. Felt so much better (compared to Sunday’s Hell Night) that I thought I might actually be able to get some real sleep and even remember a dream or two. Near the end of my second adjustment, I’d suddenly felt a pleasant, quiet but definite, triple click-click-click in my back as a vertebrae found its way back to its default position. Simultaneously, Rodney murmured, “Oh, good!” That’s what you want to hear. I intended to sleep well.
Oh, I did sleep fairly well for the first three hours. Not after that. But at the end of that first stint, I woke up with full recall of extensive dream segments, all of which amounted to a single, unified message: Right now, Within, it is Total War. No exaggeration. My dream landscape is crammed, foreground to horizon, with combatants, some in armor, many with varying degrees of authority. There is no quarter given. Punishments are meted out judiciously but fiercely. “Everyone” in my personal universe knows this is a struggle to the death, for Life, from which only one side can emerge victorious.
Bet you don’t see too many descriptions of detoxing that read like that, huh?
VITAL STATS AS OF TODAY
–MENTAL ACUITY…MEDIUM LOW
–PAIN LEVEL (IN CHAIR)..LOW (Will jump up if I try to lie down to nap.)
–LYMPH NODE ENGORGEMENT..est. 1 lb. total throughout body (Started at est. 5 lb. total throughout body)
The following photo was taken at around 5:00 a.m. this morning. I apologize for the less than delightful lighting; it was all I could do to simply stand against a wall and click the camera a few times. Likewise, never mind the insane neck-wrinkles. Part of that is due to age but some is, I expect, the result of long-stretched skin being able to finally relax. And no, that big ugly bright lump under my chin is not a swollen lymph node. That’s my Adam’s apple.
Saturday, January 12, 2019, 3:40 p.m.: NIGHT SWEATS AND DAY WARNINGS. Huge sneeze attack as I sit down to make today’s journal entry, so apparently it’s important.
Last night (technically this morning as I work out in the wee hours) at the gym…tough go. Not pushing the weights so much, but needing to rest and puff for breath between sets, much more so than usual. Challenging to get through, but got it done, though it did take 15 minutes longer than my “standard time.” Muscle strength mostly still holding.
Three a.m.: Time to go soak in the tub, then head for bed.
Four a.m.: Oops. Never made it out of my office chair. Slept there for most of an hour. Undershirt is drenched, first time I can remember night sweats kicking in before the body went horizontal. Well, then, straight to bed it is. Strip off wet tee, put on a dirty tee from the laundry hamper because why not. For the next four hours, until nearly 8:00 a.m., it’s a matter of waking every so often to go pee and while I’m at it change a sopping shirt for another dry, dirty one, flip the wet pillow, ignore the lower sheets, and get back to sleep. Good thing those TV dinners I’ve been eating have lots of supplemental potassium now, for sure. Sweating profusely is one thing even the AMA doctors know can dangerously deplete a human’s potassium levels.
Morning hardcore hot shower. Lots of sweat-and-used-tee-shirt cooties to scrub away, shampoo, rinse, repeat.
But how many tee shirts did I soak? Only four? Man, it felt like more than that.
For breakfast, I decide to make a smoothie, mostly Greek yogurt and mixed berries plus turbinado sugar. The blender makes enough to fill two big plastic cups, one for today, one for tomorrow. Working away, I set today’s full cup down on the counter–but miss the edge a bit. Upside-down SPLAT! Sixteen ounces of plum-colored smoothie on the tile floor. Hey, beats dumping it on the carpet. But low-energy days or not, it’s not like me to make such a mistake, which means…what is the Universe trying to tell me?
I figure it out eventually. No more smoothies for this cowboy. They’re just not what I need right now, though I do down the second, unspilled cup eventually.
That’s not enough, obviously. I need something solid in me. A couple of hours later…big ol’ bowl of oatmeal with raisins, banana slices eaten separately. That helps. My gut feels halfway normal for the first time in days. No more peanut butter bombs, either.
But what about the big question? How is the overall lymph node swelling reduction progressing? At this stage, the progress is slow to the anxious eye, so–even though it’s only been three days since the last one was taken, here’s another photo. Caveat: Pictures may not lie, but they do sometimes fib a little. I never seem to get the same lighting in any two photos despite using the same backdrop and overhead light fixture every time.
Ah! The new photo does show further improvement after all. The swollen lymph node clusters are visibly less thick than in the previous picture, the “slope” down the neck’s right side has improved and the left side looks almost normal, plus the “big blocks” are showing more signs of breaking up–if you know what you’re looking for and are extremely motivated, as of course I am.
Yesterday, a friend remarked, “You realize how unusual it is for a man of your age to tackle a major detox like this?”
I was mildly surprised. “Oh? I figured every alternative health person out there would be into it, had they the need.”
He didn’t argue that point. Just mentioned all the folks who, as they get older, beg for more toxins to be crammed into their already overloaded systems. As in good food, alcohol, and endless prescription drugs. He left me shuddering with that thought. As I am today, a single prescription, a single booze binge night, a single all-you-can-eat buffet of rich foods…any of those could kill me outright. That’s the number one drawback of truly cleaning up one’s dietary act: Once the body is reasonably clean, it can’t afford to get truly dirty any more. Nor can a dirty body get safely clean all at once. It takes time, going in either direction, if one is to survive. Shock kills.
Monday, January 14, 2019. THE CONSTIPATION CRISIS. By Saturday evening, it was painfully obvious that my constipation problem, which had been building for at least the past 10 days, was reaching crisis proportions–and it had to be related to my decades with my wife, as the symptoms were exactly like those she’d experienced prior to moving back to Arizona. Major cramping, followed by sitting hunched over on the toilet until miniscule scraps passed, along with excess protective mucous from the intestinal lining. Less uncomfortable after each such session, but cramping was now firing up with only minutes between attacks.
This was not good. I started taking magnesium citrate laxative, which had never failed me before, but then I’d never had this type of constipation before, either. Somehow I got through the night, but it wasn’t easy. Lying down did not work; weird pain would immediately start building in ears, left shoulder, left ribs, and a few other places every time I tried. I can sleep sitting up, but my feet were not getting enough elevated time to dump their edema. I could no longer get those swollen tootsies into my winter boots and had to wear tennis shoes if I needed to go outside for a run to the Post Office. In midwinter. In Montana.
Sunday morning, during our daily telephone chat, Pam informed me that when the ER doctor got her enormous, bloated gut de-constipated last April in Arizona, he’d not only told her, “No more magnesium citrate!” He’d also explained, “It may have turned on you. I’ve seen it happen.”
Not good news. Was I experiencing the same thing?
Yes. Yes, I was, and I had it coming because I’d been the one to encourage my beloved wife to take magnesium citrate in the first place. What goes around comes around.
By six p.m. that day, I’d consumed 12 ounces of magnesium citrate in a 24 hour period, two ounces more than the maximum recommended on the bottle. “If this does not do it,” I decided, “it’s time to come up with something else.”
It did not do it. It tried, but never quite managed to break through completely. By 10:30 p.m., I was out the door and in the frozen Impala, driving it cold to Safeway in 7 degree weather, peering through the window frost because there was no time to spare. The store closes for the night at 11:00 p.m. The Chevy wasn’t happy; for the first few blocks, I could hear the lifters clattering under the hood. But I’d asked my spiritual guide for, of course, guidance on this matter and shortly thereafter remembered an old school remedy that is not pleasant to get down but is safe, has been around for ages, and has saved the lives of more colicky horses than one could count. Mineral oil, USP grade. I grabbed two 16 ounce bottles and made it back to the house mere seconds before the next severe cramping hit.
I’d had some experience with mineral oil. Or maybe it was castor oil. It was 53 years ago, after all. Concerned about my hemorrhoids, I’d gone to see a doctor in Bozeman, Montana. Ever the cautious medico, he’d decided he needed to take a barium x-ray to make sure my external hemorrhoids were not a manifestation of something more serious. Young and green as country corn, I had no idea this would mean getting what felt like an Eveready flashlight shoved up my butt. I’d also had no idea what the experience would be like after ingesting four ounces of mineral oil the evening before the x-ray.
No virgin this time. Also no Eveready flashlight alien-probing back there, so I figured I was way ahead of the game. Mineral oil is advertised as “colorless, odorless, and tasteless.” The advertising lies. Colorless, yes, and thank goodness for that. But any mechanic can identify the stuff as mineral oil of some sort with a single sniff. As for taste, it may not be an identifiable flavor as such, but it’s not forgettable, either, and the texture more than makes up for it.
Harvey cat wanted to climb on my lap. I had to tell him no. “Daddy’s gotta lube the tube, dude.” Ew-w-w-w…but down it went, a massive four ounce dose. Horrible stuff. Wonderful stuff. Four ounces is more than the bottle recommends but the long-ago M.D. had it right. The label says there’s “usually” a bowel movement within “6 to 8 hours” after ingestion. Relief hit precisely at the eight-hour mark.
Once cleaned out, I tried a late morning nap…and slept without the slightest bit of weird pain. The toxin logjam in my GI tract had been hammering my entire body.
DECISION. January 16, 2019. Time to change my mind and publish this now rather than wait for detox completion. The promised Summary and final Before & After photos will have to wait.
Other recent changes: Eating at home was not working. I was down from 161 to 151 lbs., weak, woozy around the edges when I stood up, etc. On Monday, I went back to taking my meals at the 4Bs Café here in Deer Lodge and am recovering on all fronts, including a more stable GI tract. Weird pain when I lie down on the bed is starting to ramp back up, though, so it looks like I’ll be sleeping on the couch for a while. Also, I won’t be doing any more weight workouts at the gym until this detox is over–which could take months.
As soon as I got back to restaurant food and away from the high-sodium frozen dinners I’d been eating, my foot-and-ankle edema vanished. I can wear my winter boots again.
Comments more than welcome.