And what I’m doing to (try to) stay healthy
Updated: October 23, 2017
My Health Goals
Overall, I’m trying to bend the curve of inevitable physical decline upward in order to enjoy more years of activity, mobility, and clear thinking. I’m trying to lessen my susceptibility to diseases and conditions that lead to infirmity. I can’t eliminate all effects of aging, but I believe that I can diminish or delay their impact.
I focus on maintaining and, where possible, increasing my reserve capacity in these areas:
- Metabolic health
- Muscular and connective tissue strength
- Mental sharpness
I try to build and maintain my reserve capacity (or try to) through a combination of:
- What I do with my body (exercise)
- What I put into my body (healthy food, supplements, prescription medication)
Just as important is what I don’t do:
- What I don’t do with my body (activities that are likely to cause injury)
- What I don’t put into my body (drugs or alcohol, unhealthy food)
Full honesty: I accomplish all of the above about 90% of the time. My hypothesis is that my arduously-maintained reserve capacity gives me room for some slip-ups (both intentional and unintentional).
Why am I sharing all of this?
Similar to my What I’m Doing Now page, this is a continuously updated listing of every health issue I have. I’m doing this for three reasons:
1. I like full transparency with my readers
This website is not about applying a filter to my life and making it appear to be something it’s not. It’s about the reality of being human, about aging, about overcoming the challenges that life throws at us. So you need to see what’s going on behind the facade of a nice profile photo.
2. I want my readers to know that they are not struggling alone
Everyone assumes that they are the only ones dealing with stuff, that the image that other people project to the world is real. That everyone else is so happy and successful and healthy (or at least happier and more successful and healthier than you). This is totally not the truth, as I explain in this article.
I’m a teeny-tiny bit of public persona, in that I have a website and reach a few people out of the billions on the planet. So you might look over this well-crafted online presence and draw the conclusion that my life is in many ways awesome. Well, my life is the same as yours in 99% of the things that really matter…like my health. So take a close look at my reality and know that without a doubt, here is a person (me) who is struggling with many of the same things you are.
3. I don’t think people should be embarrassed about the way their bodies work (or don’t work)
It’s socially OK to say “I have a sore on my hip.” But it’s not socially acceptable to say “I have sore on my butt.” That made you squirm, didn’t it? (For the record, I don’t have a sore there.) Why are we so prudish about this? Why is one part of your body OK to talk about, but you can’t talk about something that is located mere inches away? Why does mental health have a stigma? Everyone is so childish about this, and I won’t be a part of it.
So, on this page, I don’t hold anything back. Maybe it will help you feel more comfortable with your own health and wellness issues.
A few more comments
As you can see, I work very diligently to address every single health issue I have. I wish I’d started sooner, because I endured many things (e.g. depression) for far too long. Frankly, when I write all this stuff down, I’m shocked at how much there is, but I’m glad it’s all in the “getting taken care of” column and not the “ignoring it and hoping it will go away on its own” column.
I’m eternally grateful for good insurance coverage, which I know a lot of people don’t have. But I also have never hesitated to pay whatever is necessary out-of-pocket for good health. I’ve never understood people who’ll make huge car or house payments without blinking but put off medical care that is much more important in the long run.
Every single thing you read on this page is known to one or more of my doctors, and that includes the supplements I list. I’m not managing anything based only on internet wisdom,
So here goes. Enjoy…or feel thankful you’re not me…or whatever.
This Is Not Health Advice
This is it: “The line.”
When you cross this line, you are acknowledging that you are a mature, thoughtful adult who is responsible for making your own health decisions no matter what anyone else does…including not-a-doctor Scott Weigle. You also promise not to be dumb about self-medicating or using stuff you find on the internet as an excuse not to seek professional help.
This line is like one of those tire-puncturing strips that you can only drive over one way. Once you cross, there’s no going back…so let’s keep moving forward.
Issues that are completely resolved
The short list of things I don’t have to do anything to maintain. In approximate order of resolution.
Left kneecap dislocation
From high school wrestling
- Corrected with surgery
Irritable bowel syndrome
- Resolved spontaneously many years ago, after causing years of intermittent agony
- Corrected with LASIK surgery
Deviated nasal septum
From high school wrestling
- Corrected with surgery
Right Knee pain
From vaulting over a fence
- Corrected with two surgeries
Rotator cuff tear, right shoulder
From a Scout whitewater rafting trip as an adult leader
- Corrected with surgery
Extensive wear and breakdown of all teeth
- Corrected with full mouth reconstruction (32 crowns)
Chronic lower back pain
From doing a variety of stupid things
- Corrected with surgery (lumbar fusion)
Difficulty emptying bladder
- Corrected with two surgeries: removal of ejaculatory duct cyst, resection of bladder neck
Recurrent ingrown toenails, both sides
- Corrected with nail excision
Issues that I’m working on
I thought I had this under good control, but I’ve had a significant episode recently. I’m continuing with these things…
- Light therapy, fall/winter/spring
- No caffeine
- No alcohol
- Regular exercise six mornings a week
…and working with my doctor. Right now, we are normalizing my Testosterone levels. If that doesn’t help, I’ll be going on anti-depressant.
See the next item for an intriguing connection…
Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
I’ve had this forever, since I was a kid: when I’m tired at night, my legs ache and I’m compelled to move them and rub my bare feet against the floor, but it doesn’t help. I kick a lot at night, which doesn’t keep me awake but it disturbs my wife’s sleep.
Strangely, I’ve just accepted it for decades as “one of those things.” As I investigate my depression causes, I’ve made a connection: both depression and RLS can be caused by a dopamine deficiency. The fact that my father has Parkinson’s – also caused by a dopamine deficiency – completes the puzzle a bit more (although it freaks me out a bit regarding my potential future).
I’ll be discussing this with my doctor soon.
I’m moving this from the “Issues that I’ve learned to manage” section (below) to here, because cramping at night is part of RLS.
For now, here’s what I do:
- Limit carbs (see consumption, below)
- Electrolytes as needed
This has been never ending for the last 40 years. I’m always on the borderline of overweight, if not over the line. I have to be very careful about cutting calories as it can make me more susceptible to depression.
Heart disease risk due to high triglycerides and mild blockage shown on coronary calcium scan
The program below, which I’m continuing, has not been effective at reducing excessive small, dense LDL particles. I’m focused on my depression right now; after that is stable, I’ll probably be going on a statin.
- Vigorous exercise about 30 mintues a day, six days a week
- 6 daily high-potency fish oil, split between meals
- Fiber with each meal (psyllium husks
- Plant sterols with each meal
- Monitor with coronary calcium scan yearly
Dry eyes affecting vision
At my follow-up in June, 2017, more oil glands had closed. In addition to continuing with the items below, I underwent a Lipiflow treatment to reopen at least some of the glands. Follow up in December, 2017.
- High-potency fish oil daily (already taking for management of Triglycerides)
- Daily hot packs (Bruder mask) ~5 minutes each morning, followed by lid massage to stimulate oil glands
- Eyelid scrubs twice a week to remove excess dead skin than can block oil ducts
- Restasis eye drops, which are WAY too expensive
This is my nemesis. I hate it. I know some things that help (below) but I’m still researching.
- Avoid foods I’m sensitive to: dairy, eggs, coffee, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol
- Occasional use of a diuretic when I can no longer stand it (see prescriptions, below)
Issues that I’ve learned to manage
I’ll be managing these for the rest of my life. I’ve learned to be OK with that.
- Avoid caffeine
Auditory Processing Disorder
- Minimize background noise
- Avoid loud environments
Mild social anxiety
- Avoid many social situations
- Ask people not to hug me
Caused by mild arthritis in cervical spine
- Rub on trigger point in shoulder once a week to keep it broken up (golf ball in sock)
- Cervical epidural injection as needed
- Good arch support in shoes
- Stretch calves before taking a step after getting out of bed
I.e. Difficulty seeing up close
- Reading glasses
Lower leg edema
Caused by venous insufficiency and/or lymphedema
- Diosmin/Hesperidan (supplement)
- Pycnogenal (supplement)
- Support stockings as needed (rarely)
Intermittent eczema, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis
- Clobetasol cream and Protopic ointment as needed (prescription)
Actinic keratosis on scalp, ears and face
- Annual blue light treatment to remove several layers of skin
Yeast/fungal overgrowth on skin
- Soap with salicylic acid for armpits and groin
- Anti-fungal cream on feet twice a week
- Pumice heels twice a week
- Caprylic acid (from Coconut oil) (supplement) twice a day
Ear, nose, throat
Phlegm / clearing throat
- Atrovent (Ipatroprium) nasal spray twice daily (prescription)
- Seasonal allergies: Flonase (over the counter) and Zyrtec eye drops
- Breakthrough phlegm due to dry throat: Halls lozenges
Moderate reflux (LPR)
Only when prone at night
- Try to avoid eating 3 hours before bed (this never works out…)
- Alginic acid tablets if I feel post-meal reflux occurring
- Somnodent dental device to keep airway open
- Avoid foods I’m sensitive to:
Dairy, eggs, coffee, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol
- Soluble fiber with every meal. This has been the most-effective treatment of anything I’ve tried; essentially a complete cure. A fortunate byproduct of my cholesterol-improvement regimen
- Treat as needed with aloe/lidocaine gel (sunburn gel)
- Sulfasalazine (prescription)
These required general anesthesia. Some dates are approximate.
- Left knee. Repair dislocating kneecap that was originally injured in wrestling.
- Repair of deviated nasal septum, originally injured in high school wrestling
- Right knee surgery clean up joint to correct consistent pain (unsuccessful)
- Right knee surgery to realign kneecap to correct consistent pain
- Right shoulder surgery to repair rotator cuff, torn years before when whitewater rafting
- L5/S1 lumbar fusion to correct degenerated disk
- Removal of urinary ejaculatory duct cyst to improve urine flow
- Resection of bladder neck to improve urine flow
These required no anesthesia or just a local. Some dates are approximate.
- LASIK to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism
- Palate stiffening injections to minimize snoring (didn’t work)
- Cervical epidural injections, for arthritis
- Lumbar epidural injections, tried before back surgery
- Toenails excised to cure ingrown areas (both sides)
Physicians I have an ongoing relationship with
I’m a patient of record with the following:
- Family practice (integrative medicine physician)
- Orthopedists (more than one in same office)
- Ear, Nose and Throat
- Family dentists (one for checkups, one for my anti-snoring device)
- Ipatropium bromide (nasal spray for excess phlegm)
- Restasis (eye drops for dry eyes)
- Sulfasalazine (tablet for psoriatic arthritis)
- Trimaterene/HCTZ (water retention)
- Testosterone Cypionate (low T)
- Clobetasol (steroid cream for eczema, psoriasis)
- Triamcinolone (steroid cream for eczema)
- Hydrocortisone (steroid cream for eczema)
- Protopic (ointment for eczema, psoriasis)
Again, all have been discussed with my doctor, who is both an M.D. and a Naturopath.
- Fish oil (triglycerides)
- Caprylic acid (yeast/fungal overgrowth)
- Multivitamin (because I eat a limited diet)
- DHEA (hormone support)
- COQ10 (ubiquinol) (anti-oxidant)
- Diosvein/Hesperidan (circulation / leg edema)
- Pycnogenol (circulation / leg edema)
- Vitamin K (arterial health)
- Vitamin D3 (because I don’t get enough sun)
- Plant sterols (to block absorption of cholesterol)
- Fiber (psyllium husks) (to reduce cholesterol reabsorption)
- Trace mineral drops (added to drinking water each day)
After years (decades) of trying all manner of fitness/strength routines, I now focus on functional fitness.
- Core strengthening exercises
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
- Pullups, pushups and dips (two sets each)
- Shovel glove sledgehammer routine (12-pound sledge)
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
- Balance routine
- Exercise bike
I struggle mightily with binge-eating if I stray too far from the things I know are safe. I also have several food sensitivities. What I don’t each is probably more important than what I do eat, so I’ll start there.
What I don’t consume
I don’t drink anything except water and unsweetened almond milk.
I don’t eat things I know I’m sensitive to:
- eggs beyond the amount found in mayo
- caffeine in any form
- excessive peanuts or cashews
What I do consume
I essentially eat Paleo nearly all the time, but not religiously. It comes to down to focusing on meat, non-starchy vegetables, fruit/berries, and fats. The fats are primarily non-saturated; I’m not afraid of it, it just happens that way. I have to watch the nuts because I’ll binge on them.
I rarely eat grains, primarily to avoid excessive starch carbs.
I don’t mind tubers and eat sweet potatoes occasionally and real potatoes even less (carb issue). Squash is good.
I avoid sugar or other sweeteners as much as I can. I don’t eat desserts such as cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, etc. I have a horrible sweet tooth and can’t stop once I start. So I don’t keep dessert stuff in the house. Frozen blueberries are my stand-in for ice cream.
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Until next time… remember: Think about it. A lot. Then do something.
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