Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 1? To Cleanse or Not To Cleanse?

I got another first here. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas - except when it's the goddamn rhinovirus from hell. There were so many people sick on the flights that sure enough I've come down with the mother of all colds. I'm feeling 'okay' now but last night, I was literally brought to tears. The coughing? It's absolutely painful!! Or was. Like being thrown off a high cliff and hitting every craggy rock on the way down. In the dark. Naked. Let alone the aches and the chills.

I'm a little embarrassed to mention it because it's not the first cold I've had this winter. It's like the third. It's been a bad year for colds. Usually my immune system is in much better shape. 

But I've been toying around with vitamins and mineral supplements this year, concocting my own mix of pills and potions in the morning, thinking I know better than the people at, say, Centrum. The reason I think I know better than the people at Centrum - or wherever - is because, well, all modesty aside, I really do feel I know better than a lot of experts most of the time. 

Since I was a young girl I've been a self-diagnoser and a self-helper. I've cured everything from frozen shoulder to eczema to angular cheilitis without doctors. (btw A.C. are those painful little cracks some people get in the corners of their mouths. It can seem like Herpes, but it's not and it's not contagious. But it is an infection and it can be sorta gross and uncomfortable. And it's VERY difficult to cure - but i did it! So if you or someone you know has A.C., email me and I'll send my cure free - not like the $79 the guys on the web are charging. Cuz I paid for that one - and it didn't work!)

Anyway, that's one of the reasons I was so confident tackling my drinking problem ten years ago. I may not have the professional credentials (and being a lifelong truancy case, I don't expect to get them any time soon), but I've always had the know-how, the determination and the ability to research and assemble information that helps me so much. 

Which is why I've been topping up on zinc and magnesium and at least ten other separate vitamins and minerals every morning now. I feel like a goddamn geriatric with my little Mon-Tues-Wed pillbox. But I really thought I could get my immune system in Superman shape and fight off all these nasty bugs.

So when I found myself suffering from an even worse cold than the last one, I knew I was doing something wrong. I Googled "how to improve your immune system" or some such thing and the first non-commercial hit that came up was from the Harvard School of Public Heath. I've consulted the HSPH for some really important drinking research over the years and feel that by and large they're a pretty trustworthy bunch of people. Despite the fact they all must really like school. ;)

Here's the full article, but the gist of it is that nobody - not even Harvard types - know very much about how the human immune system works. Only that it is a system and that many different things are involved in making perform well. 

The one thing that did hit me is that a deficiency in some micronutrients can hamper the immune system and that the best way to avoid that is not by being some Dr. Jekyll in your own kitchen and whacking together megadoses of individual vitamins or minerals. They recommend a good multivitamin every day to avoid micronutrient deficiencies. So the people at Centrum win again. ;) And they suggest that more than 25 mg of zinc a day on a regular basis will actually weaken the immune system. 

So this morning I opted out of my regular vitamin routine. I'm just down to two supplements - milk thistle for my liver and ginger for overall inflammation. We'll see what happens from there. 

But what does this have to do with my cleanse? 

Well, Day 1 was supposed to be Wednesday. I work it that way so that I don't have to face Cleanse Day 1 on a Monday - today. And Wednesday makes more sense because then on the 29th day, when I start drinking again, it's a Wednesday - not, say a Friday, when I may have too many drinking days together coming off a cleanse. So I usually start on a Wednesday.

But yesterday, in a pre-cleanse record I only had two drinks. And both of them made me feel like shit! The first - a glass of pink bubbly - took my already sore head and blew it up about ten dress sizes. Yikes! I literally had to take a nap. Then later in the evening, I had a glass of red and after it was finished, I laid down on the couch for about half an hour and when I got up, I felt so bad ... that's when I actually broke down and cried. 

So I'm torn here between the fact I wish I could have my two drinking days back. Because they're so much fun just before a cleanse. And ... the fear that if I have a drink I'm going to feel worse again. 

That's my quandary. I'm leaning in the just start the damn cleanse direction at this point. Because I feel much better than I did last night and I'm loathe to have a drink and feel worse again.

By the way, I suffer through colds mostly without drugs. But last night I was feeling so bad I popped back two Advil Cold and Sinus and within half an hour I was feeling so much better. I was able to sleep and feel comfortable all night. And, as I said, I feel pretty good right now - sans drugs. 

So this post is dedicated to the pharmaceutical industry I guess. Centrum, Advil, et al ... ;)