My view ...

The private blog of Andy Prevost. My experiences, my words. On any topic ...
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Self-treatment validation

I know it works. As plain as day. I have been pain free for nearly six years now and the cost is less than one cent each day. The pharmaceuticals cannot take it away as a do-it-yourself pain management system. 

Remaining pain free is all the validation I need. Yet, when my endocrinologist told me on August 18 2017 (my regular appointment) that the recent CT scan showed the pseudo-cyst on my pancreas was gone. Validation, again.

Sodium bicarbonate is what I attribute all of this to. More commonly known as baking soda. A box of Arm & Hammer 500g costs $1.28 (CAD) at Walmart. That is the equivalent of 100 teaspoons. And, the equivalent of more than three months of self-treatment dosing – assuming maximum dosage daily. At maxium dosage, that is $0.0128 per day ... slightly more than one cent. I rarely take the maximum dosage any more ... hence my claim of less than one penny (one cent) per day.

Baking soda has helped quite a few others too. Some with pancreatitis, some with other digestive diseases (Crohn's, IBS, Colitis, etc), and many with acid reflux and GERDs. It works, and works fast.

I recall sitting in one of my doctor's office at my regular appointment and watching his eyes light up in amazement when hearing and reading about my c-peptide results. Over the past two years, my c-peptide levels have increased from near zero to nearly the mid point of average. Impossible in the view of his medical training – the pancreas just does not repair or regenerate itself. It's impossible. Yet the lab test results clearly show a consistent improvement. Why? Well, that's the result of my latest self-treatment (the one I refuse to discuss publicly). Self-treatment #3 is what is responsible for the disappearance of the pseudo-cyst on my pancreas. It's what is responsible for the increases in c-peptide levels. 

An explanation: C-Peptide is a compound in our body that when measured, indicates the level of insulin in our body. That is a marker of how the Islets of Langerhorn (those things responsible for making insulin in the pancreas) are working. When you have Chronic Pancreas as I do, that functionality is compromised. If c-peptide levels are increasing, those Islets of Langerhorn are starting to work again. And if they are working again, my pancreas is "healing". No other explanation.

I still refuse to discuss my self-treatment #3 publicly. I would much prefer to discuss how I discovered it and, perhaps, disclose it over the coming months.

Here goes. 

The main symptom of Chronic Pancreatitis is pain. Extreme and delibitating pain. By the time Chronic Pancreatitis is diagnosed, I am told, the pancreas is about 80% non-functional. In my case, I had a distorted pancreatic duct and sizeable pseudo-cyst as well as scarring from calcification. At the point of diagnosis, I had lost about 80 to 85% functionality. That meant I was now dependent on digestive enzymes and insulin to replace the two main functions of the pancreas. 

Much of my research focused on determining what pancreatitis is. I don't mean to make it sound like I was trying to trail blaze the medical community ... my research was just to understand what pancreatitis is at a lay level. A few things were important. Pancreatitis is inflammation. It becomes non-funcitonal by a process of calcification. The calcification is the same as that in bones, but doesn't seem to harden as it does in bones. It is like aged jello from what I understand. The first "ah-ha" moment was when I was standing at our old refrigerator with some CLR to clean the calcium deposits of hard water. Hmmm ... a product that disolves hardened calcium deposits. What if there was a product that could work the same way on calcium deposits in the body?

And I found such a solution. It's a multi-part process, one passive, one active. It is slowly disolving the calcification in my pancreas. As a bonus, it is also dissolving the calcium deposits in my joints (arthritis) and calcium deposits that form bone spurs. So far, it has worked very slowly for several years. I am in no rush, it took many decades to build up the calcium deposits, as long as I am reversing that, I am thrilled. And, it's another product that the pharmaceuticals can't stop. Commonly available, and almost as inexpensive as my other self-treatments.

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My self-treatment

Over the years, I have written about my self treatment. There are three distinct "phases", each were defined at different times in dealing with my health issues. 

Phase 1 focused primarily on bloog glucose control and a small component on pain management. There is a complete article that I originally wrote in 2013. 

Phase 2 focused almost entirely on pain management and in particular – the pain of pancreatitis (acute or chronic). There is a complete article that I originally wrote between 2013 and 2014. 

The main self-treatment in Phase 2 is sodium bicarbonate. This is one natural supplement that I simply will not be without. Not on any day, not at any time. There is sodium bicarbonate with me all the time. It is such an effective pain reliever that works within seconds of taking it. 

Since writing up those two phases in my self treatment, I have created a third phase. I have called it Phase 3 and I have discussed its benefits to me in several articles and in different context. I have been reluctant in exposing the main compound of Phase 3. Initially that was to complete my own tests to make sure it worked as I thought it would. And it has worked beyond my wildest expectations. 

As I write this, I am in the second week of being free of insulin injections. My pancreas is now producing enough insulin, supplemented with oral medicine (a prescription). 

When I was first diagnosed with Idiopathic Chronic Pancreatitis, I was told my pancreas was non-functional. That meant it could not produce enough insulin or digestive enzymes for my body to function. I needed insulin injections and digestive functions. For the rest of my life, I was tethered to needles for insulin and digestive enzymes to eat, drink and snack. My C-Peptide reading was 264 ... with a normal range of 370 to 1140 pmol/L, that meant I was well under "normal", hence the need for the insulin injections.

The prognosis was not good. My doctor told me that the pancreas does not repair or regenerate. The only possible change for a pancreas is a decrease in functionality. Treating with insulin and digestive enzymes could possibly slow down the degradation, but eventually my pancreas would stop functioning entirely. The only bright side is that would not affect my lifespan. It would create a dependency on pharmaceuticals.

Over a period of about two years, I finally came up with a treatment program based on a fairly simple scientific phenomena.

It has taken me another two years to create my Phase 3 compound and test it on myself. Two years of adjusting the formula and the dosage. In that time, I found several methods of administering this phase. 

And, the end result is nothing short of miraculous. The latest C-Peptide test (January 24 2017) is at 574 pmol/L. That is at the low end of normal, but enough to be able to stop using injected insulin. I've also been able to cut down on digestive enzymes quite a bit ... roughly one-half the amount needed before I started Phase 3. Along the way, I have a few new discoveries. 

One of my main points in all of this is that with Pancreatitis and Diabetes, the researchers need to spend more time looking at what is missing. I know that we are deficient in D3 and B12. With pancreatitis, most of us need digestive enzymes to function. We do not have an effective treatment for one of the symptoms: steatorrhea. I've tackled this issue with psyllium husks at the recommendation of my gastroenterologist and the nutritionist – at least early on when this was first diagnosed. Steatorrhea continued to be a problem until I did a test. I replaced the psyllium husks with an Omega 3 supplement that has pretty much eliminated the steatorrhea issue. More importantly, I discovered that we are also deficient in vitamin H (Biotin). When you combine the prescription digestive enzymes with Omega 3 and with Biotin you end up with near normal digestion. No loose stools, no oil leaks (steatorrhea), very little flatulence, and fairly normal nutrient absorption. 

The thrill, though, is in proof that Phase 3 is working and reversing the damage to my pancreas. It is not a quick fix, this is taking time. Two years so far to get to the low end of normal.

Before anyone contacts me to get the details of Phase 3, or demands that I publish it on my website like the other phases: sorry, but that isn't happening. The two previous Phases were blatantly copied and turned into commercial products with not even a thanks or any credit for contributing to someone else's profit. Phase 3 is far more profound and holds the promise of some life altering changes. It has in my own life already and I am thankful. I will make this available to others though. I am currently in discussions with several companies to make this available – inexpensively – to everyone. 

Stay tuned.

PS. I will be creating some of the Phase 3 compound for others to test (primarily taste). If you are interseted and close to my location, let me know.

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When is a 4x4 NOT a 4x4?

My Ford F150 has 4X4 stickers all over it and is documented as a 4X4 in specifications and the user manual. Is is a 4X4?

EDIT: On a flat surface a vehicle in 4WD is driving all four wheels. 25% of the engines torque is going to each wheel. In 4WD, you have 50/50 torque split front to rear. With open differentials you can lose traction with one front or one rear wheel and still keep moving. If you had front and rear locked differentials you would only need one wheel with traction to move the truck (but steering would be next to impossible). With open differentials and the transfer case in 4WD, it only takes one front and one rear in the air, or on ice to stop the progress of the truck.

Here is some clarification on terminology:

  • 4x2 (four by two) means a vehicle with 4 wheels powered by 2 wheels, in effect a 2WD (two wheel drive)
  • 4x4 (four by four) means a vehicle with 4 wheels powered by 4 wheels, in effect a 4WD (four wheel drive)

Mine is a 4X3 at the very best and might possibly be a 4x2 – that is despite having an axle and drive train for the front wheels and an axle and drive train for rear wheels.

How can this be? Well, Ford uses a number of different rear axles on their F150 trucks. The common ones are known as 19, H9 and L9. You can see those in the door sticker of your own truck. Here's a picture of mine on the right.

The line near the bottom has the title "AXLE" and below that is the axle code (19). That means an open differential with 3.55 gear ratio. It has 31 splines, and is a 9.75 inch axle. Although it is an incredibly strong axle, only one wheel drives at any point in time. 

A differential has three tasks in the drive train:

  1. It transfers power from the engine/transmission to the wheels
  2. It varies this power so that the wheels can turn independently (differential)
  3. It is the final gear reduction in the drive system

In terms of the second point, there are three types. All are designed to allow some flexibility in one wheel turning a bit faster or slower than the other wheel. Without this flexibility, turning would be impossible. Here's the three types:

  • Open differential (open diff) has open spider gears that allows the wheels to turn freely. This the most common for rear-wheel drive passenger cars. The differential will transfer power to the wheel with the least resistance. If you have ever seen a vehicle stuck in snow or ice on the road with one wheel on the road and one wheel in snow/ice ... and it can't seem to get enough traction to pull itself out (despite one wheel on the road) ... it's the open differential that is the problem. It is transferring power to the wheel with the least resistance – the one spinning in the snow/ice.
  • Limited slip operates on a clutch mechanism. When it senses the two wheels are not rotating at the same speed, it will "lock up" its gears mechanically so that both wheels get the same amount of power. There is some slippage to allow for turning, but essentially it is a lock up system.
  • Locking axle. This is an electronic traction control system. When the computer senses slippage in one wheel, it will lock up the gears mechanically so that both wheels get the same amount of power. When not locked up, the locking axle functions like an open differential axle.

If you look up my axle code, I have an open differential axle. That means that despite flipping the switch to 4x4 (hi or lo), all I can possibly get is 4x3. There are four wheels, and only three are getting power. 

This F150 is my sixth 4X4 Ford truck. Four of them were Rangers, and two have been F150s. And this is the first that features this issue. I am actually quite disappointed in Ford. Calling this truck a 4x4 and selling it as such is misleading – at the very least, all trucks sold as 4X4's should have a limited-slip rear axle. 

This came to the fore front because I got stuck in snow. Not a lot of snow, just a bit of a snow pile. One side of the back of my truck was a bit raised and not really firm on the ground – and it ended up spinning because the open differential transferred power to that wheel. Had it functioned like a true 4x4, the other rear wheel should have picked up the load. Why didn't the front wheels help? I was on ice and the front wheels had no traction. I should have been able to just pull out of this easily ... but ...

I now have picked up a used H9 axle from a 2005 F150. This is a limited slip and a straight swap out. The only real issue I expect to run into is having to bleed the brake lines. Other than that, it is a straight mechanical swap with the same spline count and same dimensions. Just need a bit of a warm spell to get this done.

And, shame on you Ford. 

EDIT: In the first few paragraphs I pointed out that at best the final drive was 4X3 and quite possibly 4X2 even though promoted as a 4X4. Andrew Johnston at the Ontario F150 facebook group points out that the front axle is an open differential as well. That means that the front can only have one wheel driving. If the rear axle is open differential, you can put the truck in 4x4 Hi or 4X4 Lo, all you will end up getting is two wheels actually under power. A true 4X4 would require a locking or limited slip rear axle and a locking or limited slip front axle.

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