Category Archives: Health

Using NAC to Remove Chrome/Cobalt from Blood

I have 2 Resurfaced Hips made of Chrome/Cobalt. The first in 2006 and the second in 2010. I first posted about this situation after watching the documentary film “The Bleeding Edge” on Netflix. Since then my concern has only heightened due to the potential of chrome/cobalt poisoning in my blood and tissue from metal fatigue realized from these metal hips. I have friends who have experienced the horrible effects from this heavy metal poisoning so I have monitored my own situation closely in recent years. In this post I wanted to share how the use of the supplement N-Acetyl-Cysteine, NAC, has actually decreased the levels of Chrome/Cobalt in my body.

My History: My family has shown a propensity toward the development of an arthritis that creates some bone deposits in our hips. For me this has been accelerated by a life of sports activity, most notably basketball, that allowed this arthritic condition to wear away the natural lining of my hip joint. Once I understood this back in 2006 when I was 52 years old and in constant pain I had to figure out a solution. I had heard that hip replacements were good for 15-20 years which did not seem to match well with my age. I remember hearing about hip resurfacing in a 60 Minutes type segment on Americans traveling to India for this surgery. So I started investigating this alternative procedure. The allure for me was the fact that you could remain active and if needed down the road I could still get a hip replacement. Fortunate for me there was an orthopedic surgeon in Salem, Oregon, who was allowed to perform this surgery probably due to the FDA’s 510(k) pathway for approving medical devices. My first hip was his 439th hip resurfacing. I do believe that my second hip done in 2010 was from the same design and stock of the Cobalt-chrome implant.

My first heavy metals blood/urine test was done in 2016 which showed that my levels were higher then normal but still within a safe range. My tests in 2021 showed that these levels had not come down but still no serious worries except that it seemed to me that my muscles around my hips were not recovering as quickly from heavy backpacking exertion as they used to. In 2021 my doctor asked if I wanted to explore blood chelation therapy to remove heavy metals from my blood. That seemed a bit excessive, but I appreciated the advice and so I set out to investigate other options to achieve this chelation. Of course the Internet provided a wealth of information that once deciphered led me to try taking the natural health supplement N-Acetyl-Cysteine which provided the chelation of heavy metals in my blood to be disposed of via urination.

During my recent physical exam in June of 2022 by doctor was very pleased with the progress that had been made with my Chrome/Cobalt numbers. Chrome is really the major concern for me and my test results went from 2.4 mcg/L in 3/21 to 1.9 mcg/L in 6/22. I have to admit that I was fairly nervous about getting these test results back because I felt like I had really pushed my aging body over that period of time. After completing the Lost Coast Trail in 2/22 I felt like my recovery took longer so I focused my discipline to take the recommended dosage 1200 mg of NAC over 24 hours. It appears that it contributed to the lowering of chrome/cobalt levels in my body. This awakening along with a major life change has caused me to backoff on extensive backpacking treks so I have reduced my NAC daily dosage to 600 mg per day. The only real side effect with taking NAC for me is that it bothers your stomach a bit if you don’t take the pill with a meal.

This article in Arthroplasty Today, “N-Acetyl-Cysteine Reduces Blood Chromium and Cobalt Levels in Metal-on-Metal Hip Arthroplasty“, seemed to be somewhat straightforward in describing the advantages of NAC.

Nothing overly scientific presented in my post, but I thought it was important to at least reference my outcomes on the Internet. My resurfaced hips are still providing me with a positive lifestyle. The Adventure Continues.

Supernatural Results and a Perfect Ski Day

First Time on Oculus
First Time on Oculus

This post is a reflection on the value realized from my Oculus Supernatural exercise program for the enhancement of my outdoor recreation passions. My earlier post about Supernatural on the Oculus was about the motivation it provided to improve the strength and flexibility of my core and upper body. At that time I was definitely wondering how those benefits would affect my adventures. My backpacking trek on the Lost Coast Trail showed some of that progress, but it was a fantastic day of skiing on Mt Hood that confirmed the value.

Lost Coast Trail

On my Lost Coast Trail Trek I definitely noticed how my upper body and shoulders carried my backpack with less of those annoying pains that tend to surface on the first big outing of the season. I still got just as tired from the hiking but my body felt better throughout. I suppose this encouraged me to further embrace Supernatural finding that I matched up well with the Moderate workouts. Throughout my SN journey I have also been interested in the affect it might have on my golf game. Can’t say that my handicap has improved but I have definitely added 5% distance for all of my clubs.

The stage was set to test for my 66 year old body. Staying at Timberline Lodge set the stage for a full day of skiing.

The conditions were perfect with a 175’ base, clear skies, no wind and very few people. I hit the slopes at opening and quickly realized how perfect this day could be.

Covid restrictions greatly reduced the number of skiers so basically I skied directly onto each lift and had to ride by myself due to the restriction.

First Run

Well this also translated into having the runs to myself. The first few runs brought out the typical questions of whether this old body could still shred the slopes.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good I felt and I guess the endorphins were kicking in from the pleasure I was experiencing. 

After a couple of hours a snow storm moved in pelting me with large snow pellets that caused some concern but it was producing a fresh carpet of teflon type snow. The timing of this snowfall was perfect for a short lunch break complete with plenty of liquid courage. I was back out just after noon to find more like 2 to 3 inches of fresh teflon.

Magical Ride on the Magic Mile Lift

I went to the top of the Magic Mile where the snowfall was lighter and proceeded to ski from the top of the Magic Mile to the bottom of the Jeff Flood lift. Timberline Trail Map

This approximate 2300’ vertical plunge was absolutely perfect with no people and about 3 inches of fresh teflon powder. I did this route a number of times in total ecstasy realizing that my body, specifically my core and thighs were holding up well. This is the time during your first ski day when your thighs really start talking to you. I felt them for sure, but I also felt like I could ski for the rest of the day. Or maybe I should say I felt like I had to ski the rest of the day. The conditions were just getting better because the temperature was still in the high 20’s and the clear skies had returned. 

Mt Hood’s Glory

I was in ski heaven, it “Hurt so Good” as the day was winding down. I really needed to call it a day when the clouds came back to create that final run in a cloud back down to the Lodge.

As I wound down back at the lodge with a great coffee cocktail I could tell that my body was just tired but not really in pain. However, after a huge ribeye steak for dinner I was sawing logs by 8 pm. The next day my wife and I experimented with snowshoeing to complete the perfect Timberline Adventure.

So yes, I was pleased with how the body performed and I was attributing some of that to my Supernatural exercise, but it was 2 days latter when I fully understood the value from the exercise. I had committed to play golf not thinking about how my body typically feels a couple of days after the first ski day. Normally, I am barely able to walk let alone consider playing golf. But I felt good and had a great round of golf. And that is when I had conclusive proof that my commitment to the Supernatural workouts had changed my body to improve my life. 

I do feel great and I can’t wait to press on to more Adventures. However, I have not realized success in securing a permit for the John Muir Trail yet. My last rejection was for Entry Date: 08/28/2021. I will keep trying through September 10 start but if no luck I am not sure what I will do for a major end of season trek, but there are always options. 

Home Adventure Spa

I have not been in the wilderness since the Stevens Pass to Stehekin trek in August, so this post is mostly about how I followed through on my decision to get a Hot Tub. However, many other factors such as Covid, Massive fires and injuries contributed to why I remained relatively homebound for the rest of the season.

Neskowin Proposal Rock

Upon return from the North Cascades I utilized our rotational week in Neskowin to allow my body to recover and to begin my investigation into the procurement of the perfect Hot Tub. I have always appreciated the hot tub experience but I have never really wanted to get my own. But now was the time, justified for therapeutic reasons was a good enough excuse. I started out with basic internet searches to get a feel for product and price. I knew that I wanted a relatively small tub since I did not see many hot tub parties in our future. Just give me a quality 2 or 3 seats with more jets then I would ever need. OK, I knew what I wanted but my inquiries were turning up an unexpected problem, availability. It appeared that our country has invested heavily in home upgrades to survive the pandemic. The Hot Tub business was booming with delivery options 6 to 12 months out. This was discouraging but also motivating, so I started talking with some of the larger Spa dealers around and settled on the purchase of a Dimension One Triad 36 from Spas of Oregon with an ETA about 3 months out. At least I was on the list and now I could focus on site prep.

I had a lot of fun designing where this tub would be located and how I would extend our deck out around it. I needed to put in a cement slab which is a fairly straightforward project guaranteeing some good exercise. The slab required me to dig up the sod in the rectangle area planned for the tub. This meant flat spade shovel work. What I discovered was how difficult it had become for my old body to jump up on this shovel for each initial dig.

This is where the injuries began, first to my left knee from digging then to my right elbow from lifting 60 lb bags of gravel and cement. These injuries were a real pain but they kind of added to the adventure. Next I had to fill this slab frame with cement. This is also when I got the call that my hot tub had come in 2 months early so the slab needed to be prepared ASAP. This is where having a strong son-in-law who was actually intrigued by the prospect of doing a project like this and owned a truck saved my butt. We decided to rent a 2 cu ft mixer to process 34 (60 lb) bags of Sakrete. It was a beautiful day which made for a wonderful family project.

My grandson had a great time watching and having our hand prints in the cement will be lifelong reminder for both of us.

Delivery was scheduled, however, various conflicts ended up having our hot tub installed on a Sunday evening as the sun was going down.

I had coordinated the installation of electricity a few weeks earlier and was very pleased when they were able to fit us in. I was not surprised to hear that hot tub electricity installations were dominating their schedule.

Oh boy, I filled the tub, followed the first time chemical treatment plans and thoroughly enjoyed this new hot tub. The D1 Triad 36 is basically a 2 person tub with a pump per side providing more jet strength then you would ever need. On the lounge side you are basically floating on jets. I believe that I can directly impact every muscle that I would ever want therapy for.

Now comes the fun part, building the deck and installing some low voltage lighting. I had spent many hours envisioning how this tub would be placed and accessed, many of those hours while hiking in the North Cascades. The plans were fine tuned and the building began. Unfortunately the cost of lumber is at an alltime high due to Covid work issues in the logging industry. I went with pressure treated lumber and was lucky to be able to buy what I needed at Lowes.

I will be adding other items to the installation such as a privacy screen and cabinet for towels. But for now the hot tub is in full use overlooking the farm under the open sky.

The overall cost of the project, Tub, Deck, Electricity & lighting will end up costing about $11,000.

This 4 month hiatus from the trail has been a different kind of adventure. Covid restrictions for my grandson’s daycare created the opportunity to watch my grandson two days a week, a priceless experience which has laid a relationship foundation for a lifetime. I was also able to lower my golf handicap from 20 to 16. But I am anxious to get back to the wilderness so I have blocked off low tide windows of opportunity for the winter months for the Lost Coast Trail. I just need a good weather window to match up and I’m on the Trail.

Exercise so the Adventure Can Continue

I do love to take off on a strenuous backpacking or hiking trip most anytime of the year with most treks concentrated during the warmer months. However, as a 65 year old man with 2 artificial hips, a suspect back weighing in over 200 pounds, I have to be careful not to overdue it. That means staying in relatively good shape year round which is only getting more difficult as the years pile on.

Hiking on the Chegwyn Farm

Hiking on the Farm

This translates into a push for daily exercise which is primarily accomplished thanks to my dog, Brook’s, need for exercise. We are fortunate to live on the outskirts of town next to a farm that provides ample routes for interesting dog walks. Brook and I probably average 4 miles a day of flatland hiking but that is not enough to keep me ready for the hike we went on yesterday. 

Every week, typically on a decent weather day, I motivate myself to take on a hike that includes a vertical climb.

Trappist Abbey Hike

Trappist Abbey Hike

Many times that may be a 5 mile loop up and around the Trappist Abbey which gives us a 1000 foot vertical. Yesterday, 12/26/2019, we took on Elk Mountain in the Tillamook State Forest which is only a 3 mile round trip but the 2000′ vertical over such a short route is punishing. One of those hikes where you do have to stop many times to let your heart slow down. A hike where an old guy does think about turning around before the summit, but that cannot happen. Of course the reward of making the vista summit is worth it, but the true reward comes from your sore legs that confirm that your body can still perform.

ElkMtnSummitYesterday was a beautiful cold sunny Oregon day in the coastal range which was ideal for the Elk Mountain climb. The trail was in excellent condition partly due to the frozen ground.

The views are better in the winter when vegetation is at a minimum. Overall, Elk Mountain is a great hike that will challenge any physically fit hiker. So I feel good that I only have some sore legs which tell me that I am still able to participate in my passion.

(See previous backpacking Elk Mountain Post – Mountain Top Experience)

What is the correct prescription of exercise for an old guy like me. I have had 65 years to learn what my body can handle. I have paid the price for being out of shape and then over exerting myself which might typically lead to back problems. I was young enough to recover and learned to be more cautious but I was able to cheat on staying in shape. Those days are over, My greatest fear is that I will injure my back causing me to become out of shape which I know will severely impact my ability to pursue my passion. Thank God, I have avoided these back injuries for many years but only because I know that I must keep my overall body strong. A back is protected by all of your muscles working in harmony. Routine exercise is a requirement for living my dream so the Adventure Can Continue.

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