Thursday, July 8, 2010

ameena in medical-land

today, i discovered the world of life extension and dr.eric braverman.
dr. braverman was the cover story on life extension magazine which showed up on my doorstep along with some of the hundreds of supplements i seem to be taking. his theory is - fix the brain - and you will fix the body.

so far, post-chemo, my body seems to be doing remarkably well - except, as i discovered from my tests today, for some bone density loss. but i am small, skinny and in premature menopause from the chemo so that's to be expected. time to start lifting weights.

imho, the problem is my brain. my short-term memory is shot, i have trouble focusing and concentrating (especially when my apartment is full of kids, which is almost always), i miss social cues, i can still do creative work but at nowhere near the speed i used to be able to churn it out. i have the mood swings of a teenaged girl.

(speaking from ongoing experience)

so here's what happens at dr. braverman's impressive complex on 23rd st and park avenue south.

you walk into the sleek and well airconditioned offices after filling out 30 pages of medical information and psychological tests. everywhere you look, there are tv screens with dr. braverman talking to different interviewers about his theory on brain health and anti-aging. on every table are a few copies of his books, "the edge," national bestseller,"younger you," "the younger and thinner you diet," the magazine with him on the cover, there is a shiny shop filled with life extension vitamins (run by a brilliant man called anthony romuli with so much information on alternative cancer treatment he should actually be running his own operation). there are stacks of free dvds of dr. braverman on the tyra banks show.

then they begin. blood tests - vial after vial of blood - so much so that it seems i ran out and had to come back later because my veins refused to surrender any more.

then the usual vitals, heart rate, blood pressure, height, weight. then an ekg, a bone density test, a battery of brain tests - some computer games, some that involve a cap being placed on my head with gel and sensors that are scraped into my scalp (that does hurt). the last is called "the beam" test and apparently uses an electric wave to map your brain.

fortunately, i have so much paperwork from memorial sloan kettering that i can avoid the ultrasound. but they still want to do a pet scan of my whole body.

they send me into the billing person. she is lovely and understands my situation, but if i really want the correct, total body diagnosis, i need about $11,000. maybe my insurance will cover it, but i have to solve that part myself.

so i go with a greatly discounted reduced number of tests. we don't manage to do the pet scan. or the stress test.

still, in the end, i find out that my brain really IS working. i am intelligent, confident, capable and "a fireball" (according to the good dr braverman).

the problem is all inside my head.

it seems that the cancer and/or the treatment was such an assault that i am suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. they recommend a week of extra sleep, anti-depressants and hormones to rebalance my body.

oh - and another $300 of supplements.

according to them i am living on adrenaline rather than their "four brain humors: dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA and serotonin." braverman's theory is that by finding out which of the four humors you are lacking and eating to address that, you can begin to heal your body's illnesses.

however, at the end, it is not clear whether i am lacking serotonin or dopamine, and they can't seem to decide. the supplements should address both.

according to their tests, when i am back to myself, i can take over the world.

ha-ha-ha (evil laugh)

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