Mail (July, 1998)

Calcium Problems and P?
from Alma

Dear Ed: This is my first month on the Internet. I found you a week ago. After reading many of the letters you have received from others with P, I have thought about this: It seems as if many of us have miscellaneous other problems, and I wonder about the common denominators. Since this is somewhat anonymous, I'll tell you about my complications.

Calcium seems to be a factor in many of the things bothering me. I had most of my teeth out before I was 19 years old. Extreme malnutrition was one factor. Not getting enough calcium from any source, another. Of course, poverty was why I didn't have the milk in the first place, but I will not go into that now. Not being able to get proper medical care was another, etc. And talk about stress!

My first child was born club-footed. Not enough calcium during pregnancy? My second had digestive problems and cried incessantly. She could not digest the only food she could drink: milk (calcium).

I had breast cancer when I was 45. I have had narcolepsy since I was 11. I had a valve replaced in my heart at 74—another calcium problem, somehow associated with having rheumatic fever or some childhood disease without antibiotics used today. It was discovered that I had Pagets disease of the bone about 15 years ago. This could completely cripple one in about 5 years. Many people have it and don't even know it, and are never crippled by it, and neither am I. It is a calcium problem, too. Calcium keeps producing itself erratically, like P seems to do, and dumps itself onto bone where it becomes sponge-like, instead of solid bone, and spills over into the blood. P is much the same. Our skin cells produce in 4 days, I have been told, instead of the usual 28 days. Cancer cells reproduce rapidly, too.

I have had pernicious anemia for years and years, and must get B12 shots once a month. I cannot, apparently, get B12 from meat. Now, I am not trying to tell you all my troubles. I just think that it would be a good idea if we laid things entirely out on the table to see what we have going on here.

The docs have done a pretty good job, but they just don't know it all, and maybe we have a little to teach them. Otherwise, how are they ever going to know? I am worried about how extensive so many peoples' P is, and the bone problems they seem to be developing. Is it possible they are not able to digest some necessary component in calcium?

I also have high blood pressure since my heart operation. Aren't some of the medicines I have been taking these past few years, calcium blockers? I don't know. Are there common denominators we can detect in ourselves by comparing notes on other things bothering us beside P?

I am embarrassed to send this. I know it is not put together well, but if I don't send it now, the first thing in the morning, I may be distracted, etc. Love, -Alma


Ed's Response: Don't be embarrassed, Alma. I found your story fascinating. No one has suggested (to me, at least) a link between calcium problems and P. Hopefully, readers who have similar experiences (or know more) will share with us. So far, bone problems is one thing no doctors have suggested I have. I've even thought of willing my skeleton to some university because I've got big bones and ... knock on wood ... not one of them ever broken (except some fingers). I dream about myself "on display" in some anatomy lab. Maybe being let-in on some midnight student pranks (like getting placed at attention in the girls' showers)! My wife points out that my inclination to donate my skeleton conflicts with my other desire to be cremated. For some reason, she always changes the subject when I bring up the possibility of deboning me, first, then cremating the rest. Perhaps it won't be a problem. I may just flake away entirely. Thanks for sharing with us, Alma! -Ed

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