SAPP Saskatchewan Awareness of Post Polio Society Inc.


MASTHEAD

ISSUE #27 OCTOBER 1998


President's Message

Here it is another fall, and summer has been pretty good, except for those humid days. We did not do too much this summer, no planned holiday or such. Have had a number of inquiries come in on E-mail. Have been in communication with a polio survivor that is looking into Disabled Parking problems in other places. They are from Arlington county, Virginia. Some of their solutions have been the use of Parkulators, a device that sits on ones dash and replaces a parking meter. These are purchased through the County by persons unable to reach the standard meter. They allow disabled drivers double the allotted standard meter time, eliminating the need of feeding the meter. A number of other issues were also talked about.

A number of provincial calls in relation to what is available in the way of our medical needs. These are replied to by giving a local Dr. that their own Dr. can refer them to. As some of you already know, Dr. Feldman has retired and is no longer with the Edmonton Post Polio Clinic. Dr. Samson, a young Physiatrist is now operating the clinic and at present is still using the same phone number....(403) 433-1040.. Anita Clarke is the Physiotherapist and is operating still from the University Hospital. Referrals are required for Dr. Samson as they are for any other specialist either here or out of province.

Sharon and I made a trip to Calgary in August and took in Southern Alberta Post Polio Support Society s Annual Picnic. We had a great time and wish to extend our thanks for the invitation. Also a warm thank you to Rene & Jerry for the great supper that evening. This could become an annual habit!

We are still working on funding projects, some for the Newsletter and then we have other projects, all of which do not operate without money. I will just drop a reminder that our year end is December 31st. with Memberships due January 1st, 1999. Remember your membership is tax deductible.

Any Farmers out there, you may be interested in this ... Farmers with Disabilities Program Conference, Farming with Technology Date: November 16 & 17, 1998 Location: Western development Museum Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. For more information contact Farmers with Disabilities Program, Phone: (306) 374-4448 Fax:(306) 373-2665

All the best

Ron Johnson

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Nutrition and Post-Polio

(reprinted from Polio Network News , Vol. 14, No. 1, with permission of Gazette International Networking Institute}

This is the story of my personal journey to learn more about nutrition. The path I followed and what I discovered along the way are specific to my body, my nutritional needs and my disability. Some of the principles I learned may apply to others, but the particulars relate only to me. I would no more recommend you follow my specific diet than I would urge you to take someone else s medication. If you want to change your eating habits, please do it under the guidance of a licensed nutritionist. That s what I did.

As it turned out, the nutritionist I worked with had a special interest in chronic disease, although she was unfamiliar with post-polio syndrome. Before going to her, I held what I considered was a traditional but enlightened view of nutrition. In other words I was eating the kind of diet typically recommended in the medical literature and by the experts for a 61-year-old male with my medical history. What I quickly discovered is that enlightened is not always smart.

When I was in residency training many years ago, I attended a lecture by an eminent nutritionist who said males should restrict their intake of visible eggs to one or two a month; so I reduced mine to maybe half a dozen a year. A short time later, I heard another well-known nutritionist say he was starting his newborn son on 2% milk; I switched that night from whole milk (3%) to low fat (2%), and over the years limited my intake to what I used with cereal.

Then there was the issue of girth control. In the interest of watching my weight, I tried to avoid snacks and sweets, except on special occasions. Fortunately. I don t have a very sweet tooth, so this adjustment was not all that difficult.

And so it went. Over the years, I cut out greasy foods, then lightly fried foods, and finally even lean, red meat. By the time I saw the nutritionist for my first appointment in February 1996, my diet consisted, more or less, of the following: for breakfast, one to two large glasses of orange juice, a bowl of raisin bran with milk and one banana; for lunch, a large tossed salad with low calorie dressing, a half-pint of low-fat yogurt and fresh fruit; and for supper, typically fish or chicken (with occasional red meat), vegetables, potato or pasta, and a salad. I also drank a soft drink mid-morning and mid-afternoon most days, and had a nightcap at bedtime, most evenings.

Sounds pretty healthy, right? That s what I thought, too, especially when I considered that my cholesterol was normal my weight was essentially the same as when I graduated from college, and people in the cafeteria line never tired of saying, Wow, that s a healthy lunch!

Well, my nutritionist didn t agree. When I returned after the first week with a diary of everything I had eaten and the amounts, her comment was, This is incredible and she didn t mean it as a compliment.

As it turned out, she thought almost everything I was doing was wrong. The bananas and orange juice were empty calories, the soft drinks were a sugar fix, and my lunch was skimpy at best. In short, I was on a starvation diet, in her opinion which she calculated at 1300-1500 calories per day.

Well, if that were true 1 asked, why wasn t I losing weight? Her explanation was that the body makes certain metabolic adjustments to accommodate different caloric intakes.

But it wasn t the caloric intake that bothered her so much. My biggest sin was the small amount of protein I was eating (about 5-6 ounces per day). No wonder you re tired and weak. Anybody would be on that diet , she said. 1, of course, thought instantly to myself, Is this the cause of post-polio syndrome? Are we all just eating the wrong diet?

The short answer is no . But it is clear that a sensible diet can make you feel much better, as I was to find out fairly soon.

The main goals of my new nutritional plan were to increase the amount of protein, increase the number of calories, avoid the empty calories of orange juice and soft drinks, and finally, cut back on that nightcap.

While all of this was going on, I spent a fair amount of time at the library reviewing what s known about protein metabolism and what would be particularly relevant for polio survivors. Here s some of what I learned.

First, proteins are in all human cells. In fact they form the basic building blocks for each cell, its metabolism and life itself.

Second, proteins are made from amino acids, and new proteins are being made (synthesized) and broken down (degraded) each day. This protein turnover applies to muscle cells, as well, which are constantly synthesizing new protein every day. Some of this new protein comes from what we eat and some comes from re-built protein using amino acids already in the body.

The third thing I learned, and most important for persons with post-polio syndrome, the largest consumer of protein in the body is muscle.

All of this means that for the muscles to have a fighting chance to maintain or increase their strength, there has to be a generous amount of protein in the diet. We are not carnivores by chance.

Knowing this, I changed my views on meat and other protein in a jiffy. At the same time. I relaxed my attitude about calories, as well. In summary, I experienced a nutritional makeover .

It has been almost a full year since my dietary epiphany. I now eat lean meat regularly, along with nuts, fish, eggs, oatmeal, and anything else with protein. I don t eat fruit for snacks as much, and most days, instead of a soft drink I drink a home brew fortified with a protein supplement.

The results? My daily intake of protein has more than doubled to at least 12 ounces per day and my total calories are now somewhere between 1800-2000 per day. My weight is essentially unchanged. The best part is that my good arm, which used to be tired all the time, feels stronger, gets less fatigued at the end of the day, and seems to recover faster when it gets overworked.

Is this a cure-all ? Absolutely not. I estimate my improvement in the 2-5% range, but it hasn t impacted all of my symptoms. I still get intense fatigue in the afternoon. My tank of gas is totally depleted by the end of the week. I m still searching for new ways to pace myself to conserve what energy I have. Is my new diet healthier living through healthier eating? I believe so. Will it work for others? I don t know. What I have learned for sure, is that sensible eating under the guidance of an experienced nutritionist, is good advice for everyone.

Lauro S Halsfead, MD, is Director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program and Director of the Post-Polio Program at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washingfon, DC. He is also Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Georgetown School of Medicine in Washington, DC. Dr Halstead received his MD from the University of Rochester and a Master s in Public Health from Harvard University, where he took several courses in nutrition. He had polio in 1954 at the age of 18 and helped to organize the 1984 and 1986 Research Symposia on the Late Effects of Poliomyelitis in Warm Springs, Georgia.

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Meetings

Regina: Polio Regina meets the last Tuesday of every month - except for Nov., Dec., Jan. at:

Saskatoon: The Saskatoon Post Polio Support Group meets the third Monday of every month at:

Prince Albert: meets in the Spring and Fall.

Contact - Leona Pedborochynski (306) 764-2415

North Battleford: meets as small groups for coffee & etc.

No organized meetings. Contact Marjorie Benson (306) 445-9003

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