Sailing, Naturally

Wow!  I just spent the past three days at a Landmark Wisdom Unlimited course and discovered that my already terrific life is even more than terrific than I thought. The theme was loosely, “What do you like about your life?” I was one of those that just kept going and growing my list again and again. Sharing Chronic Kidney Disease awareness was high on that list.

Talking about sharing, I casually mentioned to my daughter Nima – researcher par excellence – that I was looking for information about natural Nimapreventatives and/or cures for sea sickness.  Most of today’s research came from her immediately jumping on my comment.  Then I casually mentioned to her that she might consider a job as a writer’s research assistant.  She’s a talented person in many areas (I guarantee you this is not just mother pride), and this is one of them.

Bear and I are still about six weeks out from my very first cruise.  I’ve managed all the business, such as the tickets, the land excursions, the hotels for before and after, etc. What I’m still working on is the cautions about motion sickness made by my sister-in-law – Judy Peck. Last week I wrote about over the counter medical solutions and their relationship to CKD.  This week, we go the natural path.IMG_0959 (1)

That said (written), I must caution you in my turn.  Natural aids have neither been tested nor approved by the Federal Drug Administration.  Even if you’re not in favor of the FDA, remember that dosages and timing of natural aids have not been tested either.  Also, see page 87 of What Is It and How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease.

In other words, if anything in today’s blog catches your interest, please check with your nephrologist before you even think of taking whatever the product is.  I am not a doctor, have never claimed to be one, and want you to understand that you and your nephrologist are the final arbitrators of what is safe for your kidneys and what is not.

Ready?  Here we go. First off, we have WebMD at This is the one that caught my eye right away.

These bands use pressure, electricity, or both to stimulate the P6 acupuncture point. This point is located about two finger-widths from the crease on the underside of the wrist. The elastic bands usually have a raised surface that applies pressure on the wrist. Practitioners of acupuncture and acupressure believe stimulation of this point may stop nausea and vomiting.Adult Pack

Reminder: this is not an endorsement of this particular brand, simply a representation of what the band looks like and how it’s used.

Neither side effects nor effectiveness have been proven, so I’m wondering how I can test this before we cruise.  In New York, I would have jumped on the Staten Island ferry.  Wait, I never got seasick on the ferry, so that wouldn’t work.  Hmmm, I didn’t get seasick on the cruises around Manhattan Island either.

Maybe I’m one of those people who just doesn’t get seasick. But just in case you are, I’ll write about what else Nima found for us.

Many thanks to both my daughter for finding this and the at for these

charts showing the acupressure points that can help.

Again, I don’t see how this can harm the kidneys, but I do urge you to talk with your nephrologist beforehand.  I found an equal number of articles in favor of and opposed to acupressure in the treatment of CKD, but none about using it for seasickness if you have CKD.  Interesting.

Now I’m wondering if this is my favorite natural seasickness aid. Of course, you can use a mixture of methods.  By the way, you don’t need to massage all these pressure points.  One or two may do the trick.

Nima also found an interesting (I think) article on yoga for seasickness on The Art of Living site at However, I have to admit my ignorance.  I understood very little of it since it mentioned positions a non-yogi – like me – would have to research and probably, more realistically, learn from a teacher – say as in a class.

The article didn’t mention CKD so I attempted to research yoga + chronic kidney disease + seasickness.  That didn’t work, so I kept rearranging the order of the search terms and still got no hits. I don’t see how yoga can hurt, other than sprains and strains if it’s all new to you, but I hesitate to say this is okay when I’m not your nephrologist.

Then there was this on Ask Dr. Mao at

Ginger has been used as food and medicine for millennia. Ginger’s modern use dates back to the early 1980s, when a scientist named D. Mowrey noticed that ginger-filled capsules reduced his nausea during an episode of flu. Subsequent research ultimately led to approve ginger being used as a treatment for indigestion and motion sickness.

Cup of Tea in MorningGinger is typically not as effective as standard drugs for motion sickness, but it has the advantage of not causing drowsiness. Some physicians recommend ginger over other motion sickness drugs for older individuals who are unusually sensitive to drowsiness or loss of balance.

However, the National Kidney Foundation does caution that ginger could interfere with your prescription medication.  While not specially aimed at the CKD population, this is the first I noticed any mention of “motion sickness drugs” and “loss of balance” in the same sentence. Odd that a medication aimed at relieving such symptoms can actually be a cause of one.

I have no intention of becoming seasick on our two cruises (the second in the Caribbean in September to celebrate said sister-in-law’s birthday and the 48th anniversary she will be sharing with my brother, Paul), but you know I’ll be bringing the acupressure chart and one of the seasickness bands with me… should my nephrologist concur.

Book Cover

I have a favor to ask: if you have read either of The Book of Blogs: Moderate Stage Chronic Kidney Disease, please write a review onDigital Cover Part 1  This is what one reader had to say in his review,

If you have kidney disease, like I do, you can relate to what Gail Rae-Garwood has written here… very useful…

Until next week,Part 2

Keep living your life!

On the Sea, On the Sea, On the Beautiful Sea

What a week!  All the aspects of the Phoenix Kidney Walk have been completed, although you can still donate to Team SlowItDownCKD at until May 31st.  No, this is not a solicitation, but rather information for those of you who had asked for it. 2015-04-18 22.02.52

I thought you might like to see some of the pictures so here they are sprinkled throughout today’s blog – with thanks to Keith Harris for being our impromptu (and talented) photographer. Most of the members of our team were too busy walking to stay still for photos, but they were there. That’s Keith Harris, Patti DuBois & me in the photo above.

This allowed me to slow it down a bit myself.  So much so that I started finalizing the plans for the cruise to Vancouver, B.C. and Alaska that’s my gift to Bear for our second anniversary. (Finally, our long awaited honeymoon!) One of the things my very-experienced-at-cruising sister-in-law, Judy Peck, told me about is anti-motion sickness medication.  And, of course, my first reaction was, “I’ll have to research that for Chronic Kidney Disease.”  The banner picture is of my daughter, Abby Wegerski, on the left and me on the right.

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First I went to the UK site ‘Patient’ at for the definition of what is commonly known as sea sickness or, as the English call it, travel sickness. This site has the some of the most reader friendly explanations for medical issues.

Nerves situated inside your ear send messages to your brain with information about your movement. Along with messages from your eyes and muscles, these nerves help your body to maintain a good sense of balance. If the nerves in one of your ears send too many, too few, or wrong messages to your brain, it conflicts with the messages sent from your other ear, your eyes, or your body. Your brain then gets confused and this can cause dizziness and vertigo (a spinning sensation), and can make you feel sick.

Travel sickness is caused by repeated unusual movements during travelling. These repeated movements, such as going over bumps or around in a 2015-04-18 21.41.32  circle, send lots of messages to your brain. The balance mechanism in your ear sends different signals to those from your eyes, which  results in your brain receiving mixed and confusing messages. This is what causes you to feel sick.

That’s a picture of my young friend and pooper scooper/dog sitter, Willie Vlasity and Mr. Taco Bell.

Makes sense.  Now, what can we do about it? According to MedicineNet at,

Over-the-counter medications, and occasionally prescription medications, are used to relieve and in some cases prevent motion sickness. Some of the more common medications that can be used for motion sickness include:

Scopolamine (transdermal patches, Transderm-Scop)2015-04-18 21.08.28

dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)

meclizine (Antivert, Bonine, Meni-D, Antrizine)

promethazine (Phenergan, Phenadoz, Promethegan)

diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

cyclizine (Marezine)

Notice Patti made a new friend, too.

Wonderful, except that when I researched each of these on different sites, this is what I found. By the way, the bolding and italicizing are mine.

2015-04-18 21.39.40

Lara Garwood, my step-daughter, helped me show off our team t-shirts.

At MedlinePlus, A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine from the National Institutes of Health National Institutes of Health (,

Before using scopolamine patches… tell your doctor if you have or have ever had glaucoma; heart, liver, or kidney disease; stomach or intestinal obstruction; or difficulty urinating.

From at,dramamine.html about dimenhydrinate, better known as Dramamine (including less drowsy),

Limited pharmacokinetic data are available for the older, first-generation antihistamines. Many appear to be primarily metabolized by the liver, and both parent drugs and metabolites are excreted in the urine. Patients with renal and/or liver disease may be at greater risk for adverse effects from antihistamines due to drug and metabolite accumulation. Therapy with antihistamines should be administered cautiously in such patients. Lower initial dosages may be appropriate.

On the contrary, at does not list kidney disease at all for meclizine.  Although, there is a warning against alcohol use while using this medication.

2015-04-18 20.55.37

Isn’t that a wonderful entry to the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona Phoenix Kidney Walk?

Trying to use as many varied sources as possible, I went to WebMD at for information on promethazine.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: breathing problems (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD, sleep apnea), blood/immune system problems (such as bone marrow depression), high pressure in the eye (glaucoma), heart disease (such as irregular heartbeat), high blood pressure, liver disease, certain brain disorders (such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome, Reye’s syndrome, seizures), stomach/intestine problems (such as blockage, ulcer), overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), difficulty urinating (for example, due to enlarged prostate).

True, there is no warning against using promethazine if you have CKD, but how many of us who do also have sleep apnea and/or high blood pressure – the second most common cause of CKD.

Back to for the following about diphenhydramine at

Diphenhydramine should be used with caution (if at all) in persons with narrow-angle glaucoma, prostatic hypertrophy (enlarged prostate gland), hyperthyroidism, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), and asthma.

motion sickness

And what about cyclizine? at has no warnings about taking this if you have kidney disease.  There was one line in the how to take it section that just, plain cracked me up.  See if you get a good laugh out of this, too.

The chewable tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.

Let’s look into the two without any CKD warnings a bit more. Uh-oh, the British version of WebMD at tells us something different about cyclizine than the U.S. version of the same website.

Cyclizine should be used with caution in:

People with glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye)

People with obstructive disease of the stomach

People with liver disease

People with epilepsy (fits)

Males with prostatic hypertrophy (enlargement of prostate gland)

People with severe heart failure

People with decreased kidney functionncl

Pregnant women

Women breastfeeding

The elderly

As for meclizine, even the U.S. version of WebMD says emphatically “Consult your doctor.”

In all honesty, I wouldn’t take any medication without consulting my doctor – specifically my nephrologist.  I urge you to do the same.

Let’s say I was sufficiently spooked by today’s blog to not even want to try medication.  Is there something I could use to prevent sea sickness that’s not medication?  Of course, there is. Many people swear by these remedies, but that’s next week’s blog, folks.

Thank you so much for participating in the prize giveaways for each of the books.  As I saw each prize claimed, all I could think was, “Look how many people are going to share their awareness of Chronic Kidney Disease.”

Book Cover

Until next week,Part 2Digital Cover Part 1

Keep living your life!