Prepepping with a chronic illness : Tips to help you cope and prepare

This is a guest post by Red C.J.  and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.

My prepping challenge is preparing with post-disaster chronic illness or chronic pain, and this is for the many others with chronic illness(es) or their loved ones. My situation is far from unique, as one-third to one-half of Americans live with chronic illness or chronic pain. Millions of us live with high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s or dementia, heart disease, depression, arthritis, osteoporosis, pulmonary disease such as COPD, diabetes, cancer or stroke. So how can we prepare to survive in a post-disaster world?

First, a bio: At age 36, I started seeing chiropractors regularly for spinal problems. At age 40, a rheumatologist diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, and daily pain medicines began a year later. My pain gradually affected almost every aspect of my life. After living with daily pain for 5-8 years, it became like my shadow; I could not escape it.

In a grid-down situation, I fear that I would not be able to be productive and perhaps be seen as a liability for my family and community. In a post-disaster setting, without the support of the medical system, my productivity would be very limited. Will there be a place or role in a post-disaster world for a person who is disabled, or unable to function physically or mentally? The fictional stories I’ve read describe local social settings in which everyone can work and contribute, even the elderly. What would happen to those who could not work or contribute only minimally?

I read about others preparing to bug out by carrying a 50 lb. backpack and shudder, as that’s physically impossible for me, given my degenerative spinal problems. Thus I’ll be hunkering down with family at home, rather than suffering on the road. Your decision to bug out or stay home depends on your situation.

I learned to be ACTIVE in maintaining my health. I exercise 5-6 days per week, because exercise releases endorphins that are natural pain relievers, and because exercise improves my sleep level. Exercise is recommended for some kinds of chronic pain. I watch my diet and have lost over 15 lbs. this year. I read about my chronic conditions, and change my lifestyle when appropriate. Become as active as possible to maintain or improve your health.

My regular treatments include electronic stimulation, chiropractic adjustments, and massage therapy. In a post-disaster situation, I hope to trade or barter for massages and chiropractic treatments, but realize that electronic stimulation may not be available at my chiropractor’s office where I receive it. Planning to barter means stocking things that others will need in a post-disaster scene.

Medical preparations I’ve made:

Having been taking daily meds for years, I learned to get refills early, to prevent any days without meds. So I’d order my prescription refills 2-3 days early, before it expired. Gradually, I discovered I could get refills 4-5 days earlier. Doing this every month for about 7-8 months would result in an extra month’s worth of pills. Than another 7-8 months resulted in a 2nd extra bottle. I have a 3rd bottle of a few meds I’ve been on for years. I did not feel a need to tell my doctor or pharmacist. This method of collecting extra prescription meds has worked well with our health insurance from a major insurance company. It does, of course, require extra copays, and attention paid to securely storing them at room temperature.

This method is limited to long-term meds. A word of caution: If your doctor has reason to suspect you of drug abuse or meds shopping, then this strategy will fail. My wife is the only one who knows of my extra meds, because I don’t want our home to become a target for meds theft. Only my current meds would be seen in our bedroom; the extras are hidden in a secure place.

We have a supply of low-cost Over-the-counter (OTC) stuff like Capzasin, Stopain, Salonpas pads, 024 Pain Neutralizer (see www.024zone.com) and Epsom salt for my chronic pain.

Dry mouth is a common problem for us who take meds. Our food stocks include a supply of cough drops, hard candy butterscotches for the dry mouth caused by my pain meds. Oralbalance Biotene (www.biotene.com) and OraHealth XyliMelts (www.OraHealth.com) are OTC products for dry mouth.

Electronic stimulation and electronic therapy are proven to reduce fibromyalgia pain and stiffness, as well as other muscular pain or tension. I have extra 9-volt batteries for my electronic alpha-stim unit (see www.alpha-stim-com), plus rechargeable batteries and 2 small solar rechargers.

I purchased a Duracell Powerpack 600 for my cpap, to use when the electrical grid fails; testing it showed that it provided electric power for one and a half nights for just my cpap.

Future medical preps:

-Get a solar unit to recharge my Duracell Powerpack 600 for my cpap. We’re live in an area that gets lots of sunshine. Beyond that, an extra power pack & solar unit to recharge would provide enough power to run my cpap for 3 nights.

-Growing herbs for my health conditions is a possibility I need to research more. In my experience, herbs are not enough for my pain level, but they may be better than nothing after my meds run out.

Despite all these medical preparations, I realize that my life will be much harder if a disaster results in long-term loss of electricity and the medical system, given my physical limits and dependence on the U.S. medical system

I may never need to use my medical preps. But if and when needed, my medical preps are there to cushion the hardships of a post-disaster, grid-down situation. If you or your loved one lives with chronic pain or chronic illness, I sincerely hope a few of these ideas will help your medical preparations.

Since the specific medical problems you or your loved one faces may be different from mine, customize your prepping for your specific illness(es). May God bless and may His Spirit guide you.

Prizes for this round in our non fiction writing contest include…

This contest will end on September 9 2013

Comments

  1. Winomega says:

    You should be fine if you find what your illness will allow you to do. Fill your head with skills. Your eyes should be much better than a typical elder, meaning you could spin, sew, and knit. You might even be able to trade extra guard duty to someone who prefers tending the farm.

    Poppies are legal right now, just make sure that no one damages the unripe pods. (You may come to a time in your life when you’d rather be addicted to a weak opium tea than be in pain.) Hopefully you’ll be able to find pot seeds fairly quickly after the laws against it get difficult to enforce.

    Me, I cannot run, so I’m not likely to last.

    • Irish-7 says:

      I always thought that the poppies we see in flower beds across the United States were different from the opium poppy plant. Are you stating that any poppy bulb contains opium? I suffer from similar chronic pain conditions. I told my family to prop me up in a corner with my Mini-14 when my pills run out post SHTF. My wife grows flowers around the house. Should we add a few poppies? Please advise. Thanks.

      • Winomega says:

        Irish-7, do some research, but I’m seeing a page that says McCormick poppy seeds are the right breed and viable from the grocery store.

  2. Doris Jones says:

    Red C.J,
    Thank you for telling us about your very personal situation and concerns. I wish you all the best should any crisis befall you. It appears you have thought about all the situations and taken just about all possible steps to remedy this. I am a person who wants to “fix all problems in advance” and this often causes me additional and mostly unnecessary worry. My husband (who is a great country guy who breaks things down into simple sentences) had a fine saying for me.

    “It is all a mule can do.” By this he means when you have done your best to take practical steps, it may well be all you (or any mule)
    could do. Then he just lets it go. I have observed him and it has worked out so that he spends very little time concerning himself about what he cannot control (after he has controlled all he possibly can.) I have noticed that almost all my “worries” never happened. I hope that you will be well and taken care of no matter what happens.

    Obviously you DO have something very fine and valuable to share with others–your mind, your intelligence and your ability to plan. You would be MOST welcome in any group I had for sure. Also, do not forget that having “others to take care of” gives strength and purpose to the caregivers. Those who are least able to survive are generally the ones who are all alone and have NO ONE depending on them. Remember all the survival stories where the survivor said “I had to survive to make sure my child did–or someone else who was hurt.”

    Please do not add extra stress to your situation and take confidence in all you have done and that your VALUE lies in who and what you are—not JUST in what you can do. I, personally, have found that when I couldn’t handle something ahead of time, the Lord had a plan and a solution I would NEVER have thought of. I am 69 and never have stepped over that edge of the cliff without Him holding me up.

  3. Thankyou. Not enough attention is paid to chronic issues. I think one issue not oft considered is the effect on longevity. Most over 60s have had modern medical intervention by then. How many of our relatives over 60 would have reached that age 100 years ago. One advantage we do have is our knowlege of germs and clean water. While I don’t think it would take to recover as some do, it will be a different, difficult world until the “grid” comes back. The knowlege that a thing exists, indeed can exsist, insures that it will exist again.

    PS: One way to accumulate perscription meds is get three month perscriptions for generics. Many doctors will do so if you self pay. Then fill them every two months.Most large pharmacy’s can provide meds for 3 months for less tha the cost of monthly deductables for a three month period. The meds are also much cheaper if purchased in three month lots.
    Note: You can not do this with restricted pain killers. But if you pay out of pocket you can get them a few days early to build a cache.

  4. The Patriot Nurse YouTube channel has a video on how to refrigerate your insulin and other meds that need refrigeration by digging a mini-root cellar to create a place for cool storage. You may want to check out this video, if you depend upon refrigerated meds to stay healthy.

  5. I for one believe that in a total ‘grid down’ condition for any length of time; that people who depend on medications or regular medical procedures are ultimately going to run out of medications or services and ‘their days are numbered.’

    I too have medical conditions with heart disease and diabetes and take medication daily. My insurance plan does allow me to refill prescriptions online and receive a 3-month supply on each refill, and I can submit a refill every 2 months. I have been placing refills every time I am allowed a new refill, so I have been building as large a supply as I can, rotating the newest refills to the back of rotation and use the oldest refills first… to address shelf-life issues.

    For my Over-The-Counter supplements, I keep 6 new containers in stock, and reorder as I use the oldest package to keep my level of inventory steady at 6.

    I also figure, in a total ‘grid down’ condition, and not knowing how long it may last; while not the optimal method, I plan to alternate days, where day 1 I take my AM medication, day 2 my PM medication, day 3 my AM medication, and so on. Like I say, it is not the optimal solution, but I believe would be tolerable to extend as long as possible. Something is better than nothing.

    I continue to deal with making personal improvements so I can reduce the amount of required medications, while still increasing inventory so the inevitable can be prolonged as much as possible.

  6. My DH is dependent on controlled meds, so building up a supply is not available to him. We have talked to his Dr about getting an extra month supply and he flatly refuses to do so. We are doing everything we can to get him healthier and less dependent on meds and looking at alternatives.

    • Swabbie Robbie says:

      The government has really been watching doctors and keeping track of controlled meds. They “flatly” can’t risk giving out extra meds. One thing about the narcotic meds is they may have a shorter shelf life than other meds. I would research all the alternatives you can for if the day comes the prescription meds are not available.

  7. Tom Arnold says:

    Have you tried Bio-Freeze for your pain? It’s an OTC roll on topical. You can get it from Amazon. My wife and I both have chronic pain issues and sometimes it spikes. We use the Bio-Freeze and it helps a lot to dull the pain.

    • Tom, yes, I have used Bio-Freeze; its main ingrediant is the same as used in Stopain. But Stopain has a higher percentage & thus more effect. Stopain is also low cost.

  8. [email protected] says:

    Try herbal medication. It takes a while before you notice an improvement but keep at it. There are many herbal ‘How to Grow and Use” books out there. Check out your local Community College or Adult/On Going Education. Visit an Herb store and get to know the people who work there – they can teach you a lot about using the herbs and sometime about growing them.

    Good Luck

  9. Hunker-Down says:

    While at Walmart today I asked the pharmacist if our insurance would allow us to reorder a prescription written for a 90 day supply in two months. He said we could reorder after 80% of the medicine was calculated to be taken.
    If he and the insurance co. are in sync; a 30 day prescription could be reordered in 24 days, allowing one to ‘stockpile’ 6 days of meds. per month. Up until today we were going on the assumption that we could reorder 3-4 days prior to running out.

    Because you wrote “Prepping with a chronic illness”, we are planning on moving our ‘hold back’ pills from 3 to 6 days each month. Thanks

    • Thanks for the scoop.

    • Swabbie Robbie says:

      Another thing some people can do successfully is cut back the dose for periods of time to stockpile the medicines. Not all conditions will allow you to do this without negatively effecting your health, but many people have periods of feeling a bit better and if monitoring yourself well, you might be able to up the amount of reserve medicine slowly but steadily.

  10. Millie in KY says:

    I agree with Doris, yes, there is plenty you can do, clean veggies, cut up meat, do guard duty, even help watch over a flock with a rifle to keep predators, 4 footed and 2 footed away. I agree with the intelligence and the common sense. And let me add that you TRY and that is more than so many sheep can do, who just want to sit back and act helpless….if someone tries, I’m willing to move heaven and earth to help them.

  11. Harriet says:

    As one who has several autoimmune diseases and used to be lacking in thyroid function, hypertensive, pre-diabetic (well diabetic really), depressed, with sleep apnoea and on the point of being grossly obese following doctors’ dietary advice this article speaks to me. I stocked up on my thyroid meds and was constantly worried about not having enough.

    However I was also a health researcher and for the last 25 years have been searching out alternatives to the medical management by pharmaceuticals of health conditions. To start with my research centred around the psycho-social-spiritual criteria for good health – and I’ve even got published in peer reviewed journals and a book. But that wasn’t enough for health in my own case. I eventually discovered that the paleo/primal diet as outlined in Marks Daily Apple (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/) has made a huge difference. Because I have autoimmune disease I have had to be much stricter than most on the paleo diet. Basically I live on meat and vegetables with a little fruit and dried fruit. I eat no grains (no bread, pasta), no legumes (no beans, peas, peanuts), and no potatoes/tomatoes or other solanums and absolutely nothing out of a box.

    Its restrictive and sometimes I resent it. But I no longer need meds for my thyroid problem. I am no longer depressed, hypertensive, pre-diabetic or grossly obese. My continual sinus problem, ear and eye inflammation have resolved. My sleep apnoea has almost gone. The pain caused by my autoimmune diseases has reduced by 95% and they are no longer active. The only pain is when I’m overdoing the improving my flexibility and mobility exercises I’m doing. I take a lot of immune improving supplements and they do help. We are in mid winter here and I’ve not had any of the winter colds, chills or flu. In fact I’ve realised that I’ve not had to buy any boxes of tissues for 18 months now and my prepping stock of boxes haven’t been touched.

    So if you have a chronic condition look into the paleo diet. Its harder to prep for, but I’d rather have that than my previous disease ridden state. My current doctor and physiotherapist are surprised and delighted that I’ve improved so much in health and function. Its hard work and it takes me a lot of time, but not compared to being ill. Being ill is time consuming. I’d strongly recommend prepping include a paleo approach to health and wellbeing.

    • Winomega says:

      Harriet, MDA just had a similar “miracle” story.

      I’m believing that some problems are improved just by cutting out the box mixes. I’m planning to try GAPS once I manage to regain the bacteria that let me eat real food again. (My nose tells me that I’m not digesting most of what I’m eating.)

      According to the wikipedia page, diabetes is as old as civilization. It also mentions some herbs that were used to treat it.

    • Doris Jones says:

      Harriet,
      Congratulations on taking responsibility and very intelligently solving your own health situation. Now that is TRUE “prepping” in my book!

      I am also looking into the paleo approach. Just yesterday they had some health experts on TV saying the GMO grains especially are creating exactly the health problems you cited, plus the bromated oils and bromated flours are causing both cancer and inflammation problems.(Apparently the bromated oils are heavily used in soft drinks and even in Gatorade to keep the emulsion of color suspended so the drinks “look good”.) It may be that it is the toxic additives to items that are making them indigestible more than the items themselves. They said ,however, that it is almost impossible to get corn or soybeans for example that are NOT GMO or have pesticides.

      They also stated that 100 countries outlaw many toxic substances that are in OUR foods here in the USA. I guess I always thought “we” got the best quality and probably our food corporations sent shoddier products to 3rd world countries. Now I see it is exactly the opposite. (Even our FDA is manipulated by big business.)

      Great information and I appreciated hearing about your experiences with the paleo diet. I am going to try it myself.

    • Encourager says:

      Harriet, am very impressed with all you have done to improve your health! Yes, sometimes we have to be very vigilant. I just received an order of organic Einkorn wheat berries. Tonight I plan on milling them and starting some bread. I try to follow Sally Fallon’s instructions regarding phytic acid in grains (neutralizing it) so will mix up the whole wheat flour with an acid (buttermilk) overnight. I am trying to pin down what has been causing me so much problems (diabetic but on no meds, arthritis that has flared painfully, stomach sensitivity).

      It is good to read about someone conquering their health problems through persistence. Thank you!

  12. I have fibromyalgia and am in continual pain. Plus, I need surgery on spine, knee, and rotator cuff. Both hands have been severely injured years ago, so there is a lingering problem there.

    Assigning me the job of cutting vegetables or security patrol would not be successful! However, I can sew, can sew or mend anything, and I can remake, repair, or alter anything. Left on my own, I could be productive. However, pressuring me would just complicate my life and make me less productive.

    There is no family near me. I do take care of myself and a few plants. I can and dehydrate and freeze food. I am a teacher and can teach even when I cannot move. I just get tired and foggy headed sooner than years ago. I am not past being productive at age 67. However, I fear anyone would be very impatient with my limitations because I balk when enough is enough. I know what I can do. I take no medications for pain and want none because of complications that could arise (like killing my liver), so I will not be looking for relief for my pain. I just need thyroid meds.

    Maybe I will be discarded.

    • FreeRangePagan says:

      I agree with RedC. When I worked the front desk at my old job I was always sewing something. At least 2/3 of the people who came by remarked that they couldn’t sew a button, much less make anything. It’s one of the best skils I have.

    • t42n24t2 says:

      You won’t be discarded. If we get back to real basics, you can tend a fire, rock a baby, tell stories to restless children, pass on oral history and wisdom to them, keep someone company who is ill, pray with and for someone. The list goes on and on. Take heart.

      • Winomega says:

        t42n24t has a point. Women’s work was women’s work because they were probably perpetually pregnant, and every spawn was sacred because who knew which ones would live.

        Basically, there are easy jobs and hard jobs, and sexual division came from somewhere.

        • Yes and womans work was very hard work also- hauling water-cooking and preparing meals.-milking cows-nursing everyone around them-mothering , home making, gardening
          I once read that the average woman had to can enough so every family member had 3 quarts per day of product just to survive.Thats a lot of canning !!!! Arlene

          • Arlene,
            I agree. The “women’s liberation” movement was an inevitable thing to happen, as technology and commercialization gave us less labor and more convenience. Even 150 years ago, being a wife was a full time job. Bread was baked from scratch, after grinding the flour. Clothing was hung on the line to dry, after hand washing. Tending the garden and the livestock, collecting eggs, etc., was part of a daily set of chores. And finally, preserving all of that food at harvest time was more than a full time job in the fall. Even keeping the home clean meant heating water on the wood burning stove and sweeping with a broom and dustpan.
            Eventually, technology brought the icebox and then the refrigerator, and the vacuum cleaner, and then store bought bread. Once upon a time, the phrase, “the best thing since sliced bread” actually meant something. For the men, who were considered breadwinners, life continued pretty much the same; however, for the women, the amount of time and labor spent on keeping a household got smaller, and the amount of free time got larger. With more free time on their hands, many women decided that they wanted to enrich their lives and the lives of their families and just eating bon bons and watching TV didn’t cut it for most people.
            I think the final blow was WW II when the men went off to war and the women went to work. Rosie the riveter became the icon for what women could accomplish, and there was no going back.

    • Swabbie Robbie says:

      Fibromyalgia is a syndrome – a body reaction to stress. The chronic stressors such as you and Red-CJ describe can cause it. Working to remedy those primary conditions as best one can will lessen the fibromyalgia and the flare ups of it. Stressors can include the physical conditions such as you described, but can also be bad allergies and asthma (a common one for fibromyalgia sufferers). Emotional stress from working in jobs you hate, living in abusive situations, A type personality – trying to run everything, needing to be responsible for taking care of everyone are all huge in fbromyalgia. This is why it is a syndrome or somatic response to things originating in the psyche, and soma (musculo-skeletal as well as visceral). Working to reduce any stresses you can will help. Massage, hot tubs, taking personal time to do things you enjoy such as reading or hobbies are all great.

  13. Sewing & mending are very Practical skills that many people will be able to use post-collapse. So u will NOT be discarded. Most of us do not work well under pressure.

  14. Red- take heart .I have had fibromyalgia/chronic pain for over 30 years.
    I take some medications that help and use herbs also. I know that I cannot bug out-so we plan on bugging in place. Try to get as much rest as possible and listen to your body. You made many good points.
    If youd like to e mail me ask MD for my e mail. We each have a skill/gift and a n issue or illness or injury or ,limitation
    liability of some kind. I will pray for you .Prayer is powerful. Arlene

  15. t42n24t2 says:

    The works of fiction where everyone contributes are just that – fiction. In real life, we will have those who cannot contribute or can contribute only a little in our groups, and we will take care of them as best we can. Be they elderly and infirm or physically or mentally disabled, we will provide for them until our Lord calls them home just as we do now. If we follow our Lord and the Bible, He will find a way for us to do this. Note that I am saying ‘cannot.’ Those who will not – they are a different matter entirely.

    BTW, I have a small amount of meds set aside, too, but that is by accident. I just forget to take them sometimes. Silly, yes. Stupid, yes. That’s just how it goes.

  16. This is a difficult area for us to prep for. DH’s meds are very controlled and he MUST take them daily. We can’t get extras, so we just do what we can and pray that God will work it out if/when the situation calls for meds that aren’t available.

  17. I agree with your thoughts in this area, our sitrep is one of type 1 diabetes and COPD with the many of the chronic pain issues you mention. This is mostly due to physical type employment and injuries spread over 40 plus years of providing for ourselves and our, thankfully, now adult children. Due to factors to numerous and common these days we also have an unfortunate dependence financially on the government to meet our needs. I have sadly resigned myself to the reality that our medical conditions are not conducive to long term survivability once the balloon goes up and the government benefits go away. That will be pretty much it, but these circumstances have not deterred us from doing what we can now. Solar, wind, water and other sources of renewable, sustainable power will be needed for portable O2 machines, refrigeration for insulin’s may extend our time but syringes, insulin itself, testing supplies, modern medications and all other important items will run out or be very hard to come by. Millions of people worldwide will, unfortunately, not be long for a post collapse world. Skill sets and information are an important facet people will need, chronically ill or not. This will again, increase the odds, but it always comes back to the fact that life will not be an easy proposition without modern medications and facilities with qualified people that function… Guns, ammo, food, water, medications and such, will become the new economy. Unless a person has some skill-sets and knowledge along with the specialized tools allowing one to barter with those who are left, many will end up the proverbial creek, looked upon by others as expendable. Personally I have very good leather, wood working, gardening and other skills that can be done without modern stuff like electricity, so I believe I will fare pretty well if, and that is a big IF, I can survive the short term. Thank you for the thoughtful and important article.

    • Jordan, My husband has diabetes also and is on insulin.I encourage anyone with diabetes to educate yourselves well on diet and exercise and good food -so if the time comes when you cannot get the insulin at least you will have some good food options. Read some books on reversing diabetes-it can be done. I feel for you all because I love my snacks and sweets also.My husband wont change his bad eating habits at all.
      Wishing you the best. You have some fine skills. Arlene

  18. Prepping this week consisted of canning bread and butter pickles.( no one around here ever asks when we buy canning jars- many people can here)
    Working out a strict budget so we can stay on our farm.(land taxes are very high)
    Finding gaps in our food supplies when I rotated .
    I will try to get some Ipecac syrup. An exc , natural sinus product is
    PONARIS nose drops- but I always have to ask as they keep it behind the counter . Arlene

  19. Irish-7 says:

    I wrote a similar article for ReThinksurvival a few months ago. I offered many of the same suggestions addressed here. Thanks to everyone for their input. Chronic illness and pain are a severe handicap in any TEOTWAWKI scenario.

    • Irish-7, what was the title of your article on ReThinkSurvival? I’d like to read it; always trying to learn something new.

      • My article was titled “Dealing With Chronic Pain in SHTF and WROL”. I e-mailed it on May 5, 2013 to ReThinkSurvival.com and I believe it posted on May 8, 2013. It is similar to the article that you wrote. I assume we’re in the same boat. I know what a tough position it is. Crooked folks can bring heat on legitimate people. The illegal market for narcotic medicines is out of control. That makes the medical, pharmaceutical and law enforcement communities highly suspect of people taking opiates. It is a shame! Anyway, I enjoyed your perspective. I am further impressed by the replies. God Help Us All!

  20. then there are those of us who cannot use diets or herbal remedies for our thyroid conditions because we have no thyroid gland. i have some synthroid stockpiled, and will continue to accumulate more as i can, but after TSHTF they will only last so long. my endocrinologist says i would live about 2 months or so after i run out (he also says “something like that isn’t going to happen!”). there are some things we just can’t get around, so we have to accept them. i look at it this way: at least i don’t have to worry about long-term prepping, which makes the whole prepping thing easier and cheaper!

    • sw't tater says:

      Ideas for an extended supply…Go to a mail order pharmacy, …maybe cross the border..to get an extended supply.Thyroid drugs are not expensive to buy outright. .Plan a vacation,..see a Mexican Dr,get long term script, fill it and come home. Pack meds in Oxygen free jar, with moisture absorbers,seperate by lots of two months, place in cool locations, think earth covered, 18 inches deep,..in secreted spot…where you can access without being observed..In shtf,you need to know if you can maintain near normal levels by skipping a half dose every third day….every dose will be important to those of us who are dependent on daily meds.

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