Some facts: It has been a recognized fact that SARS-CoV-19 enters the human cells it infects by interacting with ACE2 receptor protein. It has been an observed fact that males get this disease and tend to die from it more then females. It is a fact that the gene that codes for ACE2 is on the X-chromosome. It is a biological fact that male cells have ONE X chromosome and that female cells have TWO X chromosomes. It is a fact that natural variation occurs in genes and their products (i.e. proteins). A bit of logic and application of some basic facts of biology: Therefore, it is logical that ALL of the ACE2 receptors in men are of one type while females may have more then one type. Therefore it is logical that the surface of the cells in males that SARS-CoV-19 attach to identical ACE2 receptor proteins and that there is no competition with a different type of ACE2 receptor. It is possible (but not a guarantee) for women to have 2 types of ACE2 receptors depending on the gene variability in any population. The hypothesis: I suspect that we will hear in coming days/weeks that there are specific variations in the ACE2 receptor encoding gene on the X chromosome that makes anyone with it more susceptible to this infection and increased risk to death. However since men only get one version they have no competing ACE2 receptor to slow its infection and propagation rate down to manageable levels. For a parallel comparison to understand this x-chromosome hypothesis of male illness read up on hemophilia. Males get one copy of the poor clotting factor and girls have to get two to have the illness. I am NOT saying that hemophilia and ACE2 susceptibility are on the same X- chromosome, only that the gene inheritance pattern is similar. Please remember I have a background in chemistry and biochemistry, masters degrees even. I am not making this guess lightly. Go ahead and research the facts above for yourself. People are looking for answers and while science is being done most researchers don’t show their cards until they have a winning hand, their funding demands it. Not being in that particular rat race anymore this is my current best guess and I having nothing to defend except the reputation of my own mind. Just if someone does pick up this idea and it goes somewhere just leave me the acknowledgement when you do publish. That is good enough for me. Be safe everyone.

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Dear God, I think we need to have a chat. This whole guardian angels thing isn’t working. I think they are missing part of the message. It is like they are unable to hear words like no, not, nothing, and never. Are the frustrations your children experience as a result of this communication issue for your amusement or just a cosmic fluke? I think it really would be helpful if you would return my texts, no burning bush necessary, I am fairly confident that the modern digital filters on cellular phones will be sufficient cosmic distance for us to hold this conversation and reach a mutual understanding based in love and trust. Or just route it through all the cell towers in China if you are concerned for my safety. Because right now the world, you know Earth, that blue green warmish wet world three rocks out from Sol, is pretty sure you hate us or that someone has hijacked your control crystal or whatever you use to focus your all power into the universe. It would just be great to hear from you that there is a plan and it will be ok, someday. We are just very confused right now. Loving you lots. Sincerely,Kaliera

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Since the previous post in the journey to my partner’s wellness we have consulted with a nutritionist, been to the General Practitioners twice, and spoken to the patient liasion at the hospital he was treated at for his pancreatitus. We have also had additional blood draws, gotten test results, and been left hopeful that we are on the right track. The nutritionist says we are on the right track also. Some of the bad habbits he has to move past are not eating all day due to a busy work schedule and eating late at night just before bed. The suggestion has been to make daytime nutrition liquid based, espically while he is recovering from pancreatitis and to do the same for the late night snack. This is the pattern we have mostly fallen into for his current juice, broth, and light meals. We have been able to add a few items to the curent foods list but mostly it has been to try to diversify cooking methods and flavors. Having a light dinner (low fat with quality carbs from vegetables and antioxident fruits) earlier in the eveing has also been recomended. We have occasionally reversed the day by having breakfast and eating/juicing light the rest of the day which has also gone well. Trying to stick to low sucrose fruits and veggies for juicing is proving boring so we have tried juicing carrots and beets to add some more nutrient value while risking the higher sucrose levels. They were not tolerated well and we are hoping he just needs more time to heal or perhaps these higher sucrose foods will be better tolerated as whole foods with their fiber. Which seems to be more probable. He has always done well with my homemade stir fried rice made mostly veggies and proteins with riced cauliflower and little rice to help the texture. We tried my stir fried rice recently (sans rice) to test this possibility (onions, garlic, carrots, peas, eggs, riced cauliflower, soy sauce, black pepper, and sesame oil). Dispite most of these foods being listed as high in sucrose it was still a well tolerated meal. (This happened after we had tried eggs on their own-see below). So we may have to keep high sucrose foods with their fiber and try them in smoothies and soups to get their nutritional and antioxident kicks. He has tolerated red grapes, ginger, and tumeric (with a couple grinds of black pepper for improved absorption). The grapes juice very well. The ginger and tumeric were pealed and ground into a paste with a metal grater, added to hot water, and stored in the fridge. I have been using these rizome teas to add flavor and antioxident/anti-inflammatory kicks to fresh juicesto diversify the flavors. WARNING: DO NOT PUT TUMERIC IN A JUICER OR USE ANYTHING PLASTIC OF ANY KIND. Anything plastic will be stained forever. Also use food handeling gloves when handeling tumeric. Skin stains a yellow and will usually wear off in a day or two but just save yourself the hastle (the stain is little like Cheeto fingers). To diversify the cooking options we have tried eggs. Eggs are known to be a significant allergen but if they are not tolerated it is best to adapt the the othe ways of cooking sooner rather then later (i.e. potato starch, flax seed powder, or whey powder). Eggs are an easy to digest protein so it is also an easy way to get that macro in. He has tolerated eggs well and while he has since exclaimed he is sick of eggs it means I can make a widening range of foods. Which brings me to a big challenge for us both. He has been craving fat, espically watching me eat keto (and gluten free) through all of this. He is dreaming of fried chicken, burgers, catfish, chicken fried steak, and biscuits. We live extremly close to a Popeye’s and McDonald’s and while the wind rarely blows our direction just knowing they are so close is often a form of torture for both of us. I even take the “long” way home just to avoid driving by them when I am tired and don’t know if I can withstand the temptation. Adding air fried keto style chicken and biscuits to the list of foods has been a goal to help with these cravings. To this end we needed some way coat fried foods and to have a flour to make bread like products. Being on keto, almond and other nut/seed products are very important to my success. To open up new food textures and preparatuons we have started with almonds. Whole, smoked, almond milk, and superfine almond flour have been successfully added. These products are easy to find in US grocery stores or can be ordered online. For the adventurous they can be made at home from whole almonds (but I don’t have that kind of time right now). This has opened up air frying anything, low carb pancakes and crepes, and keto inspired breads. You can do a lot with almond flour, almond milk, and eggs even without baking soda/powder, sugar, or vanilla. So these gains have been great but we have also noticed some difficulties. Including a pattern forming around members of the nightshade family. These foods contain solanine and can cause reactions in some people. He has complained about a meal in the hospital with sauted peppers and has since had stomach upset with a dish I made with tomato paste. Other foods in this family to test are potatoes and eggplants. When he was younger he did not eat these foods much. He did not like them. As he got older he started to eat them more (well, except eggplant) to expand his palate like a responsible adult should. Maybe his younger self knew something intuitively his older self has had to ignore for basic survival (al la the french fries fast food military bachelor lifestyle). Breakfast is a weekend ritual in our house and finding a way back to this little piece of normal has been important. To this end we have successfully tried butter, eggs, bacon, almonds, low fat mozarella and peper jack cheese. All this means we can have breakfast with egg and cheese omelets, blueberry or blackberry crepes, crispy crispy (uncured) bacon. The bacon and pepper jack cheese are negotiation points. We don’t eat them every day and I am trying to track the peper jack cheese in relation to the solanine/nightshade question. Having bacon as a tool to add flavor from its fat and salt to foods has made the rest of the limitations more tolerable. Plus his poutty lip was so sad when I suggested we might try it for Valetines I just could not make him wait that long. A man has got to know he can have foods he loves, at least a few of them, while we work slowly adding things back in. This all going on with the holidays had been hard. We have celebrated the holidays with friends and while he ate off list he also ate reasonably and took his sucraid. Neither of us felt well after Christmas but that probably has as much to do with stress as anything else. His craving for catfish was solved with a New Years treat that was reasonably well tolerated even if he did carb crash from the mac and cheese and corn bread that came with it. Sometimes you just gotta live a little and risk angering the sucrose thing. But I think we can add corn meal to his list of tolerated foods. Makeing progress little by little and regaining his health along the way we have a lot of hope. He self reports feeling the best he has in years (like 8 years). We have some blood tests that might support this but more on that next time.

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I am sharing this story, which really belongs to my parner but he is allowing me to tell it in the hopes it helps someone else. A little background first. He is an Iraq War veteran, a graduate of the USMA, more commonly known to civilians as West Point. He was a runner, holds run records for races longer then marathons, and was at one point the picture of health except for chronic insomina that came with puberty. Since this peak picture of health he has spent years with abdominal pain, chronic GERD, puking up most of what he eats, sometimes puking up yellow bile, and what does manage to go through usually comes out less then solid. He gets migraines, looses feeling in his legs out of no where, and it should be no suprise that he struggles with anxiety at work because he never knows when one or another of these intermitent problems is going to strike. The VA acknowledges a varitey of disabilities that add up to 90% including: Hiatial hernia, Tinititus, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (IEDs are no joke). Dispite his obvious trauma in theatre the military chose to ignore his multitude of difficulties and kept him in just long enough to pay back his education and then droped him practically him on his head: no pension (not in quite that long, and he was never submitted for being med boarded out), during out processing he was lied to about how to get started with the VA, and more by a failed command (those above him were NOT picked up for promotion) all in a state that takes 11 months to process unemployment (fk you Colarado), and then doesn’t pay any back payments as if mounting/existing bills don’t matter. And as if that is not bad enough it took three years to get an intake apointement for the VA because, and dispite multiple attempts to update his address, they lost him. (Does this sound like a framilar line of BS to anyone else?) Fortunately, in the meantime he has a loving and supportive family and some friends that helped him transition into civilian life successfully. Now he has a good job working with great people and me for a partner. (He says he is lucky in this regard and I will take him at his word. I think I am the lucky one.) While he was in the military they tried a Nisen Flindoplification to correct his stomach having ascended into the chest cavity (caused by the IED and a conjential malformation of the stomach) 2 years to decide to do that much. During that time, and ever since, he has lived on Ratididine. Yep the same Ratididine that has been pulled off the market because the supply chain is so tainted, cancer cases popping up seemingly everywhere, and yes we have gotten a you may have been injured letter from the VA regarding this perscription the military started him on in the first place. He also had an emergency appendectomy for gangerenous appendix shortly after he out processed while he was still on transitional Tricare. He was a little better for a little while after this procedure. But the reprieve didn’t last long. So far we have been able to use his employer provided health insurance to identify his cholesterol and triglycerides were elevated (something the military practically ignored). We have managed to lower this substantially with fish oil. He has high blood pressure (something else the military ignored) which has finally been improved with Bystolic. He has suboptimal levels of testerone for no reason anyone knows why. Not quite low T but low enough that we notice its lack. This has lowered by over 60pts in 18months so it is getting worse. It seriously seems like something is cronically wrong, has been for years, and yet the doctors only want to talk about blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol as if these windows are all there is to peer into. We know he has a hiatial hernia, a Nisan Flindoplication that has undone itself, GERD(which is more a syndrome since the cause is unkown), fatty liver (but his enzymes are back to normal after cutting alcohol almost compleatly out), a broken C6, a myrid of mid thorasic complications, and 2 pancaked lumbar vetebra some of which might have been the IED or other training activities. We also know the VA cannot seem to find the spinal damage that even I can see in his x-rays. On top of it all a few months back he was diagnosed with Congential Sucrase Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID) and he has just returned home from a 6-night hospital stay from acute pancreatitis. Basically now he cannot eat sugar (sucrose or starches that convert to sugar) without taking the supplemental enzyme Sucraid and now he needs to eat low fat. First, we are struggeling to understand how he could become so sick over what has been a chronic progression over a period of years and no one seems to care. We are also struggeling to understand what to do from here. The medical advice has been contradictory except for a hyperfocus on never any alcohol for the pancreatitus. The dietitian who specializes on CSID told us he can eat as normal so long as he takes his Sucraid as directed. This advice is sort of like taking Lactaid and still eating whatever with lactose intolerance. Anyone managing lactose intolerance knows this is poor advice to follow. The dietition at the hospital gave us guidance for the pancreatitis including limiting fat to 50g a day. At 9Cal/g that is 450Cal. For a man who can barely keep 600-900Cal a day in his sytem that is a significant amount of fat, almost keto. This is sure to agrivate his already tender pancreas. The hospital dietition gave us a list of low sucrose foods to begin an elimination diet. The morning he was to be released they served him 2% milk, apple sauce, and buttered toast. NONE of which was on the dietition’s safe foods list. And they once again failed to provide him with his Sucraid. Fortunately he was off the morphene and knew not to eat the damned toast and apple sauce. The specific failures of this particular hospital are a topic perhaps for another time but needless to say I am NEVER GOING THERE for care AGAIN. Beyond this the VA does not see the spinal damage but he recieves quality care from a chiropractor and has reduced the pain in his back. He also has fewer migraines and he is loosing feeling in his legs less frequently. The VA has done nothing for his stomach complaints except perscribe him Ranitidine and have now withdrawn it. The VA was not who discovered the CSID, a private Gastroenterologist did, as the last test he had in his bag of tricks to try. We thought we had it under control, and now we are contending with pancreatitis. He is still in pain, managed with Tylenol. Several people with personal expierence with pancreatitis have suggested bone broth and juicing so we have been (early Christmas) gifted a juicer, purchased a variety of fruits and veggies to juice, and are working our way through them step wise to make sure nothing acutely grivates his digestion further. So far he has tolerated cucumber, blueberries, blackberries, pears, and celery juice with chicken bone broth and light meals of chicken, salmon, tilapia, or shrimp and brocoli, cauliflower or iceberg lettice. He was off all his home meds and supplements while he was at the hospital. They were doing their own thing. Since he has been home he is still off all meds and supplements for the moment except the Bystolic and Tylenol. He is reporting less anxeity, no reflux, and no major headaches. The GI has perscribed protonix (a proton oumo inhibitor)for his refluc and he has been symptom free thus far. For now I plan to blog a series about this as we go along. Partially as a personal diary but also to help anyone else out there struggeling to get to the bottom of the unknown. You are not alone. Doctors DON’T know everything. They way they go about treating the body as if it is so many cut up parts on a dissection table is allowing systemic chronic illness to develop that we probably don’t even know names for yet. This is where the social aspect of disease comes in (aka my PhD work). If we believe the body works a certain way we will treat it a certian way and ignore other things because they don’t fit our picture. We have been thinking of the human body as if it were a Ford Model-T, with swappable parts for those who can afford them. From my perspective my veteran partner has been deemed expendable, a casualty of modern medicine, a footsoldier and cannon fodder to the organ based approach of medicine. You can bet I will not allow him to go on this battle field alone, unarmed. He calls me his Valkerie, his Shield Maiden. I will not let him go this alone and undefended. And we will get to the bottom of this. I hope our journey helps someone know health is a battle and I will use that metaphor because it is apt. And none of us should ever have to go it alone.

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This poem saw its rough draft in a previous email rant to a graduate school college as I lamented the sheer awfulness grad school can be. It was a low moment that has since passed but it was real in that moment…. visceral… viscera on the floor even. Or it seemed that way. Someone said this was amazing. Really it is majorly awful (post modern awesome) raw poetry about some of my experiences of graduate school thus far.  Who wants to hear the horror stories? The war stories. Apparently plenty can appreciate another soul’s lament. You are not as alone as that carrel (that book cage) makes you feel.  Confessions of an conscious corpse…life of a grad student. We cannot afford soap, Plug your nose, The window won’t open, Spring never comes, Graduation is THE myth eternal. Professors at conferences, We all drink, beer? Celebrate conference season like the new spring, Emancipation short lived, Spring will never come. We are slaves. The genius slaves of the soylent machine called education.

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Soul searching seems to be a term that we throw around a lot these days.  In an era when more people are claiming to not believe in such a thing as the soul I catch myself wondering if the meaning of this phrase has wandered away from its words to mean something less substantial, more tawdry. Also, I have been finding myself stating that I have been soul searching lately.  What do I want, what is important, why cannot I do what I feel I am being seemingly pushed to do? Why? Two words…Graduate School. Not for the faint of heart, or the person needing to aggrandize their own ego, Graduate school is almost as difficult as giving birth.  I say almost, not having had the latter experience I will not speak for an experience I have not had but there is a similarity.  Graduate school can be a lot like giving birth to yourself. You find yourself full of more questions than answers and most of the answers are unsatisfactory.  You do it to get the degree, you do it because they say so, you do it because it is a hoop you have to jump through…just jump already.  But why did you do it in the first place? For yourself, there is nothing altruistic about going to graduate school.  People can say there is, concoct wild stories about how it will save the world, protect people, and even my own thesis is developed with others in consideration but really, I am doing this because I want to know something, for myself, and yes, about myself.   While the other aspects exist, the reality is that even if I left tomorrow I would still pursue this question. Why? Because it is my question.  The question that lies in my soul, down deep inside.  What drives me forward? There is something I have to know.  Everything else fades away.  Only this remains. And that becomes the problem… What is between you and what you want? What you want to know? The committee, the all-powerful committee, like god, they hold all the power in graduate school.  Well most of the power. Why not all of the power, because you chose them to help you, to support you, to guide you.  If they cannot do that is it not also your fault for having chosen them? But what choice did we have, when schools overestimate the availability of professors, overburdened with committees, research and already needful students.  Ultimately, the good ones are overburdened and the ones that are left, well they are working through their own personality issues, and you might see them in the campus counseling center.  Well you hope you would. That is not to mention to optimistic representation of college campuses.  I have watched people who were complaining just the day before about how little support there is at a university turn around the next and sell a different story to some unsuspecting High School Senior how helpful the professors are.  Apparently, not the one they were complaining about the day before.  This has happened and EVERY university I have ever spent significant time at.  I will admit, sometimes the person I am talking about is myself. I want to believe my university could be the rosy picture I paint and that it is only because I suck as a student it isn’t. When I have been the TA, I have tried to be that overly helpful one, I want my students to have the success I seem to be unable to find.  So then what, I am the one that makes the overworked professors look bad.  Yeah, not a path to graduate school success…never make them look bad by caring about your students. NEVER!!! Why? Look up Impostor Syndrome.  I double dog dare you.  Are you prepared to find what is there?  I doubt it. But there is something about the loving your school camaraderie, you want every word you say to be true, a prayer almost. To make it so, so you can belong and be a part of the vision. And yet…after that HS student leaves we are back to griping, miserable, counting down weeks to finals, hating out professors and the farce of it all. Sure, the support I find, only to discover it wains under the strain of my weight.  That is what happens when there is a disability, like dyslexia, involved with trying to get a degree.  I managed to get through undergraduate, fighting and batteling every step of the way.  So yeah if I look angry, it is because I am.  That is deep down in my soul.  My world does not want me.  It needs me, but does not want me.  It wants the things I can accomplish, Apple, Windows, Virgin Records…but not me. You got accepted into graduate school because someone in the admissions process thought you could do it and yet schools are dropping students like flies.  Oh, they matriculate, with a Masters, but if the original admissions was for a Ph.D.  that feels like a consolation prize, heavy on the consoling.  And worse than that, if people know that degree is not a degree that can be directly applied to anything remotely like a job that degree may not be worth the paper it is printed on.  Then you start to question your own mind, your own ability.  Some recover but I would argue that most don’t.  The plethora of PhDs who never look at academia again, the ones who look no further then adjunct teaching.  Academia who wants that life again.  It was a romantic ideal, I have to wonder about the people who stay in it.  I wonder why I stay. Self-immolation thy name is Ph.D.  Suicide rates, divorce rates, increases in prescriptive or addictive dependence are sad realities of the Graduate School life.  And yet increasingly these types of degrees are what were are told are necessary to be important, to do what you know you were meant to do.  M.S., M.B.A., M.F.S., J.D., M.D….the list goes on an on, and that is just what exists in the U.S.. Are they the right committee? Is it the right school?  How many times will you jump ship to find that place you belong?  Does such a place even exist?  Can you afford to jump ship, or do you need to find a way to jump through those hoops instead? What if the reason that committee is so miserable is because they have not jumped ship enough to find where they belong and they don’t even know if they can be happy.  Maybe they have not done enough soul searching and they are just passing on their misery to you.  Do they even know they are miserable?  Sure those pieces of paper on their wall make them happy?  (You have not looked into impostor syndrome have you…knew you would not.) With more and more people wondering if education is all it is chucked up to be, with the hundreds of thousands of dollars that can be added up before that final piece of paper is in hand, they call it terminal.  Perhaps we are just destroying ourselves in their pursuits of our passions, muted by the pain of those we would seek to learn them from. All to fill our soul, that soul we are searching, are we searching the depths of our soul or searching for it.  I know what path I will walk, what is written in the depths of my soul.  I found it, finally.  How many seek this path before they have?  I did, three times even. How about you?  

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I am standing in the woods.  Am I lost?  I don’t know if lost is the right way to say it.  I can feel the trail under my feet and yet if I step in any direction I cannot find the trail again.  I am standing on the only part of the trail that remains. How did this happen? I knew where I was going and the path seemed clear, or at least traced out.  And then like Alice that sweeper dog came along and wiped out the path. I know this forest has no wolves, well none that would tangle with me.  I am not afraid of the wolves in this forest.  They will keep their distance because they know I am not afraid, not of them. I am not at risk of being eaten but where do I go from here? I have blazed trails before, but, I am more confused why I would need to in this moment. Why did the path get swept clean?  Did I hand the broom to someone who did not know where to sweep?  Or did they clean everything because they were afraid to leave some things well enough alone? Perhaps I should follow what they say in boy scouts.  If lost in the woods stay put.  I wonder how long I can manage that, being a trailblazer. I don’t sit still very well. Where have my companions gone? Perhaps I should have chosen better companions to share this journey.  They seemed sort of accidental companions, perhaps I should have known better. I will have to make a decision soon, even not making one is a decision. I think I hear the echo of waves against a cliff nearby, perhaps it is time to see if those wings can truly fly. They don’t look like wax.

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I had the opportunity to go to a museum with some remarkable art from the 19th century western plains a few weeks ago.  There was a poetry in the smiles of the Native Americans depicted that spoke oceans from the depths of their souls no amount of words could ever express. These…

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I recently came across this article by danah boyd while I was contemplating real name or pseudonym for this blog.   http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2007/09/07/controlling_you.html In her blog post danah advocates for having a public identity.  That is fine, for some, and even for myself someday, perhaps.  But why use a pseudonym, even for a little…

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