04 August 2009

Zero Calories!

One of my now-and-again helicopter students is a Boeing 757/767 Captain for a national carrier, based at "Bigtown". Six years ago he began to have problems with his vision. The problem soon worsened to the point he could no longer read his charts at night. He could no longer pass an eye exam, and lost his medical. This is one of any pilot's biggest nightmares...
For a guy whose above-average income depends on being able to pass a Class I flight physical, it's a life-changing event.
Subsequent testing found he had a tumor on his brain stem. The location of the tumor made surgery a life-threatening proposition, so he couldn't find a Surgeon willing to take on the task of removing it. All told him to accept his fate, look for other work, and watch the progression of the growth of the tumor.

Luckily for him we have a major medical school in Bigtown. He went to the head of the neurology department at the School and pleaded his case. The Department head agreed to take the case personally, but reiterated the possible consequences of cutting on that part of the brain. My student didn't care... if he couldn't fly he'd just as soon face the prospects of taking the step to "the next stage of life".

The Surgeon removed a 4-inch square plate of my student's skull and attacked the tumor from the back side. Upon reaching the tumor he was surprised...
He expected the growth to have the consistency of jello. But this tumor was hard, about the size and shape of a
Buckeye. Puzzled, he scraped off a sample of the tumor and sent it off to the lab for identification. When the results came back he thought they were a mistake, so he took another sample and sent it to a different technician...
It came back with the same finding...

This skilled Surgeon carefully removed the tumor, and in a year my student was back flying the big Boeing.

My student admits to drinking six or more Diet Cokes per day before his surgery, but the brand of beverage is not important...
Most all sugar-free drinks now contain Aspartame.
Obviously he now has that addiction under control...
He now drinks nothing containing Aspartame. Relating this story to others, I hear anecdotes about China banning the substance and other individuals having other health problems related to the chemical.

Personally, I won't stop drinking diet sodas or other beverages containing the substance, but I don't think it's a good idea to be drinking mass quantities of anything that has a chemical like Aspartame in it.

I like water.
I hear drinking Green Tea has health benefits, (as does red wine for those not flying within 8 hours).

But it's probably a good idea to cut down on diet sodas, huh?

I don't think we need to cut Aspartame completely out of our diets, but I do think we probably need to moderate our intake of any non-organic substance.
What about you...
Got a story to relate?


cary said...

I no longer drink ANY soda, just water while driving cab and maybe a lemonade now and again (different reason - the caffeine will irritate my acid reflux, and cutting it out has drastically reduced my need for ppi drugs) but when I used to drink sodas, I would occasionally drink a Fresca or some other non-mainlined soda; every time I drank one with aspartame in it I could swear there was a chemical aftertaste. Other drinkers of the same soda would tell me I was imagining things. Guess it's a good thing I never really took to the flavor of Fresca, eh?

Cissy Apple said...

I hate so-called "diet" sodas. You know that crap can't be good for you. On those very rare occasions, I drink a regular soda. But I prefer water. It's my favorite drink. I also like unsweetened iced tea--the pure stuff--not the yukky fruit-flavored kind. It's rare that I drink anything other than water or tea.

the golden horse said...

I have heard of this very same tumor before in a woman.
I started reading up on the damage fake sugars can do to you and they have been linked to so many problems.
There is an article you might like to read and it also mentions pilots.

A few years ago I gave up Splenda and my pain eased up so much as well as other problems.

OlePrairiedog said...

As a former pilot, I was considered Multi-Fuel for a long time. Some good advice got me to cut down on drinks with aspartame or any of the other chemical sweeteners. Rum goes better with coke,Gin goes better with tonic, etc. etc. However you take your beverage of choice, it has calories. Some way more than you would expect. So like GB, I watch what I consume, but won't quit just because. Wine? Good choice.
45 calories of Beer. No thank you.
Scotch and water works for me. Coffee with Splenda or Truvia works for me and a tall glass of ice cold water is always welcome.

cj said...

I gave up diet drinks long ago when I was suffering dizzy spells. A sister told me it was the Aspartame. I stopped drinking the diet drinks and it went away. Now, if I drink more than one or two in a day, I find that it complicates my vertigo and I don't drink it.

As for non-diet sodas, I'm trying to cut them out for a lot of reasons. Water should be the drink of choice and I'm working on getting back to it and tea. The funny thing about it is that I manage to give soda up for Lent every year and every year I say I'm not going to go back to it yet I do.

Your friend's story is scary, GB. I'll have to pass it on to people I care about.