Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I think I'm the worst blogger ever...

I may be the worst blogger in the history of the universe...

That being said, here is a quick update.

The fibro is finally under control, for the most part. My cocktail is working, and I haven't felt this human in years! It's amazing what happens when the doctors find out what's really wrong with you. :)

I do, however, have a virus in my lymph nodes in my neck that has made me REALLY sick. I am actually blogging in my jammies! (And I just spilled my Diet Pepsi all over my shirt.)

I've moved out my management position at work and back to a regular technical position. The best thing about that is that it's less stressful. Less stress=less sickness (how ironic that I'm sick), so I should enjoy more healthy days.

Now that I'm healthier, I'm going to concentrate on getting my weight under control. GASP! I know, I just commented on my weight on my PUBLIC blog. Here's the thing, though. I don't think people talk about weight loss in a healthy way. We see people who get to be 200+ pounds overweight, they have surgery, they lose the 200+ pounds, they look great, they don't tell you about all the vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, etc., that they experience, and then they gain everything back. We see the EASY side of it. We don't see the risk that people take when they let a surgeon remove most of their stomachs, put a band around their stomach, etc., all in the name of either looking good or saving their lives.

That being said, the idea behind the surgery originally was to save lives. It was not to help people lose weight. The idea was that if someone was super morbidly obese, he or she would need to lose weight in order to continue living. Thus, this surgery would force said person to drastically cut the amount of calories consumed. This would thereby lower the weight dramatically and allow the person to begin exercising and lose weight normally in order to lower his/her risk factors for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc. It was not a permanent weight loss solution.

Anyway, I digress. I have never been a fan of this surgery. I have never wanted this surgery for myself. It has tempted me because it would be the easier road. But I, like Robert Frost, like to take the road less traveled.

This is where the g-free aspect comes into context. Gluten Free carbohydrates (the breads, etc.) are higher in Weight Watchers Points (my preferred method of weight loss) than are gluten containing carbs. One piece of g-free bread is 4 points and one piece of whole wheat bread is 2 points. The g-free store bought bread is TINY and the whole wheat bread is scrumptious, soft, HUGE, and obviously more delicious than the rice bread. :( This makes following a reduced-calorie, high fiber diet (yes, that's what WW is) harder when you are gluten free. You also have to ensure that you are getting enough grains, etc., and that you are getting all your vitamins.

When I first found out that I couldn't eat gluten, I ate plain chicken breasts for weeks on end. I can't do that anymore. As a matter of fact, I LOVE flavor, and I love tri-tip. So, I'm trying to find my happy medium, and I'm trying to fit chocolate into my diet. :)

The best thing is that since I've become gluten free I have not gained any more weight. Now, I just have to tweak it a bit more.

On other fronts, I made g-free flour tortillas on Sunday. I used Bob's Red Mill baking mix (the kind recommended for biscuits). I put in about 2 cups of the mix, about 2 TBSP of lime juice, 2 crushed red chiles for spice, a dash of salt, 4 TBSP of butter, and enough water to make the dough stick together. Then I used a tortilla press to make the tortillas. It was much more effective than the rolling pin. Put them in a hot pan for about 1 minute on each side, and TA DA! Tortillas! They were YUMMY! That's my g-free recipe for this time.

Happy Cooking.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Star Wars in Concert and Fibro

I know it might sound like a weird combination, but today is the biggest day of my husband's LIFE! We have floor seats to Star Wars in concert. I talked him down to only wearing t-shirts (they're even matching... I must be a glutton for punishment) instead of dressing up like Luke and Princess Leah (I don't even know if that is how to spell her name.) ANYWAY... We even have passes to get in to see the memorabilia an hour before everyone else becasue I"m the best wife in the entire world and paid an arm and a leg for it! They gave us these nifty wrist bands a la Lance Armstrong that we get to wear all night long. He is so excited it's not even funny. When I told him that I was wearing my shirt (which by the way cost $24.95) to work today so I would be ready by 4 pm, he text me and said, do you like it? Does it fit great? Mind you, this is a men's t-shirt with Star Wars all over the front of it. How much better can it get? I text back, yes and yes.

The second half of the weird combination is that I got diagnosed with fibromyalgia last week. I am writing this during the day while I should be at work writing mid year assessments for my employees. I can't feel my feet from my medicine and I can't drive. So, you ask, G Free Gal, how are you supposed to be walking around for three hours looking at Star Junk and then sit through a concert when you can't go to work? My answer is very carefully. Hopefully my meds will kick in and the rest I'm getting now will pay off. I may not get my work done, my boss may be mad, but I will make my husband the happiest man on the face of all the Star Wars planets.

I'm learning that just because my neurons don't work right doesn't mean that I can't go and do things. I can't stop enjoying life and limit myself because of my disease. I can't my disease dictate my future. I can lead a normal life. It might be harder than it is for most people, but I can do it.

May the force be with me! Happy Star Wars to all!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Moving Onward and Upward

Happy Thursday to all! (I think right now it's just me.)

I've made it public knowledge now that I'm blogging, so maybe someone will read. If not, that's okay too. This is more for me than anyone else.

I made great progress toward recovery this week.

I asked for help - I asked to see a dietitian.

I always thought that I could do this on my own. Everyone I've talked to who was overweight before going gfree said that they lost weight after they cut out gluten. I haven't lost any significant amount of weight. I've lost maybe two pounds, which is frustrating. As sick as I have been, I still am overweight.

It seems so backwards in so many ways.

We'll see what happens when I'm getting the right amounts of everything.

My brother and his wife announced that they're expecting a baby this weekend. (they're not having the baby this weekend. They just made the announcement this weekend.) It was a terrible blow to me. I suffer from the unexplained infertility that comes from long-term undiagnosed Celiac. All the doctors say I'm fine, but nothing happens. Anyway, it was a fun announcement.

I really am happy for them, it's just difficult to swallow. She's 21. I'll be 27 next month. It just doesn't seem fair on so many levels.

On a happier note, my career is starting to take off and my husband's doing well in school, so those are things I can take joy in.

Here's a fun fact for you - the spell check on my posting feature does not recognize the word "Celiac". It's behind the times!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Beginning

I never thought I would blog.

I thought to myself, blogging is for stay-at-home moms who have too much time on their hands. I am a WRITER.

Then I read Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. I realized that Shauna used her blog to help others understand our way of life. I don't like calling Celiac a disease. It's a lifestyle. Sure, it may be a forced lifestyle, but I'm not dying, at least not anymore.

I have been sick since high school. I was plagued by constant fatigue, migraines, gastrointestinal difficulties, and nausea. My mother once said, "If I didn't know any better, I would swear you were pregnant."

Then there was the depression. I started taking Wellbutrin at the age of 14. It worked through high school. Then my dopamine levels stabilized and I had a breakdown after taking my daily dose. I was medication free until I the age of 23. Feeling crazy, I went back to the doctor. I was placed on Prozac. It's a great drug, really. It stabilized the mood swings, made me feel semi-normal.

I missed so much school that I almost didn't graduate. My teachers were sure that I was faking my symptoms. I went to the doctor time after time. "It's stress." "It's a virus." "You're healthy." This continued through college.

I went on a church mission to Dallas, Texas. I served the Hispanic people. Strangely, my condition stabilized. (I wasn't eating much bread for a long time, either.) I was strong, healthy, I lost weight, and I felt great!

Then I went to middle class America again. I was still a missionary, but I was back with the White people. I started a "healthy" diet of whole wheat toast, yogurt, and oranges for breakfast each day. I got violently ill.

I called our mission nurse. She was sure that I wasn't getting enough good fats in my diet. She prescribed salads filled with avocados. I ate the salads each day. I didn't improve.

When I reported back, I let her know that I was not improving. She said, "It must be gastritis. Go on the BRAT diet. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast." I did this faithfully for a week. I was okay until I ate the toast. I never made the connection. I'm an educated woman, so I"m going to blame the nurse and say it's her fault. I'd never heard of gluten or Celiac at this time!

The months passed and I toughed it out. 15 months into my missionary service the severe abdominal pain I'd been experiencing off and on became more on and less off. I finally went to a doctor. He said, "Congratulations! Your gallbladder is shot." I got sent home.

I was devastated.

I had my gallbladder removed. I didn't have stones; my gallbladder was just functioning at 25 percent.

This same song and dance continued and my condition worsened. By the time I was 23 and married I had had enough. I was missing at least one day of work per week. I had to go to the nurse's office at work to nap and was putting customers on hold (I worked on the phones) to use the bathroom.

Then my parents saw Elisabeth Hasselbeck on The View. As those of use g-free gals know, she has Celiac and speaks out for the "lifestyle." My mom called.

"I know what's wrong with you!" She was so excited.

"You're intolerant to gluten. You need to ask the doctor next time you go."

I told her that it was crazy! Whole wheat is the grain of the gods, after all. I had an appointment that day, but I didn't say anything.

A week later, my dad called me. My dad is not one to call and talk. He said, "I think I know what's wrong with you!" He too was so excited!

"You're intolerant to gluten. You need to ask the doctor next time you go."

I was home again with a migraine, so I thought, there might be something to this. I'll ask.

I went to the doctor, internet information in hand, and I asked the doctor. I explained my symptoms, tried to pronounce "gluten" the best I could, and asked to be tested.

She said, "We can't test you for that. You're sick."

I was infuriated! I got my morphine shot and went to Trader Joe's. I bought gluten free pasta, bread, brownie mix, and chicken breasts. I thought, this is what I will eat. I started purging my body. I bought gluten-free vitamins. Most importantly, I started to read. I've always been a voracious reader, and I knew that I had to knew what was killing me in order to heal me. The first thing I read was Elisabeth's book. Here is a link to it on I started to understand what gluten was doing to my body. I learned what to avoid. I learned that gluten was killing me.

The only way to save my life was to give up the grain of the gods.

So I did.

I felt AMAZING! I could think clearly. I could sleep. I had energy. I started to understand my body's chemistry and its inner workings. I knew how my innards worked!

Now, I don't want the one person reading this to think that I have never slipped since that day. That is not true. I have slipped, and I have paid dearly.

I also don't want you to think that I don't eat well. I love food. I love to cook. Most of my memories revolve around food in some way. Cooking with my grandma, grilling with my dad, learning to can with my mom...even smells remind me of the best (and worst) times of my life.

Within two weeks I felt amazing. I went back to the doctor for a check-up and reported that I had Celiac. She was shocked! She said, "Just keep that up." From then on, I knew that I was in charge of my life, of my body, and that I would make my body better.

This was my beginning.