From Here to Health

My journey back from autoimmune disease

ED Days 10 & 11

I am going to try to make this brief because I really want to hang out with my hubby before he leaves for work.  I feel like I haven’t really seen him in days!  I intended to write this post much earlier in the day but got so caught up in errands and homeschool that it is now 7:00 and I haven’t had dinner or visited with my husband:(

That sounded like complaining.  Sorry.  I have nothing to complain about.  My generous in-laws replaced our A/C yesterday and it is no longer 89 degrees in my house.  And it is a privilege to be able to homeschool my kids.  And my hubs has a job.  So no complaints:)

Day 10

Breakfast

Can of wild salmon with steamed spinach and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil

Lunch

Alright- this was not really on point. I was desperate.  I had some turkey and ham deli meat which I am sure had some sort of additives.  I had some zucchini with it.

Dinner

Wild-caught cod with zucchini

photo(28)

The dinner was actually really tasty, but I had pretty serious cramps after dinner.  I’m not sure if it was the dinner though.  Maybe it could have been delayed from the off-plan ham and turkey at lunch?

Day 11

Breakfast

Standard ground turkey in coconut oil with spinach, chives and a drizzle of garlic oil

photo(27)That is a terrible picture.

Lunch

A dear friend asked me to lunch today and I wanted to go, so I went.  I decided that being with friends is just as healing as this diet I am doing so I just decided to do the best I could and move on after.  We went to Humdinger’s and I had Mahi Mahi with grilled zucchini. I am sure just like the last time I went out that there were questionable oils and spices involved.  I thought I felt ok, but about 4-5 hours later I got terrible cramps and bloating?  Sometimes that happens to me when I go too long between meals so I don’t really know if it was that or the food???

Dinner

Ground turkey, homemade pesto, organic green beans, and carrot puree

Other noteworthy mentions- I had an appointment with my doctor who helps me manage all my “issues” today and it was the best report I have had in 4 years!  Yay!!  All of my bloodwork looked awesome with the exception of my high estrogen and borderline low progesterone.  He has me starting DIM to see if we can block a little of that estrogen and get rid of my migraines, sore breasts and bleeding gums that are happening around my period.  If the DIM doesn’t work, there are other options, but this will be the least expensive and easiest. Also, I just want you guys to know that EVERY time I type the word zucchini, I misspell it:)

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

ED Days 5-8

I have been out of town to visit family and friends in Nashville so I have fallen behind on my blogging.  Oops!  Life happens.  I actually started not to do this Elimination Diet because I knew about this trip, but I decided there were ALWAYS going to be things that could potentially trip me up and be a challenge so I needed to just go ahead and push forward.  No time like the present, right?

Let’s start with Thursday.  I was actually still in town on Thursday.  And let me lay it all on the line…I cheated!!  I just want to be totally transparent.  I went to a Pure Romance party at one of my best friend’s homes and we had a little to drink.  Ok, it was more than a little.  One or two is my norm (and that is rare), but I had 3-4ish;)  We started with shots of 360 grape vodka (this was in the car).  No worries- we had a DD.  I think the general consensus was that if we were going to sit around and talk about all the “unmentionables” that get mentioned at these parties then we might need a few before we walked in the door:)  Once we arrived, I added my vodka to some seltzer water.  As if that wasn’t enough, my friend had bought me apple ginger hard cider (cuz she loves me and knows I love cider) and I hadn’t had that flavor so I had to have 1 of those too!  It was yummy!    I didn’t really have any major issues related to the alcohol.  I didn’t sleep as well as usual, which is typical when I drink, but other than that I fared pretty well for an old broad that rarely drinks.  FYI- the party was a hoot!!  We were so silly.  It was tons of fun until the youngest member of our little group ended up over the toilet.  We had to laugh a little that the 21-year-old newlywed just couldn’t hang with us soccer moms;)  I don’t even think I should bore you guys with the food because it has been so incredibly repetitive.  Let’s just hit the highlights of the next few days:)

Before we got in the car for the Pure Romance party.  Are we posers or what?

Before we got in the car for the Pure Romance party. Are we posers or what? I obviously didn’t get the memo about the white pant!

I took a lot of food to get me through the weekend at my brother’s house.  I made up a batch of salmon cakes (my husband did it actually). He can somehow get them to stick together even without the egg.  I do not have that talent.  Then I took my big batch of carrot puree and some cooked green beans and zucchini.  Top it off with my pesto and there you pretty much have most of my meals.  We did end up going out twice.  The first time was dinner Saturday night and the restaurant had grilled chicken breasts with cilantro and green beans on the side so while mind-numbingly boring, it was diet appropriate.  We went out again after church on Sunday and I had grilled rainbow trout and grilled zucchini.  I feel pretty certain that there was a low quality oil in play and some seasoning that was questionable, but I seemed to tolerate the meal just fine.  I even went to a birthday/graduation combo party for a friend who was graduating from a nurse practitioner program (her daughter was turning 3) and there was lots of food, cake, ice cream and booze and I just wasn’t even tempted.  I drank my sparkling water and ran my mouth and was totally satisfied.

Addy digging into her cake

Addy digging into her cake

As for symptoms- I am currently suffering from some constipation.  I know, TMI, but we have already talked about that.  I pretty much don’t know the meaning of TMI!  I started out on this diet with the opposite problem, but now the pendulum is swinging all the way to the other side.  I also had a little mild discomfort after the Saturday night restaurant meal, but it went away almost as quick as it came.  The only other issue I’m having is a weird charlie horse type cramp in my left calf.  I woke up Sunday morning with it.  I have had 3 of these types of cramps lately.  I am wondering about dehydration or magnesium deficiency?  Not sure.  I have a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday, so maybe I will have some more info after that.

The kids outside the restaurant Saturday night.  We had to limit the stolen rocks from the rock garden!

The kids outside the restaurant Saturday night. We had to limit the stolen rocks from the rock garden!

Salmon and carrots yet again.

Salmon and carrots. Surprised?

Leave a comment »

ED Day 4

I had a little variation in my food today, so I decided I would go ahead and list it.

Breakfast

5 oz. turkey cooked in lard (just got this from US Wellness Meats and thought I could vary my fats some more)

1/2 cup cooked organic spinach

1 organic green onion (green part only)

drizzle of garlic-infused oil

IMG_2513

IMG_2516

IMG_2521

Lunch

Totally the same.  I finished the last of the salmon cakes (which I use loosely since without the egg they were more like salmon crumbles).

More zucchini cooked in homemade ghee with fresh basil and oregano.

Made another batch of carrot puree.  It’s amazing how sweet this tastes when you aren’t eating anything else with any sugar.

Quick word about ghee-  I thought I hated ghee because I bought some about a year ago and it is still in my fridge.  However, the ghee that I made at home is delish so if any of you thought you didn’t like it, try making it yourself:)

Dinner

6 oz. grass-fed ground beef

1/2 cup of leftover zucchini from lunch

1/2 cup steamed organic green beans

2 Tbsp homemade pesto (4 cups basil, 1/2 cup garlic oil, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, salt to taste)

IMG_2518

IMG_2519

Symptoms

Mostly good news!  No headache.  Slept well.  Energy level was good.  So good in fact that I was kinda jonesing to go for a run, but I didn’t since I am really trying to stay low-key on the stress level for this first week.  I did go for a walk instead.  It was just too beautiful not to.  We are having the CRAZIEST weather here. It was 59 degrees this morning. In Memphis!  It is normally 90 upon waking!!  Totally a blessing from God, especially since our A/C is on the fritz!  Back to symptoms.  Let’s continue with the good part.  My face has totally cleared up.  And my gums are better. Yay!!!  My legs are still broken out with itchy bumps.  And I did have some moderate bloating and cramps after dinner.  They only lasted about an hour and then they were completely gone which is pretty good compared with how long they sometimes last.

2 Comments »

ED Day 3

I know it is crazy boring, but Day 3 looked just like Day 1 and Day 2 as far as food goes.  The strange thing about it is that it really hasn’t bothered me.  My cravings have been SO mild.  What is up with that???  Usually when I start some program like this the cravings are OFF THE CHARTS!!!  I try to come up with ANY random excuse I can to indulge in something off plan.  And this is the strictest plan of any I have ever been on.  I am seeing that alone as a total blessing and success:))

As for symptoms, they were a little different today.  Let’s keep the good news rolling first.  I had no stomach pain today!  Woo Hoot!! That is a rare occurrence.   I don’t have horrible stomach issues everyday, but I usually have some sort of minor discomfort at the very least.  Today, nothing!  Ok, well, nothing is not really true.  While I did not have any pain or bloating, I did have loose stools.  I know that is TMI, but modesty about bodily functions left me long ago.  When you are really suffering, you get to where you don’t care what you have to tell… doctors, practitioners, friends, random strangers, whoever might be able to help.  And I am hoping some information in my story will help somebody at some point, so I am not holding back on the gory details.  Back to the poop, it was only a couple of times, but it was definitely loose and the food was not fully digested.  I have been out of my digestive enzymes for 2 days, so I am thinking there is a real possibility that it is more due to that than to the change in diet.  Or could be a combination.  Maybe by the end of this process I won’t be so dependent on the digestive enzymes.  We’ll see.  My hair loss was also better today. But my gums were still super sore and my legs are still broken out with the itchy bumps.

Because I have been out of bone broth, I have been drinking grass-fed gelatin in my rooibos tea.  Rooibos tea is a little bit of an acquired taste I think.  I have gotten to where I like it.  Especially when it it the only option besides water or bone broth!  This Great Lakes gelatin dissolves in cold drinks and you can’t taste it at all.  I don’t think it is as good as drinking grass-fed bone broth, but it is a good quick option.

2 Comments »

ED Day 1

Just to clarify, this is not day 1 of my erectile dysfunction.  I’m just betting that by week 2 I will be too lazy to type Elimination Diet every day so I’m shortening it now:)

I’m going to start off these posts letting you guys know exactly what I ate and then follow-up with how I felt.

Breakfast

6 oz. turkey cooked in coconut oil (enough to cover the pan)

1/2 cup cooked organic spinach (cooked in extra-virgin olive oil)

Topped with 1 Tbsp garlic-infused olive oil, green part only of green onions, and Salt & Pepper

photo(26)Lunch

5 oz. wild canned salmon mixed with sautéed carrots, chives, green onions, parsley and salt & pepper

1/2 cup carrot puree- steamed carrots blended with coconut oil and cinnamon

2 medium zucchini cooked in homemade ghee with fresh basil

photo(25)Dinner

5 oz. pastured pork shoulder cooked in the slow cooker with organic green beans and organic carrots

1 Tbsp of homemade ghee/garlic olive oil blend with parsley

photo(24)OK…so that was the food.  I had no snacks and nothing to drink except water. The food was a little boring but it certainly wasn’t bad.   Which is good, because I will probably be eating about the same thing for the rest of the 3-4 weeks.  I’m sure the blog is going to be about as boring as my diet, but hang in there with me.  I am hoping that using this protocol will lead to some serious healing and answer all those questions I have about which foods I actually can and can’t eat.

Now let’s talk about how I felt.  I felt like sh*@!!  I don’t know that it had much to do with the food.  As a matter of fact, I think it had very little to do with the food.  It was the first day of my lady cycle and I have been having migraines on that day for the past 6 months.  Yesterday was no exception.  Add to that that our AC went out on Friday and I live in Memphis, TN where the heat index is 110 in August and you have a pretty miserable scenario:(  Let’s tack on the fact that my hair started falling out in mini clumps yesterday and you can see why I felt like sh*@!  I know the migraines and hair loss are related to my female hormones because they follow a very predictable pattern.  I am hoping that the ED will help with this, but I will just have to keep monitoring it and let you know how it plays out.  If I don’t have a migraine on the first day of my next cycle, I will be relatively sure that this diet has a lot to do with it.  Crossing my fingers!
As for digestive symptoms, they were mild. Still had a my normal mild degree of bloating that I always have.  I also had some mild acid reflux at bedtime.  But, I was never hungry and the cravings were pretty mild considering it coincided with my period.  Stay tuned for Day 2:)
Leave a comment »

Daily Log

Sleep- Not good:(  I was all tired, but wired again.  It didn’t help that my husband was snoring!  He eventually went to the den, sweet man.  After that I slept about 3 hours.  From around 3-6am.

Exercise – 6o minute walk on treadmill at 3.7mph

Food-

Breakfast – some sort of eggs baked in a patty pan squash. Not on the plan, but my man made me breakfast so how could I say no?   I think it was 2 eggs with onion and garlic baked in the squash.

Snack – handful almond, 1 oz cheese, 1 peach

Lunch -1 1/2 cups leftover squash soup w/parmesan from yesterday- Lots of squash around our house right now.  Got some at the local farmer’s market and then a friend gave us some from his garden

Snack – 2 tbsp crunchy natural peanut butter, handful dark chocolate chips (Not a huge handful, but not a tiny one either?), 1 orange

Dinner – chocolate protein shake w/coconut milk, chia seeds, ground flax seeds

Other- No headache today but a little low on energy.  Probably due to lack of sleep.  Also, my hair is still falling out.  It is everywhere.  I am so tired of picking it off myself and cleaning it off every surface in my home!  YUCK!!

 

Leave a comment »

Daily Log

Sleep- Another great night!  This is getting to be a habit:))  11:00-7:00, no kids in the bed!

Exercise- 16 mins Bodyrock intervals, 10 mins rebounder, 5 mins yoga stretching

Food-

Breakfast-3 scrambled eggs with 1 tomato and 1/2 red onion sauteed in 1 tsp olive oil; 1 cup organic blueberries

Snack- 1/4 cup mixed raw nuts

Lunch – 5 oz turkey burger over spinach with red onion 1/2 avocado

Snack – 5 organic strawberries, 1 tbsp almond butter

Dinner – Totally went off the plan here.  I had a massive headache and felt like doodie.  I skipped dinner and had a giant spoon of peanut butter and a handful of dark chocolate chips.  Then I had a Tylenol and a calming hot tea.  I feel better now.

Other – As previously stated, I had another headache today.  Still not sure what they are related to?

Leave a comment »

More Health History

I think we left off with the breast infections, over use of antibiotics, and crazy viruses.  I think I failed to mention that during the whole fiasco with the breast infections, I was experiencing terrible yeast infections in my milk ducts.  The yeast was growing due to the antibiotics.  It was a vicious cycle of  staph infection…antibiotics….yeast infection….nipples more prone to cracking/bleeding….that made me more susceptible to another infection….and the cycle would start over again.  I ran this cycle 3 times before I ended up giving up the nursing.  This was all in 2008.  I have had issues with systemic yeast until about a month ago!  I truly believe that all my Candida issues stem from these incidents in 2008.  I think I may finally have them under control, but it still may be too soon to tell.

So, I quit nursing and things did get better.  For a while.  Fast forward to Thanksgiving Day 2009.  This is where, at the time, I thought all my health issues started.  In hindsight, I know that all these past issues were setting me up for a body way out of balance.  Anyway, on Thanksgiving Day 2009, I got this really weird pain in the back of my right calf.  It felt like someone had popped me really hard with a rubber band.  It surprised me so much that it literally took me down to the floor.  It quit hurting after about 15-20 minutes, but I spent most of the remainder of the day sitting down with my legs elevated.  Like I said, the pain went away, but I had this nagging feeling that something wasn’t right.  Nevertheless, it didn’t happen again that day and the next day was business as usual.  Just to fill you in on what “usual” was at that time, I will give you a brief synopsis of what was going on in my life at the time.

In 2009, I was a full time, homeschooling mom.  I had twin boys who were 7 and a daughter who was 2 (and a royal handful).  I was getting my Master’s degree in Social Work.  I had just gotten certified to teach Zumba and had a couple of classes that I was trying to choreograph routines for. I was an actor in our church’s children’s program on most Sundays.  I was cooking 3 meals a day for my family and my parents who live next door.  Throw in housework, homework, laundry, grocery shopping, pets, kids activities, paying bills….and you get the picture.  My darling husband has always been lots of help and was during that time as well, but he was working (and still is) nights.  It meant he wasn’t hear for much of this and if he was, he was often asleep.

Ok, so now that you have an idea of  what my days were like, we can continue.  The weird pain goes away until one day in December 2009, and it takes me down again as I am making my daughter’s bed.  This time I can’t shake it.  I start looking for answers.  I do some internet research and talk to a few of my nurse friends.  Everyone is confounded.  No answers.  Fast forward to February 2010 when I have a new symptom.  I was sitting in a lecture for school when my ears start ringing.  I mean loudly ringing.  I can hardly hear the lecture.  It wouldn’t go away.  This actually persisted for much of 2010.  It nearly made me insane.  I couldn’t sleep.  I couldn’t focus on anything.  I tried white noise machines.  I tried ear plugs. I tried keeping my iPod going 24/7.  Nothing worked.  I hadn’t slept through the night since my daughter was born, but this was an all-time low for my sleep habits.  I would sometimes go a week with no sleep at all!  There were nights when I was awake all night and I would really think…”They are going to have to commit me.  I cannot go on like this.  I am losing my mind.  Please just give me some drug that will make it all go away.”  Lack  of sleep will really mess with your mind.

During the day, I did my thing where I pull myself up by my boot straps just like I did with the nursing. Keep on going.  No breaks.  I didn’t do breaks.  During this time I was still experiencing my stomach issues.  I had nearly constant bloating, gas and cramps.  I had been to the dr., but never any answers.  I had a colonoscopy.  Nothing.  I had blood tests.  Nothing.  I had a lactose intolerance breath test.  Nothing.  The doctors continued to say I had IBS.  While I know some people might not agree, I think IBS is the blanket term for “we just don’t know what’s wrong.”  I knew there was some underlying issue at play here and I was determined to find out what it was.

In April of 2010, I had another new symptom.  My arms and legs began to hurt.  It was sporadic at first, but by June 2010, it was near constant.  It was a pain that was dull, yet pervasive.  It would ache up the inside of my arms and in my calves, sometimes radiating to my thighs.  All during this time, I was pumping my nurse friends for answers.  They agreed that something wasn’t right, but we weren’t getting to the bottom of it.  I went to an ear/nose/throat doctor to check my ears.  They said my hearing was off the charts.  I was hearing noises that no one hears.  My hearing had somehow gotten so sensitive that I could hear the electricity running to nearly anything in the house.  Even when it wasn’t on!  There were times when I didn’t know if the sound was in my head or outside my head.  My test was sticking my fingers in my ears and then seeing if I could still hear the noise.  If yes, then it was the ringing in my head.  Anyway, the ENT doctor said that I was fine.  I just needed some anxiety meds.  I was devastated.  She barely knew me.  I will be the first to admit that I have some anxiety issues.  I own that.  But much of my anxiety at the time was caused by the physical issues.  It was a vicious cycle.  I absolutely believe that my emotional issues played a role in getting me to this spot.  However, my physical issues had gotten to the point where an anxiety med just wasn’t going to do the trick.  They needed to be addressed from a physical standpoint as well.

Fast forward to August 2010.  I am in constant pain, I can’t sleep, my stomach hurts no matter what I eat, I have my same old chronic headaches…things are rough.  I am dejected because despite going to the cardiologist, internist, gynecologist, gastroenterologist, and otolaryngologist, I have no answers.  Alas, I have one more doctor to try.  The Rheumatologist.  This turned out to be the beginning of my answers.

Leave a comment »

The beginning…A very good place to start

Oh how I wish I had started doing this at the beginning!  Nevertheless, I am going to try and go back to where I think this whole journey started using my (these days) less than stellar memory.  This is just one of many areas that has been impacted by my health issues.  My memory just isn’t quite as sharp as it used to be. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I now believe this journey started during my pregnancy with my twins in 2001-2002.  I felt fantastic until about 61/2 months and then it went downhill very quickly.  I developed preeclampsia and my babies (both boys) quit growing.  I was admitted to the hospital at 30 weeks and they were born at 31 weeks via emergency c-section.  It didn’t register with me at the time, but I now believe my body saw this event as a serious trauma.  Obviously, I wouldn’t change anything because the surgery saved the lives of myself and my boys, but I didn’t realize at the time the domino effect this event was going to put in place.  Fast forward 6 weeks and my boys were in the NICU, but doing well. I, however, was very sick with a mysterious virus.  We believe it was West Nile based on my symptoms and my Dr. concurred that it was possible, but for some reason didn’t think it was necessary to test me.  I did recover after about a week, but looking back I realize that after these events my level of vibrancy was slightly diminished.  At the time I attributed it to being a mom to premature twins and all the extra responsibilities that came with it.  Caring for them and pumping breast milk for the first 11 months was pretty all consuming. There is a lot more I could say about being a mom to twins (it’s pretty fantastic!), but since this blog isn’t really about that I am going to try to stick to the topic at hand.  Going forward over the next few years, the symptom I remember most is headaches.  I had pretty bad migraine, cluster, and tension headaches after my boys were born.  I didn’t think all that much about it.  I had CAT scans and saw doctors for it, but just kinda figured that I was prone to headaches and that was that.  Fast forward to Nov. 2003 when I began trying to get pregnant again and more issues come in.  My husband and I conceived our boys on our very first try so I thought getting pregnant again would be no big deal.  Easy peasy, right?  Wrong!  We did get pregnant again (with our beautiful daughter) but it wasn’t until Nov. of 2006.  I tried Clomid.  I had all the invasive tests to look for structural damage and scar tissue.  Apparently nothing was wrong, but I still couldn’t get pregnant. There was obviously some hormonal issues going on that made pregnancy difficult to achieve.  This took a huge emotional toll on me.  I know now that the stress over the fertility issue was another domino in my tumbling health, but once again I didn’t know it at the time.  Back then I mistakenly thought that mind issues were mind issues and body issues were body issues.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  They are 2 sides of the same coin, ever intertwined and connected.  As I said earlier, I did eventually get pregnant again.  Once again, this pregnancy had difficulties and that is where I will pick up tomorrow.

Leave a comment »