From Here to Health

My journey back from autoimmune disease

ED Day 17 & 18

Ya’ll…I REALLY cheated today!  Not just a drink this time.  My kids all wanted “normal bread” to take in their lunches this week so I made the Sandwich Bread from Against all Grain.  I have made “paleo bread” before and my kids usually turn their noses up at it.  Not this one.  My daughter especially really loved it.  And it looked so good fresh from the oven.  So I took a sliver off the end and dunked it in ghee.  Oh My Goodness!!!!  I haven’t had good fresh-baked bread in about 4 years!  It was such a treat.  As far as I can tell it didn’t give me any digestive distress.  At least not immediately.

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So that was breakfast and it was yummy!

Lunch

1 oz of turkey, 3 oz. wild caught tuna, olive oil, carrot puree

Dinner

5 oz. grass-fed ground beef, olive oil, organic steamed spinach

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Symptoms

I felt pretty good today.  No digestive issues.  Still have itchy bumps and my hair is still falling out a little.

Day 18

Today was hard!  My boys started Veritas Classical Homeschool yesterday and come to find out, we are a week behind.  So we homeschooled for 11 hours today.  And we are still behind.  Oh, and both our vehicles are in the shop. And our hot water heater has a leak.  And our roof has a leak.  And the treadmill broke.  And our phone is only working sometimes.  It would be funny if it wasn’t so depressing.  I tell you guys this to say that I think it was stress that caused my digestive symptoms today.  I was bloated and cramping for a good part of the day, but especially after dinner.

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Breakfast

Organic steamed spinach, turkey cooked in lard, drizzle of garlic olive oil

Lunch

Grass-fed ground beef and carrot puree

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I am finally starting to get really sick of these food, ya’ll!  I think the taste of that bread did me in;)

Dinner

Carrot puree and zucchini with homemade pesto

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I just didn’t feel like eating meat tonight.  I thought just the veggies wouldn’t sit as heavy, but my tummy still hurt really bad after this meal.  STRESS!!!

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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

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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:)

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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?

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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

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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)

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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.

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Hormone Upheaval and Consequent Plan

Alright, so while I was super thankful that I wasn’t dealing with anything more serious, my wack-a-doodle hormones are definitely causing some upheaval in my life.  Today I am going to lay out for you guys (but really for myself) what my plan is to address the issues.  After reading (twice) The Hormone Cure by Dr. Sara Gottfried and reviewing the hormone testing I have had over the past 4 months, I have come up with what I think is a good starting place. It is going to sound overwhelming when I lay it out, but I really believe it is doable.  I currently have issues with cortisol, estrogen, progesterone and thyroid.  Honestly, there are probably some other issues at play too, but I think these are the major players and that if they get balanced the other things will fall in line.  As I have mentioned before, my body has a hair-trigger.  There are times when this is good.  I think I caught my autoimmune diseases really early because of it.  I knew so quickly that something was wrong and it took me only a matter of months, rather than years with many people, to get them diagnosed. Another positive is that I often respond to herbal therapies really well and really quickly.  I am praying that will serve me well in this quest with my hormones.  The flip side is that I respond (often negatively) to even small amounts of stress.  And I can tolerate very few drugs, even at the lowest possible dose, because I have huge reactions and side effects.  I was truly hoping that the testosterone and Armour Thyroid would be workable for me.  They were easy and inexpensive to fit into my life.  However, the “easy” road has rarely been my chosen path it seems and while I did throw myself a short pity party, I have decided to pick myself up and see the glass as half full.  My current prayer is that over the next 3 months I will be able to balance my hormones naturally and be able to share my story with others that it is possible.  The longer and more arduous path is often the memorable in the long run anyway, right?  It has been my experience that my struggles are often what leads to my greatest lessons and rewards.  It has been through them that I have seen what I am really capable of and come to know some of the qualities of my own character that I most cherish.  So here go….let’s break this down.

High Cortisol- I think this bad boy hormone is the root of all my troubles.  It is the one that is throwing my adrenals and everything else of balance.  There are times when I think I have it managed, but then as I said before, something comes along and throw me under the bus.  Here are the recommendations that I am putting into place.

1. Yoga- different types, on my own, as my schedule permits, generally in 10-20 minute increments

2. Dark Chocolate- Need I say more?

3. Massage- trying for once a week between my husband and trading off with a friend who is a massage therapist

4. Chanting- for me this will probably mean singing.  Singing has always brought me lots of joy.

5. Forgiveness- I learned several years ago to put this practice into my life when I was healing from my autoimmune stuff, but it is always a good reminder, especially the notion of forgiving myself.

6. Orgasm- Ok, I won’t go into too much detail here, but we all know it is good for our stress levels.  Dr. Gottfried recommends a certain kind of practice called Orgasmic Meditation or OM for short.  It requires a partner, but lucky for me I have a very willing husband;) I think he may have watched a video and even ordered a workbook on the topic because this is very serious business;)

7. Targeted Supplements- B5, Vitamin C, Phosphatidylserine (PS), Fish oil, L-theanine, L-lysine, L-arginine, L-tyrosine, and the  family of ginsengs.  There are other supplement recommendations, but these are the ones I am starting with, some of which are already part of my routine.

She recommends the elimination of gluten, sugar, caffeine and alcohol but these are not really part of my daily routine so I didn’t include them in my list.  The chocolate will actually be adding a little sugar to my diet, but I am getting at least 70% organic dark chocolate so I am going to overlook the sugar content, at least for the recommended 2 weeks.

I hadn’t planned on splitting up these posts, but due to length, I think I will.   So look for the installment on low progesterone tomorrow.  Titillating, right?

And even though it seems random, I am going to leave you with a picture of my sweet nephew.  Dr. Gottfried recommends focusing on the things that are right in your life and he is definitely a source of joy for me.  So there, I have tied it in:) (Totally not tied in- I just want you guys to know that EVERY time I type the word definitely, I misspell it).

Yes, I am super cute!

Yes, I am super cute and you do smell a little funny!

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21 Day Sugar Detox Days 12-13

I just need to say that I slept 9 hours last night so I am so excited this morning!!! Yeah!! The last 2 nights I didn’t sleep at all.  I did however read 2 complete novels that were pretty awesome.  I came off my thyroid meds because I think they were giving me anxiety and heart palpitations.  I don’t know for sure if it was the cause or not, but I didn’t feel it last night so we’ll see. I thought at first that I felt wonky because of the 21 DSD, but then it went on too long for that to be the case.  Then I thought it was “lady business”, but that came and went too so I was left with the new thyroid med.  I guess we’ll see how I do without it and then make a decision with my doc.  I feel the need to confess that I fell off the 21DSD wagon on Valentine’s Day.  I split a small coconut vanilla tart with my kids.  It was literally only a few bites, but I wanted to offer full disclosure.  It was yummy and I don’t feel guilty, which I think is awesome.  I am already planning to do the 21DSD again towards the end of March.  I had such a sugar issue that I think it is going to take multiple times for me to get where I want to be.  As an example, I have been having the sugar-free allowed “treats” every day during this go around.  Even though I am not getting the sugar, I think I am still psychologically addicted tothe treat mentality.  I would like to do it again without the allowed treats.  Or at least cut them down.

On another topic, we ran 3 miles at CrossFit on Wednesday.  I am not a huge fan of running and I hadn’t done more than a 400 m sprint since coming off my hiatus in December.  I did the whole 3 miles (in the freezing cold) and it was mostly fine until my knee started hurting during the last 1/2 mile.  Hopefully it won’t give me any problems at the gym today.  Yesterday I was so tired from 2 sleepless nights that my only exercise was a walk with the kids.  It actually turned out to be the best part of my day.  My daughter held my hand the whole way and talked her face off.  My boys would periodically turn around from in front of us to say “love you mom.”  My sweet babies.  It was a blessed Valentine’s Day!

Thanksgiving Meatballs, avocado, spaghetti squash, cauliflower/parsnip mash

Thanksgiving Meatballs, avocado, spaghetti squash, cauliflower/parsnip mash

This was lunch on Wednesday.  There was a 5th meatball but I literally forgot it in the toaster oven and it caught on fire!  Like a serious flames shooting out fire.  I had to wake my husband to put it out and then the kids and I had to spend the rest of the afternoon at my mom’s house due to the smoke!  The 4 I ate were delicious.

I made “healthier” peanut butter cups for the kids for Valentine’s Day.  Here’s Finn after one of hers.

Enjoying a Peanut Butter cup with Breakfast

Enjoying a Peanut Butter cup with Breakfast

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January 25th-26th, 2013

I had to work Friday and Saturday night so I didn’t get to my post.  We had a couple of light seminars.  They went well, but not nearly the attendance we hoped for.  I have to try not to worry too much about that.  I have to keep believing that the people that need to be there will be there and let go of the rest.  Something else I am trying not to worry about is a rumor I was informed of last night.  Apparently since about last October, there has been a rumor going through the company that my friend and I had a 3 way with one of our male seminar speakers! Yes, you read that right.  Apparently, he told some young guys in the company this in scathing (imaginary) detail and it has spread throughout the whole community.  I’m not sure how it took so long to get back to us, but it did.  Last night I had to call our CEO and tell her that there was absolutely NO truth in that.  Not only have I not had a sexual relationship with this man, but I haven’t even had a bawdy conversation with this man!  We have never really talked about anything that didn’t involve light, energy, medicine, health, etc.  I am in a weird place now of not wanting to give this situation a lot of my energy, but also not wanting people that I have a relationship with to question my integrity.  Besides, if I ever have a 3 way it will be with Adam Levine and Channing Tatum;)

In other news, the thyroid med is going well.  I didn’t sleep super good the first night, but it has improved steadily since then.  I started using the “No Poo” hair cleansing method this morning.  I have to admit that I am nervous about it.  I am afraid it will be a greasy, limp disaster, but I am committing to 2 full weeks per Liz Wolfe’s recommendation.  I started doing pull-ups without a band again.  Not dead hang, but when we are kipping during a WOD.  I did them on Friday and it was hard, but not crazy hard.  I think that is about it for now, but will check back in tonight for the days update.

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January 24th, 2013

My plan to go to sleep early worked great in the beginning.  I fell asleep easily around 10:15.  I know that is not super early, but it was my best for that day.  However, I awoke at 3:00am.  I slept off and on until 7:15 so it was not a total loss, but I really love those nights when I don’t wake up until it is time to be up for real.  I am hoping for a better night tonight.  I started my thyroid medication this morning.  My doctor tells me it is such a small dose that it would be highly unusual for me to feel any side effects.  So far so good.  The things I am on the look out for would be insomnia, heart palpitation and jitteriness.  I don’t think that is really a word, but I like it.   Let me tell you what else I like- Fermented Blue Cod Liver Oil.  Ok, so I haven’t tried it yet, but I am convinced that I would LOVE it.  My husband had a good laugh because these are the types of things that I ask him to get me.  He says to me, “How many wives do you think turn on their sexy voice and ask for fermented blue cod liver oil?”  Oh, well.  Typical flowers and jewelry is just boring!  Speaking of boring, I didn’t work out at all today.  Like at all!  I did have to run around a lot today so I wasn’t sedentary, just nothing intentional.  Guess what else…I didn’t feel guilty about it.  That’s HUGE!!!  I am going to have to get my photo skills working because I want to show you guys some of what I have been eating.  Tonight’s dinner was the bomb!  I made The Pioneer Woman’s Beef Stew and Mashed Potatoes.  Yes, yes, Ree is certainly not paleo, but this recipe was pretty darn close.  It had a tablespoon of butter (we use grass-fed) in the stew but everything else was definitely legal.  Most paleo people do butter anyway.   As for the mashed potatoes, those were for the kids.  She called for cream cheese and heavy cream so I just omitted the cream cheese and used canned coconut milk.  The kids tore them up.  I snuck a couple of bites and they were pretty dreamy.  I used a grass fed “mock tenderloin” which I was unaware was so freakin’ good.  The lovely lady butcher at Whole Foods cut it up for me.  It was so tender and yummy! I keep trying to add a link to the recipe, but it won’t let me!  Have I told you guys I am a little computer illiterate?  It’s what comes from having an IT genius for a husband.  He just does it for me.  I’ll get him to show me what I am doing wrong and post it for you guys tomorrow.

I am nearly through with Liz Wolfe’s Skintervention Guide.  I’m sure I will be asking for more than Cod Liver Oil by the end of it.  I will also keep you guys posted on what I think about anything I try!

Sunday Night Beef Stew– Ok, hubby showed me how to do it so here is the link:)

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January 22, 2013

Today was a low key day.  I love it when one of those days comes along on a weekday where I don’t have anywhere I have to be at any specific time.  Sure, I’m still a homeschooling mom of 3 with a part time business so I wasn’t lacking for things to keep me busy- but I just like it when I don’t have to “get dressed and get somewhere” if I don’t want to!  It was a day off from CrossFit so I took an easy 30 minute walk while watching The Biggest Loser.  In light of all my adrenal issues it makes me wonder how those people can work out like they do and not risk adrenal fatigue?  I know they need to lose the weight, but it seems like the way they do it might not be the best way?  Anyway, I also did 30 minutes of yoga (15 this morning and 15 this afternoon).  I have Bethenny Frankel’s Skinny Girl Workout on my Kindle and I love that I can take it anywhere in the house (or outside for that matter) and do it.  So convenient.  Can you guys tell I’m in love with my Kindle Fire HD???  I will admit that Bethenny is a little annoying, but the workouts are good.  They are challenging strength wise but they don’t get my heart rate up which is good since I am trying not to do much cardio right now.

Couple other pieces of good news- I got my latest round of blood tests back and things looked better.  My testosterone was up from 16 to 28.   Granted, my doctor would like to see it closer to 60, but that is still nearly double and I do think it is making me feel better.  My thyroid numbers look pretty normal at this point but due to my history he thinks they still need to be tweaked so he has me starting a low dose Armour thyroid this week.  We’ll see how that goes.  The last piece of business- No Belly Bloat tonight!!! Woo Hoot!!  I’ve been listening to the Everyday Paleo podcast and they addressed a similar issue and seemed to think it was either from too many veggies (which seems weird, I know- think it has to do with too much fiber, especially if you have suffered from any digestive issues) and/or an issues with fructose digestion.  I think I could fit into both of those categories so I am trying to keep and eye on my evening meal since it seems that is when I am most susceptible.

I started reading Liz Wolfe’s Paleo skincare guide last night so I will let you guys know what I think about that soon.  I already started doing the oil cleansing (which I love) and using Grandma’s Lye soap (which I also love).  My hubby has bad problem skin (cyctic acne) so I can’t wait to see what I can do with him.  Using oil on his face pretty much creeps him out, but he trusts me so he is going to let me boss him around in this arena for a while and see what happens:)

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Virgin Diet Day 12

Started the day out with a chocolate shake.  I can’t believe that I am actually liking these things!  I thought this part would be really hard, but it hasn’t been.  It’s Monday, so I went to CrossFit.  It has been an adjustment not pushing myself at the gym.  I worked on snatch today and backsquat with weights that were crazy light!  I did do more reps than usual, but it still seemed weird.  I listened to a Balanced Bites podcast over the weekend (Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe) that spoke to the thyroid issue and working out and it reiterated the need to go light and not overexercise with a thyroid that is wonky. So I think I am on the right track.  FYI- Diane and Liz are great!  I would love to be doing something like that at some point.  Maybe they’ll read this and ask me to be a guest.  Oooh, maybe they would like to know more about light therapy.  I think I’ll just send that out into the universe and maybe it will get to them somehow;)  Anyway,things are moving in the right direction.  I’m loving my bitters and my DGL.  Testosterone seems to be helping some, but could probably be doing more.  Not sure at this point if that is due to the thyroid or the fact that I need a higher dose of testosterone.  Guess that is one for the Doc.

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