Tag Archives: chronic pain

Temptation & Discovery

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For a while now I’ve been plotting for Daughter’s week away at camp at the end of August.  I’ve been planning to see certain people, do certain things.  One of those is to hurt myself with food.  It’s not that I want the pain, oh gods no, but I really want that chicken burger I’ve been craving and I want to cash in on my Trophy cupcake gift card from the time they screwed up and forgot my cupcake (remembering my partner’s and my daughter’s) and I didn’t find out until I was all the way home.  They gave me enough money on the card to get three cupcakes, and I think I have one left.  Maybe more.

But after spending this week sick (too many high-thiols* foods, apparently), a sudden attack of my lower back preventing me from putting my weight on my right leg for two days, and the discovery that spelt isn’t going to work for me, I’m starting to rethink my plans.  I mean, I really want to be able to say that once a year I’m going to have a wheat-filled day and then pop naproxyn sodium for the three days that follow, but considering all of the food accidents lately (“why is this wheat-free food making me sick?  oh, it’s really got this hidden ingredient I didn’t know about… oops.”) and now this happy-fun-time with spelt burger buns, I’m not sure that even decadence (yay, decadence!) is worth it.

*Foods high in thiols (organic sulphur): Being sick Sunday and Monday with that sulphuric taste in my mouth made me wonder what else could cause it, because I’ve been strictly avoiding chicken eggs that have been triggering such reactions since I was 18.  I did a search on Monday for not digesting foods and having the sulphur taste and turned up this high sulphur food list that includes a link between this reaction to high sulphuric foods to amalgam poisoning.

Now, I’d heard about mercury in fillings, and I’ve had amalgam fillings since my mid to late teens . . . around the time my health symptoms first appeared.  In fact, numerous sources state that amalgam-based mercury poisoning can lead to depression, chronic fatigue, short temper, insomnia, a dulling of the senses, memory issues, digestive problems, anxiety, food allergies, and so on.  The list reads like my own list of symptoms (even the damage to my sense of smell!) and I’m staring to come up with a game plan. It’ll take time, courage, and a lot of money, but here’s the long-term goal:

  1. Get a blood test to check for high levels of heavy metals, including mercury.
  2. Make an appointment using a free dental check up coupon at a local dentist that includes free x-rays.
  3. Use both medical and dental results to go to the low-income dental clinic and begin having my amalgam fillings replaced with a safer material.
  4. Use chelation and a food diary in the meantime to keep track of attacks and gauge how much is too much sulphur for my body.

It may just be hooey, it might just be coincidence, but I see this discovery a small ray of long-term hope for many of my medical issues all thanks to a very bad stomach upset.

On a brighter side, my homemade meals this week have been fantastic.  I made wheat-free brownies (thanks TJ’s!) with walnuts and bittersweet chocolate chips, served warm with vanilla ice cream and homemade chocolate whipped cream.  I cooked black beans in a way I never had before, and they turned out delightful, tried ono (or wahoo) for the first time, and made a wheat-free kung pao chicken that turned out fairly tasty.

Now if I could just figure out how to make a moist chocolate cake with a sinful frosting that didn’t crumble into dry crumbs an hour after slicing . . .

 

Update: As my daughter/partner dual birthday party planning approached, I let a lot of my basic improvements fall by the wayside.  But after a trip to the Hoh Rainforest with my other boyfriend, coming home, I’ve been good about keeping up with water, vitamins, wii fit, walking, maintaining the kitchen, and even practicing my Japanese!  🙂

Less Pain

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Bob's Red Mill

Image via Wikipedia

Seems getting rid of wheat was a good decision.  My inflammation has significantly reduced since I stopped eating what proved to be an allergen.  I’m not 100%, but there are a lot of other factors leading to my chronic pain and other issues.  The fact that I can now feel aches in specific places (knees, lower back) rather than a near-constant swath of pain across my body with tenderness almost everywhere is a good reason to continue abstaining from wheat.

Of course, I had a mild flare up the other day, and went over in my head what I’d eaten.  I called Bob’s Red Mill because I’d eaten their organic Scottish oatmeal–I’m addicted to it–and Andre told me that there’s a cross-contamination issue.  I have to wonder how they can call it organic unless the only cross-contamination is with other organic products.  They have yet to provide a gluten-free Scottish oatmeal, though they have other forms, none can compare.  Alas!

I did find something good, though, this recipe for wheat free bagels looks as though it could be adjusted to include the extras I like including jalapeno-cheddar, poppyseed, or blueberry.  I could also make my own flavors if I want.  That’s, of course, assuming I can ever get yeast to obey me.

For those that like oatmeal and often make more than they need (a bad good habit of mine), you can save the extra for a different treat the next day.  While it’s still warm, take the oatmeal from the pan and pour it into a glass container.  I prefer a rectangular, short-walled container with a snap-on lid.  Use a spoon or spatula to smooth it flat, cover it, and place it in the fridge.  The next morning, slice it into thick strips, place in a non-stick or well-seasoned iron skillet, add a dash of cinnamon, and fry on both sides until golden brown.  Serve with a dollop of butter (or substitute) and a drizzle of agave syrup, maple, or honey.

The key to its firm consistency is to not add any type of milk or toppers (e.g. nuts, fruit, et al) into the oatmeal before placing it in reserve.  I flavor the pot of oatmeal with sea salt, raw sugar, cinnamon, and butter or Earth Balance.  I only add almond milk to the bowls along with any add ons each of us like (I most love putting walnuts and bananas or apple slices on the bottom of the bowl and mixing them in after, so they get cooked slightly by the heat of the oats).

New Moon, New Resolution

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It’s been a challenging few days.  I’ve felt stretched to my limit as a mother, and yet I’ve managed to face things in creative ways that I can only attribute to some combination of time, experience, support, and wry humor.  I’m thinking more about the consequences for the choices Daughter makes before reacting; I may be angry, and she may know it, but I’m keeping my distance and thinking before laying down the law.

Her father and I talked about some of what she’s been doing over the phone, and her behaviors are often unfamiliar territory to me.  She (Daughter’s father) admitted that there are patterns all too familiar to her; so at least I know who to blame, right?  😉

It’s really amazing how alike they are in some ways, despite Daughter not having lived with her father for the majority of her life.  They only reconnected a little more than a year ago, yet . . . *sighs*  There are positives and negatives, and I’m exhausted.

But I can feel good about my own actions and choices, and I can praise my daughter for getting her schoolwork done in record time.  It took her less than ninety minutes to do her day’s schoolwork, with the exception of our shared project (learning from Doodle Math videos by Vi Hart on YouTube.com).

Getting Ready to Write

Getting Ready to Write

Today is the new moon, and with it comes another healthy addition to my daily routine.   Along with my water, vitamins, and daily photo (I forgot yesterday’s!  Yipe!), I will now also be stretching every day and doing one of the following each day: morning grounding, afternoon/evening meditation, or shamanic journey.  In May, I might add “dancing to connect with Spirit” as part of the spiritual rotation.  I get to choose what feels right to me each day, but it’s usually best to not journey more than once a week, unless one is providing service to others.

Today I followed through on all of it.  I awoke remembering what day it was.  I also awoke incredibly sore and exhausted, but I did morning grounding in bed (with a 22 lb. cat trying to sit on my chest, no less), I took three deep breaths afterwards, and no longer felt quite as sore.  I got up, dealt with morning hygiene, ate a banana with a spoonful of peanut butter, had a cup of pumpkin spice tea, and took my vitamins.  Later in the day, I was already halfway through my water quota when I took my daily photo and just before my writing session with my co-author/Daughter’s father, I stretched my legs, arms, and back for 10 minutes.  I used a combination of moves I learned from yoga, quigong, and dance classes, and felt a little better than when I’d started.

So, this new year and new moon are off to a shaky start, but at least I feel confident that I’m doing my best most days, even when I’ve been handed few too many spoons.

Not Quite Perfect

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Shirt Ninja Fail

Hiding Inside My Graduation Shirt

Ok, so I’m not quite perfect.  Perfection is far from me, in fact.  As we grew closer and closer to Solstice and then onslaught of holidays and even in the post-holiday slump, I found myself putting off responsibilities, not drinking my water, and not taking my vitamins.  Of the greatest failures was keeping up with my daily photos.

Preparing for Solstice

Dancing in My Kitchen

My current tally between December 20th and today is having missed my water quota one day (the day I spent out in Redmond waiting for car repairs for three times longer than the promised time I’d be down there).  My daily vitamins were forgotten four times, three of them consecutive days after Christmas.  I missed at least 6 days’ worth of self portraits, and some of the ones I took are still sitting in my Nikon (which needs charging) and need to be downloaded so I can get them on here.

Not More Fragging Snow

More Fragging Snow?!

However . . . I’ve been the most consistent with the water and vitamins this past month than in the last ten years.  Not since my pregnancy with Ana have I been so dedicated to keeping up with certain daily habits (and then I was downright religious about my health, or as much as I could be living below the poverty level).  I also discovered that my skin looks better when I don’t just drink 64oz. of water, but rather that I replace one glass of water with a cup of tea each morning.  It didn’t seem to matter whether I drank green or black or vanilla mint, it only mattered that I was hydrating with hot, leaf-infused water at least once a day.

A lot of this work came from my own need to be healthier, and my own refusal to live another day in pain and sickness without trying to make it better.  At least by doing this, I can say I really am doing my best to make healthy, long-lasting changes in my body.  If after following through with this 13 lunar month cycle proves to leave me little better than where I started, well, at least there will be some improvement, and I’ll know what does and doesn’t work for me far better than anyone else on the planet.

Running Errands

Running Errands

The other part of this is the support I’ve received.  By placing this out in the world, I’ve heard from several people close to me that they’ve been following (and enjoying!) my blog entries.  That gave me such a boost, and to those of you who said it and are reading this entry, thank you.

That being said, I started the year off right, continuing my knee exercises like my doc wanted and taking my supplements.  My water quota is going strong yet again, and I know that tomorrow I’ll be making a cuppa to get me going.  I wrote up a meal plan from last Thursday through Tuesday, and we shopped accordingly.  I’ve been doing this last part for over a year now, but sometimes I let weekly meal planning slip, and then it’s always more stressful figuring out what to make and when.

Why Can't Computers Keep Up With My Typing?

Why Can't Computers Keep Up With My Typing?

So the big obstacle facing me right now is getting these pictures done.  I really want to take interesting self-portraits each day, but to do that usually requires planning, and I’d prefer the higher quality of my Nikon.  However, going downstairs everyday to pull a single image off my camera seems excessive, and with my knees hurting more than ever, I try to avoid extra stair climbing whenever I can.

Two days until the new moon, and then my second “month” begins.  The calendar for this program started on December 1st, but I’d mistakenly thought it was the new moon, when in fact, December 4th or 5th was.  So in January, the new month starts on the 4th, then:

  • February 2nd
  • March 4th
  • April 3rd
  • May 3rd
  • June 2nd
  • July 1st
  • July 30th
  • August 29th
  • September 27th
  • October 26th
  • November 25th

Bet you’re wondering what I’ll be adding to my routine on Tuesday, don’t you?  😉

(to the tune of "White Christmas")

"I'm Dreaming of a Ta-a-all Viking . . ."

Completely off topic, having just read the entire Sookie Stackhouse series in under a month (I’d have read them faster, 4-6 hours each, but the library was slow in getting me the books), I’d like to impress upon others that I’m squirming in anticipation of book 11 in May, and the return of True Blood in the summer.  They can’t come too fast, as far as I’m concerned.

Days 12, 13, 14

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I’m not even sure what I did Sunday.  I know there was writing, cleaning, cooking, and I took all my vitamins and drank all my water.  What I failed to do was take a daily picture.  So instead, you get to see one of my two kittens.  This one is Charlotte a.k.a Lola a.k.a. Bunny Tacos on the middle tier of the cat tree (that’s literal, btw), and she’s laying on a tribble that’s tied around with package ribbon.

She's very tiny

Charlotte the Mighty

Monday there was even more cleaning, after pap fun and x-rays at my doctor’s office.  I felt so run down, but I kept chipper through the process, showed my daughter that pap tests don’t have to be nightmarish, especially with a trusted doctor, and I kept my nurse laughing.  Isn’t that important?

Awkward and squished

Awkward and squished

My blood work, which I don’t think got tested for everything I wanted (no mention of dairy allergy test, for instance), showed that four out of five celiac disease tests came back negative, one of them is still pending.  My wheat/gluten allergy test showed a mild positive, which I will likely need to address after the holidays as we shift our diet and our pantry to one that honors my body’s needs.  Although, at such a low positive, I have to wonder if a strict no-wheat diet is necessary or if I can get away with the occasional nip as I do with onions (much to my stomach’s displeasure).  For instance, can I have a product with trace amounts of wheat?  Or do I have to live a wheatless existence?

The x-rays of my knees (and they took a lot, I felt all weirded out by the irradiation of my body as I stood on a step ladder), show that I have a lot of cartilage left between my shin and thigh bones, which is good.  They also are free of obvious spurs or signs of arthritis.  What was weird is that my patella aren’t shaped right.  Instead of being round or oval in nature, they had rounded tops and came to triangular points at the bottoms.  “At least it’s symmetrical,” did not cheer me, neither did the fact that he wasn’t sure what was going on.  But I like my doctor because he doesn’t let his own ignorance of a condition deter him from finding answers.

After all, this is the guy who diagnosed my hidradenitis suppurativa when three previous doctors blamed me for my suppurating cysts.  He said that I should give some basic physical therapy exercises a try for a month, and come back to see him.  If they weren’t helping, then we’d start looking into getting an MRI of my knees.  A step in the right direction!  He did warn me, though, that with the state insurance I have, it might be very hard to convince the limited resources that might help me to actually, you know, help me.  If the MRI showed problems, and the chondromalacia is bad enough, then surgery may be in my future.  But that surgery–the one my mom didn’t get–gave our cousin back his mobility after he suffered the same illness.

So there’s a smidgeon of hope, but I still need to test for other food allergies.  It may take me a while to save up enough money to go to Bastyr and pay for the full battery of tests, but I really need to know if my inflammation (and possibly my cysts) can be reduced or even eliminated just by changing my diet.

So, after coming home, napping off my exhaustion, and cleaning like crazy, our power went out.  At 1 a.m.  I was just heading to bed, and my partner, who had seen the lights flickering several times, was logging out of his game.  Suddenly, we were bathed in black, but even when he yelped, I said, “It’s ok.  We’re prepared for this.”  I went over to the front door and grabbed the flashlights, handing him his big black one, and grabbed Ana’s blue one.  We went upstairs, and began lighting candles.  He lit a gas lamp in his room.  I made my bed by the candlelight from my altar, added an extra fleecy blanket, and took my sheepskin to my daughter’s room, throwing that over her shoulders.  Her meatloaf of a cat was curled up next to her head, peering up at me with curiosity.  We got ready for bed, I made it clear to my partner he could climb in with me if he wanted, but his bed gets too cold in winter for me to want to sleep there, so I declined joining him in his.

I curled up under the covers, sat up to blow out the candle, and laid back to enjoy the darkness and quiet.  Except it was neither.  The lamp light carried down the hall to my room, the sky was lit with the distant lights of the city, and the cars, now crawling at 20mph beyond the trees down the wet road cast occasional headlight reflections onto my ceiling.

I paid attention instead to the battering rain, the windchimes whirling and ringing about in the night, and the ringing in my ears from staying up too late.  It didn’t take long before I was asleep, though I didn’t stay asleep much, waking every few hours.  I’d set the alarm on my phone, and prayed the electricity would come back one because we were expecting a guest.

Raven in Banjo shirt, Ana in footie jammies

Raven and Daughter hug before bed

Instead, I woke to a chilled house (though I was grateful it was in the 40’s and not the 20’s as it had been in 2008), took a hot shower (water tank is gas heated), and got dressed.  I’d emailed my co-author before bed from my phone explaining the power outage and that the promised lunch treat might have to be forgotten for the time being.

We welcomed our guest as soon as we managed to find clothes in the shadowy half-light, and sat down to banana nut bread muffins that I’d baked the night before.  After some chatting and a bit of computer talk, Daughter asked to spend time alone with her father.  They went upstairs to her room and talked for a couple of hours while I sang and drummed and looked for my knitting books to try to figure out the abbreviations for a pattern I’m trying to conquer.

When they came down again, we talked some more, and decided that if the power didn’t come back on by 12:30, we’d head out for lunch.  It wasn’t quite so easy, as it turned out, but we eventually got on the road and headed down to the Redmond Chipotle.  My co-author had never tried the only fast food restaurant we ate at, and said, “It’s interesting.  The flavor is different, it has a different spirit.” Indeed, it does.  So we ate slowly and talked, Daughter growing less pleased with that fact that we were talking about our storyline than her, but eventually we left, and she got more attention.

I introduced co-author to Pomegranate, got them a cookie to share, and we returned to the house to find the power was back on.  It was far too late to make chili, even as a to go treat, but we spent more time talking, and basking in the warmth of the heated air.  It must have come back on right after we’d left.

Daughter had brought something down and hid it behind her back.  “Guess what I’ve got,” she said.

I said, “The secret of the universe.”

“No, it’s something sharp.”

“My wit?” I asked.

“No! Oof!  It has nothing to do with brains or minds or anything.  It’s something I stepped on the other day.”

Considering Daughter’s track record for injuries, I just shrugged, and she brought out a clear tack.  I really wish I could find the alarm necessary for every minor hurt, but it happens so often, I wonder if she’s ever really aware of her body or her surroundings EVER.  Still, when it happens, I ask her how badly, make sure she tends it right, and give her a hug.  As long as she’s not bleeding profusely, burned badly, or broken something, I figure it’s not worth getting upset about.

Anyway, we had a good time overall, and Daughter got in lots of hugs and snuggles with her dad.  We said our good byes, and I collapsed in bed as soon as I could.  When I got up, I made the double batch of my special vodka and black bean chili that my co-author misses from when we lived together, and when my partner got home, we gobbled up half the pot, and I froze the rest for our next home visit.

Then I remembered my deadline.

It took me less than an hour to adequately revise my short story–my first erotic short story submission–and send it off the editor at Circlet Press in hopes that it will join a rather intriguing anthology.

Now, it’s 11, and I’m tired again.  I think I’m going to treat myself to another Sookie Stackhouse novel, or at least start one, and prepare myself for tomorrow.  Tomorrow, I conquer the kitchen.  Tomorrow, I return to finishing up the sketches for our third book, so we can wrap it up, and return to the final revision of book one.

Day 9: Trip to Tukwila

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My friend in Tukwila picked us up and took us to her house (a long journey, thank you for the efforts!) in order to work with Daughter and I in a spiritual capacity.  We’d prepared lunch and did some circle work, talked basics of chakras and opening/closing circles, and did some past life discussion as well.  Then my friend drummed for me so I could journey, we ate our lunch and chatted, and then closed circle.  A long talk on the way back, and I was drained.  When I got the message from my co-author that s/he wouldn’t be on again (it’s been a couple of weeks now), I rattle journeyed for a quick question, meditated, and then took a short nap that left me with a few names, but not nearly enough answers for this short story I need to finish.

It also left me realizing that at that point I’d only had two cups of tea and three glasses of water.  I’ve had two more since then–just one to go–and all my vites were taken care of with breakfast (three fig newman’s, a banana, and a cup of tea count as breakfast).  All that remains is the picture, which reflects a lot of the way I’ve been feeling the last week since my back seized on Saturday.

Blurry Raven, shot from above

Blurry Raven, shot from above

Tomorrow, I need to make it through the Nutcracker with Daughter and friend-of-friend’s daughter.  There’s so much I need to be doing, and so much pain I’ll need to struggle through just to watch this show.  I keep reminding myself that I’m doing it for the kids.

One more glass of water, and one rough draft to go, and then I can head to bed.