Sunday, March 13, 2016

Long time, no see

Hello out there!

Sorry I disappeared for so long. I really don't have an explanation beyond I was being lazy. That's pretty much the truth. I could make plenty of excuses, but I've got too much to fill you in on to waste time there.

So how has it been going? It's actually been pretty good lately. My house is almost 100% gluten free (my husband still has non GF snacks but as long as they don't cross contaminate me we're okay) and I haven't been glutened in a while. My support system has grown, and I am finding all sorts of new resources as I go!

I am starting to have issues with dairy products, so my doctor is ordering some testing to see if I am lactose or casein intolerant as well. Lactose intolerance is often an issue for people with CD, so I am half hoping that I am lactose intolerant and half hoping I am not. I want to find an answer so I am not in pain anymore, but I absolutely love dairy products. I gave up drinking milk over a year ago, switching to almond milk because of various reasons, but anyone who knows me well can tell you that I adore ice cream. I will never turn down ice cream, or frozen yogurt, when offered - unless they only have gluten-filled ice cream, of course. We shall see what happens, but I am cutting out dairy for now. I am going to miss cheese!

My husband has been the best. He personally went through the entire house when I was diagnosed and put everything in a box that I couldn't eat anymore. We gave the box to his sister so that we didn't waste it - let's just say there was a LOT of food! He has learned to cook gluten free, even substituting his beloved soy sauce with an amino acids GF substitute. He keeps helping me find new snacks to try, and researches safe restaurants for me to eat at whenever we travel. He has even been my taste tester for new sweet treats that I bake, even though he is much more of a savory kind of guy. 

Best brownies we have found so far? Bob's Red Mill brownie mix. Actually, everything we have tried from Bob's Red Mill has been fantastic. I highly recommend the brownies, the pizza crust mix, and the cornbread. It is so good! My husband actually requested I stop making so many good treats because we were both starting to gain weight from eating them all the time! 

What would you guys like to hear about my gluten-free journey? I am not sure what exactly everyone is looking for - recipes? Resources? Recommendations? My personal story/journey? Please leave a comment below and tell me what perks your interest the most!

Thank you!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What I Know Now

Here is what I have learned so far:
I know absolutely nothing about Celiac's disease.

I've got books I can't bring myself to read, 
and an incredibly supportive husband and family.
I am still reeling, and it's been almost 2 months since I first heard!

I have the biopsies to prove it: I have Celiac disease.
A very simplified explanation is that I am allergic to gluten and it causes intestinal damage
Do you know how many food items have gluten in them?
You would be surprised.

It's not just wheat based items, like bread or pasta.
Gluten is a tricky little bastard that hides all over.
It's in soy sauce, ketchup - heck, I've had to replace my makeup, my shampoo, even my lotion!
The argument about topical applications is still going,
but I figure I would rather be safe than sorry.

I promise I'll be back with something else soon! 
It won't be all Celiac's here, but that's my current major battle.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Roller Coastin'

I've missed this space.

I have had a rough time handling change lately,
so I've been hiding from myself.
From here, where I've bared my soul time and time again.
I thought I had nothing to say - but I did. I just didn't know what.

There's been a lot going on.
My husband and I both started new jobs in December,
then we moved to a new place (same town, bigger rental) in April.
I handled both of those as usual, I thought.

The biggest change happened a couple of weeks ago.
I had a bad day at work, and my stomach started to ache.
It just kept getting worse and worse, 
which made my anxiety kick in.

A little background for you:
I was diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) my senior year of high school .
I've been on omeprazole (Prilosec) ever since, but have had years of stomach pains. 
I fired my primary care physician a few months ago and switched to a new provider.
She immediately referred me to a gastroenterologist, and I was put on a long wait list. I was also referred for a food allergy test

So a couple of Saturdays ago, I hosted an Arbonne party. I was so worried over who was coming, and the food,
that I didn't eat most of the day.
Sunday, I was supposed to go to a baby shower.
I had to cancel last minute - I hadn't slept, and my stomach was rolling.

I barely choked down some yogurt and strawberries and went to see my husband at his work.
I couldn't stop shaking and crying - I was in a full blown anxiety attack.
I ended up going to the local ER to get help in the form of a GI cocktail (a liquid that numbs the GI tract and should give relief) and a Xanax.

Monday I woke up with my stomach still screaming. 
I went to the on-call doctor at my primary care,
and she added another antacid and a stomach coating medication to my pills.

That night, I got a notification on my electronic chart system.
A couple weeks earlier, my doctor had ran a Celiac panel on me on a hunch.
My numbers were off the chart!
One of the test results said normal level was supposed to be less than or equal to 19.9.
Mine? 127.

So for the past 2-3 weeks, I have been eating gluten-free.
I saw a gastroenterologist, who told me my numbers were some of the highest she has ever seen.
My primary care told me she has never seen results like mine.
Nobody has officially said what this means - there's gluten intolerance and there's an actual allergy.
I don't know where I rank.

I have my food allergy test tomorrow,
thanks to my suddenly having reactions to banana and avocado.
(yes, no more avocados. My heart is broken too.)
Wish me luck!

I've been having a rough time with all of this.
Do you have any idea how much food has gluten in it?
Quite a bit!
I'm having a very hard time emotionally.
I feel betrayed by my body,
and normally I can comfort myself with food.
But the very foods I turn to for comfort can harm me.

It's been an eye opener, as well as heartbreaking.
But now I am feeling little pain in my stomach for the first time that I can remember.
I have so much to learn,
and I will be sharing my journey here.

Let's get to learning!


Wednesday, January 28, 2015


We all have them.

Some you can see, some we keep hidden inside. 

There are ads upon ads for scar removal creams, "removing the blemish."

Here's my question. Why hide them?

I love my physical scars. Half of them I don't even know how I got them.

I have one on my forehead that I've had as long as I can remember. Nobody knows how I got it, it's just always been there. I love that little mystery just above my right eyebrow. It makes it easy to show my hairstylist where my hair naturally parts. It adds a little extra something to my rather plain features. 

I have two very small white scars under my bottom lip. It appears as though I bit myself extremely hard - again, nobody remembers for sure. Can you blame them? I was the third child, and all three of us played rough - just ask my oldest sister about the scars on her arms from my fingernails. You probably wouldn't notice the scars when you talk to me, unless you pay incredibly close attention. 

I have many, many physical scars from years of sports, as well as just plain being a klutz. All of those remind me that I can be athletic, that I have been fit and can get there again. They motivate me to get moving.

My emotional scars?

Well, I don't really keep those hidden either. They can't stay hidden - they have shaped the woman I am today. They are a part of who I am. All of my quirks come from those "secrets." I believe in talking about anything and everything, as long as an honest dialogue stays open.

Some scars have a more obvious effect than others. For example, I didn't have many friends growing up. My parents are divorced. When you are sent to your mom's house in another town every weekend and summer, nobody invites you to do anything because you always have to say no. This has lead to my love of reading. Book characters have been the best friends I could ask for, leading me on wild adventures all over the world from the comfort of my own home.

This lack of friends has also lead to me making an effort to be overly social in college, leading to a wide range of friendships and all types of people in my life. The hardest part was learning to cultivate only a few solid friendships. I've learned that there are those special few that really deserve my time and energy, whereas there are others that can come and go, but I shouldn't put too much of myself into it. I've also got the scars of the toxic relationships guiding me. I've learned the hard way that not every relationship is meant to last, and some are much better off being avoided if at all possible.

Scars make us who we are. We can try to deny them, hide them with creams and crafted social media posts. However, how can we deny the lasting effects? Creams can only lessen the coloring, not undo the lesion entirely. Facebook and Instagram can fake an appearance of perfection, but how can you hide from reality on a daily basis? Eventually, the scars reveal themselves, so why not embrace them?

Learn from them.

Love them.

They are, after all, a part of the best person you could ever know and love - yourself.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Plan, Plan, Plan

My eyes are burning just a little while I write this, but that may be from all the squinting.

My computer has hit a few bumps, so Jacop hooked my laptop to the living room TV and bought a wireless mouse and keyboard. It makes for excellent computer screen..... when I have my glasses on, which I currently do not, so bear with me!

2015 seems to be the year for big plans.
The blog world is blowing up with goals and plans/resolutions galore!

I'll admit, I have my list of goals to accomplish this year,
(and yes, it's categorized and everything)

I'm not going to share them here.
I know myself way too well to make these grand schemes.
and I almost never follow through 
(i.e.the many, many times  i promised myself I would make time to visit this little corner)
So, unless I actually accomplish a goal,
I'm hoarding them to myself (well, myself, Jacop, and Becca...)

I am always curious about other goals,
and I steal inspiration wherever I can,
so please feel free to comment and tell me your goals!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Goodbye 2014.

So 2014 was by far the year of the emotions...

I made stronger connections with some wonderful friends (looking at you, Becca!) and lost touch with some that just weren't worth the energy any more.

I took a new position that ended up making me miserable, stressed, and anxious all the time,
and then accepted a new job at an entirely different company.
The new job?
Best move I have ever made in my career thus far.

My family got hit hard with the loss of an aunt and the news of childhood cancer.
We also spent more time together, laughing over stories of the past and generally enjoying each other's company.

Jacop and I both got new tattoos. Mine is a reminder to fight through the struggles, his is a tribute to his family. 

But the biggest highlight of 2014?

Marrying my best friend.

I honestly can't remember much about the wedding, 
other than my vows getting interrupted by my bridesmaids trying to get a bee out of my dress,
but I know it was a wonderful day full of love.
Jacop and I got to celebrate our new chapter in front of our family and friends,
and while it was a tiny bit overwhelming,
I don't think I would have changed much of that day..

Overall, 2014 was one of the most stressful, unhealthy, difficult years of my life.

It was also one of the most wonderful and love filled.

It's a memorable year, that is for sure.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Emotional Roller Coaster

I'm going to be completely honest with you, readers (if there are any of you still reading!)

I've had a rough few months. 
It's been a long, rough battle.
And the worst part? 

I've had it easy compared to several.

Lately, I've been hiding from this space. I've been telling myself I don't have anything to say here, that I have lost my voice - but that's all bullshit.

I haven't wanted to face my emotions, to make myself deal with everything that I've had going on.

To be fair, my problems are fairly trivial in comparison to most. I guess I should probably stop blathering on and actually fill you in:

On August 19th, I got a phone call from my mom. I was just back from my honeymoon, running errands and taking care of doctors' appointments while I had the day off. The phone call from my mom was to tell me that my great aunt, Mary Lee, had gotten bad news. Her cancer was back.

Mary Lee had had her bladder removed late last year due to the entire back wall being a tumor. This time, the cancer came back with a vengeance. She had it wrapped around her gallbladder, filling her liver, behind her breastbone, and in her left leg. She was given 3-6 months left with us.

On October 1st, Mary Lee passed away.

Let me tell you about Mary Lee. She was the oldest of four (my grandma was second in line) and fiercely protective of her little sisters. She was a lover of animals - you couldn't tell if she loved her only son Darren or her dog Yaki more sometimes! She was always giving to anyone or anything, giving away money she didn't have to anyone who needed it more. She was willing to believe almost anything you told her, because she was so determined to see the joy and the good in everyone. I wasn't lucky enough to get to see her as often as some of my cousins, so I didn't really get to know her as well. But her loss hit everyone hard, and it's still hard to believe I'll never get a Facebook post from her, telling me how wonderful my husband is, signed "Love Aunt MaryLee and Yaki Noodle." 

I hate cancer. The rat bastard has hit my family hard too many times, and shows no signs of stopping.

Last week, my cousin Kylee started urinating blood. She's only 4. She didn't have any other signs of a uti, but this was her second in a month, so they scheduled an ultrasound just to check things out a bit.

They found a large tumor on her left kidney. Cancer strikes again.

Kylee was taken to the children's hospital in Portland, where a full body CT scan was done.
The poor girl has a large Wilm's tumor on her kidney, and spots on her lungs.
She had a port put in, and has chemo treatments once a week for the next six weeks. After that, they will try to remove the left kidney, if they can shrink the tumor off of a vein that it's currently pushing on. Then they begin chemo and radiation to help the lungs.

again, Kylee is only four years old.

To say that the diagnosis hit too hard is an understatement. We just had a celebration of life for MaryLee on the first of November, and now this?

I hate cancer.

The two good things I have learned with this?

1) I married an amazing man. Jacop has been by my side, holding me steady as much as he can. He is new to all of the cancer business, but he is trying his best to help out.

2) The amount of support and love has been overwhelming. Hundreds of people have come out to support Kylee by donating to her account, or plan to attend one of three upcoming fundraisers for her. They have changed their profile picture to one of her, either her holding her little rifle or her dressed up as a princess for her birthday photo shoot. #TeamKylee has prompted her own Facebook page, as well as many, many, many thoughts send to my cousin's family.

On top of the cancer hell, life has been rapidly changing. Jacop and I both start new jobs on December 1st, and we are constantly trying to improve in areas like budgeting, exercise, and healthy eating habits. I am trying to get a routine down, both in the morning and the evenings, so that I can feel a little more organized and in control. Hopefully that will lead to me working on this space a little more!