Lessons Burned

Lessons Burned

Have you ever burned your fingers and they took forever to heal? That’s what’s going on with me this month. As Sebastian would say, “My nerves are shot!” I have nerve damage from celiac disease and boy does it feel weird and yet not feel at the same time. I feel the nerve tingling more at night, in my neck, back, hips and shoulders. Then there’s the forgetfulness and memory loss, forgetting things told to me or that I did recently and losing memory of past events. Dropping things when I know I have a good grip on them. It’s a real PITA.

I’m realizing that my high tolerance for pain is most likely due to nerve damage. I know part of my ability to handle the pain is because I’ve trained my mind to block it, but I think part of the pain is due to nerve damage.

I burned my fingers, bad, by pulling a dish out of the microwave and taking the top off. I’ve done this countless times before and have had issues with the skin on a couple of fingers on and off, but I never put it together. This time I paid more attention, that or it’s possible my memory is finally starting to get better, but the skin issues I’ve been having on my fingers are due to burning them on the ceramic. My fingers can’t feel how hot they are until it’s too late, so when I finally notice it’s too hot, my skin is already burned.
Burned Fingers Healing
It’s so interesting, and it takes my skin about a month to finally heal. It does eventually heal, though, and then I have to reset my iPhone fingerprint. First world problems. Though I’ve had to do it 3 times now. At least I finally figured out what it was! Pot holders ALL. THE. WAY. These are the pot holders I use, and these are the next ones I’m interested in trying. “Oh honey bunch…”

Celiac and Water Absorption

I’ve been having this dry problem for a while now. I thought, and was medically advised, to drink more water, lots of water, to stay hydrated. I swear, I drink the water. Most days I drink close to a gallon of water, others about 3 liters or more and I’m still super dry. Dry skin, dry hair, dry eyes, dry nails, dry everything.

When I came home after my c-section and was finally able to get a shower, my skin was so soft and well-hydrated. My skin looked and felt better than it had in 20 years! I was in the hospital less than 3 days, what was different? I came to the conclusion that it was either not showering for 3 days or the IV fluids that made my skin feel so nice. I’m going with the IV fluids, I like to be clean.

I researched what was in IV fluids and found there are many different concoctions, but got the general idea – minerals, sodium and sugar. So I did some general dehydration forum surfing and found that people have had success with adding sea salt or himalayan pink salt to their water. I read that a common amount was about 1/8th teaspoon salt per liter of water.

First I tried the sea salt. I added 1/16th to 16.9 oz. bottle of water and drank water like this for two days, close to a gallon a day. I noticed that I wasn’t as dry, but I was still very thirsty. My hands were a little less dry and my skin felt a little better the first day. The night of the second day, I noticed my ankles and lower legs were starting to swell when I was in the shower. I thought maybe the salt was too much, maybe I needed the sugar, too. I had plain water for the rest of the night and tried himalayan pink salt and a little bit of coconut sugar in my water the next morning. That did not taste good at all.

Back to researching I went, this time looking up celiac disease and water absorption, and found this forum post on the inability to properly absorb water from 2008 where people with celiac mentioned they have problems with staying hydrated, that Gatorade or Propel sports drinks were the only thing that helped them maintain normal hydration levels. Others said potassium supplements helped, or just adding sea salt to water, but then someone mentioned that the salt water wasn’t enough for them, that they needed the sugar, too. I thought, “Hey, that’s me!” Gatorade or Pedialyte were offered as suggestions to get hydrated again. Now, I’m not a big fan of Gatorade and I looked up Pedialyte and the flavored ones don’t have the best ingredients, but the unflavored version didn’t look too bad, just expensive.

We went out one day and ended up stopping at a gas station, so I went in looking to see what kind of sports drinks they had, thinking I would give it a try. I found one called ‘Body Armor’ and it just so happened to be on sale. It has vitamins and minerals, electrolytes, sodium and sugar, everything I was looking for! So I bought 4 bottles to try. The ones that didn’t have grape or orange were the Fruit Punch and Tropical Punch, so I got two each of those. They’re very tasty, but super sugary. It could definitely use less sugar. I drank one bottle and within an hour or so my hands and face weren’t dry anymore. My cuticles were soft and pliable, my fingers didn’t feel rough anymore. My iPhone knew my thumbprint again! Wow! I’m amazed.

I tried diluting the second bottle in water, because the sugar is just too much, but that didn’t work as well. My hands started drying out again. So I drank the third bottle the day after that and was hydrated again. But now at night, I have been drinking salt water and find it’s not helping my nerves and muscles. They’re still very tense and I’m getting the restless-leg symptoms, but it also goes up my back and neck.

It’s weird, because water seems to do nothing for me, but drinking the sports drink is too much sugar and I end up craving plain water. I did some searching on Amazon and found electrolyte drops that you can add to your water on a daily basis, so I think I’ll try that next. I hope I can figure out this dehydrated issue soon. I’ll report back and let you know how it goes.

Difficulty Coping with Celiac Disease

Difficulty Coping with Celiac Disease

I normally like to stay on top of posts and it’s been a while since I’ve written. I took the summer and fall to reflect and take a deeper look into myself. It’s been a tough year, losing our baby Max was devastating. It helped to write for a while but then I lost my inspiration. I wanted to write and wrote drafts, but everything I wrote sounded like a complaint, which isn’t normal for me. Then I realized, dealing with celiac disease is sort-of one large complaint, for those with the disease and everyone around them.

I used to be a happy-go-lucky, balls-in-the-air, multi-tasking maverick, but celiac disease has caused holes in my memory and no energy to do the everyday things. I got pregnant on our trip back East, we began work on a big project and launched a new website when we returned and those things kept me very busy. I couldn’t find time to work on my crafts and have a slew of unfinished projects in the works. My house is a mess, dishes pile up in the sink, laundry goes undone for weeks. I want my energy back!

Energy comes in short spurts and doesn’t last long, I have a few hours up or out and then I have trouble smiling through the pain. All that affects me with celiac also affects everyone around me, because it can be difficult to control my responses when I’m trying to manage the pain. There are highs and lows we celiacs go through, ups and downs like being on a constant roller coaster. Usually I’m an outgoing, fun, happy person but I have cycles where I’m negative, depressed and not able to socialize. We lose friends and close contact with loved ones, because the celiac changes you. The ones who do stick around will tell you to stop saying the word ‘sorry,’ as apologizing becomes a serial habit.

In my last topic, I wrote about not only accepting your celiac diagnosis, but fully surrendering to celiac disease. It’s a life-long battle, I constantly talk myself out of pitying my situation – especially at the grocery store. I said to my Hubbs the other night that it’s not like it’s the end of the world, but I REALLY miss good pizza, ice cream, soft pretzels and cheesesteaks. Not that it’s food that is particularly good for you, but once in a while it would be nice to indulge without serious consequences. He told me it might as well be the end of my world, never being able to eat my favorite foods ever again. And that’s how people feel, that it’s the end of the world. They’ve told me they would rather shoot themselves in the head or jump off a cliff than never eat gluten again. I thought that was a bit extreme – I mean come on, there are other foods out there and at least I got to enjoy them for a while, but it does kinda feel like a life-sentence. Celiac disease does make life difficult, but it’s slowly getting easier as more and more grocery stores and restaurants embrace gluten-free foods. Here’s hoping it only continues to get easier to safely eat food without worry of cross-contamination or getting seriously sick.

Surrendering to Celiac Disease

Surrendering to Celiac Disease

I touched on ‘acceptance’ being an integral part of healing from celiac disease, but it’s more than that. It’s not only accepting the fact that you can’t eat or do certain things anymore, it’s also surrendering yourself to healing. Now that you have a diagnosis of celiac, what are you going to do to make yourself heal? What lengths will you go to to feel better?

Researching ways to heal my body naturally has become an obsession for me. I pour through journal articles, medical studies and even blog posts to try to find the right cocktail of vitamins, minerals, herbs and foods I need to consume in order to feel better.

Sometimes I feel like I’m reading in circles. When I get to that point, I take a break for a while. I just want to understand the processes in the body, how they work together normally and what causes them to misfire to cause disease. I believe that means taking into account many different paths of medicine, natural, modern, eastern, Ayurvedic and more. I don’t believe any one way is more beneficial than another; it all depends on the doctor, their knowledge and experience. If you are lucky enough to find a doctor that will spend their time to work with you on finding ways to make you feel better, you’ve got it made!

I haven’t been so lucky. My whole life has been one misdiagnosis after another. Doctors have gotten exasperated with me and my requests, they make me feel like I’m crazy for wondering about some of the things I ask. Modern medical doctors have done me wrong numerous times: performed surgeries, given radioactive iodine, and been generally uneducated in the functions and processes of the body, and my body in particular, before they administer surgeries or drugs.

One can say that modern medicine hasn’t been around for that long so how can we truly understand the processes and malfunctions of the body until recently, and yes that is somewhat true. Functions of the body have been known for millennia, with scrolls depicting veins and inner systems of the human body. We can understand more now, but modern medicine seems to turn a blind eye to anything that wasn’t documented before 1910, even later on other things. Methods of keeping ourselves alive for thousands of years are discredited because there isn’t a ‘proper medical study’ done on a particular remedy. If modern medicine wasn’t funded by drug companies whose sole purpose is to replace natural treatments with synthetic versions that they can make money from, what would be the state of health in America?

On that note, I don’t quite understand why the drug companies need to make it synthetic to make money. Natural remedies work, they just don’t work very fast. Our society has become so fast-paced that taking the proper amount of time to heal yourself is frowned upon. Read that again folks…taking time to heal yourself is frowned upon by the companies we work for and society at large.

I’ve been trying to heal myself my whole life and all I’ve heard is that it’s either all in my head or to just keep pushing through the pain. So that’s what I’ve been doing, pushing through the pain. Put on a smile and spread some sunshine when my stomach and joints are burning, a headache is threatening, my muscles ache and spine hurts high and low. I bob back and forth on my ankles because they can’t hold me up straight and my feet and legs ache to no end. It’s exhausting and I try, but I’m not always the best at bringing the sunshine and happiness every day. I’m much better now than I was a couple years ago before my celiac diagnosis, as I’m sure some of my old coworkers can attest, but I did try.

It makes me sad because I’m usually a very happy-go-lucky person, a lover of life with a positive outlook towards everything and everyone. I feel like celiac and modern medicine have robbed me of my happiness and chance at a normal, healthy life. I’m still angry and I need to just surrender and let it be. There’s nothing I can do to change the past, so I have to figure out what to do to move forward and get as healthy as I can from here.

I’m at the point now where my feet and legs ache so badly, it’s all I can think about. My lower spine has been aching and swollen, along with the upper part of my spine in my neck. I can’t focus or get lost in my work or creative outlets because the pain is taking over my mind. I’m laying here outside now, it’s getting chillier and I’m getting cold, but I don’t want to get up because my ankles, lower legs and feet are throbbing. I’m trying to form a complete thought and post here, but it just runs to rambles because the pain is the focus. I’ve put off surgery on my feet long enough and I can’t put it off anymore. The house is almost set up, the backyard is just about finished. It’s time to fix my feet. I have to surrender my Type-A, go-go-go, Miss Independent lifestyle to Celiac, and let it be until my body heals. If I could lie in a pool and float for a few months, that’d be great, but then my skin would probably get funkier than it is now. Celiac…I surrender…to the pain, to the worry, to the stress and uncertainty…to the healing.

9 Things To Do When Diagnosed with Celiac Disease

9 Things To Do When Diagnosed with Celiac Disease

Your doctor broke the news: Celiac disease. Lucky you! Great. Now what? Your doctor probably told you to follow a gluten-free diet, maybe they recommended a vitamin or two, and sent you on your way, right? If that’s the case, check the list below for 9 things to do after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

1. Search the Internet for Gluten. Search the web for gluten and find out everything that contains gluten so you know what to avoid. You need to know what to avoid so you can choose the right foods. Make a list, it will help. This list will be long and it will probably intimidate you and may possibly cause a minor (or major) panic attack. Realize this ahead of time and tell yourself to chill when your heart starts racing or everything starts to close in – all will be ok.

2. Tell your Family and Friends. Tell your friends and family that you have Celiac disease. Let them know that the next few months are going to be very difficult for you as you figure out how to handle gluten and your new gluten-free diet. Be prepared with what you’ve learned about your disease. They will ask questions, and you will want to know how to answer them. Burying your head in your hands and crying “I don’t know what I’m gonna do!” should be reserved for your best and closest friend and only said once. Trust me, it won’t get you sympathy from anyone else. The Internet exists and your life depends on you figuring out what to do – see step 1.

3. Reminisce. Think back on all the times you had to ditch your family and friends and didn’t know why. Think about past sicknesses or health-related issues you’ve had in your life including bone breaks, anxiety, thyroid issues, surgeries, unexplained illnesses, etc. All of these things may very well be linked to your Celiac disease. In me, it’s shown in bone breaks, stress fractures, thyroid issues, anxiety, teeth problems & surgeries, restless legs, inflammation, dry mouth, adrenal issues and chronic pain. In my grandmother, it caused Parkinson’s, Restless Leg Syndrome, fractures, stumbling and fainting. Malnutrition from Celiac disease can cause many, many ailments, syndromes and other diseases of bodily functions and organs. It can even cause cancer.

4. Join Online Forums and Message Boards. Where you can share your symptoms and stories and talk to others who can relate to your celiac disease. I found so much help in reading through the forums. Search for celiac and gluten-free blogs, read and comment. Your family and friends won’t understand like they can, it’s a tough subject to grasp. The Celiac community wants to help you in your journey to understanding your disease and how to heal.

5. Now You’re Educated. Accept the Change. Acceptance is the key to your health. Until you accept that this disease and gluten has caused all these issues for you, you will never be able to fully move on from gluten and remove it from your life. Accept that you are special and unique. You are the 1%. Somewhere along the way your genes were modified to not tolerate gluten – maybe it’s bad for everyone and your body just evolved quicker than others. We don’t know yet, but for the sake of your long-term health, the gluten’s gotta go.

6. Time to Implement Change. Get regular tests to monitor your healing process. Try to get tests for vitamin and mineral deficiencies and food allergies. Learn about the intestines, a leaky gut, the damage that’s been done by Celiac disease and what you need to do to heal your intestinal lining so your body can repair the damage that’s been done.

7. Change your Diet. Implement a specific diet tailored to your needs. Remove any and all gluten, barley, rye and malt from your kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. Check soaps, shampoo, conditioner, lotions, creams, serums, detergents, etc. for gluten and replace with gluten-free versions. Check your medication ingredients for gluten. Buy new pots, pans, utensils, and bowls that will be designated gluten-free. To be on the safe side, replace everything if possible. This may be hard for those in your family who don’t have to change. Ask them to be supportive of you and this new diet as you get used to it, and maybe have them only eat gluten when out of the house until you get your gluten-free cooking mastered. I keep a separate pot, bowl, spoon, etc to make my husband his gluten, but most of our meals are gluten-free. Cook everything separately and be careful not to cross-contaminate. You will think you aren’t that sensitive, but trust me, you are. The Celiac body cannot handle any amount of gluten. Think about the body’s reaction to gluten this way – if you eat gluten, a fire erupts in your gut and slowly spreads around your body. It will not go out, no matter what you do to tame it. This fire spreads through your body for months, frying nerve endings and villi, causing inflammation and destruction everywhere it goes. Whether you feel it or not, this is what gluten does to your body and why it’s imperative to avoid gluten at all costs.

8. Keep a Food Journal. Write down new eating habits and how they make you feel. As a celiac, you have a tendency to forget things, like what a certain food did to you two months ago, or whether or not that restaurant you went to really understood your dietary needs. It’s important to write down what you eat and how it makes you feel so you can avoid the foods that cause you problems. Beginning on the celiac diet, you’ll need to remove a lot of foods as many will cause you sensitivities and impede on your healing process. The main ones are dairy (lactose), eggs, corn, and nuts. In the beginning this list may seem really long, but as you remove things and heal your stomach, you should be able to add those foods back in moderation, though it will take years for this to happen.

9. Don’t Worry, Be Happy. Your life will change. Eating out will not be as fun as it used to be, it can become a stressful situation. I recommend not eating out until you understand your disease and learn how to eat again. Please don’t let this get you down to the point that you can’t get up again. When I was diagnosed there weren’t many options available and I recall coming to tears in the grocery aisle as I searched for something I could eat, and that was only 2 years ago. I can’t imagine what people went through 10 years ago. Today, there are so many more options available and more restaurants are accepting the gluten allergy and being conscious of cross-contamination that it’s becoming easier, and tastier, to handle celiac disease. Things will get better and you will heal if you stay focused on your health.

Gluten-free Blog Celiac and Foot Problems

Celiac and Foot Problems

Lately, the pain in my feet has been getting worse and worse. Yes, my feet…again. (Begin rant…) It stinks. I haven’t been able to play sports or do any real exercising in a long time. I miss playing tennis, basketball, going for walks and runs, hiking, volleyball, bike riding and just being active. I even miss the elliptical machine. I got a set of golf clubs 2 years ago and I haven’t even had a chance to use them! NOT COOL! Celiac is ruining my feet and ankles! (…end rant)

I have multiple stress fractures, talar dome lesions, tendonitis, swelling and other medical terms for bad things going on in my feet, ankles and legs. My tendons, ligaments and bones have been ravaged by a lifetime of playing hard and an intolerance to wheat (Celiac). Over the past 5 years I’ve broken numerous bones. When I was pregnant, I was still recovering from a broken ankle (six months later) and it was slowly getting better, but it did not heal completely. I had to give up on it after a few months of pregnancy because I couldn’t crutch anymore due to my wrists breaking down. It’s very frustrating, and my right foot is in worse shape than my left. Over the weekend I had some issues with my right foot locking up again, and when it does, it’s like any move I make will break it. I have to carefully bend and move it around until it pops back into place, which is very painful.

Back in 2005 a doctor told me a steroid shot would fix my right foot, but all it did was make it worse. It caused me to be on crutches for a week; my foot was swollen, bruised and painful to walk on for a couple weeks afterward. I’m not sure what’s in those injections they give you, but my body had a bad reaction to that one. I’m also not a great reactor to surgery. In 2002 I had my tonsils removed – the healing with that took FOR-EV-ER. A week after I had them removed my mom raced me to the hospital at 4 a.m. I was back in surgery having the wounds burned closed because they starting bleeding and wouldn’t stop. The percocets they prescribed made me so sick I couldn’t keep anything down and the anesthesia wearing off made my whole body tingle and hum. After a few days of yakking, which doesn’t exactly tickle after a tonsillectomy, they gave me Tylenol with codeine which took the pain away without causing the sickness. I haven’t taken strong medication since, and the last couple times I had lidocaine and novocaine injections, my heart started beating super fast and my whole body started jumping and twitching in the chair. I’m trying to heal my foot myself, hopefully without surgery, unless it’s absolutely necessary or not major.

At the Phillies GameAll the doctors I see want to shoot steroids in my feet or cut me open for surgery. My body is so malnourished from celiac disease, it takes me 2 to 3 times longer than a healthy person to heal. I’m of the belief that the body can mostly heal itself given the proper treatment and time. The problem I’ve had so far isn’t the proper treatment, it’s the time. I’m horrible at staying off my feet. I like to go-go-go and do-do-do. Being in a cast and staying off my foot works for about a month. I use crutches, and now have a great knee walkerhands-free crutch and knee scooterknee walker to get around. They help so much, except for around the house, which is where most of my movement happens. I use the knee-walker if I’m going to be up a lot, but the up and down is more difficult because the latches aren’t exactly easy to get on and off. That’s where I really need to use the crutches. Being on crutches doesn’t bother me that much. It gives me a good workout and after a couple weeks my arms and shoulders look incredible! The only problem is that also after a couple weeks, my wrists start to break down, and within a month my joints hurt so bad, I can’t crutch or even hold myself up doing yoga poses. So I walk on it in the house, which ends up making it take longer to heal.

I’ve read in the next 10 – 15 years they might have a way to heal the bones naturally by injecting stem cells or some awesome crazy vitamin/mineral/antioxidant juice. Until then, it looks like I’ll be in and out of surgeries and in and out of casts. For now, I’m looking for someone who will fix both feet at the same time so I can heal all at once. I do not want pins drilled into my feet, from what I’ve read that only makes the situation worse. There has to be a better way… Do you have issues with your feet or ankles hurting or breaking often?

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Staying Sane While Wearing a Cast

Staying Sane While Wearing a Cast

Wearing a cast does not have to keep you from living your life. In order to keep my mind happy, I need to do things, including going places and just moving around in general. I cannot sit still. I never have and probably won’t until I’m gone. Even then, I might leave a hum in the air. But I am at the point where I have got to try fixing my feet and ankles, and I don’t want to stop living to do it. Going to the store on a knee scooter is *almost* fun for me, rolling around the store. It has a little basket on the front which has proven to be very useful. I used the knee scooter in Vegas and scooted 5 miles in one day!

One thing I learned – people stare. Scott and I joked that celebrities could hire me if they were looking to go incognito, because even though people were staring, they were only staring at me. Wearing a cast brings attention, but they’re also colorful and stand out, so that’s expected. They looked at my foot in the cast, at my leg on the scooter, at the scooter itself, at me as a whole. Some people talked to me or asked questions, but a lot didn’t. Part of me is all, “Look at me go!” At my aunt's retirement party with a broken ankleBut there’s another part that wants to hide away and just blend in with the crowd. It can be very awkward to try to go about your business and ignore the gawkers. I don’t mind the glances or the staring. I don’t think anyone is being offensive in any way. People like to study interesting things that are different. I’m not offended. I’m definitely different…I like to think I’m totally interesting and a people-watcher myself, so I get it.

I scoot around, usually with a smile on my face and a generally pleasant attitude, and I think that baffles some people. But who cares what they think about how I look? I didn’t know anyone there and I didn’t care. Ok, part of me did, but I just told her she was nuts and to go back into hiding. I wore cute outfits and felt good, it was our 5 year anniversary, I was so happy to be there with my hubby and was having a great time! I wasn’t going to let wearing a cast, gawkers or losing my job bother me (yeah, that happened, too).

Wearing a Cast - Celiac Problems

On the phone where they’re telling me the company was sold and I got cut.

At any rate, there’s definitely something about casts that makes people curious. The only thing I’m missing now is an awesome story to go along with it. Telling people I get fractures from Celiac disease is received with confusion and requires more of an explanation, which is good sometimes because then I can bring more awareness to Celiac. Sometimes I come up with something creative, like tell them I broke it while hang-gliding. It depends on my mood. Sometimes, the story is my silver lining.
Gluten-free Blog Following an Autoimmune Diet

Following an Autoimmune Diet

I’ve been trying to get back on a more structured diet lately. I find that I’m clenching my muscles without realizing I’m doing so. Last year my doctor diagnosed me with TMJ syndrome, where my muscles in my jaw, neck and upper shoulders tense up. It causes my ears to feel like they’re clogged, I get nasty aches and pains down my neck and across the tops of my shoulders and I’m constantly trying to stretch out my jaw, which ends up cracking and popping. I feel it getting worse again. The TMJ got better when I was pregnant, it basically went away. I believe the muscle ache disappearing was due to the relaxin increase during pregnancy. I felt it start to come back, very faintly, at the end of January, a week or two or so before I delivered Max, and the pain has been slowly returning ever since. Now I not only clench my jaw, neck and shoulders, but my uterus and core muscles, my back and legs, too. I’ve also been getting this weird sensation in my legs, hips and lower back when I’m trying to fall asleep and I just have to move, particularly when I’m on my side. Restless legs? I hope not. I wonder if I’m low in progesterone, if maybe it’s related in that way. I’m still in the research phase. I’m planning on seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist to help me with those and the hormone balancing issues.

I want to figure out what causes TMJ to get better or worse but haven’t found a link yet. Eating a more autoimmune-friendly diet by eliminating grains, eating green veggies, smoothies and fish didn’t really help, though it helped other symptoms. When I was pregnant my stomach couldn’t handle the diet and I had to totally change the way I ate. My body wanted carbs and sugar again, otherwise I had no energy and could hardly get out of bed or off the couch. Also, the morning sickness was horrible if I didn’t have carbs in the morning. I wanted eggs, but wasn’t eating them because I had been sensitive to them in the past and didn’t want to chance them making me even more sick. Dairy was a HUGE no-no. Anything with dairy at all and I was headed straight to yakksville. Unless it was peanut M-n-M’s or Gratify Gluten-free chocolate covered pretzels.

Now I’m slowly working my way back to a more autoimmune-friendly diet. During the postpartum healing, my body felt like it needed the carbs and the sugar, but now my need for them is dwindling. If I eat a whole blueberry muffin for breakfast these days it causes acid buildup, or something along those lines, in my stomach. I’ve actually incorporated eggs again, having a few a week and I think I’m doing ok on them. I’m not 100% sure because it can take anywhere from 2 hours to 4 days for the symptoms to show. I read this article on why eggs are bad for Celiac’s and those with autoimmune issues today, so now I’m wondering if I should cut the eggs again.

I started taking the Neocell Collagen Beauty Bursts, hoping they’ll do something for my skin, tissue and joints because when I asked the delivering doctor what causes cervical incompetence she mentioned something about collagen. I thought it couldn’t hurt! My skin is pretty dry. I get breakouts, though not as bad as before I was pregnant, and I have these funky dark patches of skin on my face, similar to the butterfly-shaped design significant in Lupus. The marks sometimes get better/worse, but I haven’t found what causes it to go away yet. It seemed to start to go away before I got pregnant but then came back full-force over the past couple months…maybe it all has something to do with progesterone? Sometimes I feel like I was a research doctor in a previous life or something, I want to get to the bottom of this!

I know I’m not losing the 10 pounds I put on a few weeks after delivery – which was also weird. I was doing fine and was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight within 2 weeks of having Max. The next thing I remember is I went to the doctor, she pushed around on my abdomen to feel my insides and ever since then I’ve blown up like a balloon. I feel puffy all over, even my neck. I’m not sure if it was the doctor pushing around on my uterus or having a couple drinks that weekend, but I’ve gained 10 pounds since then, most of it right away. Hopefully incorporating a more high-nutrient, veggie and protein based diet and drinking more herbal tea will help improve the bloating and uncomfortable feeling I’ve been experiencing. It’s weird, I feel almost like I was glutened, but without having a super-severe reaction. Maybe I was? There’s always a possibility, but I don’t think so, I’ve been pretty careful. Have you had any issues with TMJ or muscle clenching with your autoimmune disease and what have you done to help alleviate the symptoms?

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Balancing Hormones

Balancing Hormones

I tried it before I got pregnant and I’m thinking about trying it again – eating certain foods to help balance my hormones. I’m bloated and swollen with what I’m guessing is postpartum edema and I would love to deflate and see my ankles again. Here are a few things I’ve tried sporadically over the past few weeks:

Raspberry Leaf Tea – Full of vitamins and minerals like calcium, this will help prime the uterus. I noticed I bled a little more after drinking this a couple times so I haven’t had it in a while. – more research needed

Dandelion Root Herbal Tea – Aids liver function in processing the hormones and toxins from your body. This definitely helped with the bloating, however it doesn’t have an incredible taste or smell, not the worst but not great. I add raw honey and usually brew with a better tasting herbal tea to mask the flavor.

Peppermint Tea – Soothes the stomach and releases gas and bloating. Yup – it works! So tasty too, and it blends well with other teas. I’m not sure if this helps balance hormones, but it helps balance my stomach, which helps balance my mood.

Not stressing – This one is tough for a lot of people but will do so much in the way of balancing your body and mind. I’ve used sewing projects, gardening, cleaning, cooking and reading to keep myself busy, which are all things I enjoy doing. Especially the sewing and gardening, they help me get almost into a meditative state which allows my thoughts to flow freely through my mind. I’m working up to being able to meditate without aids. Every time I go to meditate my mind wanders to “How much longer will I have to sit here?” I’m a do-er, I like to do things. I realize I should try to relax and be in the moment with myself in that way, but I feel much more connected when my hands are busy. I’m hoping one day to get into that deep, meditative state, but for now, the hobbies are working.

Chocolate Chip Cookies – These have been my go-to comfort food this past month. Chocolate chip cookies taste so good and yummy, but they don’t do anything good to balance your hormones. I’ve made a couple batches, I’ve eaten too many of the delicious gluten-free chocolate chip cookies from the Walmart bakery. I noticed more bloating, more swelling of my feet, ankles, legs, arms, etc. after eating the cookies. While they are an awesome comfort food, the sugar in the cookies wreaks havoc on the system. Stay away…if you can.

Best cookie mix

Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels – My favorite treat during pregnancy were chocolate covered pretzels – Max loved them! While the chocolate has some caffeine, it’s not really enough to disrupt too much, as long as you don’t eat the entire bag. Good nutrients like magnesium are in dark chocolate, and the pretzels are low in calories and all the bad stuff. I feel the benefits outweigh the cons here. I wouldn’t eat more than a handful per snack, though.

These are my fav!

Sleep – The most important factor to balancing your hormones and healing your body is sleep. It keeps coming up everywhere because it can’t be stressed enough how much sleep impacts your life. Getting 7-10 hours sleep per night will help so much you’ll be amazed. I know you don’t always feel great after getting a lot of sleep, and maybe that’s because your body is still needing more. I found that a few nights of sufficient sleep will take my bloating away, make me feel more refreshed and keeps inflammation manageable.

Rest – If you can’t get the sleep you need, at least get some feet-up rest. I haven’t been sleeping long enough most nights, nor have I been resting as much as I should during the day. When I rest with my feet up, the swelling goes down some and the bleeding lets up a little (until I stand, that is). Take the time…your body needs it to survive.

What helps you feel balanced and closer to normal?

Gluten-free Blog

Diagnosis: Celiac Disease

Diagnosis: Celiac Disease

It was the very beginning of July 2013 when I was at my endocrinologists office and she was going over my bloodwork. I made the initial appointment because I had been getting sicker and sicker and had no idea what was going on. I thought it had something to do with my Grave’s Disease, an overactive thyroid disorder, and the fact that I had radioactive iodine treatment to stop my thyroid from working. My doctor ran some blood tests and here we were to go over the results. She let me know I had Celiac disease, and a very severe case of it, according to the numbers. I hadn’t heard of celiac disease before and had no idea what it meant. She said all I had to do was go on a gluten-free diet, eliminating wheat, barley, rye and oats and I should be fine.

It was that easy? I thought. I even asked her, are you sure that’s all I have to do? And she assured me if I didn’t eat gluten, I would feel better. I left her office thinking I got away lucky. All I had to do was change my diet? Done! I had already thought it was something I was eating that was causing me to get sick all the time and had been eliminating some foods from my diet, though it seemed to be after I ate anything I got sick. Imagine, there I was, eating saltine crackers for breakfast thinking that that’s what doctors say to eat if your stomach was off. And here they were, those poisonous crackers, causing me to have the stomach problems in the first place. If it meant I couldn’t have a cheesesteak anymore, so be it. I just wanted to feel better.

I was on a mission. No gluten. I researched a gluten-free diet and went to the store in search of gluten-free items. The local grocery store didn’t have much at all, but I could get some things there, like spaghetti sauce, meats, fruits and veggies. The local health food store had more to choose from, but still not much. Gluten was in EVERYTHING it seemed, and it was really cheap. Gluten-free stuff is expensive! The first few months after the diagnosis weren’t easy as I got used to a gluten-free lifestyle. I was easily frustrated when I wouldn’t be able to find good tasting food, because not much of it did taste good. It was even harder to make said food.

The first thing I tried making were gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, and the first flour mix I bought was Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free flour mix, mostly because it was the least expensive. I tasted the batter with the first batch and thought they tasted horrible, so I added sugar and vanilla extract and they still tasted terrible, but I thought maybe they would taste better after being cooked. They tasted somewhat better, but not much. There was a weird aftertaste, which I think was due to the garbanzo bean flour. Then I tried mixing my own flours, I read blogs on the best tasting flours for the cookies and after a few batches, came up with a delicious recipe that tasted just like the Nestle Tollhouse cookies I loved so much (I’ll share the recipe soon). It is possible to have tasty food! I just had to figure out how to make it, because they haven’t really found a good way of making the food to store it for purchase.

I could do this, I thought. It was going to be more cooking on my part, we were serial take-out-ers before, but that’s ok. It was time to grow up. I did ok for a few months, then I went out for Thanksgiving dinner and though I was careful to only eat gluten-free foods, I got sick after eating the turkey that had the stuffing cooked inside. I didn’t even think of that possibility. The sick lasted about 3 months. I felt horrible in the stomach, bloated and gassy, it felt like something was ripping through my intestines, and it took forever to make it’s way through. My mood changed, I was easily frustrated and snapped at people. I hurt all over. My joints ached, my back and neck hurt, my stomach hurt, it was like all of me hurt. It took a while, but I finally got over that glutening and started feeling a little better, but still not great. I continued to research the disease and all that it entailed. There was some info about celiac disease, but not that much. Most of it dealt with the diet. Change your diet and you’ll feel better. Well, what happens when I don’t feel better after changing my diet? I had to find out, so the research continued.

Gluten-free Blog

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