Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mmm.. weekends

x365 #2: Lori O'Connor
You were my very first best friend (that wasn't a family member). You lived across the street from me at 41 High. You invited me to my first sleep over party, I must have been about 5 years old. You're sitting next to me at the dining room table as I blow the candles out on my 4th birthday. We have home videos to prove it! I got in trouble for crossing High street without asking my mom first one day when I went over your house. We were both really tall which I think bonded us in a way. Do you remember the word your brother made up that was "all the swears in one" I don't think I could spell it, but I remember him and Tobey riding down Belmont street on their bikes screaming that word at the top of their lungs, and it was ok because the adults had no idea what they were saying. We lost touch when I moved away in 7th grade but I've run into you a couple of times since then. We had a lot of fun back in the day. I hope you are well!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Just got home from kickboxing and I'm about to jump in the shower and get ready to go see Sex & the City!!! I am so excited. I wanted to watch the series finale before I went but now I'm out of time. Great class today even though there were parts of it that I hated while we were doing it, it was a tough class and I appreciated the challenge. I need to work out a lot more! I am not sure if it's the steroid that's causing me to gain weight or if I'm just eating too much, I'm sure it's a combination of both.

Last night I watched Across the Universe and thought it was pretty good. I do love the Beatles and I think they did a great job with the songs, and the story was pretty good too.
Ok, I have to go get ready!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Oh yeah, that's right, it's FRIDAY!

I came across an interesting blog this morning: Drop Dead Chris is participating in a project called x365 where you write each day about a person you've met in your life. For a year. How long do you think I could keep that up? I'm going to try it. Starting today.

x365 #1: R.F. Hutchins
I'm starting this challenge from the earliest days. I have "memories" of my youngest years, but most of them are made up from photos and stories, but this person lives in my actual memory. There's no picture of him and I'm the only one that remembers this incident. We moved into 41 High Street when I was 3 years old and I remember some of the neighborhood kids coming over to meet the family. Here comes R.F. with is nunchucks. I swear to you, I'm 3 years old and here is this boy, couldn't have been 7 or 8 years old, playing with nunchucks. I was terrified of this boy and would continue to be terrified of this boy until we moved out of 41 High Street 9 years later. To this day I wonder what R.F. stands for.

~*~*~*~*~*~ Ok, now onto the rest of today's blog

Ahh, it's Friday. Before I stepped into the shower this morning I bravely stepped onto the scale to see how the old weight is holding up these days. Up is the operative word here. I mean like 10 pounds or so up. Remind me again why I didn't renew my CK membership? Oh yeah, because it costs $55 dollars! I guess I'm going to stick with the pen and paper method of counting calories these days. I am fully aware that the steroid I'm on that's fixing my insides may also cause weight gain. Excellent. I suppose the 8 or 9 cupcakes I ate over the past two days didn't help. I've known for a while that I was eventually going to have to start paying attention to not only what, but how much food goes into my mouth. I just needed to get the what under control first. Now that I'm feeling good and healthy I really need to get a grip on just how much food I'm consuming on a daily basis. I've realized that I'm taking in a ton of sugar lately, gluten-free cookies, cupcakes, waffles... they're easy and quick but gluten-free doesn't mean calorie free folks. Ok enough about that.

This weekend I will be going to see Sex and the City if not once, maybe twice. Tomorrow I'm going with the girls from kickboxing and there's a chance that I will go tonight with the roommate. I have to admit I'm pretty excited about it, but worried that it will be disappointing. I hate building up a movie with great previews and then being let down when all the good action only happened in the previews. I'm sure it will be great. The rest of the weekend will be spent finishing up my final project for Fundamentals of Design and hopefully relaxing and enjoying the spring weather. Last night I ate dinner in the backyard for the first time. It was awesome.

I've also realized that now that I've got the whole stomach thing going in the right direction, it's time for me to stop avoiding the opposite sex. Yes, that means I'm going to attempt to start dating again. I'm not sure exactly what that means yet. Match.com? Perhaps. Yahoo personals? Maybe. Those who know me, know that I am not very good at this. I am typically the type of person that thinks it'll happen when it happens and you shouldn't try to force it (say for example, online dating...) but really, when you're pushing 30 and you don't get out that much, what else are you supposed to do? And let's be honest here, that guy you met at the bar last night is not going to be nearly as hot in the sober light of day as you thought he was after 3 or 4 glasses of pinot.

...Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Yesterday

I had a rough day yesterday. I love my birthday, and every year I celebrate it. But this year I just wasn't into it. Things have been sucking so much lately that it just didn't seem to matter. I have not been in the mood to celebrate much of anything. I didn't feel well most of the day and then last night I got home from work and I was just so sad. Dealing with this diagnosis has proved a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, despite the fact that I've been anticipating it for a long time. It's just that I didn't even really know what Crohn's was up until a few weeks ago and it's turning out to be a lot scarier than I ever would've thought. I'm fortunate in that my symptoms are not as bad as they could be. I've caught it early and am taking care of it before it gets out of hand and that's good. But yesterday I just got to the point where I needed to cry and I did. And it felt good to let it out. Then I went to kickboxing and did ab work and it hurt. It really hurt and I just didn't think I could make it through the class but there's no can't, only won't and I'm not a quitter! I stuck it out and actually found that aside from the weakness in my abs, the rest of me is actually getting stronger. I was able to do full splits on both sides and I did all 3 rounds of the iron bridge. I have never, in over a year I've been taking this class, been able to complete all 3 rounds of the iron bridge! Steve even commented on my "impressive" splits. By the end of class I was feeling so much better. I walked home around 9:30 and went into the house through the kitchen and my roommate comes around the corner carrying a dish full of cupcakes with candles lit and says "Happy Birthday! I made you cupcakes and they're gluten-free!" I almost fell over, I was so excited. It meant so much to me. And they were good! She got a box mix from the health food store but I can't remember which one. She even made lactose free frosting!! I've never had cupcakes that tasted so good, just because they were so important to me. It just made my entire day.

Today I feel really good. It's a beautiful day, I walked to work with a huge smile on my face and gluten-free cupcakes in my backpack to share with my Dad and Brother. I have to say, that a day later they are not as good but I'm not surprised, I know that GF stuff doesn't last long so I'll make sure they're all gone today(I already had one for breakfast). I just know that although sometimes it will be challenging, it's manageable and it's gonna be ok.

I also just want to say how incredibly difficult it's been to not be able to log into CK and check in on my girls. I miss you so much!!! Thanks for the comments and birthday wishes!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I think Food Network should have a gluten-free show. Starring... ME!

I watch Food Network constantly. Whenever the tv is on, you can pretty much be sure I'm watching it. My favorites are Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri. I love Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! I want Bobby Flay to surprise me with a Throwdown. I don't know what on earth he'd be challenging me with because I don't cook anything spectacular right now, but maybe someday...

I really want to start cooking more. Am I repeating myself? Probably. I don't care, this is my blog dammit I can type whatever I want! Right now I'm in the middle of graphic design school which is going to be great for my day job, but if I could, I'd go to culinary school. I love food! I just wish I could eat more of it without getting fat, or sick.

Ok, this post was supposed to have a point, but it really doesn't and I'm losing my train of thought so I'm just gonna end it here. I love Food Network. That is all.

Oh yeah, and I turn 28 today. It's my Golden birthday. Stay tuned because this is apparently going to be the best year of my life.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sunburns are fun.

Buuuurn

Burn baby burn. I definitely think it was dehydration. I grabbed
my best friend Gatorade for some relief.

I don't tan. I get red and my freckles get darker. It all fades rather quickly and then I am pasty again. If I work really hard at it, I can manage a tan but who really wants to put all that work into something that's potentially dangerous? Besides, I plan on having silky smooth skin all the way into my 90's. People will stop me on the streets and ask me what's my secret and I'll say "Pale is the new tan darling!" I do love to sit in the sun though, it just makes you feel so good, all those rays of vitamin D raining down on you.

Ok, I really should be working instead of taking random pictures and posting them on the internet for all to see...

I love Memorial Day Weekend

Fortunately we had beautiful weather this weekend and I spent the day yesterday with my sister. We stopped by the house she's in the process of buying and then went to the Cabbyshack for lunch on the deck. Of course everyone else had the same idea so we spent a good amount of time sitting in the sun, waiting for a table, waiting for our food, you get the idea. I didn't so much mind that at all, it's just that I ended up with a bit of a sunburn and the sun and I aren't that great of friends. Last night I had trouble falling asleep and then woke up around midnight dripping sweat and not feeling so great. I was debating on driving myself to the ER due to my history of severe dehydration and fainting episodes, but I decided to try to sleep it off instead.

Today I definitely feel better, but I'm paranoid because of all the medication I'm on. I'm afraid that it's the meds that are making me sick, not the sun, but I'm pretty sure it was the sun. I always get dehydrated after spending too much time in the sun. I'm just going to pump myself full of fluids and eat well today and hopefully be totally back to normal soon. I hate being on meds, it freaks me out!

Anyway, all complaining aside, I did have a really nice weekend and I'm glad it's already Tuesday, I love short weeks!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sticking to my guns.

I've had a little bit of time to digest (eh hem) all this and I think I know what I need to do here. I have some horrible visions in my head of surgeries and ostomy bags and infertility and cancer just from stories people have told me in the past day and a half and it's more than enough to convince me that the gluten-free life is the life for me. There are just too many positives and not enough negatives not to do this for myself. I realize that there's a chance that it may not work, but there's also a chance that it will quite literally save my life. That's all I need to know. Let me show The Doc how much healthier I will be when I'm gluten-free.

My Mom has a hard time understanding why I want to do this despite the fact that I do not have Celiac. She hasn't read all the books I've read and heard all the stories I've heard of healthy, happy, gluten-free people. She just wants me to be able to live my life without the stress of having to watch everything I eat, and if the medication they give me will allow me to do that then why wouldn't I? Well Mom, you should read the literature that comes with the medication. When you're 28 years old and your doctor tells you that you need to be on a medication for the rest of your life that you absolutely cannot get pregnant when you're on it... well that makes something inside of me break and I just can't deal with that. I read these laundry lists of side effects and I'm thinking to myself I never even take tylenol, why on earth would I want to take these forever? Listen, I'm all about taking the meds to get this issue under control. I believe that's really important. But I am of the utmost faith that I can and will maintain it with my diet.

Mom's coming around though, I got to her house last night and found a gluten-free cake mix sitting on my designated gluten-free shelf in the pantry. She hadn't made the cake yet but the fact that she went out and found that mix and bought it was huge. I don't even care if she ever makes the cake, the fact that she bought it just shows that no matter what, she supports me and that's the most important thing. She even was looking up techniques I think, because when I was looking at the mix she was remarking on how expensive it was and that she learned that she can make a cake with her own GF flour mix and she'll do that instead next time. I love my Mom!! She bakes these incredible whoopie pies that are an old family recipe and she is trying to get to the point where she can market them and I said that someday we'll have to develop a gluten-free version. They really are the most delicious whoopie pies on earth.

Ok, well it's a beautiful day here in Boston and I am surely not going to waste it. Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Results

Where do I begin? I have Crohn's Disease. Full blown, advanced, ulcer filled Crohn's diseased. The good news is there is no evidence of damage anywhere in my digestive system other than the terminal ileum. That specific location however, is a mess. Isn't that lovely? I thought so. And so now what do we do? First up, medication. Not my ideal situation, but there's no question we have to take care of the inflammation first and foremost. He didn't even mention diet. So I asked, what about the diet? He says, well you really shouldn't have to change anything, basically saying just let the medication work its magic. He did say that if there are certain foods that bother me then I can certainly eliminate them. I told him about my research on gluten free and specific carb diets. He gave me the standard answer that I had a feeling he would give. There is no scientific evidence to support a gluten free diet. But he did say that it is certainly true that it is hard for us to digest gluten. He did more blood work, sent in my prescriptions, and told me to come back in three months.. or sooner if I feel worse or have issues with the medication. I am not keen on the side effects of these meds! Possible weight gain, acne, stomach aches (isn't that what I'm trying to avoid???)...

I am not exactly sure what to do next. Do I go ahead and go gluten-free anyway knowing that it will probably help? Or do I just try to eat generally healthier and not worry about it? He said that dealing with Crohn's disease is hard enough as it is, and trying such a strict diet is basically just setting yourself up for failure. Not to mention a ton more stress, which can aggravate the issue. I am at a loss at this moment. What the heck do I do now?? I'm leaning towards going ahead with the gluten-free diet anyway. There are just too many success stories not to. Maybe. I don't know. So confused. Gotta go watch this movie that's on and think about all this later.... Thanks so much to all of you for your support through all this, I have such wonderful friends!!!

Are they serious?

Hate jet-lag? Well why don't you just starve yourself?

Follow-Up Friday

Have you ever had a colonoscopy? Well I don't know if they do this for everyone, but when I woke up from the drug induced "nap" after the procedure, I was greeted with a printout of the results. Complete with photos. Of my colon. The inside of it. Ulcers and all. I'm assuming that this afternoon when I go visit The Doc he's going to make me relive the horror of looking at my own damaged insides so that he can show me exactly what's wrong with me. I hadn't actually thought about this until right now and I have to be honest, I'm having a hard time keeping my breakfast down. Remind me not to eat a late lunch.. my appointment is at 3:50.

Last night I threw myself an "I can't eat anything delicious anymore" pity party. I went to Jimmy's and got myself a BLT sub, side of fries and an orange soda. You might be thinking, that doesn't sound so bad, you totally could've done better for a last supper. I have to say I agree with that, but I'm broke, didn't have a dining partner, and was in a hurry to be home to watch Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy. Here's the kick in the stomach: while I was waiting for my food to be ready, I went next door to Tedeschi's and picked up a pint of Dove's Give In to Mint ice cream. Just one last pint I thought to myself.

Growing up, my mom would cook dinner for the family every night. And every night I would be the first to sit down, fill up my plate, and devour everything on it before anyone else even had a chance to sit down. Eventually, this became known as "The Hoover Maneuver". I'm not kidding. My own parents came up with this. The scars are deep. It hurts. Well last night I was back to my old tricks. I managed to take down that sub, fries and ice cream in record time. The pain that ensued was horrific. See here's the thing, sometimes I can pull something like that off and it hardly at all bothers me. And sometimes I do this and then I feel as though I will die at any moment from the intense pain. Last night was one of those nights.

Well finally we've arrived at follow-up day and I couldn't be happier. I seriously hope he doesn't want me to have any more tests done because I can't keep this up. Just let me go gluten-free and lactose-free and sign me up for a follow-up in another 3 months. You can even prescribe me some meds if you so choose. I'll even take them, I promise. For 3 months I'm at your mercy, whatever you tell me to do, I'll do it. Not like the last time when the other "what do you want me to tell you" GI told me to cut out lactose and eat healthier. Yeah obviously that didn't work.

I'll be back later with the results of my visit with The Doc! Happy Friday everyone! It's a long weekend!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I need to cook more

A while back I purchased Tosa Reno's Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook. It has a ton of healthy recipes in it and what I discovered recently is that it also has some gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian recipes that are clearly marked. I haven't actually attempted to make any of these recipes, nor any of the recipes out of the other 5 or 10 cookbooks I own, but I would really like to one of these days! I'm lucky to have a health food store locally that stocks a ton of gluten-free products but unfortunately that lets me fall into the trap of eating a lot of packaged foods that are high in sugar and sodium. I'm a busy girl! I need to have things that are convenient! So my cookbooks collect dust and I come up with excuse after excuse to avoid cooking. I've also been avoiding working out a lot lately too. I had gotten down to just going to kickboxing on wednesdays and saturdays and now it's surprising if I show up even one day a week. What happened to me? I keep hoping that the gluten-free diet will wake me up out of this hazy life and I'll find my way back to my old vibrant self. Please tell me this is going to happen! Or am I really just this lazy? I seriously hope not. 26 hours left until my follow up with The Doc! I can't wait. Get out of work at 3, head over to Beth Israel, hope for some good news and then go home and take a nice long weekend off. I'll update here as soon as I get back to a computer tomorrow night!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Let them eat cake!

How delicious does this wedding cake look? Good enough for me to eat, because it's gluten-free! This cake was made by Vita Cohen of Celia Cakes. She runs this business out of her home and cakes are made fresh to order. In 2005 Vita's husband was diagnosed with Celiac and that's when she started experimenting with gluten-free baking. She now offers a variety of flavors of cakes and also cupcakes for special occasions and weddings. My birthday is next week and I was thinking of baking my own cake from a GF mix but then I stumbled across this website today. Maybe I'll order a cake or cupcakes instead! I imagine she's probably busy this time of year with graduations, weddings, etc. Plus I don't really have the money and was kinda curious to bake my own cake, but it's nice to know I have options! I know for sure where I'll be getting my wedding cake someday!

perspective

After suffering a seizure the other day, Senator Kennedy was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital where he was found to have a malignant brain tumor. The prognosis is not very good at this point. We do a lot of work with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and I've printed many invitations and programs for events that the Senator has been involved with. It's a sad time and my thoughts are with him and his family and everyone over at The Foundation.

This is one of those times when having a stomach ache doesn't really seem so bad, ya know? I'm curious to see what people have to say about this development over the next few weeks. I know there are a lot of people that admire him and there are probably just as many people that want nothing to do with him. I hope that people can just be compassionate to the situation. I'm finding it very frustrating that I can hear the helicopters circling over Mass General as he was scheduled to be released from the hospital at 10 this morning and it's just about 5 of right now. I understand that he's a public figure, but for heaven's sake give the man some privacy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I love Cookies

I just want you all to know how much I love these cookies. Pamela's Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies, made with 89% organic ingredients. Pair these with some lactose free milk and I'm in heaven.

Tonight I decided to go a little crazy and make a fancy dinner for myself. I had some steak tips defrosted and I didn't know what to do with them so instead of finding a good recipe, I made up my own. I made a box of GF thai rice mix and then in a skillet I heated up some fresh ginger and garlic in some extra virgin olive oil, then I added mushrooms and green onions. I added some red wine vinegar at the end, but didn't really cook it well enough to reduce it. I broiled the steak tips. It wasn't at all a bad meal but could've used a few improvements. I'm not a fan of the thai rice, it's actually kind of bland for what's supposed to be a sweet chili curry. Well, it was a fun experiment and I think next time I'll try a recipe instead of just winging it. I wish my kitchen was bigger, I love to cook but I hate my kitchen. There is about a 12"x12" square of counter space.

Only 2 and a half days left until my follow up with The Doc. I can't wait. Then it's the long weekend and thus begins my birthday celebrations. Maybe I should find a good gluten free cake mix so I can have cake on my birthday and not worry about it making me sick. That would be fun. You know what I really need? A kitchen-aid mixer! I finally got a food processor about a month ago and although I haven't used it very much I do love it. I plan on using it this weekend to make some salsa. YUM.

Okay, back to watching Knocked Up. This movie really freaks me out...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Almost time to go back to work..

It's Sunday night. I am not finished with my homework for class tomorrow night and I'm not even going to look at it again until tomorrow and just hope for the best. Only 2 more classes and I'm moving on to Photoshop. I can't wait.

Yesterday was my cousin Steve's girlfriend Jess' baby shower. I ate so much crap and felt awful. Still do. I've got this "eat everything you love before the doctor says you can't eat it anymore" thing going on this week. Well, I think I'm done with that because I'm feeling miserable. I just have the strangest feeling that I'm going to have to have a small bowel endoscopy and biopsy done so I want to make sure I'm good and damaged. That sounds so bad, but it makes perfect sense to me. We'll see what The Doc has to say on Friday. That day seems so far away, but the good news is, my appointment is at 3:50 so that means I will have to leave work at 3 which means that my long weekend starts early. You know what though? At this point, it doesn't even matter whether it's just Crohn's or Celiac or both, I'm going to have to be gluten-free and lactose-free anyway so I might as well just get started. I can't wait to feel better. To look better. To be happier. I read an excellent article today in Living Without magazine about the gluten-free diet as it relates to autism. It's astounding to me that the GF diet can so drastically reduce the symptoms of autism! It just goes to show that there is so much that we don't understand about how food affects our bodies. It's kinda scary huh?

Extreme Makeover Home Edition is my favorite show ever. Random, I know, but it's on right now and it's the most inspiring show and I just love it. Ever since it started I've wanted to be a part of it. I'm signed up with Habitat for Humanity but I have yet to do any volunteer work for them. There are so many things I want to do with my life, how do I possibly fit them all in? It's funny today I was thinking about how scared I am about settling down and having a family because there are still so many things I want to do first. I think I'm just getting freaked out because my 28th birthday is only 10 days away. Oooh, that reminds me, today is my Dad's birthday. I saw him last night to celebrate but I should've called him today! He's probably asleep in his chair by now. I'll tell him tomorrow morning.

Ok, gonna watch the rest of EMHE. Happy Sunday.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I need therapy.

homework, top chef, ben & jerry

I have to come clean here. I have a problem and it's called food. Hi, my name is Jen, and I'm a foodaholic. It's been going on for years and years. I know what I'm not supposed to eat but I eat it anyway. It's compulsive. I do it when I'm bored, frustrated, tired, sick, sad, happy, or pretty much any time. I know it's wrong. I know I'm damaging my body. So why, you may be asking, do I do this to myself? Excellent question, I wish I knew the answer. As you can see from this photo, tonight I'm home, watching Top Chef, researching fonts, and eating Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream. It's my favorite. And let me tell you, this pint (yes I ate the whole thing) was the best one EVER. There was so much cookie in there.... to die for. Perhaps literally. Nah, that's a little morbid!

But seriously, how many of you out there put on a brave face and act like you're the poster child of good health, only to hide in your bedroom by yourself scarfing down a pint of B&J's? I'm not bulimic, I don't binge and purge or anything like that, but sometimes I think what I do is just as destructive, especially in light of the fact that I have ulcers in my intestines. I talk all day long about what I'm supposed to be eating, then I eat all the wrong things and complain about how horrible I feel afterwards. WHY? Because ice cream makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It's comforting. I love comfort food. It's the comfort food that's destroying my insides. It makes me crazy that I have to give them up. I truly, really, honestly do not want to be sick anymore. I'm slowly breaking the cycle. Knowing that I still have a week left before I visit with The Doc is what's keeping me in this pattern. I know that until I have an actual diagnosis, not just a "it looks like it might be", then I will keep eating poorly, despite the fact that it makes me feel bad. I've been dealing with these issues for almost 15 years or more. I'm used to having a stomach ache, so it's just not enough for me to change my eating habits until I have specific doctor's orders. Does that sound crazy to you? Yeah, it sounds crazy to me too.

So now what do I do? Stop making excuses for myself. Stop hiding in my room and eating ice cream. Stop the vicious cycle.

I found out today that one of my customers is going through all the same things that I am going through. Sucks, sorry to hear it, hope you figure it out and get better soon!

Wow, the guy in the photo just got voted off. Ouch. I liked him, sorry to see him go!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How to Deal

I can't remember if I talked about this book before, I know I've at least mentioned it briefly. I'm reading (again) Breaking the Vicious Cycle, Intestinal Health Through Diet by Elaine Gottschall. It's a diet for Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulitis, Celiac, Cystic Fibrosis and chronic diarrhea. It also shows some links to Autism which I found interesting. The diet focuses on a grain free, lactose free, low sugar diet and is said to have cured hundreds, possibly thousands of people with various IBDs. This also goes along with the book a posted about not long ago, Going Against the Grain. The book talks in great detail about how grains and sugars are processed in our digestive system and what happens to people with digestive disorders. Basically, there's not a lot of evidence out there that shows what the cause of these disorders is, but there's a lot of studies that show that grains and sugars exacerbate the problems. I don't know, it's all very confusing and I'm sure I'm not articulating it properly but the bottom line is this is the reason I choose to be gluten-free because there's nothing harmful in it and if anything I'm in worse shape if I continue to eat gluten. The frustrating part about all of this, is that there is not nearly enough research being done to help people with digestive disorders. Doctor's don't recommend gluten-free or grain-free diets to people other than Celiac patients because there is not enough scientific evidence that it's helpful. The issue with that is, there haven't been enough studies done, so how do you know? It blows my mind that the symptoms between Celiac, Crohn's, and Ulcerative Colitis are so similar, and they know for sure that Celiac is gluten intolerance, yet they don't at all believe that Crohn's and UC could also be aggravated by gluten. Does that make sense to anyone else? The differences between the three are the areas of the bowel affected and the type of damage to the bowel. There are so many people out there that have gone gluten-free or done the specific carb diet and have been completely in remission ever since, so why don't they do more research and see if this is a viable option for all IBD patients? I don't know how the medical field works but am I naive to think this is so obvious? Maybe it's because there are too many other patients that don't find these methods successful, but there are no books about those people. At any rate, I am not the type of person that wants to spend the rest of her life on medication, so I'm going to do everything I can to fix this problem with diet, exercise, stress management, etc. If that means going at least gluten-free if not, SCD then that's what I'll do.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gonna have to change my blog intro soon...

Just got back from my Upper GI x-ray series. Wow was that fun. Here drink this nasty chalky stuff, ok now stand up, sit down, lay down, turn around, up on your side, while we x-ray. Go sit in the waiting room while the stuff flows through your digestive system, now come back and have more x-rays. I was in there for over 2 hours. They found the same thing as the colonoscopy found, inflammation in the trans ileum, which suggests Crohn's. Yippee. I don't go back to see The Doc until May 23rd, unless he gets my results and wants to see me sooner. This sucks. It's totally stressing me out. I don't know what to eat, so I've just been eating anything and you know that's not helping! It's stressing me out which is making it worse. I need to just chill and take a break. But it's the spring and work is busy and there are showers and parties and mother's days and father's days and birthdays to go to and there's no rest for the weary. I could go home for the rest of the day but I have too much work to do and a customer coming in to see me at the end of the day. I've been out of work more in the past 7 months than I have in all 4 and a half years that I've worked here. I hate missing work but I could really use some down time right now. You know what I need right now? Ray LaMontagne. Yeah, that's it, ok, off to work I go with Ray keeping me calm. :)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Steps closer to diagnosis.

I had my colonoscopy this morning. It went a little differently than I expected. They said it wouldn't hurt. They lied. It hurt! I wondered why and then Doc came in to see me and gave me the bad news, after apologizing to me for having to go through all that discomfort. He said "it looks like you have Crohn's disease." I was shocked, "Really?" Yes. He said there was a lot of inflammation and ulcers in my intestines, he took biopsies and wants me to come back within the next few days for a small bowel x-ray and then back again after that to talk to him about all of the results and what to do next. He told me before the procedure that my blood work had all come back fine, no evidence of Celiac and that was a very good sign. He seemed enthusiastic. But after the procedure he seemed discouraged and concerned. I've been so focused on IBS and Celiac that I hadn't even looked at Crohn's. I knew generally what it was but not in depth. The first thing I did when I got home was get to researching. Looks like I would've been better off with a Celiac diagnosis. Crohn's is rough and not easily fixed. It's not as simple as going on a gluten-free diet. I read about medication, surgery, flare-ups, remissions, it's overwhelming.

I have read the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle that spells out the Specific Carb Diet for essentially curing Crohn's, Colitis, and other IBD's. I was encouraged that so many people had found relief from this grain free, lactose free, low sugar diet. Then today I read on the Crohn's Foundation website that the SCD has no scientific backing and is not particularly recommended, however a gluten-free diet might help. They say that while nutrition is important, it's not the root cause of the bowel inflammation. I don't want to be on medication. I don't even take advil or tylenol for pain or headaches. I am a firm believer that this can be controlled by diet and I will talk to my Doc about it. I just hope I don't need any surgery. I have an appointment for the small bowel x-ray on Tuesday morning, but then I couldn't get in to see him again until May 23rd. I'm hoping maybe he'll have a cancellation in the meantime so I can get in sooner. I really want to deal with this right away. I am going to go ahead with the gluten-free diet for now anyway. It can't do any harm at this point. I feel better that I'm close to a final diagnosis, but the thought of Crohn's disease scares me. Wednesday afternoon I had stabbing pains worse than I've ever felt, and if that's what I'm looking at in the future... well all I can say is I really hope I can get control of this and not suffer for the rest of my life. I'm confident that I can control this and be healthy. I'm so glad I found my Doc and he's been amazing about being proactive and helping me find answers.

I will keep you posted on how things go over the next few weeks. Thanks for all the support!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Yummmm

Magnesium Citrate. Delicious. Round One down, one more to go......

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Less than 48 hours...

I'm home from work for the rest of the week and the countdown is on. I am on a low-residue (sorry if that's gross) diet and all I can eat is white bread. Um yeah this afternoon I had the most horrific stabbing abdominal pains I think I've ever felt in my life. Tomorrow will be so fun, drinking nothing but fluids all day. Blech. Will get the blog back to a more lively state next week when I'm feeling human again. I will keep you all posted on how things go on Friday.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Preparation Time

This weekend I went to my friends' wedding, the new Mr. and Mrs. Pete Obin! It was a very lovely event and I had a wonderful time. Crystal looked beautiful and now they are on their way to sunny St. Lucia. Of course after the wedding was the hotel after-party and I didn't get home until almost 4 in the morning. So pretty much I spent all day yesterday laying around in my pj's which is nice to do once in awhile but I honestly hate wasting an entire day like that. I was feeling pretty miserable though because I'd been drinking beer all night. This week I'm preparing for my colonscopy and all I can eat over the next couple of days is refined carbs, lean proteins and lots of fluids. Thursday I have to do the liquid diet and then I go in to Beth Israel at 7:30 on Friday morning. I'm feeling pretty miserable at this point but I just keep reminding myself that by Friday my system will be clean and then I can start over. I intend on telling my GI that I am going to be gluten-free as of that day and if he wants to do an endoscopy he better do it quick because my intestines are going to be on their way to healed as soon as possible. I can't stand feeling like this anymore!

I'm also pretty bummed about the fact that my cell phone is totally busted, so if you've tried to call me within the last week or so and got my voicemail, that's why. I've been checking the messages as often as I can but since I don't have a land-line at home, I can only check them from the office. Thankfully that rebate check is due to arrive in my account this week so it's probably going to either repair this phone or buy me a new one. I haven't even had this phone that long! So frustrating.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, Happy Cinco de Mayo! and Happy Birthday to Matt Gallagher!

Friday, May 2, 2008

What do you mean you don't have Redbridge?

Sox Game with Allie

Before the game we headed over to the Beacon Street Tavern because Allie called in advance to see if they have Redbridge, which they said they did. She knew this because she'd been to their sister restaurant many times and they always have it available. Upon arrival we were told by the bartender that he was mistaken, they stopped carrying Redbridge and now serve New Grist instead. We were disappointed but thought we'd give it a try. The photo above is not one I took, I forgot to do that, so I google imaged it. The frothy head you see in that pic is quite deceiving, I didn't pour mine into a glass but I could tell straight from the bottle that this is not a frothy beer. In fact it didn't actually taste much like beer at all. It was quite fruity, more reminiscent of a cider, but not at all bad, just not what we were hoping for. We wanted beer.

We headed over to Fenway and luckily they now serve wine there, so we got our girlie cups of Beringer Chardonnay and sheepishly walked to our seats. We both used to be avid beer drinkers so to be sipping on a glass of white at a Sox game... well it's just not fun! We had a great time though, the game was not very good, the Sox lost 3-0 to the Jays.

Unfortunately on our last trip to the alcohol line, they ran out of white so Allie took the last one, and since I'm still un-diagnosed and in testing phase I went for the beer that was so conveniently already in front of me just calling my name. I paid for it later though.

All in all it was a great night, I asked Allie a bunch of questions about how she's been dealing with her GF lifestyle and it was really helpful and nice to know that I have someone close to go through all this stuff with. Thanks Allie for a great night!!