Monthly Archives: October 2012

Off to the Doctor…

My folder gets thicker and thicker, and I feel more and more prepare to explain myself.

Today I travel to another long-awaited appointment… and I am filled with hope. Pray for answers for me!

I thought I’d update you on my eye. Wednesday will be 3 weeks with uveitis… I’m down to steroid drops 3x a day. It’s definitely not gone, and probably aches the same, but visually – the redness looks better. It’s the swelling inside, that we can’t see that is concerning – they say. From what I’ve studied on the matter, it seems most people have flare ups from discontinuing treatment too soon – and it comes back worse, and sometimes won’t leave.

I am willing to be patient.

Each morning I wake up and can feel this “haze” over my eye…. like someone has been scratching it with sand paper. The entire eyeball aches, and it appears a red filter clouds me from seeing true color from it also – but is definitely improved over all. I thought I’d share the progress with you. Warning, the image after the first week is freaky – only because my eye is dilated.

(and I’m not wearing make-up! Gasp!) Hey, you were warned!

You can definitely see less red on my most recent picture… however the swelling is about the same. It doesn’t hurt to the touch, and I can tolerate a lot more light in my eye for limited amounts of time. That’s huge progress in a short time. I know that raw apple cider vinegar has been helping!!

Several times I’ve felt as though I was getting it in the other eye as well… so far, so good. Just achy, and fatigued. I’m sure it’s just part of the empathy the other eye experiences. It’s definitely a blessing NOT having the eye dilated… it’s amazing how that tires your eyes and letting that much light in causes chronic headaches. Praise be to God for the progress made!

Patience, patience, patience. (repeat) All in His time.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world;

and this is the victory that has over the world – our faith.

Who is the one who overcomes the world,

but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
1 John 5:4-5

Allergies? or Asthma?

My daughter has been on asthma medication for a year, and as I looked back on my own childhood and high school sports career, I started thinking maybe that’s what I had all of these years.  Maybe that’s why I hadn’t enjoyed running?  After January, things were trending worse – as I was showing signs for asthma as well, especially during and after working out…  Suddenly, it was feeling like someone was SITTING on my chest during a workout this year.

Not normal?

No.

So, before thinking gluten could be an issue, my PCP put me on some Symbicort to help me before a workout.  I used it when I did cardio based workouts and was struggling that day, and definitely when I ran.  It did seem to help.

Since July, I have also been having troubles when something goes down the wrong pipe.  I literally feel like I am going to hyper-venilate or choke to death for not getting enough oxygen.  I just can’t seem to get a breath at these times.

It’s scary.

It happened once when I was driving…  and most recently on a senior session.

I took plenty of reading and activities for my 3 hour appointment. I enjoyed planning for our FIRST gluten-free/dairy-free Thanksgiving! I bought this from http://www.livingwithout.com

Well… Wednesday was the day… but I showed up and was told my appointment was SUPPOSED to be in another town.

Ooops.

I felt terrible, but thankfully they could fit me in – the following day, in another nearby town.  SO… I packed my bag of reading material and a drink on Thursday and headed out for my 3 hour appointment.

After a brief assessment with the Dr, following my pulmonary lung function test… the Dr. inquired about what I was looking for, in regards to answers.  I let him know that I was simply trying to rule some things out… and why.

He knew about our trip to Chicago, after my daughter’s asthma appointment last month…  but after realizing my lung function was 100% at resting.. he agreed, it was highly likely my issues with gluten and cross contamination and celiac that were causing a lot of my problems.

Now thankfully, this Dr. has a wife who is a nutritionist… so that has to help matters.  He at least understands the importance of what happens in our bodies if we have gluten issues… and he could easily make the connection as far as our genetics and what was going on with a gluten sensitivity/vs. an auto-immune disease issue – like what we have.  He appreciated my knowledge on the topic and seemed to really care what we were trying to accomplish.

He did say he was very skeptical, because he hears “the gluten intolerance” more and more often from patients.  It makes me wonder, do doctors not listen to patients if THEY assume something is rare, and therefore ignore the concerns… even if they’re very real.  Is this one more reason why 97% of celiac patients go undiagnosed?  

{Not that it’s all celiac, but it’s apparent to MANY people, that gluten is causing issues for more and more people – especially when it comes to auto immune diseases.}

So we tested for environmental common allergies, as well as some more invasive test for molds, and dust mites, and then food allergies to see what was leaky gut from celiac – and what was a true allergy.

Down both arms and 21 across my back where the poke “line up” dots. Only the allergic ones itch, the rest were just tiny bumps.

Well great news.  After about 40 some pokes (that really don’t “hurt”) and some itchy bumps that I couldn’t touch (again, not bad at all)…  We discovered the following:

#1 – I don’t have a food allergy to wheat, barley or rye.  (was I surprised? No.)

#2 – I don’t have an allergy to molds or dust mites!

#3 – I am allergic to two types of rag-weed, and orchid grasses.

Why my allergies are worse when it rains, I’m not sure… but I do have Nasonex for this.  I’ve only had to use it twice since May.  A small miracle, to me.

The doctor and I discussed the asthma-like issues, and decided the best plan of attack was to have two inhalers on hand:

* One for cross contamination risk – so I can work out, even if that happens.

* The other is a rescue inhaler to take with me when I get a choking type of attack – when I struggle to breathe and swallow – without having a sore throat.

So, many times over the course of appointments I’ve had, a doctor will ask…. “Are you SURE what you have is an auto immune related disease, and NOT ‘just an allergy’ you’re experiencing.” (which some allergies are LIFE THREATENING, so I’m totally not belittling food allergies), but I’ve never really had a solid, medical proof answer to say NO, this an auto immune disease…  let me show you WHY I know this.

Now I have more proof.  My issues with wheat, barley, rye and other grains for that matter… have nothing to do with all allergy response.  It has everything to do with the inflammation it causes from my auto immune disease.

It may seem crazy to some… but…

HAPPY ME.

I’m thankful to be able to have that piece of paper to explain myself.

One. Step. Further. To proving my case.

I press on for my children… and to be healthy for Him!

For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, 

that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

Romans 8:29

**The update on my eye (uveitis), is – it’s still there – but improved.  We’ve backed off the dilation drops to see how the inflammation does.  So far I’m at 4 drops a day of the steroids, and Monday I drop back to 3x day.  Every morning my eye is swollen and red… by mid-day it looks better, but always feels about the same.  It’s a sort of halo effect when I look at any light, as if there is a filter over that eye and everything is fuzzy.  The coloration is also very different in the eye with uveitis – a red filter seems to cover it.  Since I deal with color (in pictures) a lot – I notice this remarkable difference between the two eyes.  Other than that, just achy and sensitive with headaches  – no stabbing pain. Thanks for the prayers!

Foot Cramps and Other Muscle Spasms

I used to get these several times a week… but as of late, I haven’t missed them.

Tonight – it came on, out of no where.  I haven’t been straining, or walking or standing, my boots don’t have a high heel…  I’ve drunk tons of water (with apple cider vinegar, mind you!)

But suddenly my toes were in an involuntary vice…

Here’s my toes – squeezing themselves together without me moving a muscle. OUCH!  Often times they’re overlap and really get crazy.

That I couldn’t shut off.

Nothing gets you up from the computer faster than a foot cramp like that…

I know it has something to do with cross contamination, and vitamin deficiency.  I know it can be signs of other auto immune diseases.

I won’t speculate what those might be…

I’ve always had these, my oldest son also gets them… and has since he could tell me about them.

I was getting more in my calf and sides/stomach earlier this year… most of that has subsided.  I’ve had maybe one or two of each since May (I went gluten-free mid-April).  vs. several a week.

All I can do is trying to walk it off… and flex it. It’s super painful – but relaxing, walking and trying to think of ANYTHING else – helps. (Scratch all of that if you are in a vehicle when you get one. You might as well pull over!)

Since I’ve been off of the coffee for over a week, and the uveitis is still here… I’m really hoping the inflammatory goes bye-bye just as quickly as it showed up UNinvited.

Take a hike foot cramps!  See you later uveitis!  This mom has a busy weekend and no time for you!

What about you?  Any funny stories of foot cramps or muscles spasms?

(NOT that they’re funny, we know they’re nothing to laugh at – but it is helpful to share so others don’t feel alone!)

My mom shared a video, a friend of hers with MS has of her toes cramping – and I just shouted – YES!  YES!  That’s exactly what it’s like.  HORRID, uncontrollable pain.  Your body takes on a mind of it’s own!  Usually they only last 10-15 minutes… if you can get it to relax.  Sometimes that’s easier said that done!

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I
take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Psalm 18:2

Unplugged

Is this the long way home? My son and I took advantage of the beautiful fall day Saturday, and he walked/ran with me. I had a good first mile, followed by the muscles in my knees constricting me to a fast paced walk on the way home. Regardless, it was a great time with my son.

It’s the only word I can think of when it comes to how I feel a majority of the time lately.

I feel this way when I work out.

I feel this way mid-morning,

and most afternoons too. 

UNPLUGGED.

It comes and goes, but mostly… there is no consistency of energy bursts…

If there is, it’s followed by complete exhaustion.  

If I stay up too late, or sleep terribly, or am out in the cold, or run too many errands, or stand on my feet too long… the list goes on.

My biggest defense is maintaining an even level of low energy, and low stress, so that I don’t get worn down too far.  It works pretty well, most days.  Someday I still crash.  A nap is then required.

I told my kids the story of the spoon theory – so they understand when mommy is short on spoons, or my spoons have run out for the day.

I have such great intentions and I tell myself… YOU ARE NOT an auto immune disease.  YOU WILL FIGHT BACK.  MOVE Sara.  MOVE!!!

I put on my workout clothes – encouraging myself to move.

Some days it works.

Some days I’m angry that *I* can’t do it all, or if I don’t feel like it physically, when mentally all I want to do is move.  I know I need to move.  I like moving.  I miss feeling killer after a workout, instead of stuck in a cement block.

BUT…  I know I’m doing exactly what God would have me do those days.

I have kids, and school to teach and papers to grade.  There are meals to prepare… I have laundry to wash and sort, and organizing of our home and supplies and work with two businesses.  That doesn’t shut off when a mom doesn’t feel up to par.  We don’t get sick days, or ‘stay at home and do nothing days’ …  I take moments, but just keep swimming as Dori and Nemo like to say.

{Yes, we just finally watched Nemo for the first time ever.}

My peace is in the Lord.  My rest is in Him who gives me HOPE.

Instead we’ve moved our schedule around, allowing me more time for flexibility in the afternoon for my work or rest, and more structured computer instruction time for the kids with school.  What is usually my best time (morning) is devoted to my one-on-one time and group time with the kids so we can study Scripture, talk about what is going on with the world, and most importantly current events – the election!  I’m so thankful we home school – it’s made my bad days – a bit more bearable.  I’m thankful I’m not accountable to tell one more person how I feel…  or justify why I don’t look sick to them when I feel like I’m dying inside.

I don’t have to hide out, or over explain or say one more time – NO.  

NO. I don’t feel better with a magic pill.  

NO. This isn’t a virus that will go away.  

NO. I don’t know what caused it.  

NO. I don’t know how long I will feel this way.  

Believe me, I want to be well… this isn’t just in my head.

I am thankful I have people who need and love me.  I have people praying for me, and encouraging me every day.  God truly does give us just what we need.

I am thankful.

In one week, I get to finally see an endocrinologist/geneticist.  My prayer is that I can list my symptoms, and she will know exactly what I should be tested for.  I pray she’s good listener, and I can really get the help I’m needing.  Whatever that is.

Bob Harper always says, “NO MORE excuses,”  when it comes to working out.  I guess that’s how I have always felt in life.

NO EXCUSES. =  “Don’t be lazy.”  If you mess your bed, you make your bed.  The life you are blessed with is the one you learn to thrive in.

I will continue doing all I can.

Even if it’s less than what I want.  

I know it will never be more or less than God will allow.  Here’s to being healthy for Him! 🙂

{One more praise.  My doctor’s office called today.  My slide from my endoscopy (my biopsy from the upper test for celiac) is on its way to the University of Chicago pathology for a second opinion.  Pray for a miracle, that they might find the answers we already know in our hearts from the ONE sample taken – so we might have medical documentation and confirmation so we might never have to purposefully eat gluten again.  PRAY it is enough.  It is obvious, my body cannot handle it.}

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:1

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

Had to share!  These were a hit…

While it’s not quite as easy and poppin’ open a can of biscuits, these delicious rolls didn’t make our tummies cry!  I made two packages full –  (because really, the mess is worth just doing it that way) – and you can always freeze them so you just have to bake them if you don’t think you can eat them all…

We knew we could eat them all.

Who knew that THIS package…could lead to amazing cinnamon rolls? Thanks to a good friend… I learned something new!

Here is what is hidden on the side of the package! Could they be good?

The answer is a resounding YES!

My kids were so stoked… this is our first cinnamon rolls of this style (old school) since April…  they were SO good!  We used vegan butter and dark coconut sugar… and just made a simple glaze with pure orange for the icing with some vegan butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.  Very easy – even for this first timer.  We have gotten this at Vitacost.com and also at our local HyVee and Dillons.  Dillons had them on sale for $2.65 a package.  WE bought them all.  We also made it as pizza crust – and one package will cover an entire large baking sheet – easily.  The crust is delish!

“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.”

Proverbs 21:31

Auto-Immune Attacks

The main difference in a gluten sensitivity, and celiac disease – is the fact that celiac disease is an auto-immune disease.

Meaning – your body attacks itself.

When it’s celiac, your body is attacking the gluten as if it’s a virus, and attacking your body in the small intestine… but because auto immune disease is systemic… it can affect other parts of your body as well with inflammation issues.  Hence, the 350 symptoms that can be tied to celiac disease specifically.

It’s one of the reasons why some doctors who understand auto immune disease recommend that you cut out gluten.  Period.

Gluten is an inflammatory … and if you ingest it, and have the genes for auto immune disease… it WILL increase inflammation in some part of your body.  

This constant stress on your body, when you have gluten issues, bogs down your immune system in other ways…

Which then, makes you prone to infection, viruses AND other auto immune diseases.

See how this works?

So the reaction from ingesting gluten, isn’t one that always causes an immediate reaction, like an allergy would – it’s more of one that pops up… or slowly builds up and destroys, it waxes and wanes… and it can take a while to improve also.

Those of you who have had babies, you know your hair thickens when you’re pregnant… and it also thins out when begin ovulating again, after giving birth.  My baby is now 2 years 10 months.  I stopped nursing her 10 months ago… and my hair, is still. falling. out.

This is a normal handful when I’m running my hand through my hair while styling – hair is just falling to the ground in droves during this.

At first, I thought it was the stress of celiac getting ramped up at the beginning of the year – but it continued thinning.  My feather that I usually wear in my hair has come out every month without fail, which never happened before this…

When I finish – I empty out my brush – and I have a small hairball animal. Neat huh?

And then there are my eyes…

I always have light sensitivity in bright sun light (like, “hurt your head it’s painful to be outside” – sensitivity), but this weekend – something more hit me.  I felt like my eye was going to explode when any sunlight hit it.  I kept my eye closed, and tried to stay calm.  I could literally feel my pupil expand and contract.

I kept sunglasses on, and it helped with keeping my eye close.  Once the sun went down – it wasn’t nearly as bad…  but it throbbed inside my lid.  It didn’t appear super red.  But the veins did follow the pain.  It felt like I was punch in the eyeball with no bruising or pain on my eyelid.

You can see some redness from the veins to my retina area.

Fast forward to Wednesday night… the pain was back again – the pain was worsening – the pressure was intense.  No itching, no drainage… just terrific pain and now redness.  When I woke up Thursday unable to really open my eye without feeling like someone was digging an ice-pick into my pupil – I decided I needed to see the Dr.

By God’s grace, I got right in – and the Dr. went down the list of possibilities… possible conjunctivitis, sty?  Nope….  NO fever, no other illness.  Hmmm…

He numbed my eye – which hurt, but mostly was stinging.  {don’t worry it sounds much worse than it is – it’s done by EYE DROPS not a needle!}  He then dyed my eyeball yellow to look at it under a special light…he couldn’t see anything significant… but suspected something more.

After having me read a chart to determine I could see ok…  He sent me across town to my eye Dr. who had a special machine to take a deeper look at my eye.

The Dr. there looked and looked… he listened to me talk about celiac disease, the coffee I had a week prior… he looked some more.  I held my breath and lots of reporter’s headlines popped into my head… regarding the possibility of what he saw.  The seriousness of his tone showed me it wasn’t good news.

“What you have is called Uveitis (said as it looks: U-V- itis).  We can treat the symptoms, but the cause of this is often auto-immune related when you have no other infection, it’s inflammation in your retina,” he said.  “You need to be patient with this clearing up so you don’t have a relapse, and you need to take it easy.”

Um.  Take it easy?

Yes.  That’s what he said.

So I got drops to keep my eye dilated (which should help with the pain of the eye trying to dilate, because your eyes work together.  When the good eye is dilating, even the closed eye will react, causing more pain if it’s only covered up), and steroid drops to decrease inflammation…

He needed to see me again in a few days…

BUT…In a few days is soccer for 6, and snacks for 2 teams, and 8 kids to the fields, and, and , and – I really didn’t have time for an appointment for myself…

But he made it CLEAR, I needed to see him for sure – Saturday morning.

*gulp*

Okay…

Do you know how cool you feel wearing sunglasses around all day…   inside?  Well…  if you don’t…

You feel VERY cool…

God even blessed me with a very cloudy afternoon which helped some.  Thank you God.

Oh that coffee.  I could kick myself.

The blessing in all of this – is this:  It’s helped me to be extra loving to my kids.  Which I should be everyday.  They’re a gift.  I feel like I’ve stared at them more…  and memorized their little faces and hands, as I stroke them and tell them how special they are, how much I love them, and how proud I am of them.

Our eyes are a gift we often take for granted…  being able to see, is one gift I’d rather not lose…  but in the event that I would lose my eye sight some day,  I can and will be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to see all the beauty God created around me, especially my children.

I haven’t had a whole lot of time to read on this condition… but from the sounds of it, it can become chronic in auto-immune disease patients.  It’s the 3rd leading cause of blindness.  Ironically, I had never heard of it before.

Off to take it easy today… God bless your weekend!

“I consider that our present sufferings

are not worth comparing

with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Romans 8:18

Gluten-Free Skin Care

I’ve read some interesting articles about how it’s ridiculous that people are wanting gluten-free beauty products… often times these statements will come from people with celiac, who apparently don’t struggle with cross contamination from their soaps and such.

The truth of the matter is, anything that can be ingested/ can get into your system – and especially if you have skin issues with gluten – it will cause your skin to break out.  In gluten intolerant people, eye make up is an issue too – obviously you don’t EAT your eye make-up… but often times it irritates eyes, like an allergy – or just the dust itself can be ingested.  Think about these other things:

Toothpaste

Lotion

Hair Spray

Hand Sanitizer

Shampoo/Conditioner

Face-wash

Moisturizer

Make-up

and much more…

Art supplies for kids… glue, paints, and craft supplies also have to be watched out for.  (Although I can’t say I’m TOO upset about no play-doh)

Well a few months ago I was still breaking out, even after being gluten-free.  I knew part of it was my hair products… maybe some was my facial products… some of it was the oil in the items.  Bob Harper mentioned the healing effects of TEA-TREE OIL.

I figured I’d look it up – give it a whirl.  I was happy to find the brand “Dessert Essence” at Vitacost.com  for a very reasonable price.  It smells a little strange compared to the stuff I was used to…

But, goodness!  It works great on your skin!  I’ve not had a major issue since using it… and while I need a moisturizer, and still have changes to make – I think this is nothing short of awesome for clear skin…  and my face hasn’t felt dried out in the least!

{I have some of their shampoo and conditioner – also gluten-free, and they work great!}

Natural AND Reasonably Priced!  Cha-Ching!

“How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers life together in harmony.”

Psalm 133:1

Why I Chose To Run…

My friend and I just following our 5K “fun run”… Clearly we’re crazy to run in these cold temps!

It’s true.  I haven’t felt the best the past few months…

My energy has been increasingly failing, and my body just hasn’t had the strength it once did.

I have continued to work out about 4-5 days a week, just at a slower pace, and impact.

When my friends and I started talking about the local university’s homecoming 5K race, we realized it fell on a day that wouldn’t work for us with some other commitments.  Another race was suggested, and we went for that instead.

That was several months ago.

As I had blood tests for my thyroid and a sonogram on my neck…  I thought surely I’d have an answer to feel better by now… but no.

Nothing.

I hadn’t had the energy to run much… so for the past 2 months, I didn’t.

As the time got closer for the race was approaching… I, sadly, didn’t want to run.

My faithful friend kept encouraging me to get signed up…  and I didn’t want to let her down.

I signed up… still hoping for the sky to fall before the race.

But it didn’t.

The week of the race, I got a 5K in on the treadmill – just to make sure I could still do it… and I could…so I was thankful.

It was ugly, but I could do it.

Then I foolishly did 100 thrusters a few days later, which prevented me from walking right for the rest of the week, let alone fitting in another run.

Two days before the race, my friend thought she might be getting sick… and I secretly hoped this was my way out of the run.  (I insisted she call it a fun run, as I knew I wouldn’t be racing anywhere!)

On the day of the event, the temperature was about 30 degrees, so you can imagine MY excitement to be out in it running.

But you know what?  With God’s mercy…

I did it.

I didn’t break any records, and it was my second time running outside – my first time was last year’s 5K… 🙂 So obviously, I’m not a REAL runner.  I did it because I had commitment to my friend that I would…. and I knew my body was able to make it…  and furthermore ACTING sick isn’t helpful to me being well.

I’m a mind over matter person – and while I know that doesn’t always work with auto immune disease (yes, it’s frustrating!) to continue to move and be positive is essential.

I’ve seen cancer patients run races between their chemo treatments, I’ve seen people with disabilities doing what THEY can to run and move their body…  I really didn’t HAVE an excuse, and I knew that.

You see, it’s NOT about winning… or breaking records… running isn’t that for me, and neither is working out.  It’s about moving the body God gave me… and doing what I can, while I can. 

Someday I might not be able to move my legs – and I will be grateful that I ran in that…..  FUN RUN.

When I sprinted my last bit of energy across the line (after walking quite a bit of the race!) – I cross the line strong at 30.12, slower than the year before.  But I was alive, and able – and I was happy I kept my word to my friend.

Did I mention we got our workout in for the day?  Yeah.  That felt pretty good too.  I will say, I put TOO many layers on, and the verse below came to mind several times as I ran… I wish I could take off this coat!!

One thing my old corn bags are good for – was for after the race. My knees were pretty swollen for a few days… clearly I wasn’t in the best shape for running… but no major injuries were had, I just still can’t run!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,

let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfector of faith.

For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame,

and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners,

so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Hebrews 12:1-3

Coffee and Gluten Intolerance

 

Yep. It’s what you think it is. What my kids call the ‘case of gluten’ at Starbucks. Amazingly – this isn’t the temptation I desire.

 

I used to wonder if coffee had enough health benefits to justify having a cup a day.  I liked the boost it gave me… especially after a long night of designing, or shooting… or before a workout.

But when I gave up lactose in January, I also gave up my lattes from Starbucks…  I tried my VIA packets through April, but after going gluten-free – they seemed to give me similar effects to gluten.

Bloating, gas, pain…

Upon further research at the time, I read that two things can happen…

One is obvious:

1) You’re allergic to coffee for a short time, as your leaky gut heals.  (meaning your body treats and attacks it like gluten when it enters the body, but this isn’t forever)

The other… is more difficult to track…

2) You’re unable to have roasted coffee ever, because of the risk of cross contaminated coffee grounds with a form of gluten in processing. (This can happen in a restaurant, or within processing of the actual product – which can explain why sometimes one might have a strong reaction, and other times it might be more subtle depending on the amount cross contaminated.  This also depends on your sensitivity level).

So for four (long) months, I gave up coffee…  I stuck to my tea…. and water.

We were happy…. my tea and I.

But after I got cross contaminated at Chipotle.  Honestly… my tummy hasn’t been happy with much, a majority of the time, if I’m not eating meat, fruits and veggies.  Especially any time I eat grains.  I’ve cut out corn, and some beans, and I would try no grains for a majority of the time (which helped the most!)  I drink raw apple cider… and that helps too… probiotic day and night (gluten and lactose free)…  but it’s REALLY hard to never eat grains.  I knew the chronic inflammation in my gut wasn’t good…  but I’ve tried to soldier through.

Somedays were good, most were not.  I wondered if this was just it – this is how my gut would be from now on?

I decided if that was the case… maybe I should try coffee again.  Maybe coffee wasn’t REALLY an issue…  maybe it was just those VIA packets, vs. having coffee already brewed that wasn’t instant.  I could have hope right?

I tried it in Chicago… which some of my friends thought was a little crazy – and maybe it was… but it was a celebratory coffee after our appointments at the university.

I got a plain, black, dark roast coffee from Starbucks.  I drank half of the grande… and literally fell fast asleep while reading over our appointment records.

That SHOULD have been my first clue.

But I just thought I was tired, we had gotten a few hours of sleep and we had been traveling…

I wasn’t bloated…  I thought I was fine.

So I had another, the next day…  I was still tired – but I’ve been battling increasing fatigue since that last time being glutenated…

So I continued having them… for a whole week.

What I noticed was this…

My finger nails all split, fell apart and suddenly were weak and thin – my fingers hurt, and the skin on my hands was cracking again.

My eyes began twitching with muscles spasms all week, and this weekend my eyeball was swelling when my retina would try to open/close.

Fatigue grew at an alarming rate – I fell asleep twice one morning (briefly) while the kids were working on reports for school…

Tip. Over. Tired…

After I had plenty of sleep the night before.

What in the world?  I mean, I’ve been struggling with fatigue… but this was insanity.

I hated to admit it.

It had to be the coffee.

Then one night we were working late again – and my husband asked me if I was ok.  He could *smell* that something hadn’t been quite right…  I mean, it hadn’t been “right” most of the time – but that night…

It was down right awful….

and I looked 8 months pregnant… again.

UGH.

It *was* the coffee.

… and then I walked back through my week.  The fatigue, the eye twitching, muscle pains, gunky pink-eye, my nails – my stomach, the swelling in my hands, and joints – and Saturday my eye began swelling and it was very painful… all of it… it was enough to put it together… to get back on track.

Maybe it’s not meant to be, and if that’s the case – it will be ok.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t disappointed. 

I am.  It was a rough week last week…

I love fall… boots, sweaters… cozy… and COFFEE. 

At least… the SMELL of coffee.

Thanking God for my sense of smell!!  (and for a NEW week!)

“I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him.”

Psalm 62:1

 

 

What’s The Prize?

The handiwork of my 1st grader… who is technically in kindergarten! I love this verse.

Pain.

It hurts.

Physical.  Emotional.

Either way – it’s very real.

Unfortunately, pain is also considered … subjective.

People who have a high pain tolerance, may consider someone else wimpy… who does not.

There truly isn’t way to measure pain to decide if someone is “faking it” or not.

Once I read about how your pain receptors are in different areas, so perhaps one person’s pain IS different from another’s!

Maybe God did create us all differently, for His glory?? 

Of course He did.

I always have considered myself pretty strong in the pain tolerance category, but low in emotional tolerance.  I nursed my children through horrific trauma to my breast tissue, and carried on in the name of what most would consider stubborn…  I dealt with the pains and discomfort of 8 pregnancies… and labors.

But all the bus driver had to do in elementary school was look at me wrong – and the tears were flowing.

In my family when I was young, when we didn’t see eye to eye – or things didn’t go as I had hoped when I had planned my future…  I built this imaginary wall around my heart – to protect it from feeling chronic hurt and disappointment because I felt as though I had let myself and my heavenly Father down.

I attempted to be tough and emotionless, because tough people don’t cry – and they don’t get hurt.

I wish.

The truth is, people who are supposed to love, encourage, and support you – often times are the ones who can hurt you the most.  They may lack empathy, or compassion… They may be a fixer, and this may beyond their ability to fix – so they ignore you, or avoid you or are a terrible listener.

When I’m in pain – physical, or emotionally …  I call on the Lord…  because I know – no matter what.  He will be there.

As much as we’d like others to listen… it’s a rarity that anyone wants to hear about negative things–  but they’ll be happy to hear about your joy.  The same goes for emotional – most people don’t like dealing with things that are upsetting … and it’s easier to pretend you’re not talking.  (Look!  I got an email on my phone…I’m sorry, what were you saying?)

But just like an open wound left uncared for, wounds of our heart continue to grow – year after year… if they’re never dealt with…  and I’ve never been a good one to confront.  Early on in my walk with God – He did convict me of this, but I quickly figured out if it’s one sided – it doesn’t solve very much… Do you best, ask forgiveness – and love, love, love.

So this week, when my body was hurting beyond measure for what I thought was an unknown reason…  my heart also began to hurt, for first my husband, and then myself, and our children when we found out some unexpected news.

Everyone has good days, and bad… and the past week was just one of utter sadness for my family.  The limitations of a large family sometimes hurt, but just as we trusted in God to grow our family – beyond OUR own comfort zone – we must trust in the Lord as we’ve added in a wonky diet to the mix. As the world goes on beyond your back, claiming trying not to hurt your feelings, while stabbing you right in the heart…  you must decide if you’re going to sit in your pain, or put on that breastplate of righteousness.

There are times when I can be filled with frustration, and my calm and centered husband will remind me:   “This world is a mess.  Keep your eyes on the prize.”

He is right.

As we continue studying the armor of God, and specifically putting on the protective piece that guards our heart – the breastplate… I’m reminded that Satan just LOVES to see discord, and thrives on those who lie, sneak and justify.  We will not fall prey to those temptations of the world, where moth and rust destroy.  God has bigger plans for our family, to be used in a way we just can’t see yet….

and I felt a peace wash over me when my husband held me and we unleashed our emotions together.

We were even blessed with a date, which we planned 3 months ago… God’s perfect timing! It is definitely THAT time of year for us – so it was a boost we both really needed.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?”

Psalm 27:1

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