Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day, 2014

Today was harder than any other Mother's Day I've had. I'm not even sure why. I have been dreading it for weeks. I had even bought myself a necklace and almost lost it when I held it in my hands for the first time. It is so beautiful. It also has 7 clear stones in it for my 7 Angel babies.
My husband left for work this morning, and like every other day, he kissed me goodbye and wished me a good day. I did the same, but deep down, I was waiting for the words to come out of his mouth.
They never did.
I texted him, "I am a mother."
He called. There's no way he's forgotten, I know that. But he said it anyway. I know he felt bad, a little frustrated, too. I get it. Does he get me? Before we got off the phone, his last few words of the conversation were, "Wear your necklace proud, baby." I told him that I absolutely will.
My cousin, who I had made plans to spend the day with today, texted me. "Happy Mother's Day."  It was nice to see. We called and chatted and quickly got ready to go eat breakfast.
Maybe it's because I've added 3 more babies into heaven since the last Mother's Day.
Maybe I feel hurt because I felt forgotten, even by some of my closest family members.
Do people think that I've forgotten about the fact that I've come close to being an earthly mother to 7 babies? 
Either way, I am the Mommy of Angels too good for this earth. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

~I've Got A Complicated Order!~

 MADtv- Bon Qui Qui (complicated order) 
***click on the YouTube link (bottom right) to view***

Does anyone else feel like you're reliving this video when ordering?  I sure do!!

I love me some fast food... and I mean LOVE!  Now, it's not that I eat out all the time nor do I eat horribly, but I love the option of stopping what I'm doing and getting a quick meal to suit my fancy of the moment.  The places that I would frequent are (which I can no longer eat at a majority of these places) Chipotle, 5 Guys Burgers and Fries, Chic-Fil-A, Panda Express, Red Robin, and any bagel shop for breakfast. Of course the occasional dining at Macaroni Grill, Cracker Barrel, and Native New Yorker were some of the top 'sit down' places we'd go to.  Eating out is a splurge in our budget and wasn't done crazy often, but more so than I guess I even realized.

When I order, I have to tell them right away that I have celiac disease (follow that up with 'gluten allergy' which ISN'T the case, but they don't typically know what CD is) and that I need them to change their gloves, wipe down the area, keep my food free from other food and be very careful making it.  Of course, I KNOW that eating out is putting my health at risk but it's a chance that I have decided to take so that I could continue to eat some of the foods that I enjoy in the midst of this chapter of my life, as well as take advantage of the facilities who are familiar with the needs of their 'allergy' patrons.

Today, I stopped while running errands at one of the places mentioned above.  I've eaten here a handful of times in the almost 6 months and they've always gotten it right (so-much-so that I shed a tear my first time eating there after CD - WHY?  Because they did exactly what their website said they would do and I felt completely safe).  I told the lady at the register my needs and she acknowledged them.

Then comes the elephant in the room... er... me.

I order my burger, stand off to the side, then watch that mound of hamburger goodness be made. Today was different than all of the other times I've been there... The first lady, it looked like she was fairly new, (it appeared) she was asking how to start the lettuce burger.  The lady who took my order started talking to her and showing her what to do.  Neither of them changed their gloves, wiped down the area, nor kept my food away from other food. I watched my food then get passed down the line and bunched in a staging area with other buns, waiting for the meat to finish cooking.  Another lady then finishes the burgers orders (handling the buns and wrapping them up) before mine, and without skipping a beat, immediately started finishing mine.  Not wanting to call attention to myself, I stand there and watch my food get 'contaminated'.

The only thing I can say about myself is that I feel defeated.  I am not the kind person who will go up and then say anything (complain) about my food.   I already feel like a FREAK (no I'm not kidding) and I don't want to tell someone that this PERFECTLY GOOD LETTUCE BURGER is bad for me.  After resisting about 6 urges to go say something along the way, I still grabbed my bag with a half smile and said 'thank you'.  I (for the most part) will eat it and pay for it later.  Had Josh been there with me, he'd have either shoved me up there or handled it himself.

Shame on me.  I'm almost 6 months into this and I KNOW the ramifications of eating out, eating gluten, and eating gluten contaminated food.  I also know that it takes me about 1/2 of my meal to already FEEL my stomach FREAK THE HECK OUT and then another 20 minutes before I have to go violate the bathroom (I'm sorry, TMI, but it's TRUE)!  and THAT'S NOT ALL, folks!  After eating and for another week, I feel the war waging within my body, which is too many symptoms to list.

Finding out that you have a disease, that is directly related to food, is something you can't turn your head on.  I know this.  My health is good enough for me to say something, regardless of what people think of me.  This is something that I still HAVE to work on.

But for now, until I learn to put my big-girl panties on, and take care of myself properly, I will refrain from going out to eat.

I'm still learning...  I'm going to continue to fall on my face and make mistakes but I'm a work in progress.

Would you care to follow my journey? Here's the FB Page with my story...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Little Biology Lesson for You

It doesn't matter how old you are when you're diagnosed, it's upon the diagnosis that you need to ACT and CHANGE in order to remain and regain health(y).  The alternatives of not doing so are further GI upset, osteoporosis, CANCER (and *flashback* to paramedic school when discussing long term disease processes; seizure, coma, DEATH)!!

"If a person with the disorder continues to eat gluten, studies have shown that he or she will increase their chances of gastrointestinal cancer by a factor of 40 to 100 times that of the normal population. Further, gastrointestinal carcinoma or lymphoma  develops in up to 15 percent of patients with untreated or refractory celiac disease. It is therefore imperative that the disease is quickly and properly diagnosed so it can be treated as soon as possible."  Celiac(dot)com

It's not a fight we can win at this time.  It's an involuntary antibody response.  There's nothing you can do to change it EXCEPT to adhere to a gluten free diet.  THAT'S IT!! 

 A little Biology lesson on antibody response and celiac disease

"If you have celiac disease, you can not handle ANY amount of gluten nor should you try to test your body. Just because you don’t physically react to a small amount that you can tell, your body on the inside is in turmoil creating a breeding ground for malignant diseases like cancer!" Pretty Little Celiac

 Ok, my rant is done.  =)

While you're at it, don't forget to 'Like' my FB page, Gluten and Celiac and Grains, Oh My!  The more likes I get + the more people I can reach with what I've learned = more HEALTHY people!!  Help me spread awareness!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Curiosity Kills the Cat

Preparing ourselves for the next step in building our family, I had to obtain all of the lab test results that I've had done over the last few years. Inside of that envelope were my celiac disease lab results. I decided to do a little research after seeing the actual DNA results.

I read that I only possess the DQ2 gene and not the DQ8. Not only that, I only have the one copy, not two (since chromosomes split upon conception and we get 2 separate sets of genes, a maternal set and a paternal set). I also read somewhere that those with duplicate copies have a higher risk of complications in Celiac Disease. That had me thinking that maybe I'm not so sensitive after all.

Fast-forward to the next day. I got to work to find Krispy Kreme doughnuts on the counter and thought, 'here goes nothing' and down the hatch it went. I wanted to see what it did to me after being GF for almost 5 months.

30 minutes later, I was absolutely miserable. The side pain was dang near crippling me, I regretted even THINKING about trying this stunt. Lesson #1.

That weekend I was at a baby shower where my cousin was trying to smash a frosted cupcake in her niece's face. She started sniffing the cupcake to show her niece that nothing would happen and seeing the opportunity, I reached over and smashed it in her face.

I howled... and then licked the icing (that had a little cake attached to it) on my hand.

Later that evening, I felt the effects. Lesson #2.

I went to work again and decided to eat in the cafeteria but asked the chef to make me a grilled cheese with GF bread (they know about my disease and have made me food before). Apparently they forgot about cross-contamination and cooked it in the same place as other gluten food and within an hour, again, same result. Lesson #3

All of these episodes had me in pain, almost as bad as I felt when I first started seeing my GI Dr. Not only was I in pain, I have been 'dragging my tail' I'm so tired! I've also had extreme joint pain, almost like I've lived some other life (maybe like some famous bull-rider or possibly a football player) and destroyed my body. My teeth are again sensitive. My skin has become itchy and dry as well as my scalp (I swear, the gluten immediately makes me scratch my head until it bleeds!). I have restless legs at night and don't sleep well as a result.

I decided to completely forgo eating out (Chipotle has been a frequent stop for me lately), and eat nothing but fruits and vegetables to try and rid the gluten from my system. I needed to control the risk of cross-contamination and heal my body!

It worked!!

Here's what I learned from this experiment: I have the responsibility to change the way I feel, ESPECIALLY since I KNOW what I can and can't have! I was an idiot for trying but in a weird way, I'm glad that I did. I can clearly see my limits and am reminded of where I don't want to be. I AM that girl who will pack my own food. I AM that girl who will eat prior to going to a function where there's a risk of cross-contamination. I AM that girl who will speak out *LOUDLY* about my restrictions when going out (at the very minimum) from now on. I AM in control of the outcome when it comes to my health and this disease. I WILL be better about it.

I'm a work in progress and I'm still learning. =)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Breaking Bread, er, ME?!

The first day that Josh and I had off and could go shopping for specific 'gluten-free' stuff was not one of my proudest moments.   Trader Joe's was the first stop of the day.  Up to this moment, I still had yet to really dig into what I needed to change (ESPECIALLY in regards to the food part), so I wasn't really prepared to select... nor was I prepared to go through what came next.

I stepped into the store and Josh said, "go shop".  I just stood there... in the way of the front doors... and froze.  I had no idea where to start, what to look for, who to ask.  I feel the bump of the cart on my bum and off we went. We came to the bread first, which since I LOVE sammiches, this was one of the first things I wanted to buy.

$8.00?!?! For THIS?!?! This skinny, heavy, thin, 2x4 piece of... WHEEL CHOCK?!?! 

I don't THINK so!!  Back on the shelf it flew.

We continued our journey... then 30 minutes later and an entire lap around the store, we learned of the orange sticker.  This little gem is placed under every item that is GF.  It would have been nice to have known that before now!  Now to start over.

Josh was a little frustrated.  I was more than frustrated and the store was getting too busy for indecisive Ms. Jen.  As we were rounding the aisle to return to the beginning, I was pointed in the direction of a packet of papers that, in my case, is specific to Celiac Disease (which is stored in a file at the front of the store for anyone to grab with any food allergy) that would help us navigate the store. 

I started reading it and then it happened... I had a melt down... in front of everyone.  The information was too much.  The aimless wandering was too much. The prices were WAY outside of what we were used to paying and we REALLY needed to stick to our little food budget.  This wasn't happening. Josh took the ONE item that laid in the cart and put it back on a shelf, returned the cart, and we left.  I was ticked and emotional. Josh was frustrated with me. It was a COMPLETE bust!

One of the things I've learned throughout my experience is that you can't try to eat what you're used to without much research, planning, patience, and practice.  Not only is it not the most healthy for you (anything processed has risks to inflict damage to your waistline), it's not something you should worry about right away.  THE most important thing (in my opinion) to do is eliminate everything (including sauces, spice mixes, dressings, beverages) but fruits, vegetables, and fresh meat, until you have the time to investigate EVERYTHING that goes into that mouth of yours! 

And, that's not all!  In a later post, I'll tell you about all of the other things you have to take into consideration when cutting ALL of the gluten.

Since it's a new year and tax season is upon us, I wanted to share something that I just discovered.  You can write off the difference in GF foods to the regular food and write it off on your taxes!  It's going to take dedication and patience but you can save $$$ in the long run!