Tag Archive | adrenals

Embrace the lessons

Still sick. It’s a sinus infection gone sideways and now my jaw is locked. Seriously. Can’t make this stuff up! And now I don’t care if I never see another bowl of applesauce again. COMPLIANT applesauce because even though I can eat precious little right now, I’m still keeping to the plan.

A dear friend said she’s praying “It’s enough Lord” for me. No kidding, right?! But that got me to thinking… perhaps the prayers should be that I embrace the lessons and be grateful for the journey. Because it’s through this journey that I see goodness and hope. People are now reaching to me for help with their illnesses. Friends are sharing what I’ve been through with others and encouraging them to reach out to me. And that they actually want to hear what it is I have to say is still hard for me to wrap my head around…

I’ve been praying for the Lord to show me His purpose in all of this and every day it becomes more clear. Perhaps not only is each experience meant to make us stronger but we are to then to go forth and share those lessons with others. And that is now where I am in my journey. Talking to people. Sharing what I’ve learned and where to turn for help.  Holding their hand through this as someone held mine. Modeling that having a chronic illness does not have to mean the end of the world but that it is instead the start of a new one full of promise and hope.

I’m not perfect. Dealing with my illness is hard and I have to be ever vigilant. And there are times, such as now where I could easily give up and stop hoping. Times where I don’t want to do any of this anymore if I’m going to be brutally honest. But what keeps me going is hope. Hope that I have more good days than bad. Hope that I can make a difference in this world. In somebody’s life. Hope that all of this isn’t for nothing.

So whatever it is you are going through. Be grateful for it for there is a lesson just waiting to be embraced. One which could change your life for the better.

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Of all the things I’m bad at, breathing is at the top of the list!

Asthma. I have had it pretty well under control… until this week. I’ve been suffering the granddaddy of all asthma attacks all week and now also have oral thrush. Really?!! Because of course I do. I finally gave in and went to urgent care today because my peak flow was hovering around 150.  My personal best for all you knowing asthma sufferers is between 480 and 500. For those of you not in the know, we people who suck at breathing have to stay on top of this and have an action plan in place for what to do as the numbers drop that goes something like this and In this order:  emergency inhalers, breathing treatments, urgent care, emergency room then ambulance. To put this in perspective for you, I was floating between needing the urgent care and emergency room and not quite yet an ambulance. And because I’m stubborn, had I not let my husband talk me into urgent care there was going to be an ambulance in my near future. Because I’m dumb and stubborn.

Actually that’s not completely true. Those of us who suck at breathing always second guess ourselves. Is this attack really that severe? Am I going to look stupid going to the ER or calling an ambulance? Am I making a big deal out of nothing and if I just relax it’ll go away? We’ve all been there. We also know how exhausting it is not being able to breathe. I explained it to my husband like this: I feel like I have an elephant standing on my chest and I can only manage short breaths and those short breaths hurt and are laborious which exhaust me. It’s like I’m slowly suffocating and can’t get enough air. And then I panic which makes it worse. And asthma is serious folks. You can DIE from it.  And yet we tell ourselves not us. Mine isn’t THAT bad. This attack isn’t THAT bad. But let’s face it. At this point we are oxygen deprived and shouldn’t be allowed to make any decisions on our own. Right? That’s why it’s important to share with a trusted friend or loved one the warning signs and your action plan so they make sure you get the help you need and quickly.

I am now back home after spending the morning at Urgent Care. The doctor asked if I’m a nurse because I’m so knowledgeable about my illness and health and what I need to feel better. I told him I’m well-versed and have found it makes Dr. Visits more efficient by me staying organized and up-to-date on my health. He agreed and said it was making treating me easier and faster. He was able to get me a breathing treatment quickly with the right medicine and dosage that would work for me as well as the barrage of inhalers and drugs I’ll need for the next week or so. Including prednisone. Ugh! On top of asthma I also have chronic ABPA (allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis) so my lungs are damaged. While I was weaned of prednisone and have been in remission I know there will be times when I will need a prednisone burst to get over the hump. And as much as I hate prednisone, I’m quite knowledgeable  in how to survive it. I picked up a very strong probiotic (VSL3), stocked up on kombucha and licorice tea and am steeping astragalus root in my tea. I will also make sure I give my body plenty of rest the next few days. And, most important, to take my prednisone in the morning so it does NOT affect my sleep. All things I’ve learned after being on prednisone for 9 years (been weaned off since January). I will also behave and do breathing treatments every 3-4 hours for the next few days.

And I rushed home to tell you all of this because what I really wanted to share with you is, one, the importance of listening to your body and, two, the importance of understanding your health and the care you need and to be prepared for Dr visits- Keep a list of your current meds, and any allergies and what has and has not worked in the past. It is important you take an active role in your care. Ask questions. Make sure you understand all instructions and that you have everything you need before you leave. If your Dr forgot to prescribe something. Say something! Honest, it’s ok! It’s totally ok! Because in the end, your health is your responsibility.

And now that the shakes have stopped from my treatment I’m going to take a nap.

May the breathing gods ever be in your favor!

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Asthma and emotions/stress

The declining health of a parent, the anniversary of the death of a loved one, work stress…  All things out of our control and yet things which affect us emotionally.  All things which may make it hard to eat, to sleep, to concentrate.  Well when you have asthma, stress can affect your breathing. Stress is the enemy to asthma and anyone who has asthma needs to learn how to manage stress.  And it’s hard.

Believe me. I sit here typing after having my third breathing treatment of the day.  I was up all night unable to breathe.  I started coughing until I gagged and vomited.  Awesome, right?  And why?  Because rather than keeping my stress in check, I let it fester and grow until it made me physically sick.

I talk about food and health and how important it is to eat healthy to stay healthy.  But emotional health is important too.  I shared this with a student the other day who was very stressed.  I told him to find a time in his day to regroup and breathe.  And normally, I follow my own advice. There’s always time in your day.  ALWAYS!  Find something that calms you and make time for that. Go for a run, listen to music, go outside for fresh air.  Remove yourself from the situation.  Don’t let the small things become big things. Talk to a friend or loved one.  Whatever it is that works for you, do that.  Because nothing is more important than your health. Nothing. As for me, worrying won’t make my mom better or bring my loved one back or make that colleague any easier to work with.

If you have asthma, I challenge you to find small ways in which to work on handling the stress in your life.  When I actually practice what I preach, my asthma stays in check. I saw the warning signs but I refused to stop and listen.  I’ve been using my emergency inhaler so much the prescription I filled on April 4 is already empty and I can’t get another inhaler until May 4 without my doctor’s intervention.  I also know that because I let things get this far and I’m bordering on bronchitis I’m probably going to be forced to take a prednisone burst.  And darn it, I know better.  Because now here I am beating myself up… more stress.  I would laugh but that makes me cough!

So, learn from me.  Not taking your health seriously can have serious consequences. Pay attention to your emotions, get rest, eat properly and follow your asthma action plan. Reminders for both you and me. Together we CAN do this! We CAN keep our asthma under control.

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Easter. What can I eat?

Holidays are tough when you have a restricted diet. Tough but not impossible. Because holidays are filled with lots of good food, I used to dread going to someone’s house or having anyone over. It’s exhausting explaining what I can and can’t eat and why. And, if I made something I could eat, would anyone else want to eat it. Fortunately I have a very supportive group of family and friends who want to know so they can support me. Also, fortunately, I have such a love for cooking that I’m always experimenting. I also love to research and have found so many wonderful recipes that about 90% of the time nobody would have any idea what they are eating is paleo.

So, it’s Easter. What do I serve my family so that I can still eat? Fortunately for me there is Danielle Walker from Against all Grain to the rescue!  I’ll be making recipes from her new cookbook: blood organge glazed ham, potato salad and grilled veggies wrapped in bacon. For dessert a blueberry galette. http://againstallgrain.com/2016/08/13/grain-free-blueberry-galette/  Nobody will go hungry, including me!

Really, this is all doable. In fact, in a few weeks my sister in law is coming to stay with us so I can teach her the basics. It’s become my passion to teach others that diet can change your health. I’m not saying this is easy because it’s not, but I would rather spend hours in the kitchen vs hours in the hospital. Wouldn’t you?

I’m working on a couple of recipes and will share soon. Recipe creation with nut flours etc is tough which is why I usually prefer to use others’ recipes. However, I’m a determined spirit so… Stay tuned.

Wishing you a wonderful Easter with your family. If you aren’t sure yet what to fix, check out Danielle’s blog or cookbooks. You will be glad you did!

 

 

 

Inflammation and autoimmune

A friend of mine shared with me this article (click on link below) about inflammation and auto-immune disease and it was so fascinating I had to share: http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/07/30/how-to-stop-attacking-yourself-9-steps-to-heal-autoimmune-disease/

This article so resonated with me because Dr. Hyman may as well have been writing about me.  I was told I had Inflammatory Breast Cancer and I have never been so afraid in my life.  Turns out, instead, it was my body being angry and attacking itself. It was also discovered I had Sjogren’s and Rheumatoid Arthritis, along with Fibromyalgia.  My body hurt, I was swollen and puffy, I had extreme exhaustion, fungal sinus infections, asthma, etc. (in fact, all of my blog posts can attest to how awful things were for me).  It wasn’t until I started seeing a Functional Medicine Doctor that things began to change.  I’m now completely off all my meds, all my labs have come back in the normal range, I know which trigger foods to avoid and I am living a happy, active life.  I feel fantastic!  I’m running a 10k in a few days, a 12k in a month and a half, and a half marathon in September.  I have my life back.  And you can do the same.

If you or a loved one are currently suffering from any type of asthma, allergy, autoimmune diseases, etc., read the article;  look into seeing a Functional Medicine Doctor. I once thought this was all pure nonsense.  It wasn’t until I got really sick and was desperate to try anything, that I took this step. And it was life changing.  It takes a lot of work, you have to be diligent and follow the plan but to be off all meds is a miracle. I feel fantastic and am pretty much symptom free. Really, if I can do it, so can you!

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Making it through illness without prednisone or antibiotics

Before when I would get sick, I would go downhill so quickly the doctors would pump me up full of prednisone and antibiotics. In fact because I came to know the drill so well, they gave me refills on my antibiotics and prednisone so I could self treat. Because, they said it was the only way. Can’t make this stuff up…

Fast forward to now. Here I was with the flu and what I believe to have been a sinus infection. What to do… well I know what NOT to do and prednisone and antibiotics was not the answer. So here is how I’m handling things:

Sinus rinsing – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – sinus rinsing is your friend. You can safely rinse your sinuses as many times a day as you need. See my blog post on sinus rinsing for more info/tips. I swear by it!

Fluids – Drink lots of fluids. Non alcoholic fluids that is… Water is really the best thing for you but add a little honey and some lemon and perfection! The honey is soothing for a cough and the lemon has antibacterial qualities. Plus the hot water will help to open your sinuses and thin the mucus which is more than likely causing your cough in the first place. I also like to add some green tea to the equation and drink lots of Magic Mineral Broth created by Rebecca Katz.

Probiotics – I take a daily probiotic. A doctor friend of mine recommended inner-eco and I love it. You can find it in the refrigerated section at your local grocery store or at Whole Foods. When I feel I’m getting sick and need an extra boost of probiotic, I switch to VSL-3. It’s a bit pricey and you need a prescription from your doctor but I have found it to give my body the extra boost it needs. I buy the cachets and mix in my smoothies. I also drink kombucha. I prefer the kombucha with chia seeds when I’m sick. It just feels soothing on my throat.

Supplements – I’m on a daily regimen and you can read more about what I take by going to an earlier blog post. However when sick, I bump things up a notch and add in more vitamin C, drink turmeric milk and GI Revive. I also make sure my smoothies have a boost by adding chia and gelatin, as well as lemon juice. This is when I drink my healing smoothies.

Rest – I’m one to tell you about rest but it really is important and something I’ve had to learn. Make sure to listen to your body and give it the rest it needs. For the first time ever I actually spent the weekend in bed and willingly. I’ve been working out with a trainer and working out hard up to my getting sick. And while exercise is important, so is rest.

Amazingly and for the first time, my body is doing its job and fighting back. And without prednisone and antibiotics as the first option like before. Now there is a time and a place for both and there will be times I will need one or the other or both because of my condition. But, if I can boost my immune system enough to lessen an infection, I also lessen my need for either medication. That’s a win/win in my book!

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A Doubting Lisa and the Flu

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Sometimes, I feel I just can’t do this anymore.  And by “this” I mean all the work that goes into being healthy and well.  I know that I must continue if I want to stay in remission but it’s a daily struggle.  People praise me for my bravery and for making this seem so simple.  And the truth is I’ve learned to make it simple but it is still a daily battle.  Some days I long to be able to relax on Sunday instead of spending all day in the kitchen.  To be honest, there are days I despise all of this!  ALL of it.  And yet, what choice do I have?  So I chop and measure and plan because I have to.  And through all of this I still find my body reacting.  Causing problems.  Sometimes setting me back.  It’s not fair. And it’s hard and I question and I get angry.  And this is all normal.  I share all this because I want to be honest.  I want you or your loved one to succeed.  I want you to understand this is work.  It’s hard and some days it sucks but it is still 100 percent worth it in the end.  And if you don’t fully grasp this and accept it, you will not succeed at this.  You have to find that inner fight inside of you and learn to make this a habit and find ways to make this easier for you.  To not listen to that voice inside of you screaming “I can’t.” Because you can and you must if you want to heal yourself.

These past couple of weeks have been rough. I’ve been through a biopsy and a very anxious time waiting for results.  I’ve been told the doctors think this is autoimmune in nature and not cancer, but will watch me for a while to be sure.  What they can’t tell me is what type of autoimmune and why.  Because they don’t know.  And that’s maddening.  I initially thought: I do everything I’m asked, I eat healthy, I exercise, I take the supplements I’m told to take.  And it seems my body still hates me.  But the truth of the matter is even with this set back, I’m still in a MUCH better place than I was. My bloodwork looks great and my adrenals are actually working.  We weren’t sure they would kick in. And this week I’m battling the flu but, rather than my usual of declining rapidly, I’m getting better. My body is doing its job. So, what I’m doing – it DOES make a difference! I hope by keeping things honest and real, I can continue to be a mentor to people.  It’s important you know there is no magic fix.  That this is work.  It’s hard work and one has to be totally dedicated to it. And there will be blips along the way but it DOES work.

So, now that I’ve bared my soul, let me get back to sharing food and recipes.  My new favorite recipe is something I call Eggs Over Stuff, Drizzled with Stuff and is paleo fast food at its finest. Basically I’m cleaning out my fridge.   Leftover brussels sprouts, bacon, pulled pork and cauli rice warmed up and served with a fried egg and avocado on top and drizzled with compliant hot sauce and cilantro.  Best. Meal. Ever!

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And… if you have not yet done so.  Go buy that Instant Pot already!  This has revolutionized my meal prep abilities and cut that prep time IN HALF!!  IN HALF people!!!  I love that I can just take something frozen and have dinner ready in 17 minutes or less.  Follow my lead.  Some days will be harder than others.  Some days you will want to give up or feel that you can’t.  Trust in the process and that eating clean DOES work.  And know you CAN heal yourself through diet.  I will always keep it real for you because I don’t want you to feel alone or think this can’t be done.  Focus on the big picture and know it’s ok to have a pity party once in a while as I have done the last week or so.  The difference for me this time around is that I never got off track.  I may have questioned but I still stayed with the plan because even though it’s not always easy, I know it’s what’s best and it works. It really works.